Wednesday, 23 May 2018

What directors in voice over sessions mean


Our 2000+ voices here at Big Fish Media have heard all sorts of direction in our countless voice over recording sessions over the years. In order to cover all of the clients bases our versatile voiceovers deliver fast, slow and in between reads in any emotional style they may be asked to deliver. We hear all sorts of notes from directors and clients. Notes are there mostly because a few reads may be necessary for commercials to fit the images. They may also be given as the director or client may have a different cadence or pace in their head. At times it could just be that they have an hour or two in the session and want as many options as they can get for any “just in case” scenario.
Here are some of our favourites and how to approach them.

1.  Read fast but make it slow
This usually happens because the copy is a little too long. In a 30 second advert situation it means that the voiceover read comes in at 34 or 36 seconds with a good pacey read. What can be done? Speed everything up? Taking out breaths? In reality it depends. In post-production, yes breaths and pauses and other spaces can be taken out and edited but for a good read maybe some parts. And maybe some script trimming so the voice over works.

2.      Make it more conversational
Ah this old chestnut. In many cases the director is after a fluent, non announcer type read and wants the deliver to be very human. An announcer read is the over the top radio style read that was popular back in the day. For those that recall, this read was all the rage from the 70’s onwards and peaking around the 90’s. It can be hard as professional voices will often have an announcer voice in their vocal tool kit and bring that out when the mic goes live. However the best voices are the ones who know the conversational read, which is simply being authentic and real and deliver it when the director says to bring it on.

3.      Give me two different reads
Many voices question why two very different reads are needed in a session. Simply comes down to choice. It might be that one delivery is fine but 99.9% of the time the end client will ask, oh do you have a version in a different delivery. And that is when the client can pull out another version. Two different reads, covers all the bases just in case. Our voices are pros are offering alternatives.

4.      Could you sound more taller/smaller/older/younger?
This is an interesting piece of direction. What does it actually mean? In many cases, they are just after another read, something similar but different. As many of our voiceovers are actors or used to working with characters, this can be a helpful piece of direction to get into a character a bit more. Maybe your normal voice or cadence is too youthful or old for the market place they are pitching the voiceover for. Some a change is called for. Just mix it up.

5.      Other strange directions include…..
“Could it be more orange please” “Hmmm maybe do it as if you were a vampire” “make it seem as if the world were gently flowing around you as you escape from the vortex” “Read it as if you are Luxury British” – no we aren’t too sure what these mean either.

To listen to our 2000+ voices, head to our website and get in touch for high quality professional voices.



Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Want to know more about TV continuity?



There you are, at home, just about to start watching your favourite show Murder She Wrote featuring the fabulous Angela Lansbury (well at least we here at Big Fish Media HQ are). However you can’t recall if you have seen this particular episode. Help is on hand with the informative voice of the continuity announcer.  A little like the voice of God, the continuity announcer is that voice that informs you of what is coming up, a short breakdown of the episode or programme. As it does inform you of what is coming up next this is especially helpful to know if you should make dinner or pour out a cup of tea to watch it instead.  


This voiceover role is fun but with a weighty responsibility and a lot of work. The voice will indicate what is coming up next and then close a programme. Those chosen to take on the mantel of TV continuity are highly skilled and multi-taskers. They have to watch oodles of programmes before they go on air and get creative to sum up episodes without ruining the plotline and fitting it into a short amount of time.


The voices tend to write their own timed scripts, watch for the time they need to open their mic as the programme credits roll, talk and then settle back to wait for their next live mic moment. It can be very creative to work on a tight time script and continuity announcers are chosen for their ability to work well in a crisis.

There are times when a breaking news story will interrupt programming and announcers have to think quickly but maintain a sense of calm. Programme schedules will change very quickly and the continuity person will have to ensure they keep up to speed with the changes and work around that. We are lucky to have several of the major broadcasters continuity announcers on our books and they are a joy to work with. They are time fiends and can easily make long reads fast but sound slow and make slow scripts sound fast. They do it day in and day out. If you would like to work with some amazing narrators, then please give us a call. 



Tuesday, 8 May 2018

The Big Fish Media Bowl just got a whole lot BIGGER


We are splashing about with delight at the moment here in Woking. Big Fish Media is expanding! Our school of voices is ever growing and now over 2000 + voices! Now our very own aquarium HQ is going BIG. In between recording and editing waves of audio projects for our clients this year business has been so good that we have had to expand! Our fish pond has become more of a pool with new staff joining as well as a new office in addition to the main office. Our two fishy mascots are overjoyed by the expansion to their habitat.  

Over the past few months we have been busy interviewing staff that know about the voiceover world so that when they deal with clients and voices they understand and are passionate about the best business ever. There really is no business like the voiceover business!
We are lucky to be joined by two new team members, Caroline and Jack. They join us at a very busy time and will be supporting the marketing and editing team weekly. Caroline is a trained actor and voiceover as well as a whizz on the phone and if she were a fish she would be a seahorse. Whoa there girl!  

Jack is in all trades and has experience in acting, presenting, copywriting, Dj-ing and even as a quiz master (good, we love a quiz here at BFM head office). If Jack were a fish, it would be a clownfish. Always a joker is our Jack.

We are delighted to have these fish join our top talent team.
It now means that in our 14th year of business we are seven strong team working hard for our clients and our voices. As all of our team have voice over experience it now means we have a combined work experience of 135 years! Some of us recall the heady days of cutting tape during edits while others are a whizz on anything to do with any DAW. Some of us have been booking actors and voices for years while others have been booking models. You name it, between us all we have more than likely done it and stashed away the tech equipment to prove it.  


We have also expanded with an additional office space. New desks and chairs have been delivered and top of the range computers are gearing up to deal with the jobs we have on hand. The pictures below show the before and after images of the new office.


What is next for Big Fish Media? Our voice aquarium is steadily growing with talented voices that are professional, engaged and always pitch perfect. We are working together with great clients creating great audio for the likes of Oracle, Sainsburys, Tesco, SAB Miller, BBC, ITV, Korn Ferry and many more.


If you are a voice and would like to join our 2000+ strong voice roster then please do read the website and follow the instructions. If you are a client and would like to know more about how we can help you with your audio projects be them video production, IVR, Commercials or anything else then please get in touch.

Thursday, 3 May 2018

How to Look After yourself and your Voice


Being a voice is the best fun you can have. All of us here at Big Fish HQ love nothing more than tackling a script bringing the words to life. Some days are long and after narrating thousands of words, it can be like a marathon.

Voiceovers are athletes, vocal athletes and like all athletes they take care of themselves holistically ensuring their physical and emotional well being are in tip top condition. Many voice jobs are long and even the short ones can become long if take after take is required. To meet the highest standards of narration all of our voices ensure several areas are covered.

Drink water – plenty of water, speaking is very drying to the vocal folds, voice box and mouth in general. By drinking at least two liters of water a day ensures the mouth is lubricated and avoids dry and sticky mouth sounds.

Learn to breath – sure we all breathe and all the time. But voiceover talent know how important it is to actually breathe for the sentence, phrase or paragraph they need to record. Learning to breathe will ensure the voice will pause appropriately making a cleaner and also easier to edit read.

Articulation exercises – practise these daily, the exercises will ensure that your tongue, vocal cords and mouth are stress free and ready to wrap themselves around word shapes easily without straining or stressing you. Releasing the tension in your tongue ensures a more fluid read.

Look out for your eyes – ensure you go to regular eye appointments. Reading long form narration in studios in dark or even bright light can make them tired and sore. Takes eye breaks and get some sleep to ensure they rest fully.

Check your ears – yes they are also connected to your breathing and vocal elements so keep them clean and watch out for them as well. If you can’t hear direction properly the director won’t be pleased.


These steps are a good way to keep in good health and ensure you stay in good voice. 

To choose our top voices please get in touch.  

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

What Do Voice Agents Actually Do?


Voice Agents are often the gateway to booking some very lucrative voiceover work. Here at Big Fish Media, we pride ourselves on looking after our school of voices, and ensuring they get a fair deal on voiceover jobs - especially usage. Agents are the intermediary and many clients prefer dealing with an agency as it takes the stresses and strains away when you have an agent that is experienced and knows what to do.
The UK Market has a number of agencies and no agent should ask up front for any fees from a voice. We don’t – all we ask is that you be great.

Day to day in an agency
Agents spend most of the day on the phone, talking to clients, working out which voices would work for the client, and checking availability of voices for a particular job, such as a video production or commercial. We at Big Fish Media are lucky - and at times our voices don’t even need to audition or send in demo reels. Their reels do all the talking for them and they are booked from that immediately for the corporate and commercial work that we do. The agents negotiate the rate and contract, book the session, and ensure the script is available in a timely manner. We also work hard at putting the client and voice at ease when the voice over recording session comes around. Then after the work is done, ensuring the edit gets to the client and the invoices are sent and paid! When we get paid, then the voice gets paid.


Seeking representation?
We are always looking for new voices, and we have a few shoals in our ocean of voices we are always looking to fill. We have a finely crafted admission process and, if you would like us to represent you, then please follow the instructions. We take voices that have worked before and are experienced. For those that have a home studio, we are looking for a technical ability and sound set up as well. We will test you and your studio out and we have a high quality threshold so only the best fishes

How to keep us happy?
Our most successful voices are consummate professionals, giving the client what they want and much more. They are friendly and can carp on about what they are doing. They take direction, they are conversational and they know how to be patient. So remember, look after your Voice Agents, and they'll look after you!


Wednesday, 11 April 2018

How to select a voice for your audio production



For your next audio project you may often be considering a voice to narrate. You may be working on an explainer video showing how certain engineering products work, or a television commercial for an insurance company or even a voice for a nationwide tool brand. The voice will humanise the visual brand identity and enable your audiences to connect sooner with the brand and product. 

How do you choose the voice? We have over 2000 voices in our database so it may look and sound quite daunting. However this simple run down will explain how exactly you can select the best voice for the best price.



1.     What is the audio project? Are you working on a commercial, video production such as an explainer video or IVR work? If so then you will already know your target audience and key demographics. That means it would be wise to choose a voice that matches the targets and audiences. 

2.     Choosing a voice: Head over to our website full of professional and quick voices. Select the voice that best meets your criteria. Then just let us know and we can contact them for availability.

3.     Script to hand? The script is a useful start so that our voices can do a quick demo for you so you can hear what it could sound like.

4.     Directing date? Once the voice has been selected and agreed upon then you can direct the session either in person or by phone or skype. We have many happy clients that dial in at work, on the go and even from abroad to listen to our voices.

5.     Session style? It works well if you introduce the concept to the voice prior to the session so they can gauge where they need their voice and emotional stance to be. Then after a recorded read through a pause to see if that is the style, pace and emotion you are looking for.

We can go through this all with you before the session as well as in the session. We have been selecting, training, recording, editing and voicing for over a combined total of 135 years so we would be happy to help.

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Why We Use IpDTL for Voice Over work


ISDN, Source Connect, Skype, Phone patch and IpDTL. There is a whole list of services that we use as a recording studio for our voiceover projects with clients. However the one we find ourselves use more and more on a daily basis is IpDTL.

So what exactly is it? How do you pronounce it? And how can you make it work for you?

IpDTL is an internet based communications provider that allows you to record almost perfect quality audio in various locations. As an ISDN replacement it works rather well. 

IpDTL is an acronym and stands for Internet Protocol Down The Line. It is a bit of a mouthful but as our voiceovers are a talented school they can narrate the name easily. We have often called it IpDittle – to be quick but there is something to be said articulation wise to actually saying I P D T L. If ever there were consonants and a vowel to make you work the mouth muscles, these are them!

We use ipDTL with our voices and clients as well. It makes live recording easier, clearer and cleaner. After much tweaking we find the best way to use it is to open it with Chromium as opposed to Explorer or Chrome itself. We simply send a link, people connect and voila – great connection, with little or no latency and a much more solid ISDN alternative. Just the thing when we are recording our voice over talent.


We still have ISDN but ipDTL works well for us, our voices including international voices and our clients. Simple, easy and effective and we have been using it for four over years and we find it a worthy service.

Using ipDTL is easy as pie (hopefully not a fish pie though). Simply go to the website, select your best option and away you go. For versatile voiceovers, it’s a great choice.


Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Hello? Can you hear me?


Another genre of Voiceover is the growing use of the human voice when dealing with a phone system. Interactive Voice Response(IVR) and On hold are used to describe technology that allows a telephony system computer to interact with the customer through the use of voice. In the past customers would have had to talk to a switchboard operator or to a reception and have their call re-directed. If the phone were engaged with another call, then they would only hear the engaged tone. As technology moved on companies wanted to ensure that they could efficiently deal with customer inquiries as well as offering a personal touch. The aim is to avoid the customer floundering and knowing where they should be going next audiowise.


With IVR the technology is able to decipher the caller’s speech or touch response and directs the call as needed. Voices are used to enable the customer to hear choices and give clear answers so that the technology can direct them as needed. The voices that are chosen reflect clarity, an engaging tone and friendliness. Products, brands and services tend to choose a voice that is reflective of their brand. It will be the first time many clients will interact with that brand so the voice is key to maintaining that brand umbrella. 

On Hold differs from IVR simply as it does what it says, the moments that the customer is on hold is an opportunity for branding and interaction. As the customer waits on the line, music and/or conversation is played for them while they wait to transferred or held in a queue. The on hold messaging can provide important information to the caller such as a change in the company’s location, opening hours, new products, latest news and more. Humour or entertaining messages can be used to keep the client on the phone. These can be very creative for sound designers and we work on these daily and write our own scripts with up to date news as well as fun news stories and weather updates. Ricky often voices these as he is an experienced newsreader – but you know that anyway.


Don’t leave your customers with a chance to miss out on the key points of your business, service or product.


Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Explaining the Explainer Video


A recent voice over and video trend over the past decade is the rise of the explainer video. This video is as the name suggests, explains a brand, product or service to the viewer in a short 2D animation format. The style can be as simple or as complicated as you require depending on what information and needs you want to convey. A voice which acts as the brand, product or service representative is there to connect the dots that visually appear in a verbal manner. The aim is to explain to the viewer what the brand, product or service can offer in a clear and concise way.

                                                        
The video is usually embedded on the client’s website and/or youtube or other social media channel. As the rise of youtube in search functionality and SEO becomes more important we are seeing an increase in the production of these voiceover led explainer videos. Google has made it crystal clear that your company, service or brand will be favoured upon in search functions if there is a related business video and they would be in the know as they own YouTube. These days according to Google, more and more people are using youtube as a search function. It is important to note that this video usage on a clients website is different than if and when it is used on their youtube channel.

The video aims to explain and inform the brand, product or service but it is not an advert. If the explainer video explains then the advert entertains. The advert is much more a conceptual piece or visual art and the explainer video spells things out a lot more. An example would be for a smart phone. The advert would be sleek, entertaining and informative showing off the phone and its key unique selling proposition. The explainer video would a step by step guide about how to use the phone, what it does, how it works etc. Our voices haveworked in both styles so understand the difference – do you?

Explainer video maybe animation driven but this is different from animation videos/work as per below. Voices used are generally engaging, professional and confident yet friendly. An offshoot to this are the myriad of corporate or B2B videos that are also popular. These are similar to explainer videos except they are range from being more informative and about the company. They often show a brand, product and service but are not likely to be a “how to” video which most explainer videos are. We excel in this type of genre as all our voices are very experienced in corporate narration. Examples include videos shown at conferences, in company presentations, from one client to another. You may have seen these in dentists/spas/hairdressers where you see videos showing off the technical product. They are not adverts (see first entry) as they are for a specific business to attract. 


Wednesday, 14 March 2018

How Voiceovers Work


A few weeks ago we enjoyed the snowy weather and while it has caused a fair bit of chaos we found it a great opportunity to stop and take stock. After a very busy January and February with clients booking our wonderful voices from everything from commercials to video projects and also a huge IVR job, March is when we can take a moment, a beat, a pause, a breathe.


What has been going on at Big Fish HQ this year? So far, our school of voices have been very busy narrating all sorts of projects and our sound engineers editing the audio, working as a team to ensure the clients get the very best productions.  Now as we have a moment to bob along the seabed of audio, many clients ask us how does voiceover work…work? They want to know what they need to do to book our voices and also how it works. Simply, all you need to do is call us and we can sort out your voiceover needs. With over 2000 voices on our books, we have a vast selection of chatty characters to fit the bill. Need a Pope, tradesman, authentic, conversational, premium, quality, versatile voice? We have them all and more. You call, we book, record and send you the final audio. Simples. And you can also listen into your session as well.

This year our voices worked solidly and diligently on varied voiceover projects and we have been impressed with them all. Five things that continually impress our clients and us about our voices;

  1. Consistency; Our voiceovers are consistently on it, whether it be the scrip they have to read to the training to keep their voices in tip top condition. They are serious professionals who work hard for our clients every time.
  2. Taking direction;  Our clients give notes to voices in every session and our voices not only talk for a living but listen, take note and then talk some more.
  3. Flexibility; audio projects and scripts can change depending on what needs the client has. With our flexible voices, these video production or commercial projects are narrated in double quick time.
  4. Delivering more; clients ask our voices to change tone, pace, pitch, delivery and every time our voices come back with choices that the client loves even more.
  5. Fun; we love our voices and we love working with them, friendly, fun and fish loving voice over talent who can have a laugh and a cup of tea with after their sessions.
Whatever your voiceover audio needs, just give us a call, drop us a line, reel us in and we’ll all deliver.


Monday, 19 February 2018

In Time with Voiceovers

We live in a busy world with time pressures and deadlines all around us. If you are a video producer or any other creative then time is a luxury.


Do you sometimes feel that you may need someone to help you with finding a voice over artist?
That is where we come in. Our clients say the following things to us;

1.    So many voices – how do I choose when I have so little time?
We make it easy for you to select a voice tailored to your audience and production. If you are after consistently great voices that understand and deliver then drop us a line.

2.    The production needs to be delivered asap & we still don’t have a voice – help!
We are your Voice Godmother and we know voices that are available instantly and ready to go at a moment’s notice. Do you need to record a voice today? Not an issue - we have the solution. We have at least 2 voices (male and female) primed to record daily. 

3.    The process takes ages with so much  back and forth – what can I do?
Simples – just let us know and we can take care of it. We have in house voices that are around and many of our voices are recording daily so we know they are available.

4.    We need scripts in 4/5/6/7 + languages – can you do that?
Yes because not only do we have voices but we also have teams of translators who can properly translate text into and from various languages.

5.    Anything else?
We are a friendly fun team who have a slight obsession with fish. But you probably already knew that.


Call,email, social media message us or even send us a message in a bottle and we can take care of your voice over needs.