Have you ever paid keen attention to commercials that air in between your favorite television programs and recognized familiar sounding voices? There are just some voices you seem to hear all the time on television and often wonder about the characters behind them. Well, those voices you hear are actually doing what are referred to as voice overs and as a result create a kind of story telling effect that makes viewing of that particular commercial or program quite interesting.
By definition, a voice over is a production technique in which a non-diegetic voice is used for television commercials, radio, film, theatre or other type of presentation. They are not only used in commercials, but in TV programs, documentaries, skits in theaters and many other types of programs. Most commonly, voice overs are used to create the story telling effect by a non present narrator. And in some cases, the voice of the narrator is often the voice of the character making a spoken presentation.
Voice overs give the general feel of somebody giving a recount of details of something that happened in the past or somebody giving thought of the repercussions or consequences of a particular action to come.
Animated features like movies and cartoons quite frequently use voiceovers because the narrators give personality to the animated characters. Because of the voices chosen for animated movies, one would automatically get the feel that an animated character would have that kind of voice and that type of expression put forth by the narrator.
The term voice over is also used to refer to expert analysis and commentary given by announcers who are dissecting the video of a particular sporting event like a basketball or football game. And of course, there are the ever popular voice overs used for game shows when the prizes of a particular show are being announced or when the contestants who are about to appear on the show are being introduced.
The voice over technique is quite popular in the entertainment industry because it lends a special kind of effect to the presentation and engages the viewer or listener more than if there were no narration at all. There are many popular voices that people can instantly recognize that have been used for voice overs in documentaries, TV programs and even animated features. Some of these male and female voices include Nancy Cartwright, Don LaFontaine, Hank Azaria, Leonard Nimoy, James Earl Jones and Chris Rock. Of course there are several others, but people can almost readily pick these names out once they hear the voice in a narration.
Voice over work requires that the artist or talent exercises more creativity to bring a particular character to life. Next time you turn your television on or visit the theater, try to pay keen attention to the voices that are narrating the particular program or show you are watching, and see how readily you can identify the voice overs.