It is not necessary to include eLearning voice-overs if you choose to have more texts in your animated training videos. However, the voice-over is a wise choice. It is always great to reduce the text and help learners consume all the information with both sounds and visuals. A research paper on the effectiveness of animated materials on medical education suggests that audio-narrated animations are the best way of communication in eLearning. Animations alone could not do the trick. However, voice-over and text narration could significantly improve the retention rate.

Should you hire a voice-actor?

The answer is definitely yes! Trained voice-actors could do the job professionally.

  • They have years of experiences in delivering the best audio quality.
  • They know how to interpret your script for the audience
  • They have various styles of vocal performance.
  • They could even edit your audio.

Yes, they are experts. However, great value comes with a price. If you want to save some money on video production, use your own voice.

When to use your own voice-overs?

In fact, to hire or not to hire a voice-actor, it depends greatly on the purpose of your animated videos. If you create animations for a massive course with clear storyline and characters, then it would be best to seek for professionals. However, if you only use animations as a visual aid for the teaching resources, yes, you – the lecturer could do the voice-over.

So what are the visual-supporting animations?

For example, you create an animated video on basic emotions of the human. The video is to describe the process of how they are triggered without any plots. It is like giving the students explanation with animations instead of some slides or documents, your voice would be fine. The amateur record isn’t supposed to be slobby. It should be natural as you are giving a class. There is no need to act different. However, if you plan to do something like Inside Out, hire a voice-actor. This type of videos has various plots and characters, it would be weird if you try mimicking other people anyway.

Whose voice exactly?

Don’t just grab random people from your company into the studio. Voice-over record is not the job anyone could do. The best suggestion would be using the lecturers’ voice. In fact, most video-based courses are designed with the lecturers standing in front of the camera giving a class, or slides being showed with their audio narration. Then you don’t want to break the flow by including some strangers’ voices. It is natural to include the instructors’ speech in the animated videos. With years of teaching and some practice, you could excel the job.

A quick guide to record eLearning voice-overs

Start with a script

The script for the eLearning voice-overs is not much different from your animation script. With visual-supporting animations, you can write the voice-over script first, then use it to generate the video. As mentioned above, the main purpose of this animation type is to visualize the instructor’s explanation for better learning outcomes. Then it is just natural for the animation to follow your audio script. Writing script for animated videos is not that a challenging task. You should write scripts on your own. Just start by imagining yourself teaching a class.

When you have the script ready, then it would be much easier for you in the recording room. The script gives you preparation and confidence. It would help you avoid reading errors like misspelled words or wrong grammars.

Choose the right location

Location plays such a crucial role in the audio quality. The perfect room condition should be noise-free. Obviously, the noise would irritate your audience and lower the clarity of your words. Even if you invest in an incredible microphone, it would hardly save you from the noise annoyance.

The best option for voice-recording is a studio-room. This room is furnished with full audio equipment and designed to be perfectly sound-proof. Since it is for professional use, you would result in the best quality of voice. However, if you want to save budget in the recording location, just start by choosing a room with the most control of sound. You could set up sound-block equipment like a cancellation foam, a microphone isolation shield or even thick blankets hang around the room. Clothing materials are proved to absorb the noise well.

Pick a dedicated microphone

There are various types of microphones in the market with different pricing. However, the 2 most common for voice recording are condenser and dynamic microphones. Basically, dynamic microphones are great for getting a warmer sounding voice, while condenser microphones would get you clear and natural recordings. You would want to test the mic before purchasing one.

Here is the list of top 5 microphones suggested for recording voice-overs.

  1. SE Electronics sE2200a II C Large Diaphragm Cardioid Condenser Microphone
  2. Audio-Technica AT875R Line + Gradient Condenser Microphone
  3. Blue Yeti USB Microphone
  4. Blue Microphones Snowball Plug-and-Play USB Microphone
  5. Zoom H4N Multitrack Recorder

Test the sound

When you set up a proper recording room with the right microphone, do a sound check before actual recording. Record a sound trial to find the best spot for recording. In fact, the distance from you to the mic as well as its location in the room results in different effects on the voice output.

Record and Edit

Just relax and stay natural. You have prepared a proper script, location, and equipment. All left is to stay hydrated and record. Practice makes perfect. You could record several times for better audio quality.

Finally when you are done with the actual recording, now it is time for some editing. If you are creating animations yourself, then take a look at software like Adobe Audition or Audacity to edit your voice-overs. Get rid of the white noise, cut out the pause to perfect your record. A quick tip is to break down your eLearning voice-overs in small bits so you would find it easier to match the animated videos. If you are partnering with an educational animation studio, then you could ask them to edit and match the voice with their work.

Conclusion

There is no need to stress out of the voice-overs unless you are creating a whole course with a series of animated learning videos. It would be best to hire voice-actors in this animation-based course. However, if you are creating animations as a visual-aid to your lessons, then it would be a piece of cake. It is like presenting a short lesson in a recording room instead of a class. I think voice-over is also a great tool to make students feel the presence of the lecturer. Then just be yourself. If you prepare the location and the equipment well, then you would be fine.

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Visual Aids for Learning: Why They Matter?
The Application of Animations in Medical Education