This week I will be researching existing media products practice and ideas. In particular research on short films and films that use voiceovers in the same way in order to get inspiration.

I started with the question of

How can voiceovers be used effectively to forward the narrative of short films?

In order to answer this question, I have to identify methods of research. These are the possible research sources I could use to find out my answer:

Books, podcasts, radio programs, TV programs, magazine articles, films, graphic and artwork, E – Books, documentaries and museums. Internet resources: online videos, blogs, Google Scholar and websites.

The majority of my research is going to be based on internet resources and films as they are the most accessible.

At first, in order to answer my question, I started researching voiceovers and their effectiveness and I found this from wpp.com “the manner in which a voiceover ties in with an ad’s visual content is critical” then it goes on to explain that if the visuals and the voiceover are competing then the voiceover can get lost. In order to prevent this, I will have to make sure the voice over is relating to what is shown on screen. I then started researching voice overs used in adverts. I found out that adverts that use voiceovers score constantly higher than those without they also can put more information forward. I then looked into how I would do the voice over practically. I will have to make sure the room I’m recording in has good acoustics. I can make it better acoustics by doing it in a cluttered room or getting sound absorbing foam. Using the right microphone is important as well. It can depend on your surroundings to as which microphone you use. If you live in a noisy place e.g traffic then a shotgun microphone pointing away from the window or sound source(s) can make sure you don’t have any unwanted ambient sound in your voice over. If your surroundings are completely quiet then it doesn’t really matter what microphone you use. For me, as I live in a quiet area I can choose from a wide variety of microphones. Making sure I have a good quality microphone is really important as if the audio quality is bad then it distracts the viewer from the narrative. In order for me to do the voice over to the best potential, I need to follow these steps. The first one is a script. That is fairly obvious why you need that. but I also need to consider the timings. The next step is to identify the style of voice over. Whether you want it to sound scripted or natural and the tonality of the voice. Then I need to have a computer and microphone to record. Then I need to practice and make sure I am well hydrated. Then what I will do is set the video recording while I record. I will also make sure I am standing when recording in order to get the clearest voice. It’s going to be hard to get the energy levels right so I will have some practices first at various energy levels and play them back and adjust my voice accordingly. The last step is making sure I breathe as quietly as possible and not doing it in the middle of sentences as it comes out in recordings a lot and although you can remove it in post production it just adds more time.

Voice Over

This short film uses a voice over very effectively. The voice over is used to uncover events otherwise unknown to the viewer. If you were to view the short film and not pay attention to the voice over then it wouldn’t make sense at all. The theme is tense as it is all about the struggles of these 3 people. Techniques such as the Pathetic fallacy and shaky camera movement makes it seem tenser. The voiceover sort of foreshadows the deaths as the tonality of the voice suggests some sort of disaster as it sounds ‘defeated’.

I’m Beautiful

This uses a voice over in a very powerful way. It relates to what is going on on screen so it works well. It is also similar to a poem as it uses the phrase “would you think I was beautiful” and repeats it throughout most of the short film. The tonality of the voiceover works well to convey the sad/angry feelings of this girl. Its like she’s angry at society for placing these expectations on her.

The Gunfighter

This uses a voice over in the same way as is used in Stanger than Fiction (2006). It uses a typically diegetic (Sound that can be heard by the characters) voice of a narrator and makes it non-diegetic (Sound that can’t be heard by the characters). This results in a comedic approach and can be quite funny.

Too Shy

The voice over is used in a diegetic and non-diegetic way. It was non-diegetic when it the guy was talking to the crowd but then it was diegetic for the rest of the short film. It was almost as if he was remembering it while he spoke.

Voiceover Tips

This video is really helpful and has pointed out things which I hadn’t thought of before. Things such as pop filters and people you would have thought would be good for a voiceover and then turning out that they are not. So it is a good idea to conduct auditions.

Primary research

I will conduct primary research in order to find out first-hand, specific techniques that could be used in my short film. The first thing that I think is important it the location. I will take photos and do location recce sheets at various locations to determine the optimal filming location. I will also fill out risk assessments for each location to evaluate the risks involved and how high the risks are. The next thing I will do is to determine the equipment required and proceed accordingly in order to obtain said equipment. I will also decide whether (an) actor(s)/actress(es) are/is needed. Then I will try to find them/some. If I can’t find one/some then I will have to act in it as I did for my last project. I will also need to write a script and create a storyboard. Then I will create a filming calendar to help me know if I am behind or in front of schedule so I can either speed up or slow down the production speed accordingly. I will also post my idea on Facebook so people can comment improvements on it that I could use.

Conclusion

I will take bits from the viewed YouTube videos and improve on them and use them in my project. I have a much better understanding of how voiceovers are done and now have filled in the gaps in my knowledge.

Bibliography

Blog

Grant Lingel. no date. The 9 Best Microphones for Voice Over Work. [ONLINE] Available at: https://voicebunny.com/blog/the-9-best-microphones-for-voice-over-work/. [Accessed 2 May 2017].

Websites

Millward Brown. 2012. How Should Voiceovers Be Used in Ads? . [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.wpp.com/wpp/marketing/advertising/how-should-voiceovers-be-used-in-ads/. [Accessed 2 May 2017].

wikihow.com. no date. How to Do a Voice Over. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.wikihow.com/Do-a-Voice-Over. [Accessed 2 May 2017].

Less reliable source as it can be edited by anyone with a wikihow account.

Online videos

Cà Nu. (2013). Voice Over – The best Short Film ( English Sub ). [Online Video]. 28 January 2013. Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zdyDi0PtofM. [Accessed: 5 May 2017].

Crumpled Paper Films. (2015). I’m Beautiful – Short Film. [Online Video]. 20 December 2015. Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8jnWjkmSHRE. [Accessed: 5 May 2017].

Film Riot. (2014). Mondays: Tips On Voiceover Acting & Expanding Film Riot!. [Online Video]. 15 September 2014. Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PIKEu2-g8Ok. [Accessed: 5 May 2017].

Ryan Hutchins. (2011). “Too Shy” Short Film (2011). [Online Video]. 5 December 2011. Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W3vzWIU-gsg. [Accessed: 5 May 2017].

ThinZeh. (2014). The gunfighter – (voice by Nick Offerman). [Online Video]. 25 June 2014. Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mYP-2UCS5nY. [Accessed: 5 May 2017].

Films

Stanger than Fiction, 2006. [DVD] Marc Forster, The United States of America: amazon.co.uk.

Badlands, 1973. [DVD] Terrence Malick, The United States of America: amazon.co.uk.

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