But, it’ll only take half an hour of your time…..
How many times do voiceover talent (VO) hear this from prospective clients who assume a 30 minute finished audio file takes only 30 minutes of work to produce.
Let’s take a closer look at what goes into making a finished, polished 30 minute audio file that will serve the purpose you want it to.
The VO receives the script and converts it if it is not presented double spaced with 12 pt type with at least 1″ margins all around.
Why bother? Well, first and foremost, it is easier to read. The words and lines are not jammed up one against the other. But equally important, it gives the VO space to mark up the script.
This leads us to the next step in the process. The VO reads over the script, usually out loud, to get a feel for it. As the VO reads the script a couple of times, s/he marks it up and checks the pronunciation of difficult words. What message is the script trying to convey? How best can the VO get that message across – where should emphasis be placed – where are the best places for pauses, for breath? This can take up to 30-45 minutes.
Now the VO is ready to go into the booth and start recording. Turning on equipment, opening software and creating a new file just takes a minute or two.
Once in the booth, the VO records the script. While the markings made before stepping into the booth are a great aid, it still can take up to twice the length of the finished audio to record it. Longer, it if is complex, not written specifically for oral presentation, or if there is a lot of technical jargon or foreign words.
Let’s do a quick summation of time – so far, at minimum, the VO has spent at least 30 minutes preparing the script and at least 45 minutes recording it.
Hmmm – that 30 minute script has already at least an hour and 15 minutes of the VO’s time and s/he hasn’t even started editing it yet!
Editing generally takes a minimum of twice (often 3x) the length of finished audio file. So, now we have to add another 60 to 90 minutes to the time already invested in this project. So that “it’ll only take 30 minutes” project will take at least two hours or more to properly produce.
Here’s a rundown of the time it takes to produce a fully edited, dry voice (no music or effects) audio file 30 minutes in length:
Preparing the script (Up to twice the length of the final audio) 30 minutes
Recording (Up to twice the length of the final audio) 45 minutes
Editing (At least two to three times the length of the final audio) 60 minutes
Total Time (A minimum of four times the length of the final audio) 135 minutes (2 hours and 15 minutes!)
For both your peace of mind and for the VO’s, keep this in mind when you set the budget for your next voice project.
Rule of thumb is it takes at least four times the length of the finished audio to record and produce.