Demystifying the Voice-over Process
- May 9, 2015
- By Somatone Interactive
Ultimately, the right voice actors strengthen gamers’ relationship to game universe.
As a voice-over producer, a lot of what I do is carry the client through the voice-over process, from casting and script preparation, recording and directing our talent, to mastering and delivering files on time.
It is highly beneficial to work on the voice-over for a game as soon as concepting and writing have begun– an integral approach that is equally true for the casual mobile titles, as it is to AAA console experiences.
Since dialogue is one of the most effective tools for connecting players to a game and its universe, having the right talent in the booth and directors in the control room make all the difference.
What is most important to any voice director is capturing the right feeling and emotion from every actor in their studio. It’s all about ensuring that context is properly portrayed, and that every line informs the gamer of what they need to know, strengthening their relationship to a games universe.
Calling Central Casting:!
When a rough script for a new project is submitted, I ramp up into the casting process. Depending on the scope of the game, I submit casting documents to talent agencies and private contractors. In its simplest form, a casting document contains all the information for a needed character, any voice references, sample art, and several test lines for the actors to read. After receiving our first round of auditions back, we shortlist the most qualified voices, and submit them back to the game’s producers and directors to review and choose. We cast in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Vancouver, and have access to studios and contractors all over the US.
Record, Master, Edit for Sonic Perfection:
After a project has been through casting, and the roles have been filled, we schedule actors in one of our studios to come in and record. Game producers and directors often attend the sessions– if not in person, then connected and listening via Skype. Even if a client has little to no experience working with dialog or actors in their games, having their input and presence at the sessions is extremely helpful for both me, as the director, and the actors.
One of the last phases of the voice-over process is editing and mastering. During a session, we make notes about which takes we liked the best, and which performances were most authentic. These all go to our editor, who cleans and processes the files, removes vocal clicks and imperfections, and masters them to be played back in game. Commonly in video games, a single line may play multiple times, and in those cases, it’s not uncommon for us to deliver five or six versions of line to avoid becoming repetitive. After our dialog has been through editorial, it goes back to the developer, and is finally implemented in game.
Strengthening Players’ Relationship to Game through Sound:
What is most important to any voice director is capturing the right feeling and emotion from every actor in their studio. It’s all about ensuring that context is properly portrayed, and that every line informs the gamer of what they need to know, strengthening their relationship to a game’s universe. Working with such an experienced team, as at SomaTone, simplifies and streamlines the process and consistently yields great sounding game dialogue.