David Vickery FAQ’s

If you’re new to working with me, or indeed, if this is your first time looking for a voice over – then here are some FAQ’s which I hope will prove helpful.  Some of the answers may also be of interest to aspiring voice overs ..

 

What is a voice-over?

A voice or voice over is the person who provides voice audio over laid onto a video, film, documentary or radio and TV commercial.  Confusingly, this audio is also known as the voice over. In other parts of the world, the person delivering the voice over is known as the voice artist, or voice talent.

What is your voice quality?

I am a British male voice over artist speaking British English in the voice range; late 30’s to early 50’s.  My voice can be identified as articulate and clear, revealing an intelligence behind the words.  Some call it RP, Standard English or the “Queen’s English”.  Having said that, it is a fully contemporary voice.

What is turnaround time?

Many voice over recordings can be turned around on the same day. I am South London based so I additionally record in central London (or wherever), which can take me out of studio for a few hours.  Likewise with my BBC announcing duties.  If you are specifically requesting a fast turnaround, I can always advise you on my availability. Just email or call me.

What audio files will you send me?

I can forward as mp3, WAV or AIFF.  Raw or unprocessed.  Raw audio is best if you have someone who knows a bit about sound your end and has the ability to fully eq or compress the file to your desired spec’s. Alternatively, I can process the voice over this end.  In terms of what you hear – compressed audio delivers a very full, “fat” listening experience.

Can I listen in to the recording session?

Yes you can. If working from another professional studio with ISDN capability, you can direct the voice over session from there. In that situation, the likelihood is that the physical recording will be done in the remote studio. Alternatively, you can listen in over Skype, after which the finished recording will be delivered to your computer via ftp.  (ftp is simply the software transferring the recorded file from my computer to yours).

Is it possible to have a short demo of my script, prior to confirming a booking?

Yes it is. It’s important that you have the clearest idea possible of how your text will sound as a voice over. I am more than happy to record up to 30” as a sample.

What type of voice over projects are you experienced in?

  • Live broadcast.
  • Documentary narrations.
  • Corporate narrations.
  • Explainer videos.
  • Web video.
  • Straight / character reads.
  • TV and radio commercials.
  • E-learning.
  • Promos.
  • Voice of God ( live or recorded event  announcing)
  • On-hold / IVR.

I have a nice voice, could I be a voice over artist?

I have a nice pair of hands, could I be a pianist? 

Theoretically, the answer to both is yes.  But both also require honing skills to a competent level. That, and an ability to interpret the raw material.  It takes practice, practice, practice.  Nobody becomes a voice over artist overnight, or by simply buying a microphone and plugging it in to a computer.

So, how do you become a voice over artist?

In my experience there are two routes. Firstly, those people who have trained as an actor and secondly, those who have come through a broadcast presenting environment perhaps working as a DJ, announcer or presenter.  The common experience here is a combination of confidence and constantly listening to one-self. Or to put another way practice, practice, practice. I trained as an actor, but within a couple of years of leaving University became a network television announcer.

Do I need an agent?

On the one hand no, on the other hand, yes.  You are reading this on a site where you can contact me, the voice over artist directly. But it may have taken many visits to many sites before settling on this one. Other voice seekers prefer to do away with the legwork and approach an agency offering a small range of voices who fit the given criteria. No two voices are the same. We all have strengths and weaknesses and different ways of delivering a text.  Good agencies get to know their clients and their voice over range, becoming adept at presenting them only when they fully fit the bill. Think of this as a filter. I try to have one or more agencies across many territories, worldwide.

How important is a high quality studio?

Very.  There is no point in having voice skills that are let down by poor finished audio. After all, what matters is what is actually delivered. Most voice overs offering services on-line have what is called a “home-studio”.  Some sound terrible whilst others deliver a final product indistinguishable from a high-end audio studio in central London or Manhattan. The key is to invest in the best professional kit and to make sure the studio itself is acoustically treated and properly sound-proofed. My studio is in what was once a bedroom of my London Victorian terraced house. I had the ceiling lowered, the floorboards lifted and new walls installed with high density sound-proofing behind. The difference it made!

How do you charge for voice over services?

Once upon a time, it was very simple to calculate the fee for a project. A voice over artist would attend a studio session at a professional studio. The charge would be based on an hourly attendance known as the BSF or basic studio fee.  Additional fees, as a percentage would be for usage – for example if the project were to be distributed by DVD or for broadcast. These additional fees took into account how many people were likely to view the final project, and the contribution of the voice to the success of that project.  The hire of the studio would be an additional and significant cost.

With the advent of the home studio, calculations have changed. Most clients simply want a full and final price for work undertaken. End of story.  To that end, I now negotiate on each and every project. (TV and radio commercials work slightly differently– more on that in a moment).  I take into account how many words your project has; how long it is likely to take me to record and edit and the value and significance of the voice contribution to the overall success of the project.  Fairness is key, so between us we can work out what is fair to both parties.  I also believe that you can’t buck a market – so my rates sit comfortably with fellow voiceover artists offering a fully professional service.

So, what is a fully professional service?

Your voice over recording will be made using high-end audio products in an acoustically controlled environment using one of the industry’s most favoured microphones – the Neumann TLM 103. 

I am a broadcast professional and actor with over 25 years experience in delivering a wealth of voiceovers.

I want you to be fully satisfied with the final delivered voice audio so everything is about achieving that goal. If there is anything about delivered audio that is not right to your ears – then just let me know so that it can be corrected. There are no additional charges for changes, with regard to pace and tone, made within 28 days of the original recording, assuming all other circumstances remain the same.

What is included in the fee for a voice over project?

I want you as my client, not someone else’s and to this end I believe in open, honest and fair negotiation. Knowing your available budget is a good start. If it is possible to meet it, I will.

Most voice recording projects will require a single one-off fee.  This is a Basic Studio Fee or BSF which includes, my voice, use of my studio, editing and delivery of an audio file via ftp.

Other projects may well require buy-outs because of their scale, reach and the value added to the project by use my voice. This is a usage fee.

Do you charge for changes to the finished voice over?

For most voice over projects, I am happy to re-record free of charge for reasons due to pace, tone & overall style as I want you to be 100% satisfied with the finished recording.

Where re-records take place because of script changes, this is typically at 50% of the BSF, per session, within 28 days. The project is considered a new one, outside of 28 days.

How much do you charge to travel to a London studio to record a voice over?

Sessions in alternative London studios are charged at an hourly attendance rate, with any buyouts negotiated prior to recording.

Does your fee include VAT?

All UK originated bookings are subject to VAT at the standard rate – currently 20%.

“It’s always an absolute pleasure to work with David. His voice is warm and his delivery is clean. He reads with intelligence and clarity. ”

Karen Breger, Freelance Producer, AETN