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Narration Philosophy?

mantic59's picture
Last seen: 7 years 5 months ago
Joined: 02/22/2007 - 7:42am

Greetings-- I am not a video pro but I sort of fell into making a bunch of videos about how to shave (don't laugh, I have over 1 million total views on my Youtube channel). I use Foodtv's "Good Eats" show as inspiration and guidance and I see the host, Alton Brown, narrate various cooking guides both on camera and off. Are there any "rules of thumb" regarding on-camera vs. off-camera narration?


Rob Grauert's picture
Last seen: 6 months 3 days ago
Joined: 02/16/2008 - 10:47pm

It's important with off-camera narration that you write for a listener, not a reader. Don't try to sound all sophisticated with big, complex sentences. Keep it short, sweet and to the point. Write your narration, then re-write it with the intention of using lots of verbs. And always speak in present tense...at least 95% of the time.



Aspyrider's picture
Last seen: 6 years 7 months ago
Joined: 12/22/2007 - 5:58pm

Speak as if you are talking to an 8th grade level. Also, a tip I learned in radio years ago. Get a toy stuffed bear or something like that and set it in front of you. Talk to the bear. LOL

Yeah, talk to it as if it's the person you are speaking to. The bear represents your audience. When you talk, speak as if you are talking to one person, not a crowd. Because you are, you are talking to the one viewer or listener. Robgrauert gave good advice above. He's dead on it. ;-)

J.


mantic59's picture
Last seen: 7 years 5 months ago
Joined: 02/22/2007 - 7:42am

This is all excellent advice, but I guess I wasn't very clear in the parent message. I'm trying to get a handle on when/why to narrate in front of the camera vs. narrate off-camera with some other visual.


Rob Grauert's picture
Last seen: 6 months 3 days ago
Joined: 02/16/2008 - 10:47pm

Maybe you can refresh my memory, but I don't recall ever watching a video where someone actually narrates on camera. They are a host. So if you are doing a production that requires someone to take the viewer and show them around or something (like Mike Rowe in Dirty Jobs) then hire a host.

To me, documentaries typically hire narrators. I guess it's your call though, depends on what style you want to embrace. I don't know whether or not there is a right time or not for narration/host. You just have to feel it out and decide whether it works or not. I've seen documentaries with hosts and I've seendemonstrationand other related videos use real narrators.


cdanddvdpublisher's picture
Last seen: 6 years 6 months ago
Joined: 02/01/2008 - 4:17pm

On a lot of levels, it's just a matter of personal preference. If you don't like overlays, act as a host. Combine the two if there are something that need to happen off camera. I don't know that there are any cleary set rules on the matter


Aspyrider's picture
Last seen: 6 years 7 months ago
Joined: 12/22/2007 - 5:58pm

"You just have to feel it out and decide whether it works or not."

Yep, look at your overall vision for the video and decide what you think would work. ;-)

J.


chrisColorado's picture
Last seen: 1 week 1 day ago
Joined: 04/03/2008 - 10:48pm

When you watch commercials, they try and sell you with good laymanterms in 30 seconds or so. That's what I try to do.

I worked in radio and one ofthe commercials I rewrote is still played on 1360 AM a year after I quit.


VidMakesMe's picture
Last seen: 6 years 2 weeks ago
Joined: 07/10/2008 - 5:51pm

I'd imagine in a shaving technique video, it would probably be best to narrate before you shave, then after you shave you explain again why you did what you did. For example, you could be giving advice about how to shave around the chin (which is difficult for every guy), and before you begin to shave you teach the technique, then after you shave explain some tips.