View Full Version : How do I get that cool movie trailer voice

05-20-2005, 01:16 PM

From what I have found out I need a good voice with a quite solid bass. Then I seen something about harmonizer and EQ-ing to make it even better. OK, I have got that cool voice so it sounds like a good way to start. But the rest? Is there any nice tutorial out ther on the net or can someone describe it in more details?

If there are any VST- or DirectX plugin that has some good movie trailer preset I would be glad to know that to. Anything of interest thanks...

Regards, Fredrik.

05-21-2005, 07:33 AM
You could always hire the guys who do it for real in the big theaters. No, I'm not kidding. Most have their own studios and can send you the file over the internet and will not charge you much. If you've got a couple hundred bucks, then you'll get a trailer that will get noticed. DO a search under "voice over talent movie trailers" and you'll see all the VO talents websites where you can hear their demos. There will be both individual names and directories. I often get some of the biggest names to do VOs for me for $100-200 if it's not going national. And some of the regular guys will do it for $50.

Here are two examples of directories:



05-21-2005, 01:34 PM
I've been after just the same thing for a moment, Fredrik. I would really like to find some article and info about this thing.

But, I think, the gears and stuff what you need for making that sound, would be something like this: good conderser mic, preamp, compressor, eq, and mastering stuff. And the room acoustics is important as well. I think, the compressor (with the right settings) is the key thing with EQ...

Heheheheh, that would be nice to have some VST, which have a "trailer"-preset... :thumbsup:

05-23-2005, 01:28 PM
The solution is to hire a voice over artist. These people naturally have the voice for it. Or you start smoking 8 packs of non-filters a day to give you that nice, low, rattly voice.


Daniel Skubal
05-23-2005, 10:21 PM
lol I did that voice for a fake trailer I made... if you can tighten your vocal chords and speak low, it works. Double the audio tracks to give it more depth, and add a bass effect on one of those tracks to sound deeper.

05-24-2005, 11:01 AM
I totally agree with Dave.... Hire out VO talent. A really great voice is a gift, and something you just can emulate. If you are looking to "tweak" the voice, I also use some compression. It gives you that punchy sound and put's the voice up in your face so to speak. You can "double" but compression is what the pros use. There is a ton of compression software out there. Just be careful... overuse of compression can make the voice sound too artificial.

05-24-2005, 12:40 PM
THIS is who you want right here:

Don LaFontaine


http://www.voicehunter.com/LaFontaine,Don%27MT%27.mp3 - Movie Trailers Demo

http://www.voicehunter.com/LaFontaine,Don%27TVP%27.mp3 - TV Shows Demo

http://www.voicehunter.com/LaFontaine,Don%27C%27.mp3 - TV Commercials Demo

http://www.voicehunter.com/LaFontaine,Don%27R%27.mp3 - Radio Demo


Erik Olson
05-24-2005, 01:11 PM
The gang is all together here:


Hal rocks too:


:grin: :beer: :beer: :grin:


05-24-2005, 01:57 PM
This thread shows me once again that like with cameras folks think its the equipment that makes the difference. Cameras are commodities, not the talent that makes you good. I work with the biggest voice people in the business and can tell you its the voice not a EQ or a mic or any other piece of equipment that makes them.

Erik Olson
05-24-2005, 02:03 PM
I don't think anyone is trying to say the talents indicated are non-talents in any way.

A guy wanted to know if it was electronically possible to simulate the VOG, and just about every reply has been to hire pro if he has the spend.


235 Studios
05-25-2005, 06:46 AM
Hire a pro is the way to go!

No money? Then follow this suggestion:
1. Using a cardiod, or hyper-cardiod mic, (a shotgun would work well) record your VO with the mic at least 2 inches, and no more then 6 inches, from you mouth.
2. Edit you final audio together, and using an EQ pump up the bass a little.

Will this deliver the same results as hiring a pro? - NO.
What will it do? - It will inhance the bass already found in the voice. Bass notes tend to roll off quickly, the closer the mic is to the source the more bass it will pick up. The cardiod mic has a narrow pickup pattern and will just pickup whatever is infront of it.

Hope this helps.

05-28-2005, 08:20 AM
Compression is the key (assuming that you are starting with a voice that's in the ballpark).

Shotgun mic
Decent mic pre amp (the better the pre the more accurate your mic will sound).
EQ with a bump in the mid to upper mids (depending on your voice).
Compressor - 10:1 ratio to start and adjust the threshold until each word is basically even or the same volume (almost monotone sounding).

Even the pro's with the voice still have to use the gear to "complete" the job. Almost like a great singer always sounds good - but they sound great when going thru gear that helps to bring out the subtle charactoristics of the voice.

05-28-2005, 08:25 AM
Compression is the key (assuming that you are starting with a voice that's in the ballpark).

Even the pro's with the voice still have to use the gear to "complete" the job. Almost like a great singer always sounds good - but they sound great when going thru gear that helps to bring out the subtle charactoristics of the voice.

I don't entirely agree with that statement. Equipment is important but it's the person operating the equipment and the voice that make the difference. Once again equipment is a commodity and thats all. Artist use brushes, brushes don't paint paintings, even if they are rare horse hair brushes. As for compression andd the like, I work at some of the biggest studios on the east coast and you'd be surprised how little equipment is used to make good sound. Don't believe me, listen to anyones VO demo. It all sounds the same for the most part. Its the voice and the inflection that do most of the work.

235 Studios
05-28-2005, 12:15 PM
Its the voice and the inflection that do most of the work.

I agree. The voice talent carries the weight, but some interesting things can be done if you're on a tight/no budget. It will not stackup against using a pro, but for a no budget production it might do the job.

If you have the money, spend it on good voice talent.

Neil Rowe
05-28-2005, 12:23 PM
..hire a voice artist. trying to do it yourself or having one of your friends do it has a 90% chance of you and your freind thinking it sounds cool, and the rest of the world thinking it sounds like stereotypical amaturish butt. its funny how diluded people are about how "good" their stuff is with a little work. simply because its better than how crappy it was the day before. but the top of the crap pile still stinks.. and i think ive said enough about crap now..

moral of the story.. find someone whos good at it. they dont have to be famous.. just find someone who actually sounds the part you want, and doesnt have to "try" to sound the part or be electronically "tweaked" to sound the part. you'll be alot better off.

05-28-2005, 04:47 PM
I don't entirely agree with that statement. Equipment is important but it's the person operating the equipment and the voice that make the difference. Once again equipment is a commodity and thats all.

Believe me, I agree. But would it not be fair to say that at some point you have to jump in the water and try it yourself. If you don't you'll never learn. Each time you try (and don't quite get the results) if nothing else you learn "what not to do".

Some projects require the use of "professionals" if the budget allows for it. But I think this persons origional question was "how do you do it".

05-28-2005, 05:04 PM
We'll then to answer that question I say find a voice that you think will work, but in the end, a natural voice that sounds right will work better than a voice you had to make sound the way you want. Something about the human brain that knows when something isn't right, but can't consciously tell you why.

05-28-2005, 07:29 PM

1) Connect with a professional voice you like on local radio or TV,---call and ask if he or she does VO work.
2) Find an artist you like online,---send a script, pay and have them send you an audio file.
3) If you're still intent on doing it yourself,---try Ultimated S "Power Voice".

But my experience is that you will need about three years of every day announcing to develope a style and the finer points of announcing. It is NOT as easy as you may imagine and invlolves much more that a great set of "pipes". A bassy voice is not everything. Listen to commercials. Many of the most successful voices for trailers, docs and commercials are good because they have a unique quality,----and not just the Gary Owen, cupped-ear ballsy voice. Look more for expression that bass.

05-28-2005, 08:01 PM
Good points peabody. I was in a high school a feww wqeeks ago shooting avideo. We interviewed a senior. A nice girl who had aspirations of acting. After the interview I pulled her aside and asked her is anyone had ever told her to look into VO work. She said no. I told her that based on here voice she should seriously look into it. She had a really perfect VO sound. It was unique sort of like Captain Janeway from Star Trek (Kate ?). I told her how financially rewarding it was too. Hope she looks into it cause she could easily have a career. As for training, I have many friends that are some of the most heard voices on radio today. They started because they had something but needed to learn how to use it. The voice is like riding a bike, you cant just get on and ride. All of them spent some time developing their voice and getting coaching lessons on how to speak. Now its like riding a bike for them. So I think you make a good point regarding learning how to use it. As for Gary Owens, don't discount him. He made quite a name for himself as a very well respected VO artist, with his trademark character on Tv of the announcer with the cupped hand or not.

05-30-2005, 03:38 PM
I'm just getting started in VO work and would be interested in doing some VO for free for the experience. I have access to a studio if you will provide the script. Like I said, I'm just getting started, so my website has only one demo. But please take a look and see if you could use my voice.

Thank you,


05-30-2005, 04:10 PM
I always wondered about those VO guys. Heres one of them from Jerry Seinfeld's movie

05-31-2005, 01:26 AM
First of all I have a fairly good voice to start with. So I want to find out if I can tweak my voice that extra bit. I will do some tests during the summer and I'll let you know how it turns out. For some projects you simply cannot afford to hire a pro so it's good to know how good you can get it yourself. I reckon there are several indie filmmakers out there who want to know that.

I am also glad that I found out about those pro VO-dudes. The comedian movie was great. And the money isn't all that bad if you have a budget. So when I get into production I'll definately take a closer look at those good voices.

Thanks for all great replies! /Fredrik.

Phil Brown
05-31-2005, 08:05 AM
I use Adobe Audition - I record the voice piece, then normalise it. Then I use the pitch bender to drop it down a step or two. When you do this it slows things down, so you need to speak with a quick pace in the initial recording - the result can be great.

Then you can add extra effects like doubling, delay, reverb etc if you need it , but you might not. Once you start messing with equlaisation it can get messy.

Sometimes I record the voice on a digital recording studio (I use the Boss BR1180) and dial in the rich tones on the microphone input - very easy. Once you ahve recorded the unit gives all of the efffects mentioned above, and more. You can output to CD track or wave file and import into your editing suite.

Important - if you are using a pitch lowering system, it will probably expand the sound timeline - so import the sound first and edit video to match.

Hope this helps


06-02-2005, 12:50 AM
I am a staff mixer at FOX and I record Don La Fontaine at least twice a week as well as George DelHoyo everyday and Joe Cipriano a few times a week.
the things that these guys all have in common is a Sennheiser 416 shotgun mic, a Telos Zephyr ISDN box and incredible timing and instinct. I as a musician turned audio mixer can only relate it to sight reading for the timing and jazz playing for the feel. A lot of what you think is EQ is actually the ISDN box's compression since the VO talent very rarely leaves home anymore. It's what makes the voice cut along with that 416 for TV
I do literaly no compression and very little EQ. no normalizing or other gimmicks to get a sound. remember GIGO, garbage in garbage out. Get a good clean sound at full level and you can't go wrong.

The movie trailer sound is a bit different in that the mixers have started to whack out the VO more and more. heavy compression and EQ'd to death after the ISDN compression. It's a sound that I don't like too much. CRUNCHED! but it's made to cut through all of the Louder and Louder SFX that are a part of movie trailers these days. That's what the producers want.
BUT, these guys are seasoned pros with years of radio and TV experience.
NOW for you to get that sound.........how much time do you have to practice? to listen? to record? to listen even more? then record again? etc..........

it's a craft that like music and audio mixing takes lots of time and dedication. Not everybody has it or else everybody wwould be getting hired. it's a tough gig and lots of PRESSURE.
use you ears and let them decide what sounds good.

good luck
ron meza

06-10-2005, 07:08 AM

Still searching for the ultimate VO mic.
Appreciate your input.
Then you read something like the following,---and you can understand my confusion.


discs of tron
06-10-2005, 12:52 PM
i'm surprised to hear that the 416 is what seems to be the preferred flavor for that kind of stuff. when i'm working with that type of voice, my inclination is to go for the traditional "broadcaster" dynamics like the re20 or the sm7. mind you, i won't be recording don la fontaine in this lifetime, but the big dynamics have worked well for me for that kind of voice in general.