What Voice Over Video Software is Best to Use?

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voice over video software imageIn this step by step guide, I will show you how I do voiceovers on video and what software I use.

I’ll also include a video demo, so you can watch me doing some video editing.

There are various tools on the market, but I have been using this particular tool for about ten years now, and it’s still one of the best (if not the best) out there for mac (I’ll give you the Windows equivalent too).

Let’s do this.

How do you do a Voiceover on a Video – What Voice Over Video Software do I Use?

Now, let me give you some context first before we dig deeper into the answer. This question is specifically about creating content on YouTube, although when you know how to add audio to video you can pretty much use that skill on any platform outside of YouTube.

In other words, what you’re about to learn is not specific only to YouTube, but it is definitely what you need if you want to start your own YouTube channel and narrate over video clips with your own voice.

Also, because this question turned into a mammoth post and video is only a part of it, I decided to make categorise it as a blog post rather than an Ask Hoz item.

The right video and audio equipment is essential to making your content 'pop' especially for visual content creators.Click To Tweet

The Free Way of Adding a Voice Over to Videos

Let’s start here because your approach will determine how you do this. Let me ask you: how serious are you about becoming the next thing on YouTube? If that seems like a bit of a pipe dream right now, then let me ask you an equally important question: how seriously do you want to be taken? 

The more polished and professional your audio and video is, the bigger potential for you to grow as a creator.Click To Tweet

In a perfect world, all these great tools for narrating over videos with your voice would be free, but that’s not much of an incentive for anybody (including you) to become a software developer and create great tools if you’re not going to get paid for your hard work.

So free usually comes with limitations and when it comes to audio for video production that usually means quality. So if you want to be taken seriously, do yourself and your effort justice by getting decent tools, not just free tools.

Free tools are great if you’re starting out on a budget or if you want to test something, so there’s nothing wrong with using free tools, but if your intention is to give this your best, then I would suggest that you take this approach:

  1. try some free video voice over software and play around dubbing videos. Get a feel for your new craft. Find your voice, your style, your rhythm.
  2. once you’re confident enough that this is something you want to do, then invest in some good tools (I will show you my exact setup further down below, which you can replicate without breaking the bank) and start creating your content.
  3. Don’t get stuck on point 1 forever. You should still be finding your voice and perfecting your style when you hit point 2. The purpose of point 1 is to stop you from buying voice over video software and then deciding after trying it that this is not for you. Also, don’t try to go too far with point 1 just to save a bit of money if that means your content will be lower quality. This won’t help you build an audience, which is usually the whole point of becoming a YouTuber in the first place.

One last point on quality before we get down to business, because I think it’s really important to be clear on what you want to achieve and starting the right way. If you’re hoping to replicate something YouTubers you admire are doing and maybe adding your own slant, then think of this: the YouTubers you like and follow probably don’t put out poor quality content that sounds like it was recorded on an 80’s ghetto blaster, right? If it did… you may not be following them…

Your own audience looks at you critically. Sound your best (audio quality) if you want to be taken seriously.Click To Tweet

Free Voice Over Video Software You Could Try

To get started with your test, you could consider some of the following tools:

for Mac users:

  • iMovie

for Windows users:

  • Windows Movie Maker

I’m not going to go into the free tools themselves as I want to stay on-topic, but you can find plenty of video tutorials on YouTube for the above programs.

NOTE: at the time of this writing, the paid tools that I recommend offer free trials (usually 14 days) so I would actually skip the free tools and start with the free trials to get a good feel for the software you’re going to be working with in future. And if it doesn’t work out for you and you decide to ditch this idea, at least you won’t have spent time learning to use the free tools.

OK, let’s get to the good stuff.

What Voice Over Video Software I Use and Recommend

Let me first give you my setup, then I will get into the details so you have the full picture.

Here’s my setup:

  1. the video editing software I use (for Mac): ScreenFlow ($99): you can get a free trial of that here: screenflow
  2. If you use Windows, the ‘equivalent’ is Camtasia. You can get a free trial of that here: camtasia
  3. the microphone: I use an IK Multimedia iRig Mic HD Handheld Microphone for iOS and Mac. I’ve tried half a dozen mics and this is by far the best, hands-down. It’s a simple USB mic that plugs into your computer’s USB port, so there’s no complicated setup, and the sound is professional at a very affordable price point. If you use Windows, look for the equivalent iRig HD mic (if you’re not sure, email the vendor). You can get that here if you’re in the UK: iRig in Amazon UK; or here if you’re in the US: rig in Amazon US
  4. A mic filter to soften your ‘pops’ and ‘effs’ and ‘esses’ when you speak into the mic. I bought a cheap filter and it works fine. You can get one here: filter UK or here: filter US but search around for the cheapest if you prefer.
  5. A mic stand. I use this one: mic stand UK and you can get something like it in the US: here but please email the vendor first if you’re in the US to make sure the mic holder is compatible with the iRig mic (it looks like it is in the photo…. but let’s not leave it to chance, eh?

And that’s it! That’s all I use to produce video and record my voice. In this case, you can use my setup as a voice over video software suite. I will show you how in a moment.

Here’s what my setup looks like:

voice over video software setup
My simple video recording setup

And here’s a close up of the microphone, pop filter and stand:

voice over video software setup pop filter
A closeup of the pop filter and mic

As you can see from my setup, you really don’t need a recording studio to knock out decent quality videos with your audio. I will mention some good practices below to make sure you get the best results if you have a simple setup like mine. But first, let me show you some alternatives that could save you some cash.

The Bare Minimum Equipment You Need to Record Your Voice Over Videos

If you want to produce decent quality content, I do recommend the above video editors (depending on whether you use Mac or Windows). But if your budget is very tight, know that both software programs also capture audio via your computer’s microphone, so you don’t technically need a mic to record your voice. That said, the quality will be poor as your computer will likely pick up ambient noise.

Alternatively, you can always buy a lapel microphone, which will enable you to skip the microphone pop filter and the mic stand, saving you extra cash.

You could get away with this minimalistic setup:

  1. the video editing software I use (for Mac): ScreenFlow ($99): you can get a free trial of that here: screenflow
  2. If you use Windows, the ‘equivalent’ is Camtasia. You can get a free trial of that here: camtasia
  3. a wireless lapel microphone like this one: lavalier UK or this one in the US: lavalier US

Some Extra Software For Audio Recording

The video editors I list above (ScreenFlow and Camtasia) both enable you to record audio, and if you’re using a decent microphone like the iRig then your voice will sound pretty good.

However, if you want to make your audio to the next level and have really clean audio, you can use a fantastic audio editor that is actually FREE. It’s called Audacity and I use it myself when I record voice for video ads or presentations. It works on both Windows and Mac and you can get that here: audacity.

How this works:

You plug your mic into your computer, open (run) the Audacity software, press record and start talking (or singing). You press ‘stop’ when you’re done and then you’re able to see the audio track and delete any unwanted noise, clean up mistakes and unwanted sounds and enhance your voice almost to studio-quality (providing you’re using a good mic).

You then save the audio and import it into your video editor, where you can place it on a track and have it play above any part of your video or video clips.

I won’t go into more detail here about Audacity because it will take us off topic, but I wanted to mention it because it is a potential tool for your toolbox, especially if you want to record a nice intro video for your YouTube channel and you want the audio to be superb. But if you want me to create a tutorial for you about using Audacity, leave me a comment and we can turn it into a new Ask Hoz!

Some Tips for Creating Good Quality Video and Audio in Your Room if You Don’t Have a Studio

Obviously, the more studio-like you can make your workplace the better results you’re going to get, but if you have to make do with what you have, then here are some things I do to ensure your video creation goes well:

  1. use a room that has as much natural sound-proofing as possible. I set up my desk in the spare room, which has a carpeted floor. A wooden floor can make the sound ‘bounce’ around and spoil the quality.
  2. hang some curtains up – the thicker the better – to soundproof the room.
  3. experiment with positioning: you may hear a difference in quality depending on the distance to the wall, so move around and try a few angles.

What if you have a wooden floor and no curtains, can you still record video and audio?

If you have a wooden floor don’t stress: test it! Ultimately, the quality is going to depend on a lot of things, including the angle of your mic, the distance from the floor etc, so it may just be fine.

But if you want to try to improve the sound quality, try these things:

  1. if you’re using a microphone you could get an acoustic foam screen for your microphone like this one: acoustic filter UK or this one: acoustic filter US  but please email the vendor first to make sure the piece where you add your mic is compatible with your mic!
  2. you could make your own with egg boxes – I’m serious: back in the old days, many home studios covered the walls with empty egg boxes as they make for great soundproofing – or use sponges.
  3. experiment with different mats (even a yoga mat may work out!)
  4. see what I did there? ‘work out’… hmm

If you use a lapel mic, you won’t need the acoustic screen, but you may want to experiment with mats and even old quilted blankets if you think your sound quality doesn’t sound great.

Ok, that’s the What Voice Over Video Software part of the question answered! I think I’ve covered a lot of angles there, from deciding what the goal is and then choosing the best path according to the goal.

A quick recap:

  1. decide what your end-game is. If you want to build an audience, you will want your audience to take you seriously, so be prepared to invest a little on the right tools for the job. The exception here is the Audacity software for recording audio-only, which is an absolutely brilliant bit of kit and it’s free.
  2. try out the free trials of the paid tools I mention above. Those usually run for 14 days. TIP: don’t download the software before you venture out for a 2-day stint, just to get a peek at it because you’ll waste 2 days of your trial! If you want to be really efficient, check out the vendor’s how to video tutorials to familiarise yourself with the software before you even download the trial.
  3. set up your home studio however you can. Use carpets and curtains if possible, or mats and old quilted blankets. play around with different angles and setups and see what works best for you.

OK, now let’s get to the good part:

How do You do a Voiceover on a Video?

I think the best way for me to explain this is for you to look over my shoulder as I actually show you how I do this, right?

OK, take a look a the video I made for you, showing you how I do this step by step:

And that’s it! I hope you got a lot out of this and I hope that answers your question fully. I’d very much appreciate it if you share this on your social media or give me a like :)

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