Ever had a conversation with someone you jut met and suddenly the sound quality went downhill? You couldn’t hear them, they cut off words, got very breathy?
As soon as you made your excuse to go to the toilet you immediately thought, consciously or unconsciously, I don’t believe or trust this person. There is something not quite right.
If it happens in real life, it happens with content.
A recent study by the University of Southern California and the Australian National University (here) put this real world proposition to the test. They selected two similar talks and videos based on content and presentation (engineering and physics) and altered the sound quality on one of them. Afterwards the audience were asked to rate the talk and speaker.
“When the video was difficult to hear, viewers thought the talk was worse, the speaker less intelligent and less likeable and the research less important,” the scientists wrote.
The researchers found that anytime something is difficult to process, people become distrustful. Credibility then is so bound up by the quality of audio and audience perception. Credibility depends on good sound.
This can even happen in the world of Prestige TV drama as recently happened with the BBCs “SS-GB”. Poor dialogue sound, with some actors mumbling, created a disconnect with the audience (here).
So the quality of the voiceover, their vocal tone, talent and skill and the quality of the overall sound do much to shape a positive or negative reaction to the commercial, corporate film, e-learning project or gaming / animation character.
Sounds obvious, but to put it to the test, here is the same copy delivered with poor and then good audio quality.
Which one do you dismiss outright, and which do you actually want to listen to and believe?
If you like, please share.
Paul Mclaughlin © Versatile Voiceovers