A picture is worth a thousand words. But sometimes, you need 1,020 words to communicate what’s going on. That’s when it’s time to step up to the mic and create a voiceover track.
A voiceover is simply an additional audio track for your digital slideshow or movie, in which the narrator speaks directly to the audience. If you’ve ever watched a nature show on public television, you know what a voiceover is.
Creating the Voiceover
Voiceovers can add a professional touch to your presentations and, believe it or not, they’re not that difficult to create. The first step is to find a way to record your monologue. One route is to use digital recording software for your computer. All you do is talk into your computer’s microphone, and the software records your voice and saves it to the hard drive as an audio file.
You don’t have to spend much money for this software. For Windows, take a look at Easy Recorder (https://www.sell-shareware.com/easyrecorder/). I like Quick Voice (https://www.quick-voice.com/quickvoice/) for Mac OS X users. Each application sells for US$20. Save the files in either QuickTime or MP3 format which will enable you to assemble the presentation in QuickTime Pro.
You can also use a standalone voice recorder, which I like a little better, actually. I have the best luck creating accurate voiceovers that synchronize with the presentation when I can play the slideshow or movie on the computer (with the audio turned off) and simultaneously talk into the microphone of the digital voice recorder to describe what’s going on. Then, simply upload the digital audio file to the computer, add it to the presentation, and everything is in sync.
If you have a powerful enough computer, you can use this same technique by having the presentation play in one window with the voice recorder software turned on in another. Or you can use two computers. I’ve had good luck using an Apple iPod (not the mini version) with a Belkin iPod Voice Recorder. I just talk into the iPod while in the field or while watching the presentation on the computer, and then add the digital audio file to the pictures.
Adding the Voiceover to the Presentation
Once you’ve captured your monologue, adding it is easy. If you’ve read the other hacks o building slideshows, editing movies , and adding music tracks , you know that I’m using QuickTime Pro for these projects. QuickTime also makes quick work of adding voiceovers.
Open your slideshow or movie and drag the insertion pointer on the scrubber bar to the point in the presentation where you want the voiceover to begin. For this example, I want to describe a series of shots inside Grand Central Station in New York City. I drag the insertion point to the first slide in that series. I then open my voiceover track and move the two bottom triangles on the scrubber bar to select the portion that talks about Grand Central Station, as shown in Figure.
Adding voiceover to a digital slideshow