Interview or Voice Over: Which is right for your video?
Choosing between interview or voice over narration for your video isn’t always easy. Here are our thoughts on the strengths of each option including alternatives.
More often than not it’s easy to choose a narration style for a video project. For some projects it might not even be a decision that you need to consider. For example, there is no doubt testimonial videos will use interviews for narration. The story is unscripted and relies on the experiences of a specific individual. On the other hand, explainer videos don’t usually feature an on-camera interviews since run time is so limited; there’s no room for interview footage.
But sometimes this decision isn’t so easy. Certain videos might benefit from either option equally, or require a mix of both interview and voice over narration. Other videos use neither and instead rely entirely on text. Let’s look at the strengths of each option so you can decide whether interview or voice over is right for your video.
Sometimes it matters who’s speaking. When a new Apple product launches, we don’t want just anybody telling us about it. We want Jony Ive with his delightful British accent and deep V’s saying aluminum with one too many syllables. When who’s saying it matters as much as what’s being said, that’s a great opportunity to use an interview.
It’s all about facial expressions and body language. As humans, we take so much more away from what someone is saying when we actually see them saying it. We can see the joy and delight in a smile. Or the pain and sorrow in tear-filled eyes. Sure, those are polar examples, but this is how we connect and relate to one another. If you want to connect with your audience on an emotional level, interviews can do just that.
Tone, pacing, intonation, pronunciation, word choice, syntax and every other aspect of your video’s narration can be done perfectly with voice over. This is why voice actors cost as much as they do. With voice overs you can deliver the messages you want exactly how you want them delivered.
Using a voice over leaves more room for visuals. Instead of using valuable seconds of screen time showing the person who’s speaking, voice over allows you to strengthen your narration with visuals. When done right, this can be incredibly powerful. Think about how engaging your video will be when it’s the combination of visuals and voice over that delivers your messages. That’s video magic!
Interview & Voice Over
While interviews are great for the reasons listed above, you never have full control over what an interviewee is going to say. Even if your subject has the right messages, formulating nice succinct sentences can become very difficult when the camera is in front of them. If it’s important to include interview footage in your video, but something was missed, voice over can fill the gaps and save the day.
No Audible Narration
Sometimes you can completely forgo traditional narration and rely entirely on visuals to deliver your messages. When done right, it can have a powerful impact on viewers. And since your text is used to deliver messages while also being the visuals, it’s fulfilling two roles (although it won’t save you much time as these videos are quite challenging to make). It’s certainly not as common to completely remove audible narration, but with the expanding field of motion graphics, text-based animations are becoming increasingly popular – see our video inspiration of the day below.
Conclusion – Interview or Voice Over
So what’s right for your project? Well that’s entirely up to you and the production company you hire. Do you have an important individual who needs to be seen on camera? Or do you need to deliver complex messaging quickly and efficiently? If the decision is not as obvious, use the suggestions I’ve included here as a starting point and seek out inspiration.