Voice Overs Of The World: Google Gets It
This week’s blog is all about Google! The pioneering search engine company has two brand new commercials/videos out that both expertly utilize voice over (although in completely different ways) to create interesting spots.
The first video (above) is a commercial for Google+, the new social media platform created by Google. It features actor Benedict Cumberbatch (best known as Sherlock Holmes on the BBC’s hit series, Sherlock) performing a scene from Shakespeare in VO, while we see the impact that Google+ is meant to have on its users. It’s a well-shot and edited piece, but Cumberbatch’s narration is simply magnificent; it’s truly a superb voice over performance, elevating the spot to a higher level of quality than it would be without it.
Now, while the Google+ ad uses a more conventional (if dramatic) use of voice over, the Google Glasses video uses a much more unconventional approach to show off its product (which is still in the development stage, before you get too excited.) This video shows a potential pair of glasses that will let you interact with your online world, and that’s a pretty interesting idea.
What’s more interesting is how much of the voice over in the video is incidental, and how the dialogue is pretty minimal yet pretty pervasive at the same time. The voice actor in the piece is playing the person whose point of view we’re seeing; basically the person who’s wearing the glasses. And it’s pretty good casting too, as he sounds like a typical 20-something male.
What’s cool, though, is how much of the dialogue is simply things that are either utterances (or “reacts” as they’re called in the animation world), or short bursts of dialogue. We hear him stretch; say, “hm,” multiple times; and say things like, “yeah,” “cool,” and, “aw man, really?”. Then there are more traditional lines of dialogue like, “See you, dude!” and, “Oh, I’m running late.”
What I love is how much of it is really meant to sound like someone who’s just talking to themselves and the people around them as they experience their day, and in that respect, it succeeds quite well. It’s a neat and creative use of voice over, and I think the video does a great job of promo-ing its future product, while also providing a voice actor what was probably a fun day in the studio.
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