Prices – how can I calculate my costs?

The prices differ from project to project and depend on the text length, publication / usage (when, which media, how long…) and the wishes for recording and editing.
The price list by the organisation for German voiceover talents (Verband Deutscher Sprecher) gets updated every year and gives a good overview about the fees for German talents:

Price list VDS 2017 (German)

Price list Brilliant Voices 2017 (English translation)

Please note: since VO prices are different all over the world don’t be shocked – German VO prices are some of the highest in the world. Wages of every country take their orientation on the average income of that specific country, taxes, binding insurances, every day costs and so on. So when you want to record on the German market and publish on the German marked, the prices of the German market will be charged (for voiceover as well as for publishing). But in most cases I am willing to lower the price a bit for foreign customers.

For unknown brands and clients with a small purview, cheaper prices might be charged.
This list includes just voiceover fees and license costs. The costs for studio and editing are not displayed here and have to be calculated additional.
But basically all talents offer these services much cheaper than outside studios.

Revisions – what if I want to change sth.?

Revisions are standardly not included and corrections have to be refund additional.

Exceptions are distinct mistakes of the talent, like wrong / missing text, editing / export mistakes, extremely slow or high pace of voice without direction, completely different tonality than ordered… Nuanced interpretation variables are no mistakes (check “Vision”).

All other revisions have to get payed. But just the extra effort will be charged. The license fee is payable just once per license.

These other corrections might be, for example:

  • text changes or additions after recording
  • wishes for specific operative words, breaks, pronouncations and suchlike, that haven’t been communicated before recording
  • changes in tonality or pace

If you assume before hiring already, that you will have one revision, I can make this part of the offer from the very beginning. This way it will be a bit cheaper, but has to get payed anyhow, no matter if you need the revision in the end or not.

Revisions remain revisions, when they get ordered within 30 days after file delivery. When more than 30 days have passed by, these will be classified as a new contract and have to be negotiated again.

Vision – how do I communicate my wishes?

If you order your voice recordings in own direction from the talent, you should provide him/her with concrete details about the tonality. For example:

  • Adjectives (dynamic, fresh, young, cool…)
  • Periphrases (strong bold advertising, „in your face“, spit out the main catchwords cheeky, unblushingly and challenging, have fun while doing it,…)
  • maybe, addional to general advises, put some into the text, for specific paragraphs (here energize, more pressure / here a bit afraid / here relieved / here whispering…)
  • Refer to an existing demo from a similar segment, that matches your idea of tonality
    (For example: if you need a VO for an advertising, animated explainer film, you should not refer to a demo, which is an atmospheric inner monologue, but to a demo that has a similar style like yours)
  • Refer to a similar video, that matches your idea of tonality
  • Send the rough cut (for an impression of the film)
  • Send the music that will be used (for harmony of voice and music)

Interpretations will always be different. If you give the same text and advises to 10 different talents, you will receive 10 different interpretations. None of these will match your individual vision 100%.

To avoid costly revisions, it is advisable to be as clear as possible and to measure up, which kind of recording is the best for your project and client (check “Direction”)

Recording & Editing – what do I need?

Editing on text

If your film is still variable or the text isn’t too tight, in most cases “editing on text” is enough. The talent speaks the text, cuts out text mistakes, breath and disrupting sounds and delivers an audio file.
Next you have to put it under the film yourself and lengthen / shorten the breaks or alternatively adjust the pictures to the audio.

Synchronic speaking and editing

If your film is finalized already and can’t get changed anymore and/or the text has to be spoken one-to-one on the pictures, you need synchronic speaking and editing. This is more time-consuming and accordingly a bit more expensive.
Therefor the talent needs a layoutvideo with the spoken text or clear timecode declarations in the script, for timing orientation.

Please bear in mind, that the text length matches the timing! Text lengths are often underestimated.

A rough orientation:
900 characters (incl. blanks, abbreviations and numbers spelled in full) are most closely approximate one minute of spoken German text in normal pace.

Even rougher:
120 words are most closely approximate one minute of spoken German text in normal pace.

You can avoid this problem beforehand, by reading the text yourself in your preferred pace and tonality on the video and check if it matches the timing.

New language version / translated videos

If your text has to be spoken on an existing video in a different language, care about the text length during translation. German texts are often longer than foreign ones. Maybe the texts have to get changed a bit, to make them match the video length or the video has to get adjusted to the new text length.
It is not helpful to compare the character number of the original script (for example English) with the German script, cause in many languages lots of characters are not spoken, while in German mostly all characters and syllables are spoken completely.

Lip-synch / dubbing and editing

If your text has to be spoken on the lip movements of a human or an animated character, you need lip-synch speaking (and editing). I don’t offer this from my home-studio, but can come to another studio of your choice.
For dubbing recordings a synchronic translation script is necessary. This cares for the content, as well as for the timing, pauses and breathes.

Edit yourself

Of course you can order a bunch of unedited takes and edit your own perfect version. This gives you more design freedom, but also more work.

Audio processing

Audioprocessing is standardly not included and is usually done by the principal (or one of his cooperation partners). The recording you receive has been recorded in an isolated speaker booth and offers a dry, clean sound without echo. For a professional production these recordings have to get processed afterwards with equalizers, filters and lots more to adjust them for their purpose. As a result (depending on the filter) they might become smoother, bolder, more advertising, more reverberant, rounder, electronically, louder…

A detailed audio processing furthermore takes care for details, such as single consonants, that have been too sharp or got swallowed, as well as smack and crack sounds in the mouth and lots more.

If cou can’t / don’t want to process the audio in-house, I can offer this with the help of my cooperation partner Sonic Sparks in a full service.

Direction – which expectations do I / my client have?

Direction by talent

When the budget is tight or the exacting in nuanes not too big, most times it is enough, when the talent records and edits with his/her own direction. Therefor you should give him/her concrete informations about the tonality and pace beforehand (check “Vision”).

Live-Recording-Session

If you / your client has a higher exact expectation about specific nuances, how this or that word should be spoken, where there is a short break and so on, it is helpful to attend the recording to avoid later revisions. You can connect live via skype, SLP and more to the recording, give input, try varieties and more, without being in the studio yourself.
This live session is a bit more expensive than a recording with own direction. Nevertheless the results are much closer to your / your client’s idea, because of your / your client’s direct influence.

Meeting in the studio

Meeting in the studio with the client, the production and the audio engineer, who manages the recording, is the best (and of course most expensive) option to produce the perfect audio recording for your project, cause all parties involved are present, can discuss, try out and help shape the final cut. The talent also benefits, cause he/she can concentrate completely on his/her task and doesn’t has to direct and do the audio engineering at the same time.