Hire The Right Documentary Narrator For Your Project
All About Documentary Narration
When it comes to a documentary, a narrator can easily make or break the film. That's why it's important to select a documentary narrator who can not only tell a story, but can also convey an element of trustworthiness in their tone, whether their delivery is conversational, authoritative, or somewhere in between. If you are searching for a documentary narrator for your film, these experienced voice over professionals are just what you're looking for.
Documentaries aim to educate and inform viewers by presenting real people, issues, and events on film. By combining tools such as voice over narration with existing footage from newsreels or other sources, documentary footage shot on location, and interviews, filmmakers craft their story and present their point of view.
Though invisible on screen, the documentary narrator is one of the most important pieces of a documentary film. This voice over professional embodies confidence — after all, a point of view falls flat without conviction! At the same time, they're tasked with providing balance and structure to the film. A documentary narrator swiftly transitions thoughts and helps the viewer make sense of what they see on screen, acting as a trusted companion and guide through the storytelling process.
For documentary filmmakers and creative professionals looking to hire a documentary narrator, it's important to understand the different documentary styles to choose the right style of voice over suited to your film.
The first style of documentary to consider is the poetic documentary. This style features a more abstract and loose narrative and is known to be more experimental in its form and content, often rearranging time and space. Though the poetic documentary typically relies on visuals and music to tell its story, many filmmakers choose documentary narrators who are more emotive or authentic in their reads.
The next, and potentially most well known, style is the expository documentary. This style of documentary aims to inform or to persuade with a specific argument or point of view. Generally, this straightforward style calls for a documentary narrator who is mature and authoritative, but also believable and charismatic.
The third style of documentary to consider is the observational documentary, which captures its subjects uninterrupted in their natural habitat. Think of this style as the fly on the wall approach to documentary filmmaking. British documentary narrator David Attenborough has largely set the tone for this style of narration with his warm and gentle, yet simultaneously authoritative style.
The fourth style, the participatory documentary, is quite the opposite of the observational documentary. In this style, documentary filmmakers interact with subjects and are included within the narrative. Their participation can be limited to interviewers from behind the camera or highly involved as a participant on screen. While this style is often narrated by the filmmaker themself, narrators can also be used to lend a more observational approach to the documentary.
The reflexive documentary is the fifth style of documentary. These documentaries are similar to the participatory documentary, but differ in that the filmmaker and the act of making the documentary are the primary focus. When documentary narrators are used in place of the filmmaker's narration, the most commonly used style is mature and authoritative.
Finally, there is the performative style of documentary. This style stresses the filmmaker's personal experience, connecting more personal stories, sometimes in the form of a quest, to larger political issues. Typically, this style of documentary is narrated by the filmmaker.
If you are thinking about expanding your documentary's reach beyond your geographic location, consider using voice over to appeal to a wider audience. Localizing your documentary content with documentary narration in your audience's native language can create a more personal and powerful viewing experience for the viewer beyond subtitles. Reach a wider audience with the help of our talented voice actors who hail from around the world and speak over 100 languages and dialects.
No matter the type or style of documentary narration you choose for your film, you can find what you're looking for on Voices. Browse our voice actors' demos to find the right sound for your documentary and get started today.
Frequently Asked Questions
A documentary brings attention to issues, events, and people from around the world to educate and inform an audience.
Narration is used in documentaries to aid a filmmaker in telling the story and to help bring important information forward to the audience in a format that is easy to understand.
The best documentary narrator voice is up to personal opinion, but the most sought after style of narration is authoritative.