Which films have the best voice overs

What does "voiceover" mean? Explanation and definition


A friend tells you that she particularly likes the clever use of a "voiceover" in the film that she recently saw in the cinema and you only understand the train station? Netzwelt explains the term to you.

That means voiceover: overlaying a sound recording with a speaking voice

The term "Voiceover" - also spelled "Voice over" - is an English term that has been Germanized. It is often abbreviated as "VO". Translated directly it means something like "vote over". What is meant is a superimposition of a sound recording with a speaking voice in videos such as films.

So it is a voice that is not spoken by a person in the picture or next to the picture. Next to the picture means that the person speaking could easily be shown through a camera pan and is therefore only temporarily not visible in the picture section. This is called "off-screen voice".

There are different voiceover variants that can be distinguished according to literary or quasi-literary and non-literary forms:

  • Speaker voice in a journalistic contribution
  • Commentary voice in a documentary
  • Narrator voice in the feature film
  • First-person narrator voice
  • Actor Voice Speaking Thoughts
  • Actor voice that another actor imagines (e.g. when reading a letter)
  • Actor voices that are spoken inside a building that can only be seen from the outside
  • Conversation that is used overlapping scenes

Another case in which a voiceover also occurs is the translation of foreign language interviews. The voice of a translator is then superimposed on the original sound. The original sound is not completely faded out so that the interview remains authentic. The term voiceover originally comes from this radio scenario.

Voiceover as a stylistic device in film

In the film, the voiceover became popular in the 1940s. A narrator's voice was particularly popular there, which is seldom seen today. In other variants, monologues by actors clarify what is happening or provide insight into their thoughts. This can also create a contrast to the actual action. Especially when it comes to film adaptations, it can be helpful to use a voiceover to explain backgrounds for which there would otherwise be no space.

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