The Real Cost of Voice Over

Many fantastic digital courses go live without narration. Some would-be stellar social campaigns are denied a voice. Plenty of corporate trainings with critical information to pass on have to communicate in silence.

When voice over is too costly, we all feel the pain. Students, eager to learn, lose interest in otherwise compelling courses as their tired eyes scan slide after slide of text. Marketing campaigns for potentially life-improving products won’t resonate with those who need it most. Employees struggle to prioritize key learnings, as their trainings meld into the background of emails, memos, and the thousand other text-based documents they encounter daily.

What would it look like if everyone had access to voice?

Creatives who work as instructional designers, marketers, and training managers know that restrictions can block creativity. How fantastic would it be if every course you took, every corporate training module, was created by instructional designers who had the choice to use voice?

We can dream even bigger. What if creatives had the ability to use voice as part of their creative process itself, using voice as an integral part of drafting winning scripts?

The Grim Reality of Budgeting

Under traditional workflows, we are far from that dream.

Budgeting for voiceover is a complex task. The costs involved are often prohibitive. In addition, the price of recording depends on the type of project you’re creating. An eLearning module can run upwards of $3,300 per finished hour. Corporate training videos cost anywhere from $350 for one minute to 60 minutes at $2,350, and expect to pay $1,500 per spot for a social campaign running for three months on national markets.

With costs so high, creatives must be absolutely sure each script is well-polished before it goes live in the sound booth. If new information is released post-production that affects the accuracy of the content, there’s trouble. Producers must either move forward with the content, knowing it’s outdated and feeling that unease, or pay a premium cost to re-record.

In addition, you must consider the facts of logistics. Voice over production requires auditioning voice talent, scheduling studio time, handling file transfers, and so on. Under these pressures, many producers opt to go voiceless, despite the clear benefits of narration.

A New Way to Create with Voice

When creatives move to high-quality text-to-speech, they see major gains in their storytelling potential.

Instructional designers can not only create voice narration with ease, they can try script variations out pre-production. Even better, they can customize courses for different types of learners, letting students choose the voice that resonates best with them. Corporate trainers can easily update audio clips when new policies would render their training module obsolete. Social content creators can push out personalized campaigns, now with personalized voices, too. When voice becomes an accessible tool for creation, creators can use voice more thoughtfully for a more engaged experience.

The dream of voice for everyone, for every script, for every part of the creative process, is already here, and it’s affordable. We can’t afford to maintain the status quo. 

When content is allowed to be judged based on its merits, not on its budget, we enable a host of human experiences to emerge. AI technology is allowing us to do exactly that.

Budget constraints should not dictate the worth of content. We can do better. We are doing better.


Photo by Kristina Flour on Unsplash
Music by purple-planet


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