Do you need voice narration for videos about applications and web services?

Do trailers, tutorials, and short promotional videos on apps and web services need a voice over? When can I refuse it? How can I compensate for the lack of voice comment in the video? Let’s look at examples!

At the same time, let’s see how you can voice clips with characters and what you need to consider if your “character” promo is aimed at an audience from different countries.

In this article, we’ll look at videos about applications and web services. We wrote about the announcer’s voice in the videos about the games in this material.

Voice acting in trailers

As a rule, the task of trailers is to convey to the audience what problem the application solves and what benefit it can bring to the viewer. The solution suggests itself: if you want to explain to the viewer as intelligibly as possible what your service can do, do it with a voice!

For example, in a trailer about the NeuroNation application, voice-over recording supplements the video sequence with factual information about the number of exercises in the application and their specifics.

In the trailer for Bitrix24, various ways of virtual communication between colleagues are visualized, and voice-overs explain: all methods are good, the team is free to choose the one that is convenient for all participants and suitable for working on a specific task.

And in the Geo4.Me trailer, the voiceover describes the problems illustrated in the video sequence and speaks out a step-by-step algorithm for using the service. The plot in this trailer rests precisely on the announcer’s text, strictly synchronized with the events in the animation: the announcer tells the story that the animation reinforces.

A trailer without a voice? It also happens!

It would seem that the trailer should always be done with a voice – but this rule has an exception. Are you planning to show the video at conferences, for example, launch it with the background on the screen at your stand? You will need a video where everything should be clear without voice comment.

To make it easier for the viewer to understand the video without narration, you can add dice with a laconic description of the key features of the service to the frame. This is done, for example, in the trailer for the Calendar for Jira plugin.

Keep the dice in the frame for at least a few seconds. After all, the viewer first needs to notice their appearance, and only then – read what has been written. And in order for the viewer to instantly recognize the explanatory elements during the viewing, it is better to arrange all the dies in the video in the same way: the same outline, the same color and headset. For emphasis on the dice, you can place them in the area of ​​attention – that is, in that part of the frame where the main animated event takes place.

By the way, another genre of presentation videos in which you can do without voiceover is demo-ril. If you want all the viewer’s attention to be focused on the video, and the picture speaks for itself, you can refuse the voice.

The advantage of a video without a voice is that it can be accompanied by a music track with vocal inserts. Such tracks have an unusual sound and expressive mood, but using them in combination with a narration track is not always a good solution. The voice of the announcer may conflict with the singer’s vocals, and the effect of the zest of the music will be blurred. So if you have an interesting track with vocals in mind, a clip without an announcer is a great opportunity to use it.

Announcer in the tutorials

Where you can’t refuse a voice is in the tutorials.

Tutorial videos are usually posted on the product website and replace or supplement the text FAQ. They clearly show how the user can configure the application or solve a technical problem. And when your user has a question about your own product – you will not begin to smile silently instead of the answer, making passes with your hands? 🙂

Here are a few nuances to consider when voicing training videos:

  1. Make sure that the functions are named in the voice acting in the same words as in the interface. If the user needs to open, for example, the Settings menu and click Advanced, say these words in the voice acting. Imagine that the viewer is only listening to the tutorial, and his eyes are focused on the product settings window. Let the voice comment specifically instruct the user where to click.
  2. Keep in focus a specific problem, the solution of which is shown in the tutorial, and try not to dilute either the voice acting text or the actions in the frame with references to features that are not relevant to this problem.
  3. Synchronize actions in the frame with voice acting as precisely as possible so that the voice comment is not late regarding actions on the screen and is not ahead of them.

For the tutorial to really help the user, think through the script carefully. Follow all the steps in the desired sequence and pay attention to how much time it takes to navigate the contents of the window, fill in a field or check the boxes. But the most important thing is to collect the video after the voice track is ready. That is, first record the announcer, and then, with an eye on the duration of the sound of each instructing phrase, animate the screenshots. So you can achieve accurate synchronization of voice with actions in the frame.

Voice announcer in short promotional videos

Rollers lasting 5-15 seconds, designed for placement on advertising platforms, can also be with a full audio track: music, sound effects and voice narration.

But the “life expectancy” of prerolls for Youtube and videos for advertising campaigns on social networks is relatively short. Such videos are usually made in batches, unscrewed in a couple of weeks and replaced by others so that the advertisement does not become boring.

This type of videos I want to do as quickly and cheaply as possible, and the option to abandon voice acting in order to save money suggests itself.

In terms of timing – you can even make a pack of prerolls in a week, and recording a voiceover takes a day or two. The time required to record an announcer is not so noticeable when creating a trailer, when animation alone can take one to two weeks. And for small promotional videos, especially if they are made as a series, the production cycle is much shorter. Therefore, the savings in a day or two are noticeable here.

In terms of costs – the speakers, as a rule, have a minimum threshold for the value of the order. And the voice acting of 5-10 words can cost as a piece of cake for a 30-second video or even more.

And if you plan to place an advertising video on Facebook, where advertising video content is played by default with the sound turned off, there are even fewer arguments in favor of voice dubbing.

Indeed, short promotional videos can look pretty good, even if there’s no announcer in them. To still the video was not “dumb”, you can add background music. Or cool sound effects that resonate with the animation.

Voice over promotional videos with characters

If there are characters in your short promotional video, you can focus on their emotions with sound effects. For example, add a scream or laughter, depending on what fits the plot at one time or another.

So in the video there will still be a “human presence”, a hint of animation – but you don’t have to record an announcer. After all, effects of this type can also be found on drains.

Characters, of course, are also in trailers, but in long videos it is better to use the sounds of emotions only as an addition to voice acting, so as not to tire the viewer. But short promotional videos should be spectacular, catchy – and not necessarily serious. Sound effects can help to emphasize the originality of the video and emotionally hook the viewer.

Using sounds instead of voices has another big plus. The same track of effects can be used for all language versions of the advertising campaign. An announcer would have to be voiced with speakers of different languages, but with an effect like a sigh, this is not necessary. It is enough to translate the labels visible in the frame. Conveniently!

At first glance, it seems that the sounds of emotions are a universal solution for any short promos with characters. But it is not so. After all, not all of these cute effects are international.

Pitfalls of Onomatopoeia

Whether exclamations in one language are simply incomprehensible to speakers of other languages ​​- this is not so bad. But the fact is that very similar sounds can have different meanings in different languages.

For example, “oh” can be heard in both Russian and English – albeit a little with different intonation. The Russian “oh” is an expression of fear, regret or annoyance. And the English “oh” is a shout to attract attention. And if in your video, designed for an English-speaking audience, the dictionary falls on the character, and the character responds to this by exclaiming “Oh!” – you will leave the audience at a loss.

There are nuances in the sounds made by animals. You have probably come across funny collections on the topic “how animals sound in different languages”? This is exactly the case when such knowledge can be useful in practice. Spanish pigs do not say “oink-oink” at all, and English frogs – not “kwa-kwa” at all! This difference should be especially taken into account if the exclamations of the animals are planned to be duplicated in the frame in writing, in addition to sounding effects.


A voice is required if:

  • You want to explain to the viewer what problem your service or application solves.
  • The video sequence in the video is symbolic or sketchy, and it is difficult to clearly understand it without voice commentary.
  • The objective of the video is to help the viewer solve a technical problem.

You can refuse to vote if:

  • The visual part of your story is so harmonious and linear, without meaningful “steps to the side”, that it is easy to follow behind it without a guiding thread-voice.
  • A video is needed for showing at a conference or other event where playing a video with sound is difficult or undesirable (provide for “explainer” dice!).
  • You’re looking for ways to save money when creating promotional videos aimed at a multilingual audience.

You can add onomatopoeia if:

  • Your video is quite short: 5-15 seconds.
  • There are characters in the video: people, animals, aliens or other life forms not known to science, that is, those who can make such sounds.
  • You are sure that the selected sounds will be equally perceived by the audience in those countries where you plan to show the video.

about the author

Article written in Alconost. We have been creating advertising and training for 8 years video, including trailers, teasers and prerolls for games and applications. The videos in this article are examples of our work. We will be happy to make a great video about your product: write to And we also do application localization, games and services in 70+ languages.

More details:

Our other videos about creating videos

  • Do I need voice acting for video clips about games?
  • Philosophy of selling videos
  • How to write a script for a selling trailer video
  • Animation principles: how to make a good screencast of a software product
  • Classification of selling videos about IT products
  • How to order an outsourced IT product video and get what you need
  • How we make videos at Alconost and how the client participates in this

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