A voice over industry glossary of jargon

Sometimes, you just have to know the jargon. And our industry is filled with it. Here’s a list of words and phrases we use in voice over, and note that it’s a never-ending work in progress.

Oh, and GeekSpeak® is a registered trademark of VO2GoGo, Inc.

ABC (or 123): To perform 3 takes in an audition, with different approaches, all contained in the same audio submission file.

ADR: Variously, Additional Dialog Recording or Automated Dialog Replacement – the process of adding layers of sound to scenes on film. Also known as looping or walla.

Announcer-y: An unnatural, presentational read, which can sound like the announcers of old. The opposite of a conversational read.

Cold read: Giving a performance with almost no preparation, by quickly sizing up the copy and .

Conversational: A direction often followed by “non-announcery” and meaning to speak naturally, as in everyday conversation—without fanfare or embellishment.

Copy: A term also used in newspapers and television news, it’s the script used in production (not an actual copy of something – that’s called a dub).

dB: The abbreviation for the word “decibel,” a unit of measurement for the loudness of sound.

Dub: To make a copy a piece of audio, or when used as a noun, the actual copy that is created.

Martini shot: The final shot, set-up or take of the working day, a throwback to the days in Hollywood where cast and crew would wrap and then convene after shooting/recording at a local bar for martinis and other refreshment.

MP3: The abbreviation for MPEG-1, Level 3, an industry standard audio format used to minimize the size of files while maintaining quality sound.

Normalize: To adjust the overall volume of a recording uniformly across its entire duration. Usually executed to a maximum level of -3 dB.

Pick up: Content that is voiced after the initial read to correct or update the script.

Tag: Usually the last line of a spot, as a legal requirement (“Member FDIC”) or a location or contact information (“Visit our Smithtown location at 123 Main Street”).

VO: An abbreviation for voice over.

If you’ve got an industry word or a phrase you’d like us to add to GeekSpeak®, just drop David a line at [email protected]