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Voice acting is the inclusion of audio depicting characters' speech. Voice acting involves the performance of a script by a voice actor, which is then recorded and integrated into the visual novel.
Voice acting can add depth and personality to characters and help convey the tone and mood of a scene. However, voice acting can be expensive, time-consuming, and requires additional effort to make sure the lines are read in a way that adds to the experience rather than detracts from it.
Full Voice Acting
In full voice acting, every line of dialogue is voiced and recorded.
When considering full voice acting, it is important to budget for the time and resources required, including:
- casting and recording of voice actors
- editing and processing of audio
- integration of the voice acting into the visual novel
Full voice acting is the most demanding type of voice acting. However, despite the time and financial investments required, many visual novel developers opt for full voice acting due to the significant impact it can have on the player's experience.
Partial Voice Acting
In partial voice acting, only certain elements of the visual novel are voiced. This approach is often used due to budget or time constraints while still capturing the benefits of voice acting.
Partial voice acting can be done by making use of exclamations, short phrases, or "barks". For example, a character expressing hesitation might have a voice clip that says "Well..." or "I'm not sure...". Other emotions can be captured with appropriate sound bites. This often comes with the disadvantage of the spoken audio not matching the written text, but it does convey the emotion of the text.
Another method is to only voice certain characters or only voice certain scenes. For example, an important character may speak when they are fist shown to establish their personality and demeanor. Particularly emotional or impactful scenes could also benefit from voice acting.
It is important to consider which elements of the visual novel would benefit the most from voice acting. Key scenes or characters that drive the story or convey important emotions may be prioritized. Scenes that are mostly exposition or contain less important dialogue may be left unvoiced.
Casting Voice Actors
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Casting voice actors for a visual novel is a critical process, as the right voice actors can greatly enhance the overall experience for players. When casting voice actors, several factors should be taken into account, including the voice actor's experience, range, and ability to capture the character's emotions and personality. In addition, it's important to consider the voice actor's availability as voice acting can be a time-consuming process.
Many actors charge a session fee where they agree to do a certain number of hours per session for a fixed rate. Others may charge based on the number of hours they spend recording or the number of lines they read. It's important to speak to the actor and agree to terms before work begins.
Once the voice actors have been cast, the recording process can begin. This typically involves the voice actors recording their lines in a recording studio using high-quality microphones and recording equipment.
The audio is edited so it can blend seamlessly into the rest of the experience. The voice clip is trimmed to the right length, the volume is adjusted so it's consistent throughout game, noise is removed, and additional filters can be applied to change the quality of the voice.
Once the audio is processed and saved, it must be inserted into the game. Audio files are usually made to play just before the text is displayed so that the voice and text begin at the same time.