How to make movie trailer voice changer filter in Audacity
Want to sound like a movie trailer voice actor? Use this guide to get that epic movie trailer voice for free in Audacity
Everyone knows the classic movie trailer voice. It’s that rich, deep, cinematic tone that’s often associated with people like Don Lafontaine, James Earl Jones and Morgan Freeman. In fact, when it comes to movie trailer voice actors, Don Lafontaine is the godfather. He actually invented the “In a world…” style that is now so well known. Over his career he worked on more than 5,000 film trailers and hundreds of thousands of television advertisements, network promotions, and video game trailers.
The style of movie trailer voice over is so well known that it’s almost become a cliche at this point. However, it’s undoubtedly iconic, and it’s a sound that you may want to recreate yourself for your own projects.
In this article we’re going to show you a few ways that you can achieve that classic cinema trailer sound, let’s start by seeing how you can achieve it for free in Audacity.
Audacity is a much loved piece of freeware which gives you a lot of power to manipulate audio however you like. It’s a free DAW which comes with a bunch of in-built effects which allow you to create that movie trailer voice with ease. Let’s look at one way of achieving that cinematic sound.
Step 1: Load voice audio into Audacity
The first thing to do is to either record your voice into audacity, or load a prerecorded voice recording onto a track.
Step 2: Use pitch shifter to make the voice deeper
A defining characteristic of the classic movie trailer voice is how deep it is. Voice over artists who do movie trailers have naturally deep voices, but if you don’t you can make it lower artificially!
A really easy way to do this is with a pitch shifter. Luckily Audacity has one built in so you don’t have to splash any cash to get one! To open the pitch shifter in Audacity go to Effect > Change Pitch.
This pitch shifter allows you to alter pitch by semitone, or as a percentage using a slider. In this scenario it’s best to use the slider as you want to have as much control over the pitch shifting process as possible. The more you shift the voice, the less natural it will sound so it’s good to have fine control.
For the voice sample we’re working with, shifting the pitch down 3% sounds good. However, bear in mind that each voice is different. If the voice you’re working with is already very deep you may not need to shift it down at all. Alternatively, if the voice is quite high you may have to shift it a lot.
Step 3: Shape the voice with EQ
The next tool we’re going to use is an equaliser. Equalisers (or EQs) allow you to control the volume level of different parts of the frequency spectrum separately.
Again, Audacity has a built in equaliser which can be used for this step. To open it go to Effect > Filter Curve EQ.
To create cuts and boosts in Filter Curve EQ simply double click on the blue line on the equaliser. This will create a node which can be dragged around to add or remove frequencies from your sound. You can click to add more nodes for detailed control over your sound.
To get the classic movie trailer voice sound, boost frequencies at about 200Hz, 2000Hz and 8000Hz by 3dB.
You can make the effect more pronounced by boosting the frequencies more. However, it’s probably best not to push it above 6dB, as it can start to sound quite unnatural.
Step 4: Add some saturation
The final step here is to add a little bit of distortion to your voice sample. We’ll be using it subtly to add saturation to the voice - we’re not wanting the voice to sound very distorted at all.
Open the distortion plugin by going to Effect > Distortion. Once open select Soft Overdrive from the Distortion Type dropdown menu. The default settings here add a nice amount of saturation, so just hit Apply and you’re good to go!
Now, with pitch shifting, EQ and saturation applied to your voice, you should have a much more cinematic sound to your recording.
Audacity is great if you’re looking for a totally free way to get that classic movie trailer voice, however it can be slightly fiddly to use. If you’re looking for an easier way to deepen your voice, or you’re working on mobile, it’s worth checking out a few Accusonus products.
Mauvio is our mobile sound studio which gives you powerful audio clean up tools in the palm of your hand. It also comes with some awesome, creative voice changer effects including a movie trailer voice.