X or Y Chromosomal Narration

Seasonal STARGAZING posterThe most popular fulldome title in our catalog continues to be Seasonal STARGAZING, our set of 16 constellation identification shows.

Since its introduction in 2007, we’ve licensed the show to more than 100 sites around the world, including our most recent sale to a new Digital Starlab in Hong Kong, thanks (and congrats) to our reseller Savio Fong of Galaxy Scientific Group.

We incorporated a feature in the programs that’s really unique—but it hasn’t really provided us with as much customer feedback as we thought it would. We recorded both male and female narrators for the scripts, and we include them both in the show package.

There has been a long and continuing debate in the voice-over world about the effectiveness of programs using one gender versus the other. Naturally, personal preference has a lot to do with it, so we thought we’d put it to a test. By providing both the voices of long-time favorites Roger Thompson and Wren Ross, planetarians can choose which to present, of course. If they’re running the show regularly, it could simply be a matter of varying the routine for the show operator.

But we thought it might be a good research project for someone so inclined to test with audiences. Does either the male voice or the female voice help the audience understand the topics better? Given otherwise identical material, what CAN we tell about whether the audience learns more from one or the other?

With all the educators in the planetarium field, we’re surprised nobody has undertaken such a study. This fulldome show provides a perfect test subject. Or perhaps someone HAS done so. If so, we’d love to hear about it!

What do you think? Are you running Seasonal STARGAZING? Which voice do you use most frequently?  If you’re so inclined, share your thoughts about which voice you prefer. We’d love to hear from you.

If you’re not running the show, check out the demo preview we have posted to hear for yourself.

Let us know your thoughts!


Mark C. Petersen

About Mark C. Petersen

I'm President and Founder of Loch Ness Productions. Check out my bio, where you can read more about me and my work.
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2 Responses to X or Y Chromosomal Narration

  1. Scarlet says:

    We’re not running Seasonal STARGAZING, and I haven’t heard sample tracks of either narrator (do you have those available?), but I would say another factor can be the pitch of the voice. Lower pitched narrators (the male bass voice) sometimes come through as a low rumble which can make distinguishing the words challenging at times. We ran a Star of Bethlehem show that had a male narrator with a baritone voice which came out clearly, but then for the Christmas story section, there was a bass-voiced narrator, and some phrase endings seemed to drop off and be hard to hear. Same with female voices. We have run one show narrated by Nichelle Nichols and another by Kate Mulgrew. Mulgrew’s voice has some low tones that also seem to fade away. No scientific study here–just one presenter’s observations.

    • Thanks for the thoughts. I’ve heard narrators (of both genders) fade out like that in shows (and TV documentaries). To preview the shows (and hear the soundtracks), there’s a link to the show pages in the first sentence of the blog entry. Once you get to the page, click on the “Watch it!” link there for a demo of the show.

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