Voice Over Education Blog

December 2016

How to use peripheral vision in reading voice-over copy

Did you know that 99% of our vision is peripheral? It is, if we define “peripheral” as the part that we don’t see sharply, the part not captured by the central part of the retina called the “fovea.” The structure of the eye is such that the only truly sharp part would be like a large coin in the middle of a big, wide-screen TV. We see the “big picture” sharply because the eye moves around, incredibly quickly, and the brain pieces the sharp parts together in a way that would make Photoshop jealous. It’s a good thing to know. Because by expanding your peripheral vision, you can expand your ability to read copy, in several ways.

In everyday life, increasing your peripheral vision has been touted as a way to improve many things, from increasing your reading speed to combating the effect of aging on your vision. We’ll leave it to you to peruse such discussions online. Beware, peripheral vision may also be used as a way to sell software for improving it, which we haven’t evaluated and some of which might be rather dubious. (For example, although speed-reading techniques appear to work for some people, they may not work for everyone, or at least not to the same extent.)

But there are some ways to use and enhance your peripheral vision when it comes to VO.

Since we started this discussion in the literal, physiological sense, let’s stick with that. How can you use and even enhance your peripheral vision when reading copy?

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