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A sequence needs explaining and the writer has chosen not to go to a voice-over, but has inserted good cause for someone to narrate the action. A television or radio reporter's voice is used, in some cases. This also serves to give the action some scope, making it clear that this is important stuff.

When played for laughs, this is Kent Brockman News. See also Mr. Exposition and Coincidental Broadcast.

Examples of Practical Voice Over include:


  • Sports-themed films typically include snippets of a radio or television play-by-play announcer describing the action in the Big Game.
  • Used extensively in the film Apollo 13 as the crew's plight was a major news item at the time, with former CBS News Anchor Walter Cronkite providing the opening narration, which was in the form of a new clip (confirmed by director Ron Howard in the DVD commentary) and archive footage of actual news breaks was mixed in with scripted ones throughout the film.
  • Some of the exposition in the 2000 Hamlet, which is set in the corporate world, gets handed to a business news reporter.
  • The film version of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.
  • L.A. Confidential had the voice of Sid Hutchinson (Danny DeVito) reading from the gossip magazine he ran.
  • The modern film Romeo+Juliet. Shakespeare's play has a narrator at the beginning and the end; the film handles those lines by making its main story the subject of a news story...
  • Sky Captain and The World of Tomorrow (2004). A radio announcer (along with a Spinning Paper montage) is used to show that the robot attack on New York is part of a worldwide phenomenon.
  • A lot of the backstory of the movie version of Starship Troopers is given through faux news/military recruitment ads. Would you like to know more?

Live Action Television

  • The opening sequence of the War of the Worlds: The Second Invasion television series: "There's rioting breaking out from the is continuing to burn everywhere, troops are shooting people...there are conflicting reports about who or what started the chaos. Will some one tell me what's happening? This is madness! What is this world coming to?"
    • This may have been inspired by the most (in)famous production of War of the Worlds in history: The radio broadcast, done as though it were a breaking news story, which many listeners thought was really happening.

Western Animation