For some odd reason, people who are new to voice overs, without thinking, tend to forget to breathe during a read. It’s odd because when someone is speaking in normal conversation, they never forget to breathe. So why in voice over?
It’s all about intention. Before you start reading a line, you should have an intention…some sort of objective or that thing you want the listener to do, think, or feel. When you either don’t have clear intentions or you don’t make the breathing part of your intention, then you’re likely to produce a fake read which in turn will very possibly cause you to run out of breath.
Another issue with breathing is, it can be very noisy and be distracting. It’s not necessary to inhale all the available oxygen in the booth! We don’t gasp for air in normal conversation, so again, not necessary in voice over either. Singers are taught to breathe low. The benefits of this are many. However, one of the benefits that carries over to voice over is, a low breath is quiet! You can get away with breathing low and more fully using your diaphragm in order to take a full, quick, and quiet breath. High breathing is most often noisy, because the muscles of the throat are more easily tensed. This not only causes noise, but vocal strain in your read, which for most reads, is probably not ideal.
In voice over, as in singing, it all starts with the breath.
If you want to know what it feels like to breathe low, lay on the floor on your back. Take some slow deep breaths and pay attention to how your abdomen rises and falls. Notice how it’s quiet. This is all you have to do to have relaxed, low, quiet breaths. Hope this helps!