Saturday, 30 November 2013

Audio Production and Voiceover News November 2013

Our biggest job this month was when Rapiscan hired our recording studio for the production of Albanian, American and Latin American Spanish voiceovers which lasted 6 days!

For our international voice talent AnetaAuriusmomoBarbara  and Anna recorded voiceovers for Mastercard RePower. American voice talents Adam and Scott voiced for Travelport and TASIS school.

We carried out a translation of a script from English to Arabic for Qinetic.

On the audio production front, we made a Voiceover Showreels for university graduate Ben Potter from Oxfordshire and actress Jane Kenchington from Surrey. We also carried out Audio Production for DJ Olly Bryne which was voiced by Lynsey and Eric.

For the UK male voice talent, James S recorded webinars for Inchcape. Ricky was the Voice of God at the Payroll World Awards ceremony in London alongside comedian Ian Moore  as well as voicing for Thermaflow. David L recorded an on-hold prompts for Bon Appetit, Alec voiced for Intellica, Steffan for PI Guidance and Michael for Kalixa Accept.

And finally for the UK female voice talent, Scarlett recorded a voiceover for Hillcross Furniture, Rebecca M voiced on-hold prompts for Stonehaven and Jo recorded voiceovers for QinetiQ and Zurich.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

What are the alternatives to ISDN?

We are often asked by potential voiceover artists if, when setting up their home studio, if they should invest in ISDN.

Although, it is "old" technology it is still pretty much the standard way of working for production companies using remote voice talent. We have heard rumours for years that providers including BT are talking about withdrawing ISDN but we have never heard anything definite.

However, with the increasing speeds of the internet, new technology allows high quality audio to be sent and received on the web. 

You’re already paying for your broadband connection, so why continue to pay for an ISDN line too?

So what are the alternatives to ISDN?

Probably the best known is Source Connect. This has taken off in America but has yet to break through in the UK. There really aren't many voiceover artists using Source Connect in the UK. There can be problems with setting up and configuring this software and issues with drop out in the signal - but then the same can be said for ISDN.  

If you have Source Connect, it will only connect with another person using Source Connect. If you want to connect Source Connect to an ISDN line, you will need to use a Bridging Company to tie the two together. Bridging company fees are around $150 per hour.  

As far as I  can see, the big advantage of Source Connect is that you can "voice to picture" or do dubbing in a remote location - the voiceover artist doesnt need to be in the same physical location as the recording studio.

Have you thought just about using Skype? With a good internet connection both sides, the voice talent can be directed via Skype and then the quality audio from the remote studio can be sent via any file-sharing service. (Dropbox, You Send it, We Transfer etc.) The quality of what the client hears will be dependent upon the quality of the Skype call  - sometimes this is great - sometimes it can be quite bad still.

Just direct over the phone. This would work in the same way as Skype (above) but obviously the quality of the audio that the client hears during the session will only be phone quality.  

The version of ISDN that we use is Audio TX. Audio TX is an ISDN codec which is just software. There is no big black box costing £7K. However it is advisable to have a stand-alone PC which only runs this software. If both parties have this software  you could consider using the VOIP function, which is just the same idea of one incoming and one outgoing line but using the internet rather than the ISDN lines.

Another choices include Sound Streak, Luci Live App and Connection Open.

Confused? Me too...  

Friday, 8 November 2013

What is the difference between a Voiceover Agency and a Voiceover Directory?

We often get asked what the difference is between a Voiceover Agency and a Voiceover Directory.

A Voiceover Agency makes its money from commission on voiceover jobs. The agency doesn't charge any upfront fees to the voiceover artists (that's illegal in the UK by the way.) Charges are normally around 15-25% of your fee.

It's really hard to get a voiceover agent to represent you – unless you have a very unusual voice you will need a fair amount of experience working in the voiceover market first. 

Your Voiceover Agent will act as a filter for Advertising Agencies. You only “pay” (in commission) once the agent gets a voiceover artist a job. Do make sure that the agent only takes commisson on work that they get or negotiate for you. 

Several top-end Voiceover Agents will expect you to only work through them.

However an increasing number of voiceover agents don't expect exclusivity and are happy for you to find your own work (or be on the books of other voiceover agents) for which they don’t take a commission. However they may still like to know what voiceover work you are doing so there are no conflicts of interest between the clients you are working for. If you do a high profile TV commercial for ASDA, your Voiceover Agent needs to know so they don't put you up for a job for Tesco.

With a Voiceover Directory – (also known as Pay to Play sites) you pay to be listed on the website. Their  annual fees vary enormously: some are even free. However very often there is no quality monitoring. As long as you pay, the voiceover directory is happy to take your money. You pay a fixed fee regardless of how much work – or how little - you get.

Oh - and there is one very important similarity: there is no guarantee of any work with either! 

For older posts, please visit our old blog: BigFish Media Voiceovers