Well, to put it simply, it’s because we can. The technology made available to voice over artists these days makes it possible for us to provide fully edited, broadcast quality recordings without the need to venture in to a dedicated studio.
Now before I go upsetting the engineering community, let me say that my technical expertise does not have a patch on what the true professionals can do. Take my commercial demo for example – I’m extremely proud of it, but my voice is only half of the equation. It took the skills of the incredibly talented Rick Santizo at Santisound to make me sound that good, not to mention the coaching skills of the very gorgeous Nancy Wolfson – but that is a whole other blog post.
High profile projects such as TV commercials or national radio promos will require the voice over to go into their studio. The director, and more often than not, the client, will be there for the session and so it makes sense to work in a big space where the voice over can concentrate on their performance, leaving the technical stuff to the engineer.
But there’s an increasing demand on voice over artists to turn things around quickly, and so the ability to send a file via FTP or simply via email is a godsend. Now in many cases, the client will receive the recording from me and be perfectly happy with the first take – well, it’s the first take for them, it may well have taken me five or six before I was truly happy!
There may be occasions where the client will want a little bit of tweaking on one or two lines, and I certainly don’t charge any extra for that. Sometimes however, the best thing to do is to allow the client to direct me live as I record, but how do you do that if you’re not in the studio with me?
Fortunately, there are numerous ways in which to direct your voice artist remotely. The first is the good old fashioned ISDN line. Many of you will be familiar with the term from when dial up internet was just too darn slow for you. Well, the truth is that ISDN has been a staple of the voice over world for decades. It allows us a peer to peer connection with studios anywhere in the world and enables us to record in real time and take direction live as well.
ISDN is expensive to run, but any voice over looking to be taken seriously will have it for you. Of course, if you don’t have it at your end, then what? Well, the easiest method is to use what’s known as a phone patch. Essentially, you call the voice over and will listen in to what he is recording over the phone. Anything you say won’t come out on the track, so you can give as much or as little direction as you want.
After the session is completed, the voice over will chop out the bits you didn’t like and send you the finished recording.
Now this is my preferred method of working, and I’ll often use a conference call facility like Pow Wow Now so that numerous people can be in on the session at the same time.
One new contender for remote recording is Soundstreak. I’ve not yet had the pleasure of using it, although I am signed up to them, and I’ll share my experiences with you just as soon as I have them.