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The best way to record voiceover: live or remote?

Source Elements founder Robert Marshall explores what could be hindering your progress

maxresdefaultMany voiceover talent are able to do all their work remotely, sometimes never running a “live” session with their clients and instead recording and submitting everything on their own. While this is a great and convenient workflow it often leads to more “redo’s” or clients accepting reads they might have otherwise directed differently.

In order to provide a means of a supervised “live” session, voice talent will instead use a phone patch/Skype to allow their clients to hear the reads in real time. This does help a lot but has its limitations. For starters the audio quality of a phone patch is not very good and so often a lot is left to faith that everything is what the client expects.

Products_2015If the ultimate audio quality is not good enough or a detail in the read is missed then again redo’s might be required. Also a phone patch session requires the voice talent to do more “engineering” to provide playbacks or even edits.hqdefault

So stepping up in the options for a “live” session leave us with a high quality digital patch options such ISDN or Source-Connect. ISDN has been the legacy method for years but has many limitations mainly in cost, availability and flexibility. Source-Connect runs over the internet instead and has been in use since 2005. It is the ideal solution for many reasons as it offers better audio quality, more flexibility, more power and a much much lower operating cost.

Source-Connect is offered in a range of versions, but for voice talent the most interesting versions are Source-Connect Now and Source-Connect Standard. Source-Connect Now is is the entry level of the Source-Connect family. It is completely free (currently while in beta and will always offer a free level once fully released). The other version is Source-Connect Standard which is available as a $35 (£26.25 as of 28th June 2016) monthly subscription or a $650 (£487.49) buy out.— Robert Marshall, founder of Source Elements

SE_World_MapThe Standard versions offers many benefits and is in general a more professionally outfitted version compared to the Now version with relies on the Google Chrome browser. A more complete discussion of Now/Chrome vs Standard can be found here.

A high quality digital patch offers many things to the talent and their client. The clients can record the talent directly over the connection straight into their production system. The clients can run any playback or edits they are curious about right away. In that way they can allow the talent to focus on their performance and not engineering the session. The clients will know right away if they have the read they require and they won’t have any surprises after the session thus reducing the number of “redo’s”.

hqdefault (1)Its also possible for the clients to move faster with their work because they can edit in real time during the record session and there is no transfer process after the session for them to wait for. Finally with Source-Connect Standard/Pro for material that requires picture, its possible to read with picture sync on both sides of the connections again greatly speeding up the process and reducing indecision.

While phone patch sessions work great for many levels of work within the VO industry for a better work flow and certainly for the upper end work a real time high quality connection such as Source-Connect is all but required.

How do you conduct the majority of your sessions – let us know in the comments section below.

Source Elements was formed in 2004 by John Binder, Robert Marshall and Rebekah Wilson. John and Robert are the founders and engineers of one of the country’s premier sound design and post production houses. Their direct and daily experience with the tools and methods used globally give them a precise understanding of both the needs of today’s modern sound studio and the desires of those who work in them.

Welcome to the VoicesUK blog. Here we explore all facets of the amazing world that is the voiceover industry. We feature guest authors on topics such as how to get started, what equipment is best for your recordings, how to find clients and how to best show off your skills on VoicesUK. To join our family of British voiceover artists please click here. To search for the perfect voice for your project click here. And click here to get in contact with our team, we’re ready to help!

One response to "The best way to record voiceover: live or remote?"

  1. Howard Ellison Mar 17, 2017 at 22:51

    The online home studio is hugely cost-effective for client and talent. No travel and parking, for a start!
    Remote direction is nearly as effective as face to face (some might prefer it!) and as Robert Marshall says there’s a choice of voice over internet (which is excellent quality), phone patch (terrible), or Skype (fairly good these days). ISDN is dwindling fast, and never arrived at all in many parts of UK.
    Personally, I’m never quite decided whether I would rather send off a directed file complete with retakes and bloopers, or delay a while so I can clean it up, even if only partially. Ultimately that’s up to the client.


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