How to Direct Voice Overs Remotely
Just as in film and theater, voice over sessions require a director. The classic recording scenario is a group of agency folks and technicians in a shiny studio together and someone in charge directing the voice actor in person. Of course now most voice actors have amazing home studios and technology makes it easy to direct a voice over session from anywhere. But which technology should you use? Here is a list of six popular methods of doing VO sessions from afar to help you decide...
ISDN stands for “Integrated Services Digital Network”. Basically, ISDN is a fancy phone line that transmits studio quality audio from one studio to another. The voice talent is at his or her ISDN-equipped studio, the director is at another ISDN-equipped studio. The two studios are linked by the ISDN “boxes” that are wired in at both ends. This gives the director the ability to listen to the voice talent as he or she voices and give direction the talent can hear in their headphones. ISDN can be pricey. You can easily spend several hundred dollars an hour for use of ISDN gear and you probably would have to hire and go to a studio equipped with ISDN to do your recording. ISDN has been around for many years and there is new technology that you can use from home that replaces ISDN that we will discuss below.
2. Source Connect
Source Connect is the new ISDN according to many audio producers. Source Connect allows you connect studio-to-studio remotely, like ISDN, but instead of channeling the audio through phone lines, the audio is routed through Source Connect’s network which is accessed via the Internet. Each party must have the Source Connect software installed on their computer. Connecting is made simple via a dashboard within the software. The sound quality is pristine and the technology rarely fails, making Source Connect a great alternative to ISDN. Source Connect has on-going fees generally billed monthly or there are “day passes” for those that do not need the service on an on-going basis.
ConnectionOpen is a great option for recording and directing voice over sessions remotely. ConnectionOpen is a non-browser based stand-alone application that provides you with uncompressed audio between multiple users at almost imperceptible latency. ConnectionOpen works via its app through your computer, linking with the voice over talent that is also connected via the ConnectionOpen app. A digital recorder is built right in the app. The recorder automatically saves the voice session in three files. The voice talent’s voice only on one file, your voice giving direction during the session on one file and a file with both the talent and the your voice. ConnectionOpen is also easy to set up and use with no port forwarding requirements, and AAX/VST/AU plug-ins. ConnectionOpen is compatible with Windows and Mac. ConnectionOpen is less expensive than ISDN and Source Connect, with a free one month trial and day passes for one-off recording sessions.
ipDTL is an IP codec running in a web browser and is used to connect studios much like ISDN and Source Connect. Like Source Connect, ipDTL is accessed via the company’s website. It is a replacement for classic ISDN audio codecs, with which it has backward compatibility. In essence, ipDTL can be bridged to connect with ISDN. Some say the audio quality surpasses ISDN. You do need a subscription to access ipDTL. Day passes are also available.
Most are probably familiar with Skype and you may have used the service for video calls. Skype works just as well for directing voice over sessions. Just connect via Skype and listen in and watch as the voice actor voices your project. You have the advantage of being able to see one another. The audio is recorded on the talents studio computer and then delivered to you following the session.
6. Phone Patch
A phone patch can be defined several ways. There is an actual phone patch, where the voice talent has an outboard audio box that patches the sound from their microphone into a phone line. The director can listen in via any telephone. The talent is also able to playback recordings through the phone patch enabling the director to hear the recorded voice over clearly. Phone patch can also be achieved by both parties simply getting on the phone during the recording. The voice actor speaks into a phone or uses speakerphone while speaking into his studio microphone during the voice over session. The director listens on his or her phone and instructs the talent between takes. The quality is not as good as a direct patch but is a simple and free means of directing voice overs literally from anywhere.
There you have it. Six ways to listen in and direct voice talent from anywhere. All voice over talent on VOPlanet are equipped with pro home studios and the gear you need to connect. Just search our database of pro voice talent and click on their profile to see a list of the technology that have in their studio. If you are not sure which means of directing is best for you, let us know. We are happy to help you get connected so you can listen in and direct your voice over session.
Read more: Pro Tips For Directing Voice Over Sessions