We are in a technology renaissance! There are new apps, platforms, and concepts breaking ground everyday. Did you know you can hire someone to drive your car to the dealer and take care of your oil? Or maybe you hate clothes shopping and want a personal shopper to pick your clothes for you?
There are a lot of new ways to live, work, and play; thanks in part to "The Internet of Things" concept. There no shortage of these changes in the voice over and recording industries. While new technologies have surfaced for remote recording (Source Connect, ipDTL, and SoundStreak), there is still a tried and true way to record voice over talent...ISDN.
Although not the latest technology, ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network) services continue to deliver high-quality recordings, and some of the best talents in the industry use it. The argument for and against ISDN really comes from talent. Some talent have it (I do) and some don't. For the most part, talent are at the mercy of the telecoms to connect.
However, studios still tend to prefer ISDN voice actors. So, until there is an agreed upon new standard, ISDN will remain a large player.
"...you know that he or she is
dedicated to voiceover acting."
Confidence and Dedication
Getting an ISDN line isn't easy. Securing such a line means going through an enormous amount of red tape, negotiating with multiple utilities and businesses, and spending exorbitant sums of money to buy the rights. Actors usually start by calling their local phone company and asking if there are any lines for sale, but depending on the location, the phone company may not be able to help them, in which case they have to talk to radio and Internet providers. Once they've found someone who can sell them ISDN, they have the challenge of paying for it. Not only are line prices high-- on the order of $1500, plus $100 a month for service-- but ISDN providers may have trouble coming up with a specific price, making it difficult to budget for it.
If an actor has managed to secure an ISDN line despite all of these challenges, you know that he or she is dedicated to voiceover acting. ISDN voice actors are confident in their talent and willing to do whatever it takes to market their voices. They are also willing to put up with inconveniences, meaning you can trust them to remain loyal if you run into difficulty while recording. An ISDN audition is thus one of the safest ways to recruit new talent.
Quick Voiceover Casting
Casting is an enormous investment. In addition to the money and electricity you have to spend attracting applicants, scheduling audition sessions, and attending those auditions, the longer it takes for you to select voice actors, the longer you have to wait to market and profit from your final product. With ISDN actors, however, there is no need to hold in-studio auditions, allowing you to streamline the casting process. Simply send each actor the audition materials and listen to the audition whenever is most convenient for both of you. Quick casting also minimizes the time it takes to replace an actor while you are in production, reducing the cost of casting mistakes and actor turnover.
"...IP services are vulnerable
to slow or erratic Internet connections."
ISDN voiceovers are significantly easier to schedule than traditional voice recordings. Whereas in-studio recordings require you, your staff, and your actors to all meet in your studio at an agreed upon time, an ISDN voice actor can record his or her lines in real time from anywhere in the world. As long as you and your actor are awake and have access, you can go ahead and record. This not only makes it easier for you to plan your schedule, but it also allows you to respond to sickness, injury, and other mishaps that can delay regular recording for weeks. Even if your actor is bedridden, as long as he or she still has the strength for a voice recording, the show will go on.
Although recent Internet recording services can mimic many of the aforementioned benefits, many studios continue to prefer ISDN voice actors. This is largely the result of connection issues. IP services are vulnerable to slow or erratic Internet connections, meaning even something as simple as having neighbors who watch Youtube too much can ruin a recording session. By contrast, ISDN relies on copper phone lines, meaning you can use it at the same quality in almost all conditions. These services also tend to be more standardized than IP services, meaning that almost all ISDN equipment is compatible with all other ISDN equipment.
IP and ISDN need not be mutually exclusive. Many studios that record outside of their studio use ISDN in the studio and IP services while on the road. This allow you to benefit from the dedication and flexibility of ISDN actors without overlooking the many talented IP actors.
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A Voice Over blog
Tips, Tricks and Insights for casting, producers, agents, managers, creatives, and talent in the voice over industry.
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