Frequently Asked Questions and some terms and phrases you may be wondering about:

 

How do you determine your rates?
There are many different methods when it comes to structuring a rate card. The important thing is to be fair while remaining competitive. Our fees are based on length of time of finished audio. This can be established prior to recording by the word count of the project. Contact us with your project for a quote. With your script in hand, we calculate how long the production will be in its completed state.

 

What does your quoted rate include?
Once we determine from your script how long the final audio will be, your rate for a cold voice recording includes:

         Studio time

         Post production: editing /mastering

         Talent fee

         Digital delivery

         Full buyout

         Additional costs apply for extra voice talent, music production, translation services, etc.

 

What is “cold voice”?
This is a recording that simply has one or more voices—without additional production elements such as music or sound effects.

 

What is e-learning?
Electronic Learning, or e-learning, is education via the Internet, network, or stand-alone computer—a network-enabled transfer of skills and knowledge. Another term for e-learning is 'computer based training'. It is the use of electronic applications and processes to learn, such as Web-based learning, computer-based learning, virtual classrooms, and digital collaboration. Content is delivered via the Internet, intranet/extranet, audio or video tape, satellite TV, and CD-ROM.

 

What's a Webinar?
Webinar is a web-driven workshop. It is "asynchronous," meaning that it does not take place in real time. Instead, you log in to participate when you have the time. Webinars are focused on the organizational communication profession: public relations, employee communications, media relations, investor relations, community relations, and other communication disciplines that target key organizational audiences.

 

What’s a wave(.wav) file?
The WAV sound file format, also known as 'wave', 'movie sound file' and 'Windows sound format', is a video file used to save and record short sound clips. They are normally not used for recording and saving long pieces of music or sound. Reason? WAV files are rarely compressed, so the file size is massive... much too large to download / trade on the internet everyday. MP3 files (mpeg layer 3) are the standard sound file type for that type of application.

 

What’s an .aiff file?
Audio Interchange File Format (AIFF). AIFF files are often used to store digital audio data on Apple computers as opposed to the .wav format for PCs.

 

What’s an mp3?
The MPEG layer 3 audio codec significantly compresses the original audio source with very little loss in sound quality. The compression up to 12:1 produces very little degradation. Tighter compression can be achieved, but it will result in sound degradation.

To give you an idea about data filtering, 60 seconds of CD-quality music is equal to about 10 MB of data. 60 seconds of MP3 music at 128 KB/second is equal to about 1 MB. The bit rate, simplified, describes how many storage 'bits' one second of audio data will use on disc, whether on a hard drive or a removable CD-R.

 

What is IVR?
Interactive Voice Response—the blanket term for automated call handling systems where the user interacts with a computer controlled voice signal (either recorded real speech or computer generated). The interaction can be through the use of a touch tone telephone or through speech recognition.

 

What is vocal timbre?
Timbre is a general term for the distinguishable characteristics of a tone. Sounds may be generally characterized by pitch, loudness, and quality. Sound "quality" or "timbre" describes those characteristics of sound which enable our ear to distinguish sounds with the same pitch and loudness.

 

What is cadence?
 A rhythmic pattern of movement, as in music or poetry… a beat, rhythm or lilt in the speech pattern.

 

What is a voice over?
The voice of an unseen narrator speaking (as in a motion picture or television commercial) The abbreviation "VO" is commonly used within the industry.

 

What is FTP?
File Transfer Protocol is a way of transferring files over the Internet from one computer to another. FTP is a convenient and quick way to access and download your finished audio. This is much better than sending large files as e-mail attachments which potentially get blocked because of their size.

 

What is a phone patch?
A phone patch is a small box that connects the recording studio’s telephone line and mixing board. It allows the client to listen in to a recording session in real time using their telephone/speaker without disturbance or noise from their end winding up in the finished audio. The voice artist can also hear any direction from the client through the headphones.

 

What is ISDN?
Integrated Services Digital Network is a service offered by most telephone carriers for the transmission of voice and data instead of analog signals, allowing data to be transmitted at a much faster rate than with a traditional modem.

 

What’s a demo?
“Demo”, short for “demonstration”—and that’s exactly what you receive. A demo is a sample of how the voice talent sounds or how your specific script will read. It is usually just a small portion of a bigger voice over to give you an idea of how it will fit in to your production.

 

What’s a full buyout?
A full buyout means you own that recording and can play it wherever and whenever you choose without any residual or royalty fees. It’s a one-time fee.

 

What are “wild lines”?
Wild lines are sometimes requested of voice talent when the client is looking for variations on a word or phrase. The talent will be asked to provide several wild lines of existing script. The client can then listen back following the recording session to determine which one works best for the tone or feel of the script.

 

How do I break into the voice over business?
Ah yes, the wide and wonderful world of voice over. There’s no one path but I’ll give you some basic, essential steps that will help get you going in the right direction.

First, you need to get an audio demo produced. Do some shopping around and find what production house or studio offers this service for an affordable price. Obviously you determine your own budget.

 

Ideally your demo should be no longer than 60 seconds. There’s an old rule of thumb stating people won’t listen much past the 30 or 40-second mark, regardless. Prospective clients will usually know within the first few seconds if you have the sound or delivery they’re searching for.

 

There’s a wide range of specific demos you can do but it's generally wise to do a commercial/narration combo if just creating a single demo to showcase your abilities. Surf the voice-over websites on the net and you’ll get a pretty solid idea as to how others market themselves with their demos. Start with one specific approach and you can expand from there. Take things one step at a time.

 

Speaking of websites, consider having one designed as part of your overall game plan. It doesn't have to be anything fancy or flashy. Even a one-page site with demo and contact info would suffice at first. It's not so much attracting clientele that is the purpose. Rather, it's more of an online library to upload your demos for people to hear. This way you’re not constantly sending mp3 demos as attachments and potentially having them bounce back due to aggressive firewalls and Spam filters. Building a site is not a top priority but if you know someone that can help you out in this capacity you should make it part of your marketing strategy.

 

Speaking of marketing (yes, it's one segue after another)...this is the key element to getting work. Some voice over talent have agents, websites, demo CDs, business cards, flyers, etc. It’s a good idea to get placement on as many free websites as possible and there are plenty out there you can join. However, be wary of the sites that charge money to become a member. Some turn out to be fly-by-night operations. It’s a subjective decision. Some voice artists claim to have successful results—others get burned, or simply frustrated by the lack of work they receive after dropping the cash.

 

In this line of work you have to pound the pavement. Not literally, but you do have to make cold calls to production houses, advertising agencies or anyone who’s in charge of hiring voice artists. It can be daunting at first but once you get into a groove it's actually fun and you’ll be amazed at how much better you soon become. It’s a definite confidence builder when prospective clients start trying you out based on your chutzpah over the phone.

 

It’s tough! It's competitive. However, If you’re willing to be patient and work hard it can pay off. You might not rip up your mortgage any time soon, but are you getting rich working for your current employer? There’s LOTS of competition out there and even more so since the internet opened things up to everyone. But at least there are advantages to sending work out digitally. There’s no more travelling time to and from studios, and there’s really nothing better than working at home.

 

(Here comes another one....)

 

That brings us to home studios. You don’t need a lavish set-up but something modest and effective is definitely something you should ponder eventually if you want to do this line of work in a full time capacity. All that's really required is a half decent computer with a sound card suitable for VO. You’ll need a microphone (you can pick up some half decent ones in the range of INR 10000 – INR 15000). You can get a mic processor and a few other items used or refurbished so you’re not putting out too much cash at the beginning.

 

Be a very good listener regarding your work i.e. be open to criticism, advice and suggestions. While this personal scrutiny can be disheartening or deflating, it is beneficial in order to grow and improve. Just focus on your sound and hone it.

 

Good luck!

Shan

Protelo Studios