Entries Tagged as 'audio production'

“tranquility base, studiobricks has landed!”

Peter K Oconnell Studio Bricks Logo 171229 350When my wife and I decided in June of 2016 to pack up and move from Buffalo, New York to Raleigh, NC (well, as it turns out, Cary, NC right next door to Raleigh), I told her that I was going to get a proper sound booth as part of the deal and she agreed.

Living in an apartment for the first year we got here, I was content (as were my clients) with my temporary studio (sound engineer-approved) that may or may not have looked a lot like a walk-in closet full of clothes.

When we closed on our new house in late summer, early fall this year, though, my job was clear and I sat down to compare the features and pricing of all the voiceover booths out in the market.

Quality being fairly equal across the spectrum, I was surprised to find that based on features, price, upgrades and shipping (from Spain, no less) Studiobricks was the best deal at the best price.

So in October, I placed my order for my Studiobricks One Plus, VO edition.

It arrived in early December.

Now I hope you’re not like me but if you ARE like me, you might start to imagine what your new arrival will look like in the studio, all assembled and pretty…completely ignoring the effort required to assemble your new voiceover home.

Peter K. O'Connell Studiobricks The Crate

The crate containing Peter’s new Studiobricks voiceover booth…it’s LARGE! (All construction photos courtesy of Bill Jordan)

You awake from your haze about the same time you see an 18-wheeler backing up in your driveway. Well, I should clarify. My house is on a little hill so the truck stopped at the bottom of the driveway and was going to unload the 1,200 POUND, 9 FOOT HIGH tightly packed wood crate right there.

Oh dear Lord.

I was blessed with a driver who could see the panic in my face as I was trying to process how all this was going to happen (delivery, unloading, assembly). He took pity on me as he lowered the crate (perched on his hydraulic dollie) on the truck’s elevator. Together, he pulled the dollie holding the crate and I pushed that dollie with the enormous crate to the top of the driveway.

There were a few feet in that uphill move where I was not sure we were going to make it (and boy THAT would have ended badly). We did make it up the driveway, however, safe and sound. Yes, always tip your driver.

I at least had the good sense the day before the scheduled delivery to call my local friend, fellow voice talent and fellow Faffer Bill Jordan to see if he would help me put this bad boy together.

Sooooooooooooooooooooooooo glad Bill said yes.

He came over to the house with a crow bar (mighty handy) and we started to undo the crate, neither of us having any idea what kind of unpacking was before us.

So first and foremost, kudos to the packers of these Studiobricks booths – it is quite an art to pack all that together. Amazing really.

Peter K. O'Connell Studiobricks Directions

Evidently one is supposed to read the Studiobricks’ assembly directions BEFORE assembly. I believe that takes away the challenge.

The directions for booth assembly came over via email and they were pretty good, save for a few omissions. They weren’t quite as idiot-proof as I needed but, fortunately, my wife showed up to tell Bill and I what to do when we got confused.

It turns out you’re supposed to read directions which Bill and I, being men, didn’t understand. Again, helpful to have the wife there to direct us.

Two people are good to help put a booth together (mine is about 3’ x 5’) but three strong people would have been better. Maybe I just need to lift more weights.

Also there are videos that show the assembly of a Studiobricks booth in about 3 minutes. That particular sized booth, in those videos, seems to be the size of a standing match-stick. My assembly took a little longer (see the part about reading the directions).

Knowing the total weight of my booth ahead of time, I had a carpenter reinforce the floor under the house some weeks earlier to avoid any possible floor/weight issues. That might be something you’d want to consider too, depending on where you would put your Studiobricks booth and which size you buy.

Here’s another piece of information that you’ll find helpful because Bill and I (and other Studiobricks owners) had to figure it out on our own. The roof and floor of the booth come together as one piece that you need to pull apart. And it takes quite a bit of tugging to pull them apart.

We figured this out early enough that it wasn’t a problem, although we did move the floor and roof together out of the crate, which was oh-my-gosh heavy. I do know some other voice talents who erroneously proceeded with their assembly before realizing their mistake. Score one for Bill and Peter and Peter’s Mrs.

Peter K. O'Connell Studiobricks Assembly 1

Inserting a corner batten into the Studiobricks that helps keep the walls very secure

The assembly of the majority of booth is much like assembling Legos and it is an impressive feat of architecture and engineering when you see it come together. Everything fits tightly, as it should.

Some of my interior booth foam was torn when it arrived, which was very unfortunate, but what can you do?

I did have a couple of assemble questions (cause I’m stupid about this kind of stuff) but the Studiobricks team got on Facetime with me and we got it worked out. They were helpful.

Peter K. O'Connell Studiobricks Assembly 2

There may or may not have been 1 or 2 pieces leftover when the Studiobricks was “allegedly” all assembled

Because the voiceover booth was designed and constructed in a European country, some of the optional electronic parts that I ordered were sourced from European countries and thereby use the European electric standard…so you’ll receive an electrical converter with your booth. Not a big deal but just something to be aware of.

If you get the optional VO package with your Studiobricks, which includes a table, a mic boom and script stand/monitor holder, you’ll be putting that together with a handbook of only pictures.

Honestly, for me, this VO package assembly was the most stressful part of the whole booth assembly. The pictures on the directions (and they were ONLY pictures, no words) were not as clear as you would think (hope) and I was concerned I would break something. Luckily I did not.

No, I did not bother to put together a time lapsed assembly video because that’s been done to death. Assembling the booth is heavy work but not hard, but it’s not easy either. It’s a bit like work for some hours and voice talents abhor work, as you likely know.

And we are whiners too.

Bottom line: if I can do it (with help) you can do it (with probably less help).

Peter K. O'Connell #cans4cans 2017

Besides, what matters is NOT the construction so much as the sound inside the booth. The sound exactly what I expected and I am very pleased (as is my sound engineer friend and fellow voice talent Dan Friedman).

I’ve been recording spots, promos and auditions and everyone is very pleased with the sound. And it’s a really nice environment to work within.

Glad I have The Bricks (or if you are from Chicago…da Bricks).

check your mail, you may already be a winner

Peter K. O'Connell Voiceover Want Ad 2017Ok, well there’s actually nothing to win but certainly check your mail!

And maybe you already have, which is why you’re checking out this page. Welcome to my voiceover blog.

If we haven’t properly met yet, hi, I’m Peter.

Yes, I sent out a new direct mail postcard this week to about 900 of my media production peers who work in audio production, TV and radio production, TV promo, explainer video production, documentaries and darn near every other kind of electronic production worldwide that uses voiceover.

I hadn’t done a mailer in a while, and with this year being my 35 anniversary in voiceover, I figured that’s something to talk about on a big postcard.

Why direct mail?

People still love getting unique stuff in the mail, even an oversized postcard. It’s a reminder to those I’ve worked with before that I’m still around (give me a call). It’s also an introduction to folks who may have heard of me (or may not have heard of me) but might need some professional voice talent help – the card is a friendly hello (give me a call) to them as well.

I’ll still do email blasts every now and again but I fear those don’t get read as much as they used to…my open rates are still good and I keep the message short and sweet!

So if you’re just finding me for the first time, hi (welcome!), and if you’re returning, hi again and thanks for coming back.

Oh and if you do need to call me, I’m on +01 716-572-1800.

why yes those ARE new voice-over demo players

audio'connell Voice-Over Talent featuring the voice of Peter K. O'Connell

A screen shot of the audio’connell Voice-Over Talent Commercial Demo page featuring a new demo player

As you can see from the screen shot above and from THIS LINK to my Commercial Voice-Over Demo page on audioconnell.com, my website has new demo players that will make listening to the demos easier and downloading them more effective for producers.

This player allows you to listen not only to the entire demo but also individually demo segments – in ANY order you prefer.

Check out the new voice-over demo players….

PETER K. O’CONNELL COMMERCIAL VOICE-OVER DEMO PAGE

PETER K. O’CONNELL NARRATION VOICE-OVER DEMO PAGE

PETER K. O’CONNELL TV PROMO VOICE-OVER DEMO PAGE

PETER K. O’CONNELL POLITICAL COMMERCIAL VOICE-OVER DEMO PAGE

PETER K. O’CONNELL MESSAGE ON-HOLD VOICE-OVER DEMO PAGE

PLUS you can now DOWNLOAD either the entire demo or just the voice segment you like to share with whomever is making the voice-over decisions on your media production.

All this will make your voice-over production duties that much easier.

Enjoy!

sound advice has a new home

My friend Dan Friedman, he of ProComm and Faffcon fame, pinged me to let me know that his SOUNDADVICEVO and SOUNDADVICE – Voiceover have been rebranded to SOUND4VO complete with a new address: http://sound4vo.com/

Lots of valuable information can be found be reading Dan’s book and blog so stay tuned or get subscribed!

3 thoughts on voice over technology – iAudition, do you?

Like all things gadget and quasi-technical, I think it was Dave Courvoisier who first posted something about the new i-phone application called iAudition which promises: “You can record, edit and send your auditions from wherever you are, without the need for a recording studio or computer!”

It dices, it slices it even make julienne fries! But wait, there’s more!

Well then George Washington, III chimed in with his experience on the device. As I am not nor really ever been a pioneer on technical items, I figured now that these two fellas had tried it, maybe for a penny under $5 I could try it for my iphone.

So I pinged in Facebook that I had done just that and one of the comments I got in response to that post got me to thinking.

Facebook friend and voice talent Don Capone opined “bottom line… it maybe ok for a quick edit or to… but lets be real…the audio recording quality is hideous… but i guess if its a must have situation and u need to do a quick audition…”

I love comments like Don’s because they start me thinking and in this case three thoughts popped into my head.

1. The technology boat will leave with or without us
It is pathetically obvious to even the most unengaged user of technology that as soon as you buy the newest computer at the store, it’s outdated in some aspect of its internal technology. Beyond computers, it the tech sectors business model – always be improving so customers will buy your newer stuff.

This is, to my knowledge, one of the first apps of its kind for iPhone and it’s very specifically targeted my area of business. Obviously my biggest concern with something like iAudition is audio fidelity and quality…so will Don be proven right? Will I hate it?

I won’t know unless I try it and at under $5, I can roll the dice on this technology.

2. As technology changes, so do people’s expectations
As an example: black and white TV’s died when a successful color TV model was invented. HDTV is having the same effect on analog. People expect better.

BUT sometimes people’s expectations for quality can be lowered and those lower expectations become acceptable. One example I site is this: I remember, growing up, that people always dressed up when one flew on an airplane; jackets and ties were the norm. Now it’s just nice if people keep their flip flops on during the whole flight.

In voiceover, the same thing has happened whether we like it or not. Recording studios and their amazing acoustics have given way to home studios where voice talents manage their acoustics with bed foam and moving van blankets…the clients know not the the recording room difference most times when they listen to the finished file.

Remember when voice over agencies ruled the business? Most professional voice talents signed with an agency and the agency did all the marketing for the talent (one might even go to the agent or the client’s office to audition). Now the Voices.com and Voice123’s of the world have changed that dynamic. And while some of their clients offer fine quality audio recordings and performances, some are pathetic in both those measures. But because those lesser talents will work for pennies on the dollar, they get work.

Sacrificing quality for lower cost is an American retail tradition. Which led me to think…

3. What is the tipping point for “acceptable” audio fidelity on auditions?
Whatever it is today, I think it will be different tomorrow. In much the same way America had recording studio quality standards years ago, today radio stations will seemingly broadcast almost anything for ad dollars and I can’t blame them. And video not audio has always been a prime focus for television ads as anyone who has ever watched a local cable ad can attest.

So what about when auditioning? Will clients and production houses sacrifice pristine audio quality on auditions since they are only auditions? Shouldn’t the audio quality of the audio represent the level of the finished product should that voice talent get the job? Or will the client assume that can all be fixed in post?

It’s an evolving answer but as our national consciousness seems to be focusing on faster and easier more so than better and quality, I think this debate in the voiceover industry isn’t but a year or so away from getting a clearer answer.

hear! what national voice over month is all about

National Voice Over Month chair, leader and flag bearer Dave Courvoisier put out the call for scripts and voice talent to help him produce a PSA (public service announcement) for NVOM.

As you might expect, Dave was deluged with people offering to help in his awareness efforts. That’s kinda been the way its been going from the event’s inception in late (I mean really late) August of this year.

So with the GLOBAL voice over help of:

Daniel Wallace, David Atwood, Mahmoud Taji, Bobbin Beam, David Houston, Jay Sawyer, Jim Barton, Ken Maxon, Liz de Nesnera, Linda Ristig, Morgan Barnhart, Lee Gordon, Dan Roberts, Trish Basanyi, Andy Boyns, Mike Coon, Doug Turkel, Melanie Haynes, Bob Souer, Dave Courvoisier, Justin S. Barrett, Rowell Gormon, Mike Roberts, Michael Schoen, Edo Peters, CC Petersen, Jodi Krangle and Ralph Hass

Here is the first National Voice Over Month PSA, produced by Dave Courvoisier.

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