Studio Efficiency by Jim Edgar

STUDIO EFFICIENCY: THOUGHTS ON FLOW AND WORKFLOW

by Jim Edgar

(Originally posted to https://justaskjimvo.studio)

View from behind the bars of my bicycle while on a trail ride. Leaves and trail blurred by motion.
Flow is where you find it…

The Workflow Approach

Lately, I’ve been thinking a great deal about the idea of “workflow”. One of the real challenges which confronts us in our home voiceover studios is the wide variety of what we are often asked to deliver. There’s simply no one-size-fits-all when it comes to what clients in different genres want. It helps to develop a variety of tools we can utilize in specific workflows so our audio sounds appropriate.

In one instance, a client may want that luscious tone to make their new product sound even more enticing. Or, an audition might come through that asks us to “not sound like a voice actor…” A helpful eLearning read might have a certain tone that wouldn’t be appropriate for a promo announcement or harder sell retail client.

How can we deliver the “right” kind of audio?

There will certainly be a variety of performance choices for those situations. However, each of those can be handled a bit differently in terms of any processing (or the lack thereof) which might be applied.

Our workflows have to be flexible enough to adapt. If we’re using a locked down system without the ability to tune or even choose the variables, this could work against all the good work we do behind the microphone.

It’s one of the reasons I get focused on “learning the instrument” – playing with distance, proximity, and position on the microphone so that we understand what happens when we lean in a little bit and work things a bit more intimately. That provides a huge set of variables even before we press record. We can add just the proper amount of spice right at the source.

Choose tools that support your creative flow

As we move through the recording process itself, I find myself favoring an a la carte approach, where I can invoke a bit of noise reduction if needed, but I don’t have to use it if it’s not necessary for the character or context of the project. It makes it easy to add and subtract so the audio gets just the “right” amount of polish.

Adaptability and resilience are hallmarks of a robust workflow. A number of voice actors got a shock when Meta purchased Accusonus and they learned that their products would simply not be supported moving forward. Luckily, those plug-ins will work fine for the foreseeable future and can be swapped out for new tools. It’s always helpful to consider how reliant you might be to a certain software approach.

Use recording tools that work for you

It’s also helpful to think about whether the software you are using is contributing to the process or it’s just familiar. You can be “used to” an inappropriate workflow and resist necessary change.

Though I hate to consider it, there may be a time where Twisted Wave doesn’t offer everything needed for a certain type of project. That’s a good thing, as it means I’m being more specific in my needs. Each software option has their strengths and workarounds, and the key question is whether the tools are letting us focus on what’s important.

Heck, I like tools – mics, interfaces, software – but I also realize that each person’s needs are a little different. Choosing those things that make sense to each of us means they will work well under the pressure of deadlines, delivery spec, and client needs.

For more, check out Jim's Home Recording classes, including Audio Editing Workflows coming up April 13, 2023!

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