I’ve had Melodyne in my audio production arsenal for many years and have used it only occasionally to play around with for radio imaging voice overs. It’s main purpose of course is to fix out of tune singers in music production. I call it the more beautiful sister of Auto-Tune.
The other day a friend of mine sent me a video interview his son had done with Dr. Gerald H. Pollack talking about The Fourth Phase of Water [video]. The interview was well done, good questions, great information, nicely edited but at one point in the video the thing all sound guys fear the most when doing these kinds of documentary interviews, outside the location a truck started backing up! Beep, beep, beep, beep….
While it’s understandable given the location and while slightly annoying, I thought it would have been better to find a way to get rid of it in post production. The best they could have done was to play with the EQ and try to knock it down a bit so it wasn’t as harsh…but then I had a thought!
I opened up a new session in ProTools and imported the video with it’s audio track. Loaded the Melodyne plug in on the audio track and voila! There it was as clear as day…!
I highlighted it and hit delete. And as simple as that, the sound of the backing up truck was gone! Amazing!
Of course there is a bit of EQ tweaking to do but for the most part Melodyne had done the job.
Try it out next time you have the same issue, you’ll be amazed too!
I’ve always said when you have the right tools you can make anything happen. The same goes for my voice over business.
I’ve been asked a million times before what software I use (ProTools), what microphones I use (TLM 103 + MKH 416), what’s my mic preamp (BAE 1073MP) I’m even asked about the plugins I use to process my voice, which depending on the job, is just a combination of compression and EQ. But nobody ever asks me what I use the majority of the time, in my office to help me run the business. What’s up with that?
The tools I use day-in-day-out to run my business are just as important and in some cases MORE important than what I use in the booth.
For that reason, I’ve decided to share the 5 most indispensable tools I use to run my voice over business.
Wunderlist (Mac/PC) – My assistant and I live in the same city, by car about 30 minutes away, but thanks to Wunderlist I don’t need to call and ask her what she’s working on, see what’s she’s finished or to give her more information on a specific project. Wunderlist sits on my computer desktop in my office and in my iPhone. No matter where I am my assistant and I are able to keep the business on track.
Fetch (Mac) – I’ve been using Fetch since they invented it to quickly and seamlessly upload finished audio for clients to my online web server. Each client has a ‘Fetch droplet’ on my computer that is directly connected to their password protected folder on my server. I just drag and drop finished audio and zipped files onto the clients droplet and off they go! (PC Alternate: WS_FTP, 20% off with this code: Fetch20)
Typinator (Mac) – Typing the same thing over and over to clients when sending notifications that their audio is ready to download from my server (especially during TV sweeps) is a thing of the past with Typinator. I’ve set up simple codes that instantly expand into larger messages and shave off time when sending emails to clients. (PC Alternate: AutoText)
MaxBulk Mailer (Mac/PC) – Communication is one of the most important aspects of my business. I’m in touch with my clients regularly with general information, like new blog posts they might be interested in, an article that I’ve read or vacation notices. MaxBulk Mailer is the software that I use to stay in touch. It resides on my office computer and lets me email to my entire client list (or just a segment) quickly and easily anytime it’s necessary.
Zoom.us (Mac/PC) – Thanks to the internet and web cams, traditional conference calls are a thing of the past. I believe reading peoples facial expressions and body language is just as important (and sometimes more important) than hearing only the tone of voice. For that reason, I started using Zoom to meet with clients to discuss projects before and after I get into the booth. I use it when doing live webinars with my voice over students and also to meet with my assistant for our weekly face-to-face.
The tools you use should help you achieve your goals not interfere with them or bog you down. Each of these tools helps me to get to where I want to be faster and more efficiently. Check them out!
From the looks of it ‘live’ video on social media has become a thing. And to help it not turn into a monstrous thing from the deep I’ve put together this list of 10 tips to make your live Periscope and Facebook Live broadcasts successful and help you connect with your audience.
1. Your Title Should Grab their Attention
Think of the title of your Periscope like a newspaper headline. Write a great title that tells the viewer what it’s about and what they will see or learn. It should entice them to tune in. ‘Untitled’ isn’t an option for success.
2. Don’t Waste Time
Don’t spend the opening seconds of the broadcast swinging the camera around the room showing us stuff, print out a copy of your company logo and slogan and shoot that as you welcome us to the broadcast and verbally tell us what’s going to happen.
3. Stay Calm
When you point the camera towards you don’t act surprised by the people logging in to watch, it’s what you were expecting so go with it. Likewise, don’t start giving shout-outs to viewers unless someone of note shows up…like The Pope. It could happen…
4. Don’t Wait to Start
You should be starting the actual content of your live video broadcast within the first :60 seconds, don’t forget that people who joined late will be able to watch the replay for anything they may have missed.
5. Horizontal Please!
It’s one of my biggest pets peeves. My eyes are side-by-side on my head, not one on top of the other. Also, be sure to keep your head in the middle of the frame with your eyes on the imaginary line between the top 3rd and middle third of the frame. In the case of Periscope, when the comments and hearts begin to fly we will be able to still see your head.
6. Have An Agenda
As a guy who spent 25+ years working in radio and TV Studios, and doing hours of show prep before each broadcast…please, please have an agenda. Before you go live, outline what you’re going to say and the points that you intend to make. Then follow that outline.
7. Do A Midstream Recap
If you notice a huge spike in viewers, it’s OK to do a quick recap for those who just joined you, but again remember they can watch the replay later. Be brief about it and unless your broadcast is going to be an epic, don’t recap more than once.
8. Questions At the End
During the broadcast, if audience members start asking questions let them know that you will take questions at the end of the broadcast. This will help you stick to your agenda. And unless you have a fantastic memory (I don’t) have them re-ask their question later. Just like your midstream recap be brief and get on with the task at hand.
9. Leave Them Wanting More
After you’ve finished your presentation stay on to answer a few questions from your audience but don’t let this drag on. A good broadcaster knows to leave on a high note. Let them know if they have any further questions to contact you by email or via Twitter.
10. Use Graphics
Any URLs, email addresses, Twitter handles, etc. that you mention during the broadcast should be printed out on a sheet of paper and held up to the camera for people to take note of. Finish off the way you started with your company logo and slogan. Maybe a URL for your product or service.
Make an appointment with viewers. Either do your broadcast on a regular schedule (though this may not always be ideal) or Tweet 30 minutes in advance to your followers and friends that you’ve got a broadcast coming up. Mention the title too!
It’s a brave new world out there and everybody has the tools to be a broadcaster. As I’ve said before, the artist, broadcaster or craftsperson knows it’s not about the tools…but how you use them.
Let me know if I can help you or if you have any other tips to add to my list.
“Feelings, whoa, whoa, whoa, feelings….” as the Morris Albert song goes…are not always expressed in a meaningful way by everybody.
While it may not matter as much on an interpersonal level, when there are millions of advertising/marketing dollars on the line you may want a better understanding of consumer “feelings”.
For decades, advertising and marketing agencies have employed focus groups to help their clients better understand their customers. However, using the more traditional methods of collecting data isn’t always fool proof.
Today there is a way to take the guesswork out of interpreting focus group results using facial recognition software.
High Tech Answer
There are 2 primary companies who have dove into this field with both feet.
1) Affectiva is a spinoff of MIT’s Media Lab and their software claims to be able to get an accurate measurement of people’s true feelings with what they claim is the largest database of facial expressions, correlate-able to their appropriate emotions.
And 2) Eyeris who have already sold their flagship software EmoVu to 3-letter law enforcement for use during interrogations. Now, Eyeris is exploring how to embed EmoVu into consumer electronics. The idea is to tap into the camera of a smart TV (or phone) to understand what the people in the room are enjoying (or not) and to make recommendations for other programming to watch! Rest assured it’s a feature that the consumer will be able to turn on or off.
Knight Rider Revisited
Both companies are considering their technology for the automotive industry. Imagine a car that will recognize your facial expressions and react accordingly. If you were falling asleep…it might suggest you pull over for a nap or if it saw that you were getting aggravated in traffic it might suggest some relaxing music. Another application might be in hospitals to gauge the true feelings of post operative patients to help make treatment decisions to aid with their recovery.
When it comes to understanding consumer behaviour the implications for this kind of technology are far reaching. Any advertising or marketing firm who want to be able to give the best information to their clients should at least be considering this software.
The technology shouldn’t be used as a cover-all but to help in asking the right focus group participant, the right question. If one subject reacts in a negative way to a commercial or product presentation for example, it opens the door to specifically ask them a question to understand why.
A warning: the data attainable by facial recognition software should be used as an aid, not as pure illumination.
I have always been and remain a fan of Clotaire Rapaille‘s method of gaining insight for his clients, but if you are looking for a high tech solution one of the aforementioned will get the job done.
Why does Pro Tools make it so difficult to love them?
I’ve been using Pro Tools for the last 14 years, always upgrading when necessary even though they were typically slow to keep up with the Mac OS updates. I’ve been using the original Mbox with the LE version for most of my time with PT. I used to use Pro Tools FREE in the OS9 years (that was truly brilliant marketing).
As things slow down for the holidays I’m finally sitting down to look seriously at upgrading to Pro Tools 9…excited at the idea of not being tied down to using their hardware. As it turns out I’m not even eligible for their upgrade/crossgrade because I own an ‘original’ (meaning ‘old’) Mbox and will have to buy a full version ($629)…so much for rewarding my loyalty!
My recent purchase of Logic Studio ($499), which comes loaded with a lot more stuff than Pro Tools ever did has left my budget for purchases a bit thin so I don’t see the upgrade to Pro Tools 9 happening anytime soon.
So should I bite the bullet and cough up the dough? Or keep running on OS 10.5 with Pro Tools 8.0.1 (version 8.0.3 doesn’t work with my Mbox)… Or migrate all of my production work over to Logic and kiss the whole Pro Tools fiasco good-bye?
David Tyler is a creative communicator and voice over talent with 25+ years of experience in the broadcast world of TV and radio.
His mantra of 'Stop Communicating and Start Connecting' is his counsel to anyone attempting to use media, old or new, broadcast or online.
He writes and lectures on "The Art of Communicating Ideas".
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