Friday, December 24, 2010

Trend: Skype And The Voice Over Industry

Two days ago, Skype experienced world-wide outages, and for the next 24 hours, it was easy to witness just how important Skype is to the voice over industry, as people scrambled to find ways to communicate with peers, or just took it an excuse to take an early Holiday. Back in 2004, when online casting began to explode, the major concern was that auditions were being sent into a 'black hole' and no one knew who was who, and only had forums to communicate; a somewhat two-dimensional way of communicating.

Since 2007, and especially in the last three years, Skype calls have enabled voice over coaches, voice talent, and voice over clients to record work, create voice over demos, 'phone patch' (maybe Skype-patch?), and hold voice coaching workshops. Perhaps the greatest advantages to Skype continue to be:

  • Face to face reassurance that you are working with a 'human', which helps build trust
  • Increasing sound and picture quality
  • Low or no cost (On average Skype customers spend just $8 USD a month)

Skype has also allowed Voice123 staff to communicate; not just within staff, but also with members of the voice over community. There is just something special about being able to say, 'Look! The guy writing emails is a real person!'. Perhaps, this blog is inspired by a story today on Good Morning America, of a US Marine in Afghanistan, who was able to watch his daughter's birth via Skype, I will be using Skype to stay in touch with my large family during a Holiday party, and all of the voice talent I had the chance to meet face to face this year while working at Voice123 (Skype call with Chris Kendall and Loren Gursky). Simply putting a face and voice to the email is enough to remind us what makes people in the voice industry so special.

What do you use Skype for your voice over needs?

Happy Holidays! Here is a gift for you: Skype Smiles & Skype Flags

Voice123 - The Voice Marketplace

Steven Lowell
Community Development Manager
Voice123 Facebook
Voice123 Youtube Channel
Twitter: @voice123


Mike Cooper said...

To be honest, Stephen, I try to avoid it for phone patch purposes. Even on my high speed DSL connection the quality varies, the whole thing is prone to spurious dropouts, and producers end up asking me to repeat something which was perfectly fine the first time - just because they couldn't hear it right over Skype.

For me, the "traditional" PSTN phone patch is still the best bet. The lower bandwidth of the telephone line encourages the producer to listen carefully enough to tell whether the words are coming out right, but without them trying to guage the audio quality or pick holes where there are none on the actual recording. Plus, an inclusive calling plan from my telco (BT) means I can call dozens of countries at no additional charge for up to an hour at a time.

I'm sure Skype - and services like it - will get there eventually, but for now it's a last resort for me rather than a preferred option.

Anonymous said...


Skype is not very different from Yahoo's and MSN's messenger. I had already used Yahoo messenger with clients outside the US for recording sessions, before Skype was around. During last weeks blackouts I was able to switch to Yahoo with two of my clients. They already were Yahoo messenger users. So, next time Skype malfunctions, there is no reason to panic as there are other services just as good. :)

Chema said...

My experience with Skype is great so far. I've had sessions that involved three different parties (client in NYC, director in LA and talent in Spain) and worked like a charm. Also with a mixed environment - director in LA and client in Barcelona via telephone on a 3-way Skype call. We usually turn the video off before the actual recording, so we use all the bandwidth for the audio. This has solved all my needs for a phone patch and also for an expensive ISDN setup: the client can attend the sessions on Skype and then download the hi-res aiffs from our FTP server. So hands up for Skype, I would even consider paying some extra amount for an "enhanced" quality calls scheme or something like that.

D. Saunders said...

Maybe I'm a super-noobie at this, but there is no way I would use Skype to connect and record a track remotely...have I totally missed the point?
So, that leaves Skype as a simple telephone to talk to can that be critical? I, as well as everyone in the US, have Skype, cellphone, and land-line phone...

I have actually experienced an attempt to do a coaching session over Skype (so I could use my mic setup instead of a telephone handset), and my voice coach told me to hang up and call back over a land line...the quality was that bad.

So, I guess I don't understand the dire impact of Skype going down for a day.

Sorry for sounding cynical...I don't mean to be.