5 Ways to “Turn” A Producer

friendly persuasionWe’ve talked about this.  All the best laid plans of ipDTL, and Source-Connect NOW, and SoundStreak, and even Skype will be for naught as long as the big guns decide they’re gonna hang on to their ISDN until the TelCos come over and rip the copper wires out of their wall.

  • It’s not that they’re afraid of technology.  Of course not…they run studios full of gadgets!
  • It’s not that they don’t see the writing on the wall.  They’d have to live in a cave not to notice.
  • It’s not that they’re paying too much.  Most haven’t seen a change in their bill (East/West Coast)

WHAT ARE THEY AFRAID OF?

Why, then?

They’re too busy.  They’ve got too much going on, and they just haven’t gotten around to it.  It’s not priority (YET). It’s all much ado about nothing.

Right.

That’s what they said about the internet, when everybody was still sending demos on cassettes in snail-mail.

WHAT WE’RE UP AGAINST

We’re just the lowly “talent”.  What can WE do?  We’re just happy to get a CALL from the big guys…those powerful studios who perpetuate the ISDN mystique.

To show you the mindset we’re up against, take the example of  the affable and capable Joe Cipriano.  He’s sitting at the top of the VO heap.  He was the guy who got the “big guns” to try ISDN in the first place.  It worked. But it took a while.

More recently, he was in the room with FOX Network engineers attempting to get them to consider Source-Connect.  Also in the room: Source-Connect’s guru: Rebekah Wilson.  FOX liked the quality of Source-Connect, but the FOX decision-makers had concerns.  Mostly security concerns about allowing another “rogue” input into their proprietary IP network.  Wilson said she could guarantee a configuration that would not compromise their security.  But they just…  Weren’t…  Sure.

Cipriano’s conclusion was that if it LOOKED like an ISDN box, and ACTED like an ISDN box, and even COST the same as an ISDN box, (but was really an IP solution), that they would probably go for it.

That’s what we’re up against.

WHAT WE CAN DO

1)  Friendly Persuasion.  I loved that movie.  If you’ve never seen the B&W classic with Gary Cooper and Dorothy McGuire.  Get it.  Friendly persuasion is diplomatic, persistent, gentle-but-dedicated.  Friendly persuasion over time wins the day.  Keep the notion of an IP solution relentlessly under their noses — with a dextrous hand — and be patient.

2)  Build on Relationships.  You know these guys.  Sure they’re busy, and sometimes the moment gets away, but while you’re BS’ing before or after the session, just ask.  Ask ‘em if they’ve played around with the new technology.  It might be enough to just bring it up, get their response (whatever it is), then drop it.  They may come to actually appreciate the fact that your reminded them, or at least made them think about it.  Relationship is built on trust.  Capitalize on that trust to “ask”.

3) Remind Them of the Cost.  The TelCos are pretty open about it.  Sooner or later they’ll continue to raise the cost until no one will want ISDN.  Verizon,  AT&T, Century-Link and the rest are considering removing physical switched & wired phone service to entire metro areas!  Do you think they’re really going to keep ISDN?  IP is the future.  The TelCos know it, because it’s cheaper.  They’re laying optic fiber…not copper.

4) Exposure. You’ve heard this in the context of marketing.  It takes 8 postcards, or 10 newsletters, or 7 personal emails to even get noticed by client prospects.  So if you and me and all our VO friends make mention to a producer when you have the chance, and continue to do it with “friendly persuasion”, the message WILL get through.

5) Offer a Quick and Free Demonstration.  A couple of friends have found great success with this ploy.  Ask Dan Hurst or Lance Blair about it.  After an ISDN session, both of them offered to give their remote producer a look at how ipDTL worked — on the spot.  In a minute or two, they had a convert.

Honorable Mention: Send videos, tutorials, links, conference  demos, industry white papers, and blogs like mine to your producer friends.  The sheer weight of the evidence will sooner or later force the issue.

And why do we want to force the issue?  Wouldn’t you like to get a shot at some of the big jobs that heretofore went only to ISDN talent?  No, it’s not going to happen overnight…but at least with IP technology, you can be part of the mix.  You’re no longer locked out of play just because you didn’t have one of the expensive tools.  That’s what the internet has done to rip this field wide open in the first place.

Let’s take it to the next logical conclusion.

CourVO

Uh-Oh…Here’s Another One!

audiotx stl-ipLet’s recap.  ISDN is dying.

IP-based technologies are scrabbling to fill the void ISDN will leave behind.

Top contenders in this space are:

  • ipDTL
  • Source-Connect NOW
  • SoundStreak
  • Skype

Another possibility that hasn’t done much with their patented technology is ConnectionOpen.

That’s about it.

Just yesterday ipDTL upped the ante by offering enhanced features, and a form of “free” subscription.  See Lance Blair’s excellent blog on this, as well as ipDTL’s own release.  Rebekah Wilson of Source-Connect NOW is hinting at a free version of their software, but so far, no official announcement.

But hold your horses folks!  Also in yesterday’s email was information from a source that’s been relatively silent for a long time:  Audio TX…also a UK company (like ipDTL).

AudioTX has long been a player in the ISDN space.  Their product relies on the paired copper wires of the traditional ISDN connection, but there’s no “box”…no codec, except in software form.  The advantage to AudioTX was, and has always been, the reduced price compared to a Musicam or Telos codec purchase.

I jumped on AudioTX  when I first had ISDN installed.  It was different.  All the heavy lifting in the audio transaction is handled by the computer and a terminal adaptor, instead of the codec box.  I found it quirky, and not terribly reliable, but that might’ve been my unfamiliarity with ISDN, AND their software.  It seemed to me, too much depended on the speed and capability of the computer.  I kept getting questions from producers like:  “…what kind of codec do you have again…?”

Eventually I went to a Telos box.  But even back then 3-4 years ago, part of the AudioTX software package was an IP connection.  The AudioTX people didn’t talk much about it, but the functionality was there.

Well…now they’re talking about it.  Even touting it!  Apparently they’ve noticed the marketplace shake-up lately.

They call it STL-IP.  From the website:  Transmit and receive up to 24bit, 96kHz broadcast quality audio: single- or bi-directional, stereo or mono, Linear (uncompressed) or using a variety of built-in professional quality compression algorithms including MPEG Layer 2, Layer 3, near-lossless J.41 and DAT12, ADPCM, G.722 and MPEG4 AAC, AAC Low-Delay and HE-AAC v2 with the optional AAC Coding Pack for Stereo audio from just 14kbps! and APTx, OPUS and Lossless FLAC.

Unless it’s a whole new regime of management over at AudioTX, I can tell you that this team has excellent engineering and customer service relations (sometimes one-and-the same person).  I have not communicated with them lately, but I appreciate their competitiveness in entering the market with a (hopefully) robust offering.

I DID get this email from Mo Dutta, their head of Sales:

A quick note to tell you about the new Live Record Option we’ve just launched for AudioTX Communicator.

  •    During a live session, this allows you to also record the audio direct to a file.
  •     You can record in full linear, uncompressed audio quality (a .WAV file)
  •     Or as an MP3 at any bitrate -  all the way up to 320kbps.
  •     You can choose to record the audio being sent, the audio being received or both.
  •    And if both, choose whether to record sent and record audio in separate files or mixed into one.

 If you’re a voice-over artist using Communicator for an ISDN session or a phone patch, now you can record a perfect digital quality, uncompressed copy of the audio direct to a file at the same time and then edit, upload or email it for your clients either as the primary audio delivery or as a value added service.  Or you can record as an MP3 file at any bitrate right up to 320kbps if you prefer.

 As a producer/production studio you make your workflow simpler, better, cleaner by recording the session audio direct to a file as you go and without needing any additional equipment.

 For interviews and interviewees, the Live Record Option offers a simple, clever way to record the interview easily and at the highest quality.

 Reporters can record their live reports and interviews to their local PC for later use, editing, archive or to upload a full quality uncompressed version later.

 You can purchase the new option and upgrade immediately online at:

http://www.audiotx.com/record_option_existing.html

 And, whilst you are thinking about upgrades, remember that we also offer the APTx Codec pack option adding both Standard and Enhanced APTx coding to AudioTX Communicator!

Is anybody using AudioTX still? Can you add anything to this conversation?

CourVO

Source-Connect NOW….Free?

competitionNo other question dominates discussions about the recent spate of ISDN-replacement technologies:  How much will it cost?

Kevin Leach at ipDTL has tinkered with his subscription fee a little since the first release.  SoundStreak offered their service at no cost for the longest time.  Now that it’s out of Beta, it’s STILL free for talent…but costs for producers.

But Source-Connect has been either purposely coy about their pricing model for “NOW”, or still reading their marketplace barometer to determine the best competitive position.

When I interviewed Source-Element’s Rebekah Wilson at NAB, I pointedly asked about the price point for NOW, and the answer was “…wonderfully, amazingly affordable…”  Encouraging, but inconclusive.

Yesterday, in an email exchange with Wilson, she authorized me to relay the following intriguing statement:

“…we at Source Elements feel honoured to have been supported by the community for the last 10 years. This has enabled us to become the preeminent alternative to ISDN and be instrumental in creating the market for ISDN alternatives in the first place. To thank the community that made this possible we’re considering making a professionally-useful version of Source-Connect Now free.

Barring any major revelations we intend to announce this officially in the next one to two weeks and would love to hear you and your reader’s thoughts on this…”

There you go.  That seems to me to be a rather remarkable statement, and if true…could really heighten the competitive position of everyone contending in this space.

Wilson is openly asking for your comments and reaction.

What say you?

CourVO

Ch-ch-ch-Changes

source-connect-aWe raised a few eyebrows in the VO community when WoVO came out with its Emancipation from ISDN Proclamation, but it’s looking more and more like we read the tea leaves right.

Plumbing the waters on ANYTHING developing in our business is best done in online community groups and forums.  Lately, those platforms have been full of notices about ISDN-replacement technology. The top contenders:

All three seem to be racheting up the pace of competition, which seems mostly good for voice-actors as a whole.  YouTube videos demo’ing the tools abound, and just Wednesday, Source-Elements announced its Beta, Phase 3… meaning:

- Anyone can now make an account
- No iLok or Source-Connect is required
- Microchat: private chat for you and your guest
- Status updates: see what’s going on
- Better audio device support

- Easier connections, more feedback

See the announcement of Source-Connect NOW’s final phase of BETA service here.

Register for Source-Connect NOW, here.

VO Atlanta (starting today 3/20/14)  is preparing some live demonstrations of ipDTL and Source-Connect now…as is WoVOCon in May.

These technological developments are exciting, but nothing will move ISDN-happy production houses off their duff until the impetus comes from the rank ‘n’ file voice actor cajoling for the change.  If you operate your VO business in any other city than LA or NYC, this means you.

When you have an ISDN session with a producer, ask them quickly if they’ve tried the new technologies like ipDTL or Source-Connect NOW.  A few enterprising voice actors doing this — and conducting a test session on the spot — are finding a genuine WOW! reaction from the producers.

The demise of ISDN, and the rise of replacement technologies only saves money for all of us (production houses too), and spreads around those lucrative jobs to a wider universe of possible talent.

Give “NOW” a try.  It’s amazingly easy and intuitive, and it’s free till Tax Day!

CourVO

Cipriano Talks Connectivity

ISDNAll the churning in online forums lately about new remote recording solutions is getting serious.  It’s also raising plenty of disclaimers that (again) the rumors of ISDN’s demise are greatly exaggerated.

World-Voices Organization recently took a bold stand encouraging people on both sides of the recording transaction (talent & producers) to wake up to the inevitable, and join in a movement that will democratize opportunity for all (and save significant amounts of money).  See WoVO’s Emancipation from ISDN Proclamation

Someone who long ago proved his chops in adopting new technology, saw WoVO’s Proclamation and called to tell me a story that seemed more than coincidental given all the a fore-mentioned churn.

cipriano-1

Joe Cipriano

In 1994, Joe Cipriano was able to single-handedly convince the managers at the FOX network to install something called Integrated Services Digital Network lines, so he wouldn’t have to traipse down to the studios every night after-hours to cut a few promo lines.  Now he’s among a select few Network TV promo voices who all use ISDN (and sometimes Source-Connect) constantly to get his job done.

But these days, Joe is fighting a similar battle with the Network heads over the new paradigms emerging.  His call prompted me to suggest maybe we should give his compelling story a larger audience.  We agreed to record our conversation about his recent connectivity “issue” (it’s a doozie!), as further proof that no solution is a sure thing (including ISDN), and that technological advances bid us to press forward anyway.

Watch below the 15-min chat we had about Joe’s brief brush with panic, the future of connectivity, and the tough pushback from the top.  Thanks, Joe!

CourVO

Joe Cipriano Talks Connectivity from Dave Courvoisier on Vimeo.

 

Source-Elements Debuts “NOW”

source-connect-aIn the midst of an unbridled enthusiasm for ipDtL… one of the first providers of non-ISDN remote, high-quality recording — Source Elements — is out with a compelling competing product.

Even as World-Voices Organization calls for an industry-wide end to ISDN, pretenders to the throne are emerging with strong statements as replacements.

ipDtL and SoundStreak are both gaining traction as alternatives.  There are others, but for years, Source-Connect has been a viable and working (if low key) solution to an ISDN workaround.

Now, apparently, feeling the heat of other contenders, Source-Elements has gotten busy with it’s own offering.

I had the pleasure of being in an active working online session for SourceConnect Now with Rebekah Wilson of Source-Elements.  At this point, registered NOW users cannot just sign-in and connect with other registered users; a Source-Elements customer service person has to initiate the internet transaction, but this is just temporary.

sourceelementsnow

screen capture of my live session with Source-Connect NOW showing simple and intuitive program interface

For this Beta test, I had to perform a registration, then a log-in (X2), but Rebekah tells me by next week, it’ll be a one-click process. After the log-in, it’s a truly brainless interchange… in seconds I was connected with Rebekah in a seamless, solid, and quality voice transaction.  You’ll see VU meters actively reflecting the voice from your end, and the other end.

Again, this was only so effortless because I was already a registered Source-Connect user.  She was not forthcoming with a pricing structure at this point, but I can only imagine that it is competitive (has to be).

I got the sense from Rebekah that they were on the verge of a public debut, and that’s why they’ve been so generous with granting interviews, and getting word out on social media today.  Word of this product was circulating under the radar for weeks, and with this revealing look, it’s clear Source-Elements is:

1) serious about being agressive in this space
2) clearly putting some forethought into design and marketplace
3) reacting to customer demand for an easy-to-use ISDN alternative for both talent and producer/engineer.

From the “NOW” Beta website, some specs:

Beta Features:

Opus codec
Set at 128kbps for professional high-quality audio.

ISDN-like workflow
Low-latency bi-directional audio.

Conference up to 10 connections
Only limited by your bandwidth.

For music and voice
Send high-quality mono, dual mono or stereo.
Mono: Voiceover and remote ADR sessions
Dual mono: Two discrete microphones or timecode
Stereo: High-quality music monitoring and review

Easy-to-make Connections
Self-configuring, easy-to-make connections
No port-forwarding required, works on most networks automatically.


Requirements:

Mac OSX, Windows, Linux or ChromeOS
Compatible with any OS that supports Chrome Browser.

Audio device
A stereo or multi-mono CoreAudio, ASIO or Linux audio device set to 48000hz sample-rate.

Chrome Browser version 32 or higher.
Chrome Beta 33 recommended due to audio bug where you cannot set your own output with Chrome 32.

Watch this blog for further developments on this exciting product very soon!  Nice work, Source-Elements!

CourVO

Final Stop…

locomotiveFunny how often things run their course despite our feeble efforts at change.

The ISDN train is coming into the station for the last time, and soon, it’s final passengers will wonder why they ever bothered with the old thing, now that all those brand-new shiny conveyances are available.

Besides… getting a ticket on the ISDN train is expensive, not just for the passengers, but for the companies that run the thing.  TelCos want to be done with it.  Voice talent — being more agile — are ready NOW to jump to the next new thing.  Producers/engineers/studios are the ones stuck in the mud.

I get it.  They’re mighty busy, and ISDN is too reliable for them to change.  But the smart ones will leave the train behind now, and get on something George Jetson would be riding, ’cause the momentum is there.

You can see from a long string of blogs I’ve written, what the next technology will be.  It’ll be an internet protocol-based, broadband remote-recording solution.  The one getting all the buzz right now is ipDtL (or “IppDittle”, as my friend Brian Amador calls it).  Source Connect has had the corner on this side of the market for years, but has done little in the way of marketing.  My personal favorite is SoundStreak.  Then there are some also-rans:  Skype for one, and ConnectionOpen for another.

Regardless, World-Voices Organization is deciding to take a big stand on this issue.  We’re your voice over industry trade group that you should be joining, remember?  Advocating, promoting, educating, and being the leader on issues-of-the-day is what we’re all about.

We say it’s time to dump ISDN.

The tide is in your favor if you are an independent free-lance voice actor living anywhere besides Los Angeles and New York.  There are a heckuva lot of us, and we think we deserve a chance at some of those juicy pies that only ISDN talent could get heretofore.  The advent of IP-based remote recording will be the biggest democratization of the voice-over marketplace in some time…and advances once more the evolution of this business due to the internet.

The next time you talk to your favorite studio, ask ‘em what they’re going to do when ISDN dies.  Press the point…even suggest your favorite alternative.  Then show ‘em the WoVO ISDN Manifesto I’m printing below.  Last stop for the ISDN locomotive.

(this doc also avaible on the World-Voices Organization website)

_________________

 The Emancipation from ISDN Proclamation
January 1, 2014

By the Executive Board of World-Voices Organization.

A Proclamation.

Whereas, on the first day of January, in the year two thousand and fourteen, a proclamation and challenge was issued by the Executive Board of World-Voices Organization, containing, among other things, the following, to wit:

Whereas:

ISDN service is rapidly becoming obsolete.

Telecommunication companies are no longer installing or providing service in some regions.

Telecommunication companies are charging uniquely different rates for different regions, effectively making its use and access too costly to many voice talents.

ISDN is expensive to have and maintain for both voice talents and producers.

It limits producers to using voice talent only from certain regions or those that already have the technology infrastructure.

It’s an economic issue, it’s an issue of “fairness.”

Whereas:

There are many phenomenal talents in many places with poor or no ISDN access, limiting both them and producers from casting a wider spectrum of talents.

Leveling the field and making even more voices available to voice talent seekers are Internet-based studio-to-studio links that allow for superior quality audio at a far lower price. Source Connect, Sound Streak and ipDTL.

Tests show that these technologies are reliable and easy to use.

FCC Commissioner Tom Wheeler has this vision:

“This is what I call the Fourth Network Revolution. History has shown that new networks catalyze innovation, investment, ideas and ingenuity. Their spillover effects can transform society think of the creation of industrial organizations and the standardized time zones that followed in the wake of the railroad and telegraph.”

We at World-Voices Organization, the industry association of freelance voice talent, agree and feel it’s time that studios, producers, ad agencies and other seekers of voice talent make the move now and start accepting these services for remote recording work. Keep your ISDN until it is gone, but open the market to more talents. This benefits everyone.

Free the talent, plug into more choice.  He with the most choices, wins.

 http://www.fcc.gov/blog/ip-transition-starting-now

Seizing the Moment

seize the momentPeople wonder why I hammer away at the one big issue that faces us all.  I’m not even sure what to call it… but it has to do with the impending death of ISDN, and pretenders to the throne.

A voice-over friend in Canada wrote me yesterday to ask my opinion of  ipDtL.  I hope he won’t mind my copying his frustration, which was perfectly captured in his comments to me:  “…Now the VO talent  community is being asked to fork over cash to basically keep trying these new technologies until one or more of them is adopted.  The post-ISDN landscape is fragmented, and regardless of its low cost of entry for IPDTL is just “one more thing”… IP based ISDN replacements have a *brutal* adoption rate  because US and Canadian ISPs have a stranglehold on the reliable plans that we all need to use an IP based solution. I can’t imagine that ipDTL is going to fare any better. Fragmented adoption, piecemeal compatibility across client bases…”

Virtually every up-and-coming solution  –  and there are several good ones:  Source-Connect, SoundStreak, ipDtL…even Skype — will need to climb the same mountain blocking adoption:  acceptance from the big guys…the producers, the studios, the audio engineers.  Most all of them will not budge from using over-priced ISDN lines until the TelCo’s come over to their place of business ipdtl-aand rip the paired wires from the ground.

Oh, a few are watching the landscape…wringing their hands, and dipping their toe in the water, but in the meantime, our freelance voice-over colleagues are getting reamed by ever-increasing monthly ISDN fees.  In Wisconsin and Michigan, for instance, reports of monthly ISDN fees approaching $500.  There’s a threshold…a point of diminishing returns that the big phone companies are pushing so that ISDN will go away.  They’re losing money on it, and they make no bones about their distaste for continuing to support it.

Fine, then… let’s give ‘em their wish.  Only…which option?  The debate rises above the old “Beta vs. VHS” stand-off from years past because the market is undecided.

powwerIn the end, WE will push the point.  Voice actors. We have to.  It’s in our best interest.  To get the best deal on breaking the stranglehold that ISDN and East-Coast, West-Coast studios have on our business, all of “the rest of us” are going to have to make our preference known to the studios.  We need to seize the moment.  Once ISDN goes away, and the democratization of hi-fidelity remote recording from anywhere is realized over IP… it won’t matter WHICH big city you live in or don’t live in… you can step up and compete for a big piece of the pie like never before.

It’s already happening.  ipDtL & SoundStreak users are gently urging their remote recording studios to “give it a try, and see how easy it is, and how good it sounds”.  One by one they’ll fall.  One by one, they’ll have to be convinced.

Start now. The sooner you do, the sooner you will grow your business and help the business of voiceovers progress past this logjam.

CourVO

 

Trust… But Verify

reaganRemember that conditional phrase Pres. Reagan uttered when negotiating nuclear firepower with Russia’s Gorbachev?… or am I totally dating myself as a geeky news-guy?  There’s a reason I bring it up.

I know all of a sudden the voice-over world has fallen head-over-heels for IpDtl.  No question, it appears to be a fine broadband solution for remote recording, and I’m a subscriber.

But I’m still big on the online recording product I became acquainted with a couple of years ago, that is really hitting its stride:  SoundStreak.  Available for Windows and Apple.  Free to download, and drop-dead simple to use.  AND it has some features the IpDtL does not.

If you search for SoundStreak on my blog, you’ll see I’ve written a ton about this service.  I’ve also personally gotten to know its founder and CEO — Dan Caligor — and I continue to be impressed with SoundStreak’s grasp of our business, the challenges ahead, and the innovative ideas they’re bringing to the table.

For instance, for years now, Caligor and his team has been aware of, and been working on the issue of how to get producers, audio engineers, and others who are currently entrenched in ISDN, to accept an alternative (it’s inevitable, right?).  That IS the 800 lb. gorilla in the room.

The solution they’ve landed on partially relies on voice talent to spread the word, encourage, and suggest SoundStreak to their production house clients.  Remember, the talent pays nothing in the SoundStreak session with the client (producer).  So SoundStreak’s new strategy to bring in the acceptance of it’s system is to offer two incentives:  Referrals and Verification.

Verification is something that seems to dog the voice-over community.  It’s the question of how to qualify a voice talent as experienced, seasoned, expert, professional — call it what you will — it’s darned hard and controversial to define.  (At WoVO we’ve wrestled mightily with this concept) SoundStreak is only going there within the confines of it’s own realm.  In other words, they’re not passing judgement on someone’s talent or recording skills… they’re only evaluating whether the SoundStreak talent being considered by a producer or client can pass a “pre-flight check” of the connection.  If so, the talent immediately becomes listed in the SoundStreak database AS verified…something you can tout on your branding materials.

Referrals are intended to encourage new clients/producers to try SoundStreak and get a discount via a referral from a talent.  The program is designed to remove the reluctance from the talent OR the producer side of the equation to try a new technology.

I think even President Reagan would’ve appreciated the forethought that’s gone into SoundStreak’s program.

Below, read about both incentives in their announcement, which came out yesterday.  It’s acccompanied by a brief explanation of the SoundStreak story.

________________

SOUNDSTREAK ANNOUNCES VERIFICATION AND REFERRAL PROGRAMS

New programs aim to make SoundStreak easy to get started with and to share with new users

Contact: Wesley Chinn, wchinn@soundstreak.com877-212-9333 x106

SoundStreak (www.soundstreak.com) is pleased to announce two new programs, the SoundStreak Referral program and the SoundStreak Verification program.  These programs are intended to increase awareness of, and comfort with, SoundStreak in the voice-over and audio post production industries.

SoudStreak Referrals:

We are pleased to announce the SoundStreak Referral program, which is intended to encourage Talent users (voice actors) to tell their Production clients about SoundStreak. The referred Production user will receive a 25% discount on all sessions done with the referring Talent for six months. There is no limit on how many referrals can be made or received, there is no cost or obligation associated with making or receiving a referral, and Production users can receive referrals regardless of whether they already have a SoundStreak account.

According to SoundStreak CEO Dan Caligor, “We’ve often heard from voice actors that are excited about SoundStreak that they are nonetheless cautious about recommending new technologies to their Production clients.  Recently, we’ve begun hearing similar comments from the production side – they are reluctant to bring up new technologies or workflows with some of their established voices.  The Production Referral program’s intent is to fuel a virtuous cycle as each user group makes the other aware of their positive interest in and experience with SoundStreak.”

SoundStreak Verification

We are also pleased to announce our SoundStreak Verification program, which is designed to make users confident that every SoundStreak session, including their first, will be successful and productive.  According to Caligor, “We recognize that inserting a new technology into a tight workflow is risky, and that this is especially true for each first time between any two studios, even if both have used SoundStreak before.  We understand it takes time to establish the trust we aspire to, and we are prepared to earn that trust.”

With this goal in mind, we will offer structured “pre-flight checks” during scheduled SoundStreak Verification sessions between a studio and a SoundStreak engineer.  Verification will be for a specific role – Talent or Production – as each requires different tests, and will apply to a specific studio setup.  Once verified, users will appear in our database as SoundStreak Verified and will be encouraged to announce this fact on their websites and in promotional material (SoundStreak will provide digital badges).

Verification is offered free of charge to any Production user with an active SoundStreak billing account (setting up accounts is cost- and obligation-free).  Verification sessions can be scheduled for any Talent or Production studio at the request of the production user.

 

About SoundStreak

SoundStreak (www.soundstreak.com) is a software-as-service that allows real-time collaborative recording sessions over any broadband Internet connection without the need for ISDN. SoundStreak’s free-to-install and easy-to-use software was designed specifically for use in recording voice overs and transfers uncompressed audio in resolutions up to 24-bit, 96k. Our patented technology provides the best of both worlds, balancing the benefits of real-time communication with uncompromised quality regardless of bandwidth considerations.

SoundStreak’s software for Mac OS and Windows is easily downloaded and installed on virtually any computer.   Sessions can be set up in moments through our straightforward interface, and provide high-quality voice patch, enhanced workflows, and features such as read-to-picture and real-time script sharing.  Full-resolution, uncompressed takes are transferred to the production computer automatically and arrive within seconds of completion throughout the session.  SoundStreak employs a cloud-based architecture, allowing users to manage their accounts and session assets and archive, retrieve, and share takes via a secure portal.

SoundStreak also offers features and services for enterprise and high-volume users.  These include delegated spending authority, flexible permissions management, automated billing reference tracking, MSA pricing and effortless traversal of virtually any corporate firewall.

SoundStreak is free to download and install, and free for Talent to use. There are no monthly or setup charges; Production users are billed $24 for each 30-minute interval of session time and the first month is 50% off for all new billing activations.

 

BRI = ISDN? (a new wrinkle)

centurylink-aIn Las Vegas, the main telephone carrier is Century Link, which before that was Embarq, and before that was Sprint.

3-4 years ago, I had the company install my ISDN lines, and the service has been solid and fairly inexpensive compared to what some others are paying now.

Rumors and hard evidence keeps mounting, though, that some of the major TelCos are eschewing new ISDN installs  in certain markets, and have jacked up the price for existing service.

But just today, I rec’d an email from Century Link about their new BRI service.  Basic Rate Interface.  Here’s the company line on what BRI is:  “Leveraging your existing copper voice lines for data connectivity lets you create a seamless, flexible, and highly cost-efficient communications system. CenturyLink™ Basic Rate Interface (BRI): Single Line Service uses an ISDN digital network architecture to enable reliable data communications without the expense of dedicated lines, modems and cabling—while accelerating both voice and data far beyond the speed of standard telephone lines.”

Got that?  Great, now explain it to me?

Some of the benefits of BRI (again, from their announcement):

  • Replace multiple voice, fax, and modem lines with two versatile ISDN channels to support data, voice, video and audio applications-with a separate phone number for each device
  • Achieve near-broadcast quality video and CD-quality audio

Somehow I think this falls short of a true replacement for the standard 2 copper lines that you need for ISDN, but BRI certainly  muddies the field a little, no?   Or are the TelCos just trying to find another way to justify keeping the cost of the ISDN infrastructure?

See the complete Century Link BRI announcement: Get Fast, Cost-Effective ISDN Data Connectivity and Voice Service over Existing Telephone Lines.

CourVO