Outsourcing audio editing

Outsourcing Audio Editing

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Are you finding that audio editing is becoming so time consuming that it’s reducing your ability to engage in other activities that build your business, like marketing yourself and recording work for your clients?

Many voice talent are outsourcing audio editing to capable audio engineers who can get the job done for a reasonable price and in a timely fashion, no matter where in the world they are located.

Why Outsource Audio Editing?

Outsourcing audio editing can really benefit you in the long run. As a voice actor, you want to ensure that the voice recordings you are sending to clients are the best possible quality and with everything else going on from auditioning, updating your demos and finishing work, you may not always have the full capacity to edit audio on your own.

Benefits to Outsourcing Audio Editing:

1. Time

While outsourcing in general terms isn’t new, a number of talent are realizing how much time they can reclaim in terms of spending it with family, pursuing other opportunities or getting a good night’s sleep.

2. Money

It may go without saying but time is money. If you find that your time could be better spent doing something else (like recording for more clients), you may find that outsourcing, although it means paying someone else to do the audio editing for you, may in fact save you money in the long run. In fact, by having someone else take on the task, it may afford you the opportunity to earn more money, because you can take on more projects.

3. Health

Although short commercial ads are pretty popular and relatively short, not all of your projects will be this short. Consider long form narration – do you have time to spend an extra 5-10 hours of editing these lengthy files? If not, audio editing outsourcing may be for you. It gives you the freedom to pick and choose which projects you may have time to edit on your own, and which ones you may need extra help with.

At the end of the day, knowing how to work more efficiently  will have a positive impact on your health, and give you time to rest and recover – which is crucially important in the life of a busy voice actor.

4. Consistency

If you work with the same audio editor on a regular basis, you can guarantee that your audio will sound the same all the time. An audio pro will be able to set your levels to a consistent setting each time, ensuring that the final products your clients will receive will all have the same amount of professionalism.

Types of Audio Editing

Although audio editing may seem like a straightforward process, especially if you are technically savvy, there are many different parts of audio editing that you may need help with, including:

  1. Basic Editing
    This includes removing mistakes and any other unwanted background noises that may have been picked up by your microphone.  
  2. Speed
    Slowing down or speeding up the cadence of your recording.
  3. Mixing
    Adding in sound effects or music
  4. Format Conversion
    You may need to convert your final file for your client in a format other than the one you have recorded. Although this can be a fairly easy process in some cases, in others you may need an expert’s help to ensure that you don’t lose the quality of your audio.

Becoming More Efficient at Audio Editing

If you feel that you are not quite busy enough to justify outsourcing audio editing and still want to do this part yourself, there are still ways you can become more efficient at editing your audio to make this part of the process less daunting – especially for beginners. These dos and don’ts can help you manage your editing process more succinctly.

  • Don’t edit for more than 3 or 4 hours at a time. You need to take breaks in order to give yourself a mental break as well as a physical break from all the wrist/hand movements that come along with editing.
  • Do watch tutorials – it’s a good idea to be seeking out new skills and new ways to edit that may save you more time.
  • Don’t be afraid to seek out help if the editing process becomes too laborious.

Ultimately, the decision to outsource audio editing depends on how busy you are and how many projects you are working on at any given time. If you decided to edit yourself, be sure to seek out tutorials and other expert advice if needed. If you are outsourcing, make sure you find a reliable editor who will be able to give you a professional-sounding final file for your clients.

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Comments

  • Paul Strikwerda
    July 13, 2011, 9:50 am

    Because it is unhealthy to read for more than a few hours without a break, I use editing time to recharge and relax.
    While editing, I get a chance to proof my reading. No matter how good you are, the longer the session, the greater the chance for slip-ups.
    The best way to prevent repetitive stress injury is by using a computer arm rest and a good chair. I always sit straight on a kneeling chair.
    I would use an outside editor for two reasons: to save time & money. It obviously makes no sense to pay an editor for a job in the $100-$250 range.
    Lastly, I always include the cost of editing in my quote and I list it as a separate service on my invoice. Too many clients seem to expect that editing is included, and they have no idea how time consuming it can be.

    Reply
  • Dan Friedman
    July 13, 2011, 11:33 am

    I come at this from both sides of the microphone and believe that outsourcing editing is generally a good idea because many VO people either: A) are very indecisive when it comes to making choices about takes on their own reads, or B) can not edit as quickly as an editor/engineer who does it every day. This becomes a customer service issue as it isn’t fair to charge clients for additional (and perhaps unnecessary) time it takes for some decisions to be made or for lack of ability by the talent.
    On the other hand, if you are decisive, don’t have a lot of pick-ups in your reads and can edit quickly and accurately then it can serve as a nice break from your other tasks.
    Also, I recommend using a trackball. Once you get comfortable with it… you will never want to go back to a mouse.
    Dan Friedman
    http://www.sound4vo.com
    http://www.procommvoices.com

    Reply
  • Joseph Loewinsohn
    July 13, 2011, 7:26 pm

    I outsource my editing to the computer directly 2 feet to my right.
    I even wear a different hat!

    Reply
  • Michelle Falzon
    July 13, 2011, 7:27 pm

    Although it could save time, personally, I don’t think I would ever be comfortable with that. When I edit, I have a certain goal in mind. I know how I want it to sound. I actually enjoy it!

    Reply
  • Jeff Allen
    July 13, 2011, 7:28 pm

    Honestly can’t imagine leaving the editing responsibilities to someone else, but I guess when you have tons of work coming in, one could use an outsourced option.

    Reply
  • Karly Nimmo
    July 13, 2011, 7:28 pm

    I absolutely do. He’s my right hand man and I trust him with my life (or livelihood), Neil Estrella. Makes my life sooooo much easier! Anspd he’s much better at QA than I.

    Reply
  • Jacob Ekström
    July 14, 2011, 12:25 pm

    Unfortunately I’m not nearly busy enough to have the luxury of outsourcing the editing task, otherwise I wouldn’t hesitate to do it with large (1+ hours of audio output) projects.
    I just treat editing as part of what I do. I work pretty fast and mostly enjoy it, besides I instantly pick up any errors I missed in the recording and correct them, so I have kind of an “error-free” guarantee… I’m very picky 🙂
    Not every editing job is fun, obviously. Technical/medical e-learning can be quite the pain, but others are very fun, like dubbing videos for corporate training, which I do a lot.
    For me, editing is half the job. It gives me total control over the service I provide, and I like that.
    Jacob Ekström,
    Danish voice-over talent

    Reply
  • Steve Krattiger
    July 15, 2011, 11:22 pm

    I have to agree that I prefer editing my own audio. In my weekly podcasts, and my auditions I really want the flexibility to change the gaps between words and sentences to get the best effect.
    Like taking pictures, it’s the final rotate, crop and touch-up that creates a phenominal photo. I really like to take the time myself and finish up my own audio.

    Reply
  • Kim Somers
    July 19, 2011, 9:28 am

    I recently had to give a “Carpal Tunnel Discount.” I just could not do the editing on a project. The client paid me less and I sent the full file for them to edit. I hated to do it, but my hand felt good about it. After years of creating hundreds of files for e-learning projects, my arm and hand has just about had it! If anyone has a contact for me to get my stuff edited overnight, my hand would really appreciate it!

    Reply
  • Mike Owens
    July 19, 2011, 9:41 am

    Being as I spent almost 16 years as a production director in radio, I am very used to editing other peoples voice work. I found it very much a challenge and very much rewarding as well. I would have to say for me I enjoy the editing as much if not more than voicing. It is always great to create and you get a chance to put all of your talents to work. I have just recently started doing some editing for other voice artists and am really getting back into the groove. Having the time of my life right now editing and creating. m If I can be of assistance to anyone one, please contact me at mikebehindthemic@yahoo.com.

    Reply
  • David Johnson
    July 19, 2011, 10:38 am

    Well for those who can do that. V/O work in the UK is paid so poorly, there would be no point in outsourcing, you wouldn’t make any money! If any of those outsourcing editing are reading this – fire some audio my way and I’ll edit it for you!

    Reply
  • Billy Madatchu
    July 19, 2011, 10:39 am

    Yeah, I edit like a champ but a vo person should just suck it up and learn how to do it themselves… the day of the middle man is over.

    Reply
  • Nick Montague
    July 19, 2011, 10:40 am

    I really don’t trust anyone else but myself to edit my audio and with a complete royalties free music and sfx library I don’t see any need to out source. As a matter of fact I get people out sourcing to me.

    Reply
  • Howard Ellison
    July 19, 2011, 4:25 pm

    Exceptionally useful topic and tips! It had not occurred to me to outsource, but as longer jobs start to come in… well indeed one should think of the Opportunity Cost.
    In a way I’m glad I learned to edit, so I have an idea of what it can and can’t achieve. The task is also a motivator to get things right first time in the booth! Here in UK television we used to celebrate a performer dubbed “Once Again Watkins.”

    Reply
  • Neil Estrella
    July 19, 2011, 6:56 pm

    Anybody out there need some editing done? Email me at neilfrancisestrella@gmail.com

    Reply
  • John McLain
    July 22, 2011, 6:27 pm

    I’m another one who enjoys editing my own material. For one, I like to keep the creative control over the work. Plus, it affords me a natural resting spot for my voice, particularly if I’m doing an audiobook. I was a producer / editor in radio for many years before I became a voice actor, so the process is very natural and fast for me.

    Reply
  • Joel Gitta
    August 11, 2011, 9:54 am

    What a great article. Always nice to learn something new!
    I edit my own voice over work as well as other voice talent as our studio regularly produces radio advertising, voice over for multimedia and more.
    With our state of the art equipment and software we generate some amazing results for a very decent price in efficient time. Message me if you’re looking for a professional editor!
    Joel

    Reply
  • Ben Going-Crazy
    August 11, 2011, 1:23 pm

    I love to edit my own audio

    Reply
  • Kristi Stewart
    August 11, 2011, 1:23 pm

    No, I do my own editing on most projects from home. It might be something I’d consider if it was an extremely long project and I was short on time. It’s also good to figure in a reasonable rate for your “extra” time editing if you do it all yourself – because when you voice and edit, you’re actually performing “2” jobs and usually only paid for one. It’s something clients need to be informed about. I don’t believe most are aware of the additional time it takes to edit projects. It’s an education process that needs to take place in this ever expanding voiceover universe 🙂

    Reply
  • Kara Edwards
    August 11, 2011, 1:24 pm

    I voice and produce a fairly large project every month for one of my clients. My editor is a life saver! I record, he edits, he sends me the files and I add music and sfx. What used to consume huge amounts of my time is now completed in a matter of hours. Which gives me more time for my other clients. I use Chris at VOeditbydesign.com.

    Reply
  • Kelly Lincoln
    August 11, 2011, 1:24 pm

    Kristi, if it’s an involved project, I always up my price to include my tine for editing.

    Reply
  • Sean Sullivan
    August 11, 2011, 1:25 pm

    Wait????? There are voice-over artists who can afford to outsource and are sooooooo busy they feel the need to do so?????????……Who are these people and what is the secret to their success

    Reply
  • Jean Hetherington
    August 11, 2011, 1:25 pm

    I enjoy editing. I get frustrated with the direction some people take when they edit my audio so it’s better that I do it…usually.

    Reply
  • Spencer Eden
    August 11, 2011, 1:25 pm

    @Sean – LOL, I feel ya bro! Makin’ $700 a month at my day job, workin’ on some free local projects to develop business… Someday we’ll say “I remember when I used to edit my own audio.”

    Reply
  • Dustin Parkhurst
    August 11, 2011, 1:26 pm

    Wait wait wait… people are getting PAID to JUST edit?! What a SCAM! How do I get in on that?

    Reply
  • Billy Madatchu
    August 11, 2011, 1:26 pm

    @Dustin – not a scam at all… some people dont have the time to do it… or the knowledge.. i actually get paid to do that quite often..and it is quite lucrative.. because i know protools like the back of my hand. i have mixed for people all over the planet because word travels quick on good mix..

    Reply
  • Sean Sullivan
    August 11, 2011, 1:27 pm

    Thinking of hanging out a shingle just as an editor…. I’m good at it, and I’m finding that I’m more of a niche market vo. Could be good if there was a jackpot job (H. Cogan), but otherwise hard to sell.
    Oh! and, I’m a different Sean Sullivan than the previous poster. 😉

    Reply
  • Chris Murphy
    August 28, 2011, 11:49 pm

    Dang! If anyone wants perfection, send me your files (and the original scripts), I’ll edit until the cows come home!
    Chris

    Reply