Aretha Franklin had no idea Zoom would later become the world’s gateway of communication when she sang those words in her 1985 album “Who’s Zoomin’ Who?” Nor could she have imagined the countless memes about Grandma being on mute or kids photobombing their parents’ meetings. The advertising industry is having a field day with the addition of Zoom to our daily lives.
The pandemic shifted the way we work, go to class and communicate with others. The Zoom app is a big player in that shift and it is a great tool for communication.
However, voice talents like me have spent thousands of dollars making the best sound possible from our professional studios. Whether we offer connections via internet like Source Connect or ipDTL, or traditional copper wire connections like ISDN, we’ve taken great pride in ensuring we are providing the best sound possible to our clients. The connection must sound like we are in the same recording studio with the client. We have treated our booths with Auralex foam. We have purchased very sensitive condenser microphones that pick up every nuance of our performance; the words, the pauses, the sighs. It’s part of our craft and it sounds magical when heard through high-end technology.
Since it’s assumed everyone has Zoom now, clients expect to see me. My booth was not set up with a camera. At first, I was reluctant to agree to Zoom sessions believing the sound quality would be sub-par. In the beginning when asked to use Zoom, I clipped an iPad to my mic boom and fired up zoom on it. The camera angle and lighting were not great, but they could see me.
I did a Zoom session this week with another voice actor and I’ve got to say, it was nice to record some dialogue with no lag. We both recorded in our repective studios and sent the files to the editor to sort out, but the banter was more natural using Zoom. ISDN was a great service, but there was usually a huge silence between the 2 actors’ lines which interrupted the flow. With Zoom, I liked being able to see my friend, the director and the engineer. It made it feel like old times when I used to go into New York City for a recording. So now I’ve changed my tune. Zoom gives me the best of both worlds. I get to see my co-workers and not have to travel several hours to get to a session. My only requirement is the client request Zoom at the time of booking so I’m prepared for it! I don’t want to be caught off guard in my bathrobe. (Yes, sometimes I do sessions in my pajamas!)
The systems we voice actors had in place pre-pandemic work great, the sound is perfect and the end product is top notch. The majority of my sessions are still recorded via the tried and true; Source Connect, phone patch, ipDTL and ISDN. But Zoom has earned its place in the voiceover realm. This week, I’m installing hardware in my booth so that the camera angle is better. I may even get one of those ring lights. I believe Zoom is here to stay.