I regularly record sessions from my own studio, with (for example) the client in Los Angeles, the producer in Amsterdam, the creative team in London, the art director in Paris. But how does it work?
Sometimes we record locally (in our own private studio) and send the takes at the end of the session, with monitoring via Zoom/Teams/Meet - I'll come back to this later in the article. But it often happens that, in order to save time, the receiving studio wishes to record the takes in real time, so that the voice over can be synchronised directly with the film in front of the producer/client, who can then judge the result instantly.
There are several solutions for this. ISDN has been around since the 90s, as have transfer bay units, commonly known as TBUs. Both solutions are in an advanced stage of obsolescence, but I wanted to mention them, if only to remind you that real-time remote recording is not exactly a new idea.
Let's start with the solutions offered by Source Elements: Source Connect Now and Source Connect (Standard/Pro). Both are called Source Connect but have nothing to do with each other. That confuses a lot of people, so let's explain.
Source Connect Now is free. Only one of the two participants (sending studio or receiving studio) needs to subscribe. The one who subscribes to the service simply sends a link to the other (to be opened with Chrome, as explained at the beginning of the article). No sync solution is integrated into the image.
Source Connect (Standard/Pro) is not free. Both participants must subscribe or purchase a licence. Uses a more advanced codec and does not include an image sync solution. That said, Source Connect Standard/Pro does enable Remote Transport Sync (RTS).
Source Connect Pro (more expensive than Standard) offers more advanced options than Source Connect Standard. The prohibitive cost means that few voice actors subscribe to it, as they have no reason to pay twice as much for options they don't need. All commercial studios work with Source Connect Pro.
Source Connect Standard and Source Connect Pro are compatible with each other. Source Connect Now is not compatible with either Source Connect Standard or Source Connect Pro.
CleanFeed is free and does not include an image sync solution.
Session Link Pro is available for a fee, and a built-in option enables you to work in sync with the image, although the quality of the audio transfer is reduced if you use this option.
Session Link Pro and CleanFeed work in the same way as Source Connect Now: the person who subscribes to the service simply sends a link to the recipient (which can also be opened with Chrome).
While all these solutions allow remote recording by the receiving studio, it is still essential to record locally on your own equipment. DAW to have a backup in case the transmission is corrupted. It happens.
Zoom Zoom Zoom
And finally... Zoom (or Teams, or Meet) does not offer professional-quality remote recording, but does allow you to monitor your work in sync with the screen-sharing film, simply by selecting the video engine window on your computer. DAWinto which, of course, you will have imported the film beforehand. By simultaneously using the solutions mentioned above and Zoom, the conditions for the receiving studio are the same as if you were in their booth. If the studio doesn't want to record on its own, you simply record locally on your DAW and export the WAV of the session to send it to the receiving studio or producer at the end of the session.
The advantage of Zoom/Teams/Meet is that, provided that it is the actor (and not the receiving studio) who shares the images in sync with the voice as described in the previous paragraph, if he stops, the images stop. If the actor cuts back to the middle of the script, the images are timed to the cut. In playback, the images are in sync with the take. In short, exactly as if he were in the receiving commercial studio booth. And that's worth its weight in gold.
A word of advice to conclude this article: we strongly recommend connecting your studio computer to your router via ethernet rather than wifi. The connection is much more stable, so there's less risk of transmission interruption.
And as a bonus: if you value your equipment, which has cost you thousands of euros, invest in an inverter. It costs around €100, and will prevent your equipment from being struck by lightning.
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