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TECHNOLOGY
World-Voices Organization Urges Voice Over
Producers And Studios To Look Beyond ISDN

March 10, 2014

By Dan Lenard

Vice President of Technical Standards
World-Voices Organization


World-Voices Organization, the industry association of freelance voice artists, does what any industry association does: it advocates for its members.

There are many issues that face the voice over community. World-Voices Organization strives to maintain a standard of technical quality across the industry. We make sure that those who would unscrupulously take advantage of voice over talent for their own profit are discouraged from certain practices that allow such abuse, and to see that its members also adhere to business best practices.

ISDN BECOMING COSTLY, UNAVAILABLE


One issue that stands out is the availability and cost of ISDN services. Those who have the technology have an advantage over those who don’t, as many studios insist on this technology being used for remote recording sessions.

The issue is not one of "I was here first, I invested the money in this technology and therefore should profit from it.” Those who have it should use it and take full advantage of the opportunity.

However, the issue has become one of economic fairness. 

The telecommunications companies that provide ISDN lines have created unequal access by eliminating service and maintenance in some regions and raising prices in others by as much as 300%.

Your location now determines whether or not you can compete for the opportunities presented by having high quality remote access to recording studios.

ALTERNATIVES ARE HERE

There are alternatives, and not just ones in development, that provide equal access to anyone with Internet service. Some argue that these technologies aren’t ready, that they have not developed the reliability of ISDN. The truth is, nothing is 100% reliable, including ISDN.

Configuration issues plague ISDN constantly, and maintenance and troubleshooting of the expensive codec units have made them more of a liability than an asset to many.

Some critics of the new technologies claim that IP solutions will harm their business by creating access to less qualified, less talented voice artists.

There is a difference between protecting one's turf by complaining, instead of defending it with what got you there in the first place. That, by being an accomplished, professional voice actor.

'ISDN-ONLY' POLICY IS LIMITING

Adherence to "ISDN only” limits the talent in the marketplace who strive  for work, AND limits those seeking talent by not casting a wider net for a variety of available talent.

It shouldn’t be a closed shop to those talented enough - and qualified technically - to produce the audio required by today's marketplace.

With the approaching demise of ISDN (and many believe it will happen), it’s time for producers to accept more than just "Ol’ reliable.” Our ability to record at home with studio quality and deliver professional quality audio via drop-boxes is already making ISDN obsolete.

The remote technologies will soon be truly only needed for communication of directions from producers and directors and for high quality remote playback for review. The final files will come from us and our home studios.

The expense of ISDN, when there are cheaper and better sounding internet alternatives, can no longer be justified by anyone. Technology has democratized our industry.

WOVO ENCOURAGES LOOK AT ALTERNATIVES


With all of this as a backdrop, the Executive Board of World Voices Organization has issued a statement urging (not demanding)  producers to start considering - and accepting - alternatives.

Written in an attention grabbing, tongue-in-cheek "Emancipation Proclamation” parody and style, The Emancipation from ISDN Proclamations reads as follows;

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.
  • Telecommunications Companies are no longer installing or providing service in some regions.
  • Telecommunications 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.
  • 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.
For more information on World-Voices Organization, please visit http://Worldvo.org.
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ABOUT DAN
Dan Lenard is a veteran radio personality, educator, voice talent, and as the Home Studio Master, is one of the industry's leading authorities and consultants on home studio audio. He is Vice President of Technical Standards for the World-Voices Organization, and is also co-host of the popular Monday night East-West Audio Body Shop (EWABS) Ustream TV show featuring voice over industry guests and how-to info about home studio audio.
 
EWABS: www.EWABS.com

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Comments (1)
Lance Blair
3/10/2014 at 9:14 AM
Thank you for making this statement! Talents need to stand up and tear down the wall of ISDN! If studios are concerned about getting virus from the internet, or having their files accessed, then just use two computers: one that receives and sends audio through an ip solution, and then an analog link from that computer to the studio computer. This solution is a whole lot cheaper and reliable than ISDN.
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