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The iPad2 For Voice Over: 
Cool And 'Green' In Dallas 
By Kara Edwards
Voice Actor
August 5, 2011
I recently took on a voice over e-learning project involving about 40,000 words - and this week it expanded to 60,000 words.

With a project that size, there is no way I'm going to print my scripts. It would take a ton of paper and ink to do so.
My Macbook came in quite handy for this project at first - I loaded up the scripts, placed my laptop on my copy stand, and off I went!
Unfortunately, there is scorching heat around the country now. And I'm in Dallas, where the past several days have been hovering around 110 degrees. Ouch.
I don't care how good your air conditioner is, there is no way it's keeping up with temps like that.
When I'm in my WhisperRoom, I can't have ventilation running while I record, because the fan is too loud. It's rare that the heat really gets to me (I open the door or run a fan between takes and drink plenty of water), so I hadn't been overly concerned.
However, as I recorded this e-learning project, I noticed the heat was bothering me more and more.

Then, it hit me.
My laptop was acting more like a heater than a computer and was increasing the temperature inside of the booth - a lot!
As if to confirm my theory, during one of the sessions my laptop fan kicked on twice - delaying things by several minutes.

So, I took off to the Apple store for an iPad 2.
No fan noise, no heat.
I can read my scripts easily, and thanks to the Pages and Numbers functions, I can even edit them on the fly!
I posted something on Facebook about how great my iPad2 was, and a fellow voice actor said that he would love to read more about how I'm using it on the job.
I figured others might be curious as well, so this article was born!

Here are a few ways that in only three days of owning my iPad 2 I've used it for voice over:

1. Numbers and Pages
These were two of the first apps I installed on the iPad.
Numbers opens XLS files, and Pages handles docs. You can edit on the fly if a client needs you to do so, and can expand the screen to enlarge the copy.
I'm saving ink and paper, and the lit screen means I don't have to strain my eyes. (I currently use LED lights in the booth, but the iPad is much brighter.)

2. Splashtop
What a cool app this is! Thanks to a couple of recommendations on my Facebook page, I decided to give this a shot.
This app allows me to link up to my iMac, giving me full control of my desktop in the booth.
Now I can start and stop ProTools without leaving my Whisper Room!
The only negative is that it 'squishes' your desktop. Or at least, it squished mine. Then again, I am using a 27" iMac!!
All of the icons on my desktop began overlapping each other, making it hard to find the sessions I needed.
Hopefully once I take the time to clean up my desktop this issue will be remedied.

3. Email
Previously, if I was in a session and a client needed to email me an updated script, I would have to step out of the booth - go over to my iMac- open the email and print.
Now I have instant access to my email, and with the preview function on the iPad2, I can open scripts instantly.

4. Recording
I'm adding this not from my own personal experience, but from what others have told me about using their iPad to record voice over files.
In fact, one of my dearest friends - Kyle Hebert - recently texted that he is using an AT2020 mic with the camera kit to do high-quality recording when he is traveling.
I didn't believe it could sound good, so he sent me a recorded sample. Well, wow. I was impressed.
It sounded as good as my mobile set up, but it takes up much less space than my laptop, audio interface, etc.
And less is certainly more when you don't want to check your luggage at the gate!

5. Twisted Wave
Again, this is not from my own experience. My friend Beau Weaver mentioned this on my Facebook page.
Apparently Twisted Wave not only created a recording app for the iPad, but also created a remote app that allows you to directly control Twisted Wave on your main computer from inside the booth.
This seems much like Splashtop - but I'm guessing it's less buggy and squishy.

6. Words With Friends
OK- this does nothing to help my business. But it sure is fun! :)


I'm sure there are a million other functions and apps I have yet to discover.
Note: I want to make sure I'm not coming across as telling you that a gazillion dollars must be spent making sure you have the latest technology.
Quite the contrary. When I realized my laptop was on the fritz, I chose to buy an iPad2 instead of another laptop. It was about half the price, and did everything I needed my laptop to do.
Plus, I'll save a ton of money on ink and paper. Win win!!

Feel free to comment and share your favorite apps and uses - both for VO and for fun!
Kara Edwards is a professional voice actor working full-time from her ISDN-equipped studio. Credits include Disney, AT&T, McDonald's, Nintendo, YouSendIt, as well as DragonBall Z and Yu Yu Hakusho from the Cartoon Network, the Solty Rei DVD series, the hit pre-school series Raggs currently on PBS, and many more. She also voices and produces monthly audio versions of the popular children’s magazine Highlights High Five and Ask Arizona for the Highlights website.

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Comments (19)
Ben Marney
1/25/2012 at 8:12 PM
I and in the middle of a new show for the new 3Net Discovery, iMAX, Sony channel. The scripts are 50 plus pages... I think this article gives me another reason to finally buy that iPad!

Paul Seidel
10/27/2011 at 10:57 AM
Hi Kara...

I'm doing exactly the same as you in two respects - eLearning (it's 99% of our wor !), and buying an iPad's been the best investment ever made, I'm saving on printer ink and paper, and use Dropbox to sync all my scripts as it's on all the Macs too (I've got the 27" as well !). Only issue is it crashes Dropbox a bit on iOS 5 - but it's early days !
Dheeaba the Actor Techi
10/12/2011 at 2:29 AM
for rehearsing, reading and memorizing lines on ipads, iphones and ipod touch check out The Rehearsal App. It the best hands down. Also records mp3 (great for auditions).
9/30/2011 at 12:53 PM
I have a new i-Pad 2 and can someone tell me if VoiceOver is already installed on it when you buy it or do I have to buy the app? Also, if it's already installed on it, how do I access it? Thank you
9/9/2011 at 1:27 AM
Wow - I've been using my iPad for script reading since I got it as a gift last Christmas, but have never explored the possibility of recording on it. I travel with MacBook & USB mic - what is the recording app called? This opens up a whole new world! thanks!
Charles Carroll
8/29/2011 at 3:53 PM
I would recommend Goodreader from the app store over pages and numbers. It's $5 and it stores files, has dropbox integration, it reads PDF, DOC, XLS, and you can annotate and highlight PDF copy. It's the best.
8/14/2011 at 6:35 PM
There ar also several cool TelePrompTer apps for the iPad. I use Speech Prompter but search the app store for TelePrompTers to see the comp,ere list
Christi Bowen
8/10/2011 at 3:31 PM
Thanks Kara! Wish I had read this before now. This past weekend was tax-free weekend here in Tennessee ... iPads were included in that. I even went to the Mac store and asked questions but couldn't pull the trigger. Now, I really want one and see how useful it can be. I really appreciate your sharing this with us.
Thank you,
Christi Bowen
Paul Strikwerda
8/9/2011 at 8:28 PM
If you're a Macintosh or a Windows user, you can download and transfer personal documents from your computer to your Kindle through the USB connection.

You can also add a PDF file to the Barnes & Noble Nook.

I do not yet own one of these devices. My computer is in my studio and I read my scripts from a 22 inch monitor.

In order to minimize fan noise, I have created an insulated black box for my laptop. This year, I'll invest in the ever so silent Mac Mini!
Judy Fossum
8/9/2011 at 12:55 PM

Thanks so much for taking the time to write this article and for sharing it.

We are working on a new set-up in our house where I will be recording (studio/office, 2 rooms). I run a Mac as wel,l and was thinking of purchasing a different monitor for the studio from which to see and perform copy, with the Mac laptop running in the office. However, after reading your article and listening to the recent webinar on Twisted Wave put on by VoiceOverXtra, I am now thinking that perhaps this is the way to go. Thanks for all of the extras and names of apps as well.


Judy Fossum
Judy Fossum VoiceOvers
Larry Culley
8/6/2011 at 2:02 PM
Hi Kara! What an informative article. I'm definitely keeping your words in mind and hope to be able to follow up on them soon.
Maxine Dunn
8/6/2011 at 1:19 PM
Hi Kara,

Thank you SO much for this great article! I really appreciate your insights and tips and advice on how you’re using technology to your best advantage. I don’t have an iPad yet but after reading this, it’s obvious I need to put one on my shopping list. :) Super valuable stuff in this meaty article! Thank you!

- Maxine
Debbie Irwin
8/6/2011 at 9:24 AM
Took my PortaBooth, laptop and iPad 2 with me out to San Francisco last week for the premiere of a documentary I co-narrated (that was an amazing experience-and another story!).

Not ready to give up traveling with my laptop cause there's so much more functionality with it but, placing the iPad into the PortaBooth for my script was heavenly! No need for a light source, no worry about formatting the script to be legible, no need to find the business center where I can print out the script. It was great! And being able to whip out/use the iPad when I was meeting with the director left him with the impression that I'm tech savvy. :-)

Thanks, Kara!
8/6/2011 at 12:18 AM
Have been making a list of how I'd use an iPad around the house. For work – here at home – I'd considered a second Mac display to use for scripts in my recording space, which is far from my Mac. Using an iPad for scripts, good idea. Your article provides more reasons to get an Pad2 right now. (p.s. Same studio situation as your studio with my home recording space, AKA: The Sauna) And there's more! The camera on the iPad2 - Skype video call with the client! No more ISDN ;-) The client wouldn't get the mic line feed, but still they'd hear you.
Leslie Diamond
8/5/2011 at 10:27 PM
I love my iPad2 for many of the same reasons, Kara. Great article - thanks for sharing ...
George Whittam
8/5/2011 at 5:48 PM
Way to embrace technology! Now you need to get the VSS ventilation silencer for the WhisperRoom so you don't need to worry about dripping sweat in that sweet new gadget. Voice actors, never order one without it, it's absolutely required ...
J. Christopher Dunn
8/5/2011 at 5:20 PM
Kara - I've been thinking a lot about going to an iPad for scripts. You've given me a number of other reasons to make the decision sooner rather than later. You are such an enabler, I hope you're happy! :) -JCD
Kara Edwards
8/5/2011 at 3:40 PM
Hi John!

Thanks for including this on your site! One additional iPad use I discovered just today: When I'm producing Highlights I can now load the magazine up on the iPad and keep it next to my iMac. No more moving windows around to fit the script and ProTools on my desktop, no more toggling back and forth. Another app I was told about (but forgot to include) is DropBox. Moving files from my desktop to the iPad is a breeze now! One more I'm exploring on a recommendation is SoundHound. Looks like a cool way to share audio blogs or work that I've done on Facebook, etc.

Thanks again!
Mike Coon
8/5/2011 at 3:38 PM
Great article! Yes, the iPad2 is much more than a really cool way to play "Angry Birds!" Why, there's chess, Mahjonng, Texas holdem and Pandora, too! Twisted Wave and the AT2020 USB mic connected in with the Apple "camera" USB plug definitely works! One needs to be careful, though, that your iPad battery power doesn't dip below 50% ... the AT2020 needs power and will stop functioning once the battery gets to that power level. Of course, the littel blue light will tell you that as well, but if you're focused on your read, you may not notice! Just sayin'!
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