Home > Home Studio, Marketing, Voice Over, Working Remotely, Working with Clients > Five Must Have Online Gizmos for Your Voice-over Toolbox

Five Must Have Online Gizmos for Your Voice-over Toolbox

It should never be said that voice-over work lacks variety. Whether it be the type of project, length, emotive delivery or just the file format requested by the customer, most projects are unique.

Along the way on my voice-over trek, I’ve gone searching for tools to help me get a particular job to the finish line. Most are easy to use and intuitive to implement. Except for one, all cost nothing to use. Free is a price most anybody can afford.

1. Word to Time

When I get a request to quote a narration project, I start by getting the word count of the script. Most modern word processors have the ability to display word count. Then I head to Edge Studio’s Word to Time Calculator to get an idea of how long the finished time should be. This easy to use calculator allows me to enter the word count or paste in the actual script, and then adjust the delivery rate.

2. Say What?!

Sooner or later you’re going to run into a word that you won’t have a clue how to pronounce. You could ask the copywriter for a phonetic pronunciation and if that’s not available there are three tools you should definitely check out.

The first is Dictionary.com and it’s just what the name implies. Words that you search are retrieved with their definition and an audio pronunciation of the searched word.

In cases where Dictionary.com doesn’t resolve your phonetic quest, check howjsay.com. This online talking dictionary of English pronunciation has over 14-million entries.

For words that are not part of the English lexicon, take a trip to Forvo.com. Touted as the largest pronunciation guide in the world, this tool goes way beyond spoken English. The top languages covered are English, Portuguese, Russian, Italian, French, Spanish, Arabic, German, Czech and Swedish. And for the occasional Star Trek commercial, Klingon is also supported.

3. Audio Formatting

Most clients need the audio file format of MP3, AIF or WAV. For occasions when you need to provide something other than those or you don’t have the means to convert to different file types, I recommend starting with Media.io. You can convert to OGG, WMA, WAV and MP3, and for a few of the formats you have the choice of multiple quality levels.

File formats are pretty standard for most voice-over projects. However, those in the area of telephony may require something completely different. ConvertMyFilesNow.com is great for converting to a variety of on-hold and phone-tree formats.  While this tool does cost a small amount to use, the price is negligible.

4. Save the Video

I ask for digital copies of the finished production whenever I hand off audio to a video producer. For the times that the request goes unfilled, I take a trip to the video sites to see if the project has been published. If it has, I’m in luck and I can download a copy using Keepvid.com. This tool works on YouTube, Vimeo and others.

5. Say Thank You

When you get done with a session, take a moment to write a thank you card and send it off to your client. Include two business cards in the envelope with the card and let them know that you appreciate their business. If you need inspiration on what or how to write a thank you note, take a look at these three sites.

Thank You Note Examples and Tips.com

Thank You Note Samples.com

Letterbarn.blogspot.com

thank-you-notes.com

I use these tools every day, and I’m continually hunting to find more. What are your “must have” online tools of the trade?

  1. March 7, 2011 at 10:22 am

    Thank you so much for putting these resources together, J. Christopher! Can’t wait to use the Keepvid.com
    Best to you,
    Linda Joy

    Like

    • March 7, 2011 at 10:29 am

      Hi Linda-

      Keepvid.com is one of the most used in my toolbox. I think you’ll like it. :)

      Thanks for stopping by!
      -JCD

      Like

  2. March 7, 2011 at 12:49 pm

    J Christopher, appreciate very much you gathering and posting these nuggets-what a little treasure-trove of assistance!
    And did I say, “Thank you!”?
    Jerry

    Like

    • March 7, 2011 at 12:53 pm

      Hi Jerry-

      They have all been lifesavers at one point or another. I’m glad you like the collection.

      Thanks for stopping by!
      -JCD

      Like

  3. Jerry McClellan
    March 7, 2011 at 2:14 pm

    J Christopher,
    Loaded the Keepvid software but I’m having a bit of difficulty locating instructions on how to facilitate a “screen capture”, say, from YouTube or other link source. Would you please give some direction here?
    Thanks so much!
    Jerry

    Like

    • March 7, 2011 at 2:37 pm

      Jerry-

      Mmmm… Try pasting the link of the YouTube source into the URL filed at the top of the page and click DOWNLAOD. This should initiate process for you to select what you’d like to save.

      I haven’t installed the FREE DOWNLOAD offered software from this page so I can’t help you with that. Sorry.

      -JCD

      Like

  4. Reuven Miller
    March 8, 2011 at 12:14 am

    J. Christopher – I can see that the gizmos will be very useful and your sharing them is much appreciated. Here are a couple more.
    One Look http://www.onelook.com/?d=all_med&v=l&sort=&langdf=english is very good for medical-related scripts, as is
    Merck Manuals On line Medical Library http://www.merck.com/mmhe/resources/pronunciations/index/a.html
    After all, you never know when methylenedioxymethamphetamine will turn up in a script!
    Thanks again, and it’s always good to meet someone else who has collegues – not competition.

    Like

    • March 8, 2011 at 10:07 am

      Hi Reuven-

      Thanks for stopping by and checking out the gizmos. I run into talent looking for medical references and now I have two links to point them to. Thanks for that! I have a huge amount of respect for the VO peeps who do medical narration.

      -JCD

      Like

  5. March 8, 2011 at 5:43 am

    Great advice! Thanks for sharing.

    Like

    • March 8, 2011 at 10:08 am

      Tom-

      You’re welcome and I hope that the gizmos come in handy for you.

      -JCD

      Like

  6. March 8, 2011 at 7:52 am

    Great post! Thanks for the valuable resources!

    Like

  7. March 8, 2011 at 10:10 am

    Davie-

    The gizmos seem to be pretty popular and I’m happy that you like them, too.

    -JCD

    Like

  8. Martha Mellinger
    March 8, 2011 at 1:20 pm

    Great tips! Thank you.

    Like

    • March 8, 2011 at 2:13 pm

      Martha-

      I’m just spreading as much goodness as I receive. :)

      Glad you like them and thanks for stopping by!

      -JCD

      Like

  9. Margo Davis
    March 8, 2011 at 3:51 pm

    Many thanks for the nuggets. I appreciate the spirit of sharing.
    Margo Davis
    voice actor

    Like

    • March 8, 2011 at 4:42 pm

      Margo-

      You are ever so welcome. I worked with a number of people in my past that squirreled away useful information and refused to share. It was crazy. I was told that I should keep my industry secretes to myself to maintain a competitive edge. Pfft! I like to share.

      Thank you for checking out the post.

      -JCD

      Like

  10. March 9, 2011 at 8:39 am

    Thanks for these great tips. I’ve made use of several of your site links. Much appreciated…..

    Like

    • March 9, 2011 at 9:02 am

      Duane-

      Right on! I’m happy to hear that you’ve found something useful.

      -JCD

      Like

  11. March 29, 2012 at 10:05 am

    This is a great list. I actually just did a phone recording for a client this week and was struggling to find something to covert the audio to the format he required. I’ve bookmarked your suggestions so I’m ready for the next one.

    Thanks!

    Like

    • April 10, 2012 at 3:24 pm

      Marc-

      Excellent! That’s a great tool and has helped me out a time or two. I’m glad it came in handy for you. :)

      -J.

      Like

    • June 7, 2012 at 10:12 am

      Hey Marc-

      I’m glad my blog provided something useful for you. I’ve come across a number of new tools since I wrote this post. Watch for an update!

      -J.

      Like

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