Much as the working world has recently had to embrace home working, the voice industry has had to embrace home studios. Previously artists with home studios were the outlier – the ones with the space, the resources, and the technical skills to deliver files from home. Now – for a modest fee – any artist can create a good quality set-up and get to work from a quiet spot in their own home.
At the start of 2020, Voice Squad only had a handful of artists with home studios. Now more than two-thirds of our artists have some level of home recording equipment. In those busy, early days of lockdown, we worked quickly to create a home studio page, to add equipment breakdowns and home studio reads to artist profiles, and to allow clients to search for artists with home studios on our site. This soon paid off, and we saw a boom of home studio bookings.
Of course, no home set-up can truly match the quality of a professional studio, which often have tens/hundreds of thousands of pounds of equipment and acoustic design. Professional studios also come with the technical know-how of a sound engineer. But for two long years, artists have had time to tinker with their home studios and learn. Likewise, clients have been quick to embrace the changes. Not only is there a cost saving, the fast-paced world of production benefits from artists who can record at short-notice.
Now, as the dust from the pandemic settles, the industry is asking whether home studios are here to stay, and overwhelmingly the answer seems to be ‘yes’.
For artists, the benefits are obvious – home studios allow them to fit work around their lives more easily. They can work while travelling, or visiting family, and recording at home minimises transport costs and gives greater flexibility with childcare.
However, that doesn’t mean that professional studios are going anywhere. Voice Squad has a close relationship with a number of studios and we recognise that the skills and support they offer can rarely be matched by a home set-up. As agents, it’s our job to give clients guidance, allowing them to make the choice between a home studio and a professional studio based on the outcome and service they most need.
As such, we’ve put together a home studio Q&A for clients…
What are the benefits of home studios for clients?
Artists with home studios can offer greater flexibility time-wise, and pick-ups can be more quickly arranged, without having to factor in studio schedules. The recording quality is usually excellent and you can check that quality ahead of time by listening to artists’ home studio reads on their profile, and checking their equipment lists. You can still listen in or direct the session remotely, via Zoom, Teams, or similar methods.
Naturally, there is also a cost benefit to not paying for studio time, and admin time can also be saved if you might normally have arranged a studio yourself.
With the concerns around Covid-19 still very much present, home studios are also the safest recording method for all parties.
What are the disadvantages of home studios?
While the quality of our artists’ home studios is always great, sometimes a higher quality record is essential, particularly for high profile broadcast work. Likewise, when working with multiple voices, it may be necessary to have the sound match exactly.
The type of voice project you want to record is also a factor. Longer projects – such as audiobooks – may be more comfortably recorded in a studio space. To-picture and dubbing projects might also benefit from the assistance of an engineer.
The skill of a sound engineer is not to be underestimated. They can help a session run smoothly, quickly, and allow the artist to focus solely on their voice work. They will also have the technical skills to clean up files and can provide additional editing services.
Do home recordings ever go wrong?
There can be bumps in the road with both professional and home recordings, but at Voice Squad we have been very fortunate that the vast, vast majority of our sessions have gone smoothly, with voice artist and client satisfied with the results. We chalk that up to providing proper guidance and communication before a session, ensuring that everyone is prepared and informed ahead of time.
Which option is right for my recording?
If you aren’t sure which option is right for your project, the best thing to do is discuss it with one of our agents. We have the experience to guide you in the right direction and can provide further information about either decision. If you require a professional studio and don’t have your own contacts, we can book studio time for you. If you have questions about the logistics of a home studio recording, we can provide more information. In short, ask!