Outsourcing Your Audio Editing
Audio editing is one of the most vital aspects of any production process. Whether you’re working on a podcast, audiobook, internet video, or video game, the quality of the audio edit can mean the difference between an outstanding finished product that wows your audience, and a second-rate project riddled with audible imperfections.
While there is a wide variety of audio editing software available on the market, audio editing is both an art and a science. You may be competent enough to complete the basic audio editing for a low stakes project that won’t be widely distributed, but when you’re producing a professional project that will reach a lot of ears, it’s best to seek out an experienced audio engineer who can produce a polished work that will powerfully represent your brand.
Why Should I Outsource My Audio Editing?
Audio and audiovisual content are being published and consumed at higher rates today than ever before. As a result, the average consumer has developed a natural ability to pick up on weaknesses in the quality of the audio they’re listening to. When an audio track hasn’t received a proper edit, common flaws such as popping and clicking sounds will stand out as glaring mistakes that are bound to detract from the overall impact of your project.
Audio editing is also a time-consuming process. Whether you’re a creative producer or a voice actor, performing your own audio editing can eat up time that would otherwise be devoted to building your business, marketing your services, and producing work for other clients.
As a voice actor, it is also important to ensure that the performances you’re sending to clients are of the best possible quality. With all the additional duties a voice actor must take care of, from auditioning, to updating your demos, to completing jobs, you may not have the full capacity to meticulously edit all of those audio files on your own.
The Benefits of Hiring an Audio Engineer:
For producers who are simultaneously at work on a number of different projects, time is often of the essence. Looming deadlines and changing client demands make juggling the multiple moving parts of a project tough to manage. Handing off one stage of your production process to a reliable audio engineer will take a lot of the weight off of your shoulders, and free up time and energy that can be better directed elsewhere.
Time is money. If you find that your time is better spent tackling a different objective, like focusing more on the recording process or attracting new clients, then you may find that outsourcing, while requiring you to pay a freelance audio editor to take on the audio editing work for you, may actually reduce costs in the long run. In fact, hiring a talented audio engineer to edit your work for you may provide the opportunity to earn even more money, because it will enable you to take on more projects.
Although there are competing theories about the most effective length for a commercial, it’s probably safe to say that not every single one of your projects will be entirely short and sweet. Consider the workload of producing something like a long-form narration. Do you really have the time to spend an extra 5 to 10 hours editing these lengthy files? If not, outsourcing your audio editing to a freelancer may be the right decision.
When you try to balance every aspect of a multifaceted production, you run the risk of burnout. Because of this, it’s important for creatives to introduce self care practices into their daily lives. Acknowledging that both your professional projects and your personal health may benefit from outsourcing components of your work can be an important part of this. Hiring an audio engineer will give you the freedom to pick and choose which projects you can afford to edit on your own, and which ones you could really use the extra assistance with.
For voice actors working out of home studios, it’s crucial to set boundaries between your professional and private lives by incorporating physical activity, fresh air, and unwinding exercises into your routine. Just because you record the entirety of your vocal performances from home doesn’t mean that you should automatically take on all the technical elements required to perfect a recording, or that the audio quality won’t benefit from getting an extra pair of ears.
If you work with the same audio engineer on a regular basis, then you can guarantee that your audio will sound the same from project to project. An audio pro will be able to set your levels to a consistent setting each time, ensuring that the final products your clients receive will all possess the same amount of professionalism.
On top of that, when you are publishing multimedia content that represents a brand, it’s imperative that you maintain a sense of consistency. The audio quality of your work shouldn’t feel out of place when compared with the other content that your brand is associated with. All the audio that your brand produces should work in tandem to drive home the tone and personality of your brand voice.
Types of Audio Editing
From an outsider’s perspective, audio editing may appear to be a relatively straightforward process—especially if you’re already tech-savvy when it comes to other aspects of media production. However, there are a number of different components of audio editing that the audio engineer you hire will be professionally trained in, including:
1. Basic Editing
This involves removing mistakes and any other unwanted background noises that may have been picked up by the microphone. An essential part of an audio engineer’s education involves ear training, which can help identify where a sound sits within a range. Just by listening through an audio track, a skilled audio engineer will be able to pinpoint inconsistencies and adjust a mix so that it sounds just right.
Audio engineers are adept at slowing down or speeding up the cadence of your recording, as well as integrating smooth transitions so that the end product has the optimal flow for a listener to follow along with.
Editing sound effects into your audio recording is a great way to enhance a story and supplement visuals. When sound effects are sprinkled throughout an audio recording, however, they need to be seamlessly integrated. Simply dropping sound effect files into audio software isn’t going to cut it, and a professional audio engineer will know exactly how to fine-tune the effects so that they fit right in with the track as a cohesive whole.
4. Format Conversion
Your client may need you to convert your final file into a format other than the one that your initial audio files were recorded in. While this can occasionally be a relatively easy process, in other cases you may need an expert’s help to ensure that you don’t forfeit the quality of your audio during the conversion process. A trained audio editor will have experience working with a wide range of file formats.
How to Become More Efficient at Audio Editing
If you feel that you are not busy enough to justify outsourcing your audio editing, and still want to manage this aspect of the production process yourself, then there are ways that you can become more efficient at editing your audio. Here are a few key tips that will help you take care of your editing process more succinctly:
- Don’t edit for more than 3 or 4 hours at a time. You need to take breaks in order to give yourself both a mental break and physical break from all the wrist and hand movements that come along with editing.
- Do watch tutorials. It’s never a bad idea to continue to seek out new skills, cheats, and editing workflows that may save you more time.
- Don’t be afraid to seek out help if the editing process becomes too laborious.
The Importance of Audio Editing Cannot Be Understated
Ultimately, the decision to outsource your audio editing depends on how busy you are and how many projects you are working on at any given time.
If you have decided to take the reins and complete all the editing by yourself, be sure to seek out tutorials and additional expert advice when need be.
Many voice talent are outsourcing their audio editing to capable audio engineers who can get the job done for a reasonable price and in a timely fashion, no matter where in the world they are located.
Whether you are a voice actor or a creative producer, when you outsource your audio editing, you’ll be able to move forward on your project with the reassurance that your reliable audio engineer will provide you with a professional-sounding final file.
Because it is unhealthy to read for more than a few hours without a break, I use editing time to recharge and relax.
While editing, I get a chance to proof my reading. No matter how good you are, the longer the session, the greater the chance for slip-ups.
The best way to prevent repetitive stress injury is by using a computer arm rest and a good chair. I always sit straight on a kneeling chair.
I would use an outside editor for two reasons: to save time & money. It obviously makes no sense to pay an editor for a job in the $100-$250 range.
Lastly, I always include the cost of editing in my quote and I list it as a separate service on my invoice. Too many clients seem to expect that editing is included, and they have no idea how time consuming it can be.
I come at this from both sides of the microphone and believe that outsourcing editing is generally a good idea because many VO people either: A) are very indecisive when it comes to making choices about takes on their own reads, or B) can not edit as quickly as an editor/engineer who does it every day. This becomes a customer service issue as it isn’t fair to charge clients for additional (and perhaps unnecessary) time it takes for some decisions to be made or for lack of ability by the talent.
On the other hand, if you are decisive, don’t have a lot of pick-ups in your reads and can edit quickly and accurately then it can serve as a nice break from your other tasks.
Also, I recommend using a trackball. Once you get comfortable with it… you will never want to go back to a mouse.
I outsource my editing to the computer directly 2 feet to my right.
I even wear a different hat!
Although it could save time, personally, I don’t think I would ever be comfortable with that. When I edit, I have a certain goal in mind. I know how I want it to sound. I actually enjoy it!
Honestly can’t imagine leaving the editing responsibilities to someone else, but I guess when you have tons of work coming in, one could use an outsourced option.
I absolutely do. He’s my right hand man and I trust him with my life (or livelihood), Neil Estrella. Makes my life sooooo much easier! Anspd he’s much better at QA than I.
Unfortunately I’m not nearly busy enough to have the luxury of outsourcing the editing task, otherwise I wouldn’t hesitate to do it with large (1+ hours of audio output) projects.
I just treat editing as part of what I do. I work pretty fast and mostly enjoy it, besides I instantly pick up any errors I missed in the recording and correct them, so I have kind of an “error-free” guarantee… I’m very picky 🙂
Not every editing job is fun, obviously. Technical/medical e-learning can be quite the pain, but others are very fun, like dubbing videos for corporate training, which I do a lot.
For me, editing is half the job. It gives me total control over the service I provide, and I like that.
Danish voice-over talent
I have to agree that I prefer editing my own audio. In my weekly podcasts, and my auditions I really want the flexibility to change the gaps between words and sentences to get the best effect.
Like taking pictures, it’s the final rotate, crop and touch-up that creates a phenominal photo. I really like to take the time myself and finish up my own audio.
I recently had to give a “Carpal Tunnel Discount.” I just could not do the editing on a project. The client paid me less and I sent the full file for them to edit. I hated to do it, but my hand felt good about it. After years of creating hundreds of files for e-learning projects, my arm and hand has just about had it! If anyone has a contact for me to get my stuff edited overnight, my hand would really appreciate it!
Well for those who can do that. V/O work in the UK is paid so poorly, there would be no point in outsourcing, you wouldn’t make any money! If any of those outsourcing editing are reading this – fire some audio my way and I’ll edit it for you!
Yeah, I edit like a champ but a vo person should just suck it up and learn how to do it themselves… the day of the middle man is over.
I really don’t trust anyone else but myself to edit my audio and with a complete royalties free music and sfx library I don’t see any need to out source. As a matter of fact I get people out sourcing to me.
Exceptionally useful topic and tips! It had not occurred to me to outsource, but as longer jobs start to come in… well indeed one should think of the Opportunity Cost.
In a way I’m glad I learned to edit, so I have an idea of what it can and can’t achieve. The task is also a motivator to get things right first time in the booth! Here in UK television we used to celebrate a performer dubbed “Once Again Watkins.”
I’m another one who enjoys editing my own material. For one, I like to keep the creative control over the work. Plus, it affords me a natural resting spot for my voice, particularly if I’m doing an audiobook. I was a producer / editor in radio for many years before I became a voice actor, so the process is very natural and fast for me.
What a great article. Always nice to learn something new!
I edit my own voice over work as well as other voice talent as our studio regularly produces radio advertising, voice over for multimedia and more.
With our state of the art equipment and software we generate some amazing results for a very decent price in efficient time. Message me if you’re looking for a professional editor!
I love to edit my own audio
No, I do my own editing on most projects from home. It might be something I’d consider if it was an extremely long project and I was short on time. It’s also good to figure in a reasonable rate for your “extra” time editing if you do it all yourself – because when you voice and edit, you’re actually performing “2” jobs and usually only paid for one. It’s something clients need to be informed about. I don’t believe most are aware of the additional time it takes to edit projects. It’s an education process that needs to take place in this ever expanding voiceover universe 🙂
I voice and produce a fairly large project every month for one of my clients. My editor is a life saver! I record, he edits, he sends me the files and I add music and sfx. What used to consume huge amounts of my time is now completed in a matter of hours. Which gives me more time for my other clients. I use Chris at VOeditbydesign.com.
Kristi, if it’s an involved project, I always up my price to include my tine for editing.
Wait????? There are voice-over artists who can afford to outsource and are sooooooo busy they feel the need to do so?????????……Who are these people and what is the secret to their success
I enjoy editing. I get frustrated with the direction some people take when they edit my audio so it’s better that I do it…usually.
@Sean – LOL, I feel ya bro! Makin’ $700 a month at my day job, workin’ on some free local projects to develop business… Someday we’ll say “I remember when I used to edit my own audio.”
Wait wait wait… people are getting PAID to JUST edit?! What a SCAM! How do I get in on that?
@Dustin – not a scam at all… some people dont have the time to do it… or the knowledge.. i actually get paid to do that quite often..and it is quite lucrative.. because i know protools like the back of my hand. i have mixed for people all over the planet because word travels quick on good mix..
Thinking of hanging out a shingle just as an editor…. I’m good at it, and I’m finding that I’m more of a niche market vo. Could be good if there was a jackpot job (H. Cogan), but otherwise hard to sell.
Oh! and, I’m a different Sean Sullivan than the previous poster. 😉
Dang! If anyone wants perfection, send me your files (and the original scripts), I’ll edit until the cows come home!
My brother is going to organize a seminar which will be attended by college students, that’s why he needs an audio editing service. I agree with you that through hiring this type of service my brother will be ensured that he won’t have to a lot extra 5-10 hours of editing lengthy files.