The internet is a wonderful thing. (Stating the obvious is a strength of mine, btw.)
But seriously, we take for granted the fact that any question or random curiosity that pops into your head at any given time can probably be answered with a couple keystrokes. This comes in handy for just about any business and the business of recording and producing voice overs is no exception.
The other day, I was thinking about some of the sites that I use on a regular basis for voice over sessions and thought it would be useful to share, and perhaps find out what sites others rely on. I also took an informal survey from some of the other engineers here at ProComm to see what sites they use in the voice over studio.
One of the biggest time wasters in the studio is having to track down or verify pronunciations for unfamiliar words. That’s why I always have a link to Answers.com handy. You can look up any word and hear it’s correct pronunciation with a click. it also includes some other useful tools such as a Thesaurus and Encyclopedia.
A site that Dan Friedman likes to use is Dictionary.com. It offers similar features and also includes a translator which can come in handy on those foreign voice over sessions.
Another reference for finding out pronunciations is a site I came across the other day – ForVO.com. It bills itself as ‘All the Words in the World. Pronounced.’ Might be a bit of an overstatement, but the unique thing about this site is that it’s wiki-driven. Users can contribute their voices to pronounce words that might be missing and fill in the gaps. The drawback to that is you get contributions that may or may not be verified and you also get regionalisms. Try ‘aluminum’. The gent from Spain appears to be trying to make a point:)
Have an international ISDN session coming up? you may want to have this link to TimeandDate.com handy. It gives quick answers for international dialing codes to any country.
Youtube comes in handy when the client wants the voice talent to sound like that guy/girl/talking Chihuahua in that movie/TV show/commercial/viral video. Another good character reference site is Hulu.com
ProComm producer Bob Peck likes to visit the websites of the companies for whom he’s producing voice overs, to get a feel for their brand and style.
These are some of our ‘go to’ sites. Do you have a favorite site that you rely on in the voice over studio?