You will find many voice talent using many types of computers, so this is just a list of the most common:
PC or MAC Laptops appear to be the most common. The term ‘PC’ commonly refers to Windows OS. MAC is still a PC but has a reputation for being more professionally suited for creative artists and designers. You will see the term, Notebook, used often to describe a laptop. See this comparison of a MAC and PC for more info.
Desktop PC’s are great if convenience and portability are not your things. They are designed as stationary devices, so you won’t see someone in an airport carrying one; not an “on the go” tool.
A Digital Workstation, are used by sound editors as desktop computers with a more powerful processor, additional memory, and enhanced capabilities for performing a special group of tasks. With changing technology allowing for faster editing, this device has become somewhat priced out, and have been purchased less and less for working online.
iPad/iPhone/Android Apps/SmartPhones: These are amazingly cool, and convenient. YES…they can help you record a great audition, and they are excellent for communicating, ‘doing business’, and social media. I also heard of some who have the ability to submit final production work with iPad2 using Alesis iO Dock. Technology changes so fast, I would recommend keeping an eye on this website from Apple. Mobile devices are growing in importance. There are mobile devices from iPads to smartphones, but this is one of the tech markets that changes incredibly quick, so what I tell you now could be outdated in a week or month. I touch on this briefly, because the most important reason you will want a mobile device is for checking emails from clients and websites. Mobile devices have created the perception that anyone can be reached at any time. If you already have a mobile device, you may find yourself checking emails while in bed, on the road, or when you have free time. Mobile devices assist you by making clients think you will reply in real-time, regardless of your current location. In addition, handling over 23,000 emails a month at my job, a large majority of the replies between businesses have a little note on the bottom: “sent from iPad” or “sent from “iPhone”.
One recommendation: Update your computer every 3 years. Software changes rapidly, and as such, your computer may require a faster processor to operate. Recently built computers usually have faster processors. The main reason a computer starts to slow down in performance is because of dying hardware from wear and tear. On average, computers last about four years, if taken care of well. Many upgrade when something faster and better comes out, instead of backing up data with external hard drives. Upgrades in software may make your older computer incompatible with software tools you use.
Yes, this sounds like a football commercial, but it is still applies: “To compete, your gear must be competitive”. Working online, the speed in which one can do business, does make a difference. Luckily, voice over work is not a contact sport. Before getting too worried about not having something, just remember that you are in the same boat as everyone else, INCLUDING the clients you work with. The benefit of being tech savvy is knowing how to be more flexible when change happens. Around the time I started voice overs in the 1990’s, compact discs were being used for demos more and more, and all demo cassette tapes I had became obsolete. The compact disc became obsolete less than 10 years later.
One final note on mobile devices: A client is never going to tell you that you need to get one. Voice talent have to know how they work and be able to incorporate it into their business plan as a way to save time. Technology may intimidate you or not, but just so you know the decision that something has become mandatory for business usually works like this:
- Invention of product to solve problem
- Introduced into the market with marketing convincing you that you must have it
- Innovators blog about it and why it could be or should be the next best thing
- More people try it, but the verdict is still out on its necessity
- Business culture, over a period of time, decides whether or not it is necessary
Whatever you do, just do not start making expensive blind purchases for things you may never use or need. For example, I own a Zune mp3 player, which I purchased in 2005 to carry around my commercial work on, and play it for people I met. I could even play on-camera commercials. I do not know who gave me the idea, but it did not work. If you don’t know what a Zune is…I have proven my point. 😀