9.5 Qs: George Whittam

Posted on Posted in 9 1/2 Questions, Blog

george whittam

George Whittam is the go-to-studio-guy for VO professionals. You need help with your studio, he will be there.  I was welcomed onto his EWABS podcast/vidcast recently and now I hear about some big news from him, so I share here.  George Whittam and V.O. StudioTech have joined forces with Edge Studio.  I grabbed somer time with George and while we did touch on his new venture I also dragged some great tips and tricks for our fellow VoiceOver pros. Enjoy the read and take head – for those that want more out of George he WILL be a guest on MY podcast, whether he likes it or not.

1.    So, basically no matter what the talent’s situation you can get their studio going. Can you hi-light a REALLY big job or something that stands out?

I had a client, Michael McColl, come to me with a quite a challenge. He wanted to have a studio built in his guest house within 30 days – from initial design to completion- and I did it! It’s really an achievement when you consider the overall design and sound quality we created. We made it very simple, very effective, and to top it off, it turned out to be a very comfortable place to work.
 2.    What else are you into?  Technically or not, what else fills your time?
These days my time is mostly filled with playing with my beautiful four-and-a-half year old daughter, Ella. I pretty much spend any available time I have with her. Time is fleeting, and I don’t want to miss any part of her growing up. When Ella is too busy for Dad, I find time to snowboard or mountain bike.
In addition to producing my web show, East-West AudioBodyShop, I’ve recently taken up blogging as another way to assist people and answer home studio questions
3.    My friends at Edge studio tell me you’ve entered into a partnership?  Tell us about that.  What does this mean we will see from you now?
Once the merging of our two infrastructures is completed, I’ll continue to be a client-facing technician and tech trainer.  I’ll also consult with the management team of Edge on how to improve intra-office communications, tweak our studio facilities, develop products and service packages, hire and train a growing tech support team, as well as, train voice actors.
4.    How does this differ/relate to your current company?
I’ll still provide the services I always have, and then some, but with better customer service, phone availability, and communication. I will have more time to spend with my customers since the administration and behind-the-scenes work will be handled by the Edge Studio team.
5.    NOW I pick your brain and steal some secrets!  -I get this asked of me a lot – Best budget mic for beginners – sub $200?
If you look carefully you can find a Shure PG 42 USB for around $200, and that is definitely my favorite right now. For under $100 the MXL 990 is shocking.
6.    $200 to $500?
If you want to stay on the low end of that price range Harlan Hogan VO-1 is really great.  The Cad e100 S is really amazing for the top of that price range.  It’s even US made!
7.    The ONE necessary “thing” every talent should have, not including Mic or Daw.
Excellent room acoustics is so crucial and cannot be faked. This is what will allow your home studio to not sound like a home studio.
8.    Speaking of DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) what do you recommend for the less than audio savvy VO pro?
If you’re on a Mac OS computer, my favorite by a long shot is TwistedWave. It’s inexpensive, easy to learn, fast for editing, and it has powerful audio processing tools that can be saved as on presets. If you’re stuck on Windows –Sorry! If you’re just getting started, I would recommend Audacity or Sony Sound Forge Audio Studio.
9.    Do you have a cool DIY trick related to the studio I can pass on to my readers?
If you’re recording in the bedroom of your house that has a closet full of clothes, take advantage of that! Open up that closet door, drape a heavy blanket or curtain over the back of it to create a backdrop, and stand in front of the open closet with a microphone in hand.  You’ll be blown away by how great your recording will sound.
Want to make something a little bit more permanent? Use PVC pipe to create a frame then hang moving blankets or Vostudiosuit.com baffling. PVC is the ultimate DIY construction material you can find. It’s sturdy, inexpensive, and easy to cut. If done correctly, it can look pretty nice too.
10.  ALL the best with your partnership with Edge studio!  Any final words on this new endeavor not already covered?
I’ll have a little bit more time to dedicate towards weekly blog and vlog posts. My new column entitled “Whittam’s World,” will be included in their weekly newsletter and posted on their YouTube page.  Be sure to check them out!
11.  BONUS: Craziest “OMG HELP!!” call you ever had to respond to.
In most cases, these calls come from somebody who is trying to do voice over sessions while traveling using source connect, but  I’ll never forget the time that Don Lafontaine called me from London. He opened his waterproof/dustproof/crush-proof laptop case, and found that the screen on his Mac Book was cracked. What can you do about it?
He bought a brand new Mac Book in London, flew to Scotland, and did trailer work for Ratatouille from a castle.

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