Revisiting the Tablet in Your Studio

by | Sep 26, 2012 | Apps, Hardware, Home studio, iPad, Software, Technology | 6 comments

Yesterday, Stephanie Cicarelli of VOICES.com asked a question on her FaceBook group “THE VOICE ACTING HUB” about reading copy in the studio.  “Do you read voice-over scripts on screens or do you prefer printing them?” she asked.

Honestly I was floored to find that many still print, read, and mark their scripts on paper.  My astonishment is snobbish, I realize…and there’s certainly nothing wrong with paper, but I do believe it’s on its way out, and I have my reasons.

In fact, last Fall, I wrote a couple of articles praising the use of digital devices in your recording studio.

One was Top 10 Reasons to go Paperless, and the other was Top 10 Tablet VO Apps (which is reprinted below).

Almost a year later, both articles are still pertinent and timely.  I encourage you to revisit them (of course Smartphones work in the studio too, but the small screen makes it less advantageous to read copy from them).

Also, I get a lot of questions about recording on Android tablets, probably because the iPad does it so excellently.  Does the Android OS have anything that compares?  Not really, that I’ve found.  Nonetheless, here’s an article that lists the top recording apps for the Android OS.

Best Android Apps for Voice Recording

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(Reprinted from Fall, 2011)

Tablet computers are showing up in voice over studios everywhere.

I’ve blogged extensively about the use of an iPad or Android-powered tablet as a mobile recording device, but perhaps it’s most useful role is that of a reader…replacing sheets of paper or a book.

Paper is a an ongoing tradition of centuries, so not everyone will be an overnight fan, but a tablet can be held in just about any position that a piece of paper can, and you can do away with the printer in your office.

Other Advantages:
-Silence:  no shuffling of papers
-Green: no trees sacrificed
-Immediately adjustable font-size with the flip of two fingers
-Downloads and displays docs and pdfs from “the cloud” effortlessly
-Allows annotations, marke-ups, underscores, arrows, etc to hilite the copy
-Replenishable.  Use over and over
-It has a certain “cool” factor (not that that matters, right?)

If you’re just jumping onboard the tablet wagon, or haven’t had the time to research the best apps for using the device in your studio…look no further…I’ve been sussing it out and humbly offer you my

TOP TEN TABLET VO APPS
(for the iPad/iPhone)

1) GoodReader — opens just about any kind of doc or pdf, downloaded from almost all the popular cloud services, allows annotation, and is intuitive to use.

2) QuickOffice — much like GoodReader…the pro version is a little pricier, but this one handles .docs better, also letting you generate new .docs, presentations, and spreadsheets; and connects to about every conceivablel cloud service

3) ReaddleDocs –  slick interface, opens .docs and .pdfs.  Connects to all the usual suspect cloud services, and email accounts.  Has a quick search function.  Annotation functions are easy but rudimentary compared to some of the others.

4) iAnnotatePDF — ‘Seems to be the fave of AudioBook narrators.  Rich annotation feature-set, search functions, and other key tools. Highly configurable.  I find the interface to be confusing, but after a while you get used to it.  Only plays in PDF-land, not .docs.  Downloads from cloud services.

5) PDF ReaderPro — An iAnnotate clone with it’s own style (more intuitive interface, I think).  Allows annotation, cloud downloads, bookmarking, printing, and a host of other handy features, like sharing, that make it tops on my list.  Again, only PDF.

6) PDF Expert –  Still another top-notch PDF reader. Allows annotation, downloading from the cloud, free-hand mark-ups, hiliting with different colors, printing, saving…the works.  The PDF Expert and iAnnotate as well as PDF ReaderPro are amazing in the array of things it can do.  You’ll wonder why you use a desktop or laptop computer.

7) Honorable Mention –  File Sharing:  iFiles, Box (Box.net), DropBox, Air Sharing, and Filer

 (for the Android)

8) qPDFNotes — Does everything the big boys above can do, and just as sweetly.  ‘Has rich annotation, and mark-up features, and connects to all the cloud services you could ask for.

9) ezPDFReader — Ditto.  Allows for magnification, split layouts, lots of annotation tools, plus has a nifty function for quickly scanning through the pages of a book.  Plenty to like here.

10) Quick Office — Appears under this OS as another strong contender with all the features of its Apple cousin…plays well with docs AND pdfs, and allows for annotation, as well as generation of new docs from scratch.  Cloud connections.

Honorable Mention: Documents to Go.  Allows for plenty of manipulatiion of existing docs, plus lets you generate .docs, .ppt (Power Point), and MX Excel files, as well as PDFs… pretty nifty and more features than you’ll ever use.

It’s hard to stop here, actually.  There are so many handy apps for file handling and reading — and more being issued every day — that you can find just the right one for you with a little searching through the AppStore or Marketplace (now :Play Store).

What’s YOUR favorite?  What have I missed?

CourVO

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6 Comments

  1. Derek Chappell

    Dave, I have used my iPad in the studio to read scripts for some time now. It’ s just so convenient and I’ve saved a lot of $ on paper and printer cartridges. And I will say, there have been times when I have forgotten to charge the iPad that I have used my Android phone to pull up scripts (even though I have to wear the glasses for that one 🙂

    Reply
  2. Marc Scott

    GoodReader is a great app and for those that still like to mark and highlight scripts, it will let you.

    Reply
  3. Sacha Criado

    Very interesting article, thanks a lot! I have no iPad or tablet, but i use to read the scripts in a second screen for my iMac. Do you know any useful software for marking scripts .doc and pdf?

    Reply
  4. Moe Rock

    I would LOVE to have an iPad, but for the time being, i’m partly paper and parly computer screen. For short scripts, I still print out a script on paper (however, i do save the paper and print on the other side). I use these to keep track of my invoicing too. For longer scripts and some auditions, i use the computer screen. I’m looking forward to the day when i can join the ranks of iPad users!! :o)

    Reply
  5. Gary Bullock

    Intriguing article. We currently use paper, and almost exclusively record audiobooks, performing all the character voices. With Dickens, that can amount to 60 or more. We must be able to annotate easily, marking character names in the margins, highlight or modify phonetically certain words, and mark edit points with a time stamp. Are you claiming that this is dead easy with an ipad? (Also necessary to use doc files in order to modify text.) We would gladly go green if that seemed practicable.

    Reply
    • CourVO

      Gary,

      To answer your question in brief: YES.

      Once you go to the tablet (I use an android also), you will never want to go back.

      Specifically the iAnnotate app (available for iPad and Android), does all that you inquired about and more. Bookmarking, searching, sharing, downloading from the cloud, editing, annotating. I keep finding stuff it does, and I’ve been using it for a couple of years. Also, the developer is very active and incorporates many of the features requested by users.

      Let me know if you have other questions, and if there’s anything I can help you with.

      Dave C

      Reply

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