by Scott Bourne

Admit it. The day you first opened the box and broke out that shiny, new, digital audio workstation, your heart raced a little faster, your brain's creative juices flowed a little better, and you gave serious consideration to changing the title on your business card to "Digital Production God!"

Now that the shine has worn off, and you're worried about paying for that new toy (if you paid for it yourself), don't overlook the financial benefits non-linear editing can offer to your clients. It may be your best sales tool yet!

The point was brought home for me when I recently had the pleasure of working on a very exciting project for a Twin Cities-based wallpaper superstore called Wallpaper World. Ceres Communications hired me to produce the radio campaign as well as the audio for TV. At first glance, I thought it would be just another series of retail spots, but as the project developed, I began to realize it was much more.

It all started when Ceres vice-president Dan Kemnitz asked me if I could use my workstation to "cut and paste" voices together. Dan had seen enough of non-linear editing on a workstation to grasp its sometimes ethereal concepts.

We ended up with a series of attention-getting spots that were not only creative, exciting, and interesting, but also cost-effective for the client.

To create the campaign, Ceres hired two voice talents to come to my studio (at different times) to read nearly three pages of dialogue. Sounds like a lot for a 30-second commercial, doesn't it? Well, that's where the money savings to the client comes in. The voice talent worked for a standard session fee--non-union wages of approximately $160. We took the three-page script and filled it with enough copy to produce at least ten spots. Using non-linear editing techniques, I cut and pasted various words and phrases together to form the copy for the spot. I then mixed the jingle behind the copy and finally mixed the two voices together.

The result was an ear-tingling mixture of excitement created in part by the great voice talent and the advantages of close edit points offered by the workstation. The great news is that we saved the client approximately $1400 in voice talent fees because I can use those words and phrases over and over to produce different commercials. The client pays a bit more for the studio time, but in the end, saves money when the costs are amortized over ten spots.

So, when you're pitching your next radio or TV client a job, be sure to extol the virtues of non-linear editing. Saving money on voice talent is just one more reason for clients to choose digital production companies over analog companies every time!

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