What’s New With Atlantic OnHold

Kendra_smallWritten by Kendra Jones

 

Think about when you call a business and are put on hold. That cool music or those interesting company facts you hear as you wait is what Atlantic OnHold does so well. They make engaging custom on hold messages for businesses so customers will not get bored and continue to hang tight while being transferred to a representative. When callers stay on the line revenues increase and costs decrease.

Donald Best, lead engineer of Atlantic OnHold, has been a part of the OnHold family for about 3.5 years. He gives us the inside scoop of what happens at Atlantic OnHold–from what’s new to what direction the company is heading next.

Donald and mic

Audio Engineer Donald Best

Best says Atlantic OnHold is working on going in a different direction with on hold messaging. They are seeking to capture sounds from natural sources to help people feel as though they are in a story. The goal is to create on hold messaging that makes people feel like they are actually in the business they are contacting.

“Something more interesting than just music and voice,” Best explained, “We like to maybe have something with sound effects.”

Donald mentioned a project where the audio team recorded live sounds such as auto service repairmen working on cars and people chattering. This idea of pre-recording live sounds would be the basis of future on hold messaging produced.

Voice talent for Atlantic OnHold comes from a wide array of areas. The company has a reputable relationship with several talents–plenty are local to Raleigh whereas others are outsourced from different states such as California or Washington.

Many of the voice talent that are not local have their own studios to record their voices for projects. The non-local talent would send their scripts via email and a digital file of their voice, also by email. Donald Best would then piece the on-hold messaging project together.

Donna and mic

Donna Mason

The Atlantic OnHold in-house voice talent is Donna Mason, who has provided her professional voice to a variety of on hold messaging projects. Best said having an in-house voice talent makes the process easier because projects can be fixed quicker, conveniently.

Donald Best shares his full insight about Atlantic OnHold in an interview. Take a listen.

A First Class Recording

The other day I received a call from one of our long time on hold customers, First Class Automotive. They wanted a creative on hold message like our Audio Tour. Since they were located right up the street Dustin and I decided to go and record some sounds to complete their customized audio tour.

Portable recording device

Portable recording device

You have to be in the right stance to record accurately..

You have to be in the right stance to record accurately…

Recording some awesome sounds in the shop!

Recording some awesome sounds in the shop!

 

Meet Dustin Painter!

Hello to all of you out there reading this on your computer screens, phones, tablets, and all forms of electronic devices! My name is Dustin Painter and I’m the new audio guy at Blueforest Studios here in Raleigh, North Carolina. The higher ups wanted me to write a blog post to introduce myself so here it goes!

IMG_0715-e1419954881480I started working here in November teaming up with our insanely talented lead audio producer Donald Best. Together we work on tracking and editing voiceovers, audio mixing, and audio production for clients that come to us for video production. We also serve multiple businesses and groups here in Raleigh as their on hold message producers. Whenever you hear someone telling you about the location you just called over the phone with some catchy background music there is a good chance you are hearing our work!

We take pride in producing excellent quality audio work for our message on hold and video production teams here at Blueforest Studios. Have you ever watched a video online, maybe even on TV, and thought to yourself “something doesn’t seem quite right here…?” The production value of the video looks great, the acting is superb, and the story the company is trying to convey is being told in a solid manner. If you are thinking something might be off it is probably because the audio has been thrown on the backburner during the production process and simply placed in. I can tell you one thing: that does not happen here!

The purpose of audio is so much more than just you hearing what someone is talking about in a marketing campaign.  Nobody wants low quality audio in their videos. Even when you watch TV how many times are you actually watching? It’s easy for us to flip the tube on and go about working on different tasks. Maybe you’re cleaning the house, or cooking, or even just have it on for background noise. Why is it so easy to still enjoy TV even if you aren’t watching it? Perfect audio is why! Audio, even without the visual aspect, can bring you into whatever medium you are exposing your attention to. Audio is a vital part of storytelling and very well may be the most immersive part. What else in the audio realm is important for videos? Music! This is where I hope to come in and and to help you out personally here at Blueforest Studios: original music designed specifically to YOUR needs.

Outside of my work here at Blueforest Studios I work as a freelance composer and sound designer for film, TV, videos games, and any form of media possible. I studied “Commercial and Electronic” music at Western Carolina University here in the mountains of NC and was lucky enough to do graduate studies at the University of Southern California in the “Scoring For Film and Television” program. During my time in Los Angeles I had the chance to study with some pretty incredible composers such as Christopher Young (Spider-Man 3, The Rum Diary, Sinister), Bruce Broughton (Silverado, Tiny Toon Adventures, Lost In Space), and Garry Schyman (Bioshock Series, Dante’s Inferno, Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor) among many others.

As a composer my purpose is to bring you into the heart of the story. Music should help to propel the piece of media forward into a part of your brain that will make you remember what you just saw. It is all about making a personal connection to the viewer! Once again, how many times have you had something on in the background while working and know exactly what is on because of the music that’s playing? For a large group of people it’s because they know the music but there are also people who don’t even realize that it’s the music they remember! Music not only works directly on viewers but can access a subconscious level of the brain to tell them how to feel, what is happening, and can engrain itself into the memory without you even knowing it’s there.

With all of that said I want to help bring your story, your product, your ideas, or even your on hold message to the forefront of people online, on the phone, and everywhere! I feel very lucky to not only to make music and sound as a career but to also have the chance to do it here at Blueforest Studios with some of the most talented, creative, and kind people you’ll find in the business of marketing and video production.

Of course there are some times when trying to create that right piece of music feels like this:

7Rjekn9

Then an idea comes along and it feels like this:

SwXG30p

 Finally a music track that fits just right is made and both I and the client I’m working for can sit back and know their video is ready for everyone to see!

ZAUO7Ur

Now that I’ve talked your ears off, or I suppose typed your eyes out, feel free to check out this playlist of some various work I’ve done on projects!

I hope you enjoyed what you’ve heard. Thanks for a few moments of your time and I hope to work with you all very soon!

Cheers,
Dustin Painter

 

On Hold Music & Cell Phones

Have you ever called a company on your cellphone, got put on hold and had to listen to staticky music? It’s happened to all of us. Dawn Hartford, Neltech Labs, explains why cell phones and music on hold don’t always sound crystal clear.

Cell phone callers typically experience a type of “active noise cancellation” or over-compression of the data stream from the cell phone to tower. This is happening in one of two places:

1. The cell phone itself is making the determination of what it thinks is an audio conversation – if a human is not talking then the phone may determine that the leftover background music track could be noise and they will hear periods of silence or a “shhhh” sound in the audio.

2. The other way is that the cell phone company is compressing the data as it travels from point-to-point. It is only compressing the data that the algorithm they are using determines is relevant – so, if it’s a phone conversation and not a data transfer, it is looking for a voice conversation. If the audio is not loud enough or the background music does not fit within the algorithms calculations then it removes that data during the compression process – almost like how an MP3 is compressed when using a low bit rate.

What are some solutions? 
1. Make the background music track a bit louder when the voice over track is not active.

2. Use a background music track that does not have a lot of periods with very low or very high frequency audio.

3. Have the end-user increase the volume of the audio player.

4. Make sure the customer does not have any type of AGC (Automatic Gain Control) set on the phone system.

Related Articles:

http://www.businessinsider.com/apple-ceo-tim-cook-changes-apples-on-hold-music-2014-7

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/01/technology/personaltech/hd-voice-promises-better-call-quality-but-dont-hold-your-breath.html?_r=1