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Digital on Demand Studio under the wing of Print on Demand

Let it operate as “Digital on Demand” under the wing of South Africa’s leading digital printing company. And so, a long-time dream of Tertius’ concept took flight – digital media solutions at top quality and under total in-house control.

Digital on Demand’s potential utilized

Soon after the studio went into production it became clear to the professional personnel, the studio had greater potential than (was) its first priority – to supply all Print on Demand’s audio-visual marketing material. This studio had a greater scope than anticipated.

Audiobooks Production

The studio setup emerged from unused empty space. It was equipped with state of the art visual and audio equipment and employed highly experienced producers and sound engineers.

In the process of going into full production with Audiobooks, a wide range of experienced, professional voice actors and narrators, that make audiobook recording happen painlessly and professionally, joined the production team.

At that point in time, the recording and packaging of Radio commercials, Podcasts and CD music recordings were also taking off at a dazzling speed.

Jan en die boontjierank
Jack and the beanstalk told in Afrikaans as part of a series of children stories in the bundle: Storieland
Read by Author versus Professional Production

Some authors believe a professional voiceover artist recording isn’t as effective as the author reading their own work. Many authors still prefer their own version and interpretation of their own book. Although, in most cases, the authors’ voice isn’t suitable and falls short of expectations. Brad Pitt as the voice of Sinbad is a great example of how someone great at one thing (acting) doesn’t necessarily translate into other sections of the creative world. Brad is a great actor but a terrible voice actor and even made it to number one on the list of Worst Celebrity Voice-Over Roles ever.

Self-reading authors will argue that there is a monetary advantage in reading their own work. Some opt to set up an in-house-studio, which isn’t cheap. Opinions vary but according to professionals in the industry, you’re looking at anything between 10,000 to 30,000 USD, that’s 170-500k in Rand, depending on the exchange rate and how well the last state of the nation address went.

Authors also inadvertently end up spending too many hours recording the final product. Time is money if you want it to be or not, and delays effective creativity for passion #1 writing, which can sap creative people of creative energy.

However, in a professional studio with the assistance of an experienced producer and sound engineer, the outcome-picture changes somewhat. Simply put, there are professionals who are cut out for this work that can bring an authors’ stories to life.

Audiobook distribution Internationally and locally

Everyone interested in bringing audiobooks to life is in a position to utilize the speedy growth of the audiobook market.

As interest in listening to books grew, the international barriers diminished opening an Audiobook global arena. More competition in the market leads to innovation and easier access.

Constant expansion of the market is determined by several factors:

  • Authors, publishers, agents and consumers expect their favourite book or author to be available in audio format. Even better if it’s read by Morgan Freeman.
  • With younger audiences emerging as audiobook listeners, customers are purchasing over longer periods and covering a wider range of topics. In short, people and children have become used to the format. Five years ago voice notes weren’t a thing now we can’t imagine life without it.
  • Competition has escalated with the increasing amount of titles being produced, prices are more competitive for distribution structures and growth potential.

In fact, audiobooks were the only book format with an upward trend in 2019 according to Pew Research:

The Right Marketplace

What do South Africans need when it comes to finding the “Right Marketplace”? It might be more difficult than you think.

The Global Audiobook Market rounds up what style works best for the current audiobook marketplace here:

“It is important to get as much exposure for your titles as possible and the incremental costs of supplying digital files to multiple vendors in multiple markets are small. Audiobooks sell in both the retail sales channel and the library channel, but some will be stronger in one than the other. Cozy mystery titles are wonderfully strong library audios. Business titles, on the other hand, do much better in retail. It is important to know where your title will sell, and even more important when you are making the investment in a physical product. The different packaging requirements needed for different sales channels will require you to understand the demand for your physical products in both retail and library

The same goes for geographic differences. Although most audio will sell throughout the globe, it is important to understand if you have an audio that will not work in a specific market. As with books, local subject matter is always difficult to export. That type of audio needs to sell in sufficient quantities in that one geographic location to be successful. If you can justify the investment based either on the home market or on one sales channel, you can always generate some additional digital revenue in other geographic locations, or other sales channels with minimal increased investment.”

Vlogs (Audio & Video)
What is a Vlog?

“A video blog or video log, sometimes shortened to vlog, is a form of blog for which the medium is video, and is a form of web television. Vlog entries often combine embedded video with supporting text, images, and other metadata. Entries can be recorded in one take or cut into multiple parts. Wikipedia”

The Podcast with a face and a personality – The Vlog. As soon as the R&D team at Digital on Demand started working on the “Vlog” system it was apparent that old-fashioned podcasts left a lot to be desired.

What is the purpose of a Vlog?

A vlog is designed to share experiences, thoughts, ideas and in many cases, influence an audience. It’s a form of communication used to engage an audience in a personal fashion. Eye to eye if you like.

Publishers, self-publishers, authors and book critics are utilising Vlogs more each day as people become more comfortable in front of the camera. And it has become extremely popular on YouTube with Vloggers like Casey Neistat boasting a whopping 12.1 Million followers.

“The blog has long been one of the preferred tactics for content marketing strategies. Using a blog, you can easily publish a variety of different content, from written articles to infographics and more. However, blogging isn’t the only content marketing tactic that works. More and more businesses are beginning to vlog as well. The concept of a vlog is simple — it’s a blog in video form. The question is how do you decide which to choose between blog vs. vlog for which type of content?”

A child’s role in performing children books

Referring to the very successful The Roberta Jones Junior Theatre as their role model, Digital on Demand’s personnel decided to incorporate her principles in a children’s book experiment.

In the hyper-digital world we live in, kids are born with a smartphone in one hand and a tablet in the other. Grandparents will often knock on a short persons’ door for digital assistance. So, why not place a kid in front of a camera and let them explain the children’s book? Kids react well to other kids in more or less the same age range. It’s a great way to tell a story and grow a following.

Roberta Jones believed adults can be the actors in a children’s theatre. But a child-performing-to-a-child is a much more credible, and in the long run, lucrative exercise.

The wonderful world of the “Greenscreen”

The Greenscreen in a studio lets you drop in whatever background image or video you want behind the actors, presenters and/or foreground. It’s used in nearly every film production these days and brought movies like Harry Potter and The Matrix to life. The performer does his or her thing in front of a correctly lit green screen and the editing system does the rest.

Below is an edited version, as an example of the transition that happens from green screen shots in Digital on Demand’s studio to final production.

THE “MATRIX”

The world has truly become a small place. Not only can we hurtle through the air from one continent to another in mere hours, but we can create worlds in the smallest of spaces. Digital on Demand transformed a tiny bit of space into a creative Audio and Visual world capable of creating anything the imagination can conjure. All you need to add to the mix is a good dollop of imagination and some suspension of disbelief and anything is possible.