VoiceOverMart upgrades to Pro Tools 11 HD & more

Miami-based voiceover studio has just upgraded to Pro Tools 11 HD, with video upgrades from Blackmagic and Sony.

VoiceOverMart is a Miami (Coral Gables), Florida based professional voiceover studio, equipped with ISDN & standard phone patch, and is owned and directed by Víctor Martorella, a renowned voice talent for the Hispanic market. VoiceOverMart recently upgraded to Pro Tools 11 HD, together with video upgrades. These upgrades facilitate their audio spot production and ADR (audio dialogue replacement). Ahead are details of the upgrade via an interview.

My first look article about Pro Tools 11

In April 2013, I published:

Version 11 of Pro Tools finally cures its Achilles’ heel: Finally Pro Tools will be able to “bounce” and export quickly, instead of in real time.

This article is a good introduction to what you are about to read.

Interview with Víctor Martorella of VoiceOverMart

Allan Tépper: What version of Pro Tools did you had prior to upgrading?
Víctor Martorella: 10
AT: Do you use Pro Tools 11 standard or HD… and why?
VM: I now have Pro Tools 11 HD because I use Avid’s HD I/O hardware interface, which I have been using with PT HD 9, 10, and now 11.
AT: Beyond the new Offline Bounce, what other features motivated you to update to version 11?
VM: The main reason is the new video engine, now I don’t have the limitation of only using the “video firewire output” and the hassle to convert all the videos to .DV (DV25). Secondly, because the latency has been improved in this version of Pro Tools… and of course because of the 64-bit processing, and the compatibility with more recent versions of Mac OS.
AT: Why do you use third-party plugins with Pro Tools? Are the built-in filters in Pro Tools 11 not good enough for your projects?
VM: The built-in ones are great, but I have always used them in conjunction with third party plug ins… Since I have used some many plugins in my sessions, I need to have all of them available. That way, when I have to work with an old session to make some changes, all the plugins will work. That’s why I still need them, and I had to pay a small fortune to buy the 64-bit version of all of them. But if I were starting from scratch, I would still buy them.
AT: Do you ever use the timecode features in Pro Tools?
VM: Not really the timecode, but I often do ADR (audio dialogue replacement) and commercials that demand absolute frame accuracy with video. That’s why I recently invested in the DeckLink Mini Monitor from Blackmagic and special HD video monitors that handle all framerates (details ahead in this article), including 23.976p, 24.000p, 25p, 29.97p, 50p, and 59.94p directly, without on-the-fly conversion which would ruin the frame accuracy that I guarantee to our clients.
AT: Do you use the Punch & Roll function in Pro Tools, with pre-roll?
VM: I used to, but not anymore. Instead I use a different technique which is part of my “special sauce”. My method takes less time to set up, and I get the same results.
AT: What percentage of your projects do you deliver in AIFF, WAV, AAC/MP4, and in MP3?
VM: We all know that the best delivery would be uncompressed AIFF and WAV. However, some of my clients still demand compressed MP3. Although I recommend and am willing to send them the voiceover tracks encoded as AIFF or WAV, some of them still want the audio encoded as an MP3 due to fast delivery via e-mail or FTP. Think of this Allan: the voiceover and audiovisual fields are very competitive. I am one of those who believe that we don’t just sell our talent, the voice per se, a good service: We sell our SOUND, so my motivation to update the studio to high definition, not just the HD interfaces and highest quality microphones, but even the cables that interconnect everything in the studio. After we create such a high quality recording, it is —without a doubt— a contradiction to degrade it to an MP3 when that is not necessary.
AT: What opinion do you have about the iLok, and Avid’s insistence of its use with Pro Tools, even though other professional programs don’t require any hardware-key (i.e. Logic, Final Cut Pro) and even Avid Media Composer now makes the iLok optional?
VM: I don’t like the iLock system at all. First of all, you are not allowed to have a backup copy of your iLok with your licenses, so if by any chance you loose the iLok or it breaks, the process to retrieve the information to a new iLok is a hassle, and gives us expensive downtime. (iLok offers a service that costs US$30/year which still involves a hassle.) It is very difficult to understand that being Avid’s Pro Tools one of the world’s most widely used DAW, Avid makes us use this system. I really think Avid should use the honor system, the way Reaper does, and the way that you handle your ebooks as “DRM-FREE, because we trust you”. That was a great slogan, Allan.

Video upgrades that VoiceOverMart implemented, and why

Before Pro Tools 11, the only available video interface was DV25 over IEEE–1394 (FireWire), and to my knowledge, HD video was not playable prior to version 11. That meant that absolutely everything had to be transcoded from whatever the source códec was, while (of course) retaining the original framerate. One of the benefits of Pro Tools 11 is the fact that it can now play back virtually any video códec directly, and output via approved cards like the DeckLink Mini Monitor from Blackmagic. This particular card can output 1080p up to 29.97p, or —for any interlaced fanatics— 1080i at up to 59.94i, which some people now prefer to express as 29.97i.

Since VoiceOverMart has worldwide clients, it is key to be able to handle any framerate, including those derived from the old PAL standard (25/50) and from the old NTSC standard (23.976/24.000/29.97/59.94). That’s why Víctor Martorella upgraded the video monitors to accept any of these framerates, and display them either directly (50 and 59.94), or as a direct multiple of the original (23.976, 24, 29.97).

Above, a line diagram of the DeckLink Mini Monitor


  • Blackmagic DeckLink Mini Monitor (which is the PCIe version of the UltraStudio Mini monitor I covered in this article)
  • Multistandard 1080p video monitor for voice-over booth: Sony KLV–24R402 24″ BRAVIA (photo ahead in this article)
  • Multistandard 1080p video monitor for master control: Sony KDL–32W654 32″ Smart LED (photo ahead in this article)

Above, a photo of the DeckLink Mini Monitor


Above, a photo of the Sony KLV–24R402 24″ BRAVIA monitor

Above, a photo of the Sony KDL–32W654 32″ Smart LED monitor

It should be noted that not all multi-standard HDTVs can display 23.976p and 24.000p without introducing a complex and undesired 2:3 (aka “3:2”) pulldown, but the models that VoiceOverMart picked fortunately can. The very logical reason that VoiceOverMart chose these (rather than something like an HP DreamColor display, which I have covered in several articles) is because VoiceOverMart.com is a high-end voiceover studio and production company, not a color grading service.

More info on VoiceOverMart


See Víctor Martorella's services at VoiceOverMart.com

Related upcoming article

Standby for the upcoming article:

     Radio spot production: 30-second spots for Castilian Conspiracy books.

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Born in Connecticut, United States, Allan Tépper is an award-winning broadcaster & podcaster, bilingual consultant, multi-title author, tech journalist, translator, and language activist who has been working with professional video since the eighties. Since 1994,…

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