Joe Cipriano’s distinctive voice is heard everyday on over 200 Fox TV stations across the nation, voicing promos for such shows as Fox’s The Simpsons and NBC’s Heroes. Source Element’s Technical Director Rebekah talks with Joe about how he is using Source-Connect as a tool to be available for work while travelling. They were both recorded live in Chicago via a Source-Connect hub by Noah.
- Source-Connect Pro
- Powerbook G4 / MacBook
- Pro Tools 7 LE, Mbox2
- Neumann U-87 microphone
Learn about how Joe conducts his sessions when away from his ISDN studio:
Joe also created a video showing how Source-Connect works with Bridging service Outofhear:
Rebekah: So we’re talking here, I’m in Paris, and Noah is in Chicago and Joe is in… whereabouts exactly?
Joe: I’m in lovely Beverly Hills California, where the cement ponds are, movie stars, and all kinds of things like that. I’m in my home studio here. The weather is gorgeous, it’s going to be 90 degrees, and that’s not bad for fall weather.
Not bad at all, I’m in the wrong part of the world.
(laughs) How’s everything in Paris?
Oh, Paris is… I mean, who cares what the weather’s like, you go shopping!
(laughs) Good for you!
So, tell us what you do, Joe.
Well, I do voiceovers, I’m a network promo announcer, so I work for the Fox Network and I do a lot of their comedies. I work for the NBC Network, I do most of their dramas. I can play you a little something here, would you like to hear?
That’d be great.
We have a new on show on NBC right now called Heros which is doing really well and I do the promos for that and I’m also the in-show announcer.
[Joe plays a Heros promotional spot]
That’s what I do for Heros. And then I do a much lighter thing over at Fox Network:
[Joe plays a Simpsons promotional spot]
I do the Simpsons over there, and King of the Hill, and a bunch of the other comedies. So yeah, it’s something to do!
Well you must be very busy. So you’ve been using Source-Connect for quite a while now, how did you hear about it?
I heard about it pretty early on. A friend of mine Paul Roby, who owns a studio here in Los Angeles called Future Post. So Paul called me one day and said, “I just heard about something that you are going to be all over. And he told me about what Source-Connect can do and the ability to do ISDN-type, you know, broadcast-quality voiceover sessions over high speed internet and I about fell over because it really was exactly what I’d been waiting for after doing promos for so many years, since the early 90’s over ISDN. I’d been waiting for a product that would utilize high speed internet. So I contacted Source Elements right away and talked to John and Robert, and I think I was a little giddy, but I demoed the product and I’ve been using it quite often.
And what hardware are you using with it?
Well, actually when I’m on remote, when I leave my studio and I need to connect with NBC or Fox, I use my wife’s Powerbook, her Apple Powerbook on the road, and I have an MBox2 and I bring my Neumann U-87 microphone with me. I actually have a MacBook Pro, I’m just waiting for the Mac Intel version to be released which I understand is coming out quickly..
I really want to move from the Powerbook to the MacBook Pro. I also have one of those Dual Quad Towers, the new Mac Intel towers that I’m waiting to install in the studio and I’m just holding off, it’s sitting here glistening in the corner, waiting for Source-Connect to release that Intel plug-in.
We won’t keep you waiting much longer, I assure you.
Do you find that Source-Connect is easy to use?
You know, surprisingly yeah. I use Telos Zephyrs for ISDN hookups and they’re very user-friendly. And I was concerned, when I heard about the Source-Connect plug-in and how it works with Pro Tools, that it might be a little too techy for me, but once I installed it and brought it up I was amazed how easy it is to use, and I’ll never forget the first time I hooked it up and talked with you, and I think I had Robert on the line. It was just amazing how easy it was to get going.
Yeah, that was back a year and half ago, so that’s great to hear.
And how have you been using Source-Connect?
Well, I use it when I’m out of town mostly, and I use it in unique ways. When I’m doing network promos, the whole idea about doing network promos is, 90% of the job is just being available. So up until the past year, whenever I would either be out of town on business or on vacation, the first option was to try to book an ISDN studio wherever I was. Many times when you’re on vacation, you know you’re in quaint little towns and there aren’t any studios so I would put an ISDN line, if it was available, into the hotel and then have them run it up to the room that I was in so I could do sessions. Not that I would spend all day working, but you know I’d dedicate maybe an hour a day that I could knock out some of the sessions and then everybody’s happy. So I was patiently waiting for technology to catch up with my needs, and Source-Connect came along and now allows me to use what’s already there, the installed high speed internet that’s in most hotel rooms around the world. And so I’m really lucky.
Would you say it has made life easier?
It has made it a lot easier. First time I used Source-Connect I was in Monte Carlo, Monaco, south of France and NBC had booked me for a session and it was our first night in Monaco. We had just gotten in and I didn’t have ISDN, they really needed the session. I had brought the Powerbook with me with the MBox and the microphone because I knew I’d be doing some work while I was on vacation. So I just plugged into the hotel internet in Monte Carlo and I hooked up with NBC, it was 10pm I think in Monaco, and something like 2pm in Los Angeles and the connection was solid, the session went off without a hitch. Everybody was quite surprised that it had come off so easily, it was one of the first times we did it. The problem is NBC, and Fox for that matter, they don’t have internet connections on their computers where they mix in their post rooms, so we have to use a bridge to connect. They need to stay on ISDN and then I can be on Source-Connect. We normally use bridges. So what I did for this session and what I’ve done since is I’ll use Apple Remote Desktop on my portable computer, wherever I am. For example, I was in Monaco, I access my home computer (the studio computer) and open up Pro Tools via the Remote Desktop and launch the Source-Connect plug-in and then I’ll call myself using the Apple Remote Desktop from the home studio to the laptop and hook up a connection that way. And NBC or Fox, they only have to dial in on my regular ISDN line and boom, we’ve got a connection. As they might say in Monaco, “Voila!”
Wow, yes they would! So what’s your opinion of the audio quality of the stream?
I think it matches, sometimes exceeds, the sound we get on ISDN and the networks have been happy with it. So it’s worked really well for us.
Is Source-Connect replacing existing technology for you?
I would say that it’s not replacing, but it’s enhancing. Source-Connect gives me a new and different way that I can connect with clients. But at the moment, for what we do and because of the infrastructure we, at least with my clients, have, I’m using ISDN on a day to day basis, and Source-Connect just kind of enhances that when I’m away from ISDN.
So it’s more enabling you to work in new ways?
Exactly. You know, I would never have the opportunity to do a session from a remote location without prior installation of ISDN. Usually when I go out on location, if we’re going on a vacation or something like that, or on a business trip I have to, a month out, order the ISDN and make sure that it’s in or find a studio. So it has allowed me to, pretty much, just get to the location, plug in, open up the laptop and go.
How do you see Source-Connect being used in the future?
Well I hope that I get to use it more and more on a day to day basis. I would love to see ISDN phased out. I think that it will allow me to connect with a lot more clients who don’t have ISDN or can’t afford ISDN. So, I’m hoping that eventually they’ll be able to be at their workstation and we can do a connection from computer to computer and bypass ISDN. I think it would just open up a lot more work and greater availability.
And do you think there will be new technologies spinning off these methods, of what’s offered by IP technology?
Well I hope so. I’m always looking. I was so thrilled to see Source-Connect. I can’t wait to see what’s next. I think you folks at Source Elements have really got your finger on the pulse and so I’m looking forward to whatever new technology comes around and immediately determining how I’m going to use it because I’ll be all over it.
That’s great to hear. Well, thanks for your time Joe.
Alright, well, I’m happy with how everything has worked with Source-Connect. Like I said it’s opened all kinds of new opportunities for me. It’s made my job easier. I’m looking forward to the future, I think it’ll just get better and better and better. I mean there are issues from time to time with the firewalls, but it seems like every time something pops up that may be a problem, it’s being worked on and just from the time that we started using Source-Connect until today it’s amazing how it’s advanced and how it’s changed to the point now where you can pretty much plug in anywhere. So I just look forward to it getting better and better.
That’s wonderful, we’re really glad that you’re happy to make use of it.
Okay, well it’s been great to talk with you!
Thanks very much Rebekah, thanks Noah, and we’ll talk to you guys soon!
Thanks Joe, bye!
Recorded and transcribed by Noah in Chicago on an Mbox2, Pro Tools 7.2 on Windows XP with Source-Connect Pro. Thanks to Joe for his time.
You can find more about Joe Cipriano here: http://www.joecipriano.com