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28/04/2008

NBC Olympics Fly With Five Calrec Omega Consoles

NBC Olympics has selected five Omega with Bluefin consoles as part of its coverage of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.
The 56 fader consoles will provide audio mixing for a number of events across several venues.
Two consoles will provide audio coverage for both the opening and closing ceremonies, and the athletics; a further two consoles will be used for the gymnastics and trampoline, and a fifth will be utilised for beach volleyball.
According to Bob Dixon, NBC's Director of Sound Design and Communication at the Olympics, the boards will be expected to cope with extremely sophisticated audio setups.
He said: "We will have some very large scale venues like Ceremonies, Track & Field and Gymnastics.
"Normally we would hire very large mobile units with very big digital audio consoles to use for the production of this kind of coverage. These are not available to us in Beijing, so even our largest venues will be produced with a very significant fly-pack system specially designed and put together for the Olympics. Everything that normally comes installed and pre-wired will have to be designed and assembled."
"To add to this level of complexity, this is the first time the games will be produced totally in high-definition with 5.1 discreet channels of audio. We are still in a period of transition in the United States, so most of our audience will still watch the Games on standard definition television receivers with two channels of audio. This means that everything we do in China must serve both communities.
"We will send six discreet channels of audio with high-def pictures to the US, but we will also be paying the greatest attention to the down-mix of those channels for our stereo-listening audience. From each venue we will be sending not only a 5.1 channel programme mix, but a simultaneous two-channel programme down-mix and a stereo down-mix of the sound effects as well. We use the stereo sound effects mix in promos and post-produced pieces.
"Our new Calrecs will give us the ability to address all six channels at once, or divide them up quickly easily so we can address the delay on the surround channels separately, or the EQ on the centre channel only. This capacity is provided on just on DSP card, with full EQ and dynamics on all channels groups and main outputs."
NBC Olympics specifies and sometime furnishes the major pieces of equipment that will be used, and has partnered with vendors from the United States and the UK for the total system integration, installation and maintenance support of each Flypack. These companies include NEP/Visions from England, NEP SUPERSHOOTERS from Pittsburgh, PA, and Bexel Corporation.
Further information is available at: www.nbcolympics.com.
Based in the north of England, Calrec is a major supplier of broadcast audio mixing consoles to the UK broadcast sector and is a major exporter to markets in North America, Europe and the Pacific Rim. Further information is available at: www.calrec.com.
(KMcA/JM)
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