CBC and SportsNet call on Calrec to produce 5.1 NHL
Toronto, Canada—As A1 and Sound Guarantor for Dome Productions, I worked on major shows as an audio mixer, communications manager and guarantor. Dome Productions is a leading provider of production facilities in North America, offering mobile production facilities, transmission services, studio facilities and turnkey host broadcast services. Traditionally, most of our work has come from live sporting events, for which I have used a variety of audio consoles over the years, including most of Calrec’s consoles.
Calrec consoles facilitate large-scale audio routing and mixing, especially Artemis and Apollo, which was especially important with COVID lockdowns.
HOCKEY IN A BUBBLE
Due to COVID, the world of live television broadcasting has seen a decrease in live events, but the impact of the virus has also forced the industry to adapt to a new way of doing television. We saw this last summer with the NHL Stanley Cup playoff “bubble” in Canada, and it continued into the last regular NHL hockey season. We no longer have two or three mobile TV trucks with their own crews, microphones and cameras, but rather one truck delivering a “host broadcast” style program.
In Canada, CBC and Sportsnet have made the decision to produce all regular season games and playoffs in discreet 5.1 audio. This in itself is a great company, but we were also tasked with producing clean streams and mixes for the other broadcasters. In total, for a regular season hockey game, our audio transmission has increased from approximately eight to 62 channels in total.
The broadcast truck provided approximately nine different video streams, each having between six and eight audio channels. We had some overlap of course, so each channel wasn’t unique, but in the sense of routing it was a big organizing effort. The icing on the cake of this workflow was that, depending on the other broadcasters involved, this channel mapping could change from game to game. The tools that made this job easier before all the others were the Calrec Apollo and Artemis consoles.
SINGLE ‘TONE’ BUTTONS
These consoles give me layers and layers of channel, which is heartwarming during big shows. While aligning the show, playing test tones on our transmit path went from working 3 minutes to sometimes 30 minutes or more. It might seem like a straightforward tool, but sound engineers know that setting the tone for a show on other consoles can be unnecessarily complicated.
Calrec has simple “tone” buttons on all of the main outputs and a menu that allows you to cut and identify the separate legs or rods of each output. Are you standing in line with someone asking for a swipe or left / right ID? Just press a button, no problem.
Calrec consoles are also versatile. I can send any audio source anywhere I need it, internally or externally, downmix, delayed, digital or analog, whatever you want.
Beyond that, muscle memory is important when working out in a fast-paced environment. Whether I’m used to reaching out with my left or right hand to quickly grab the gain from an audio source, the console allows me to build my layout however I want. It’s nice not to be locked into a specific layout, which is just one of the many benefits I get from working with Calrec consoles.
For more information, contact Calrec at https://calrec.com/