Fox Sports will still “throw it” for the iconic run
The “almost return to normal” will be marked by a new car and its remote production workflows
NASCAR’s Daytona 500 weekend begins today, and the audio team is enjoying what seems like an almost normal experience. Even so, this year’s race will continue to roll out much of the workflow developed during the pandemic, including a geographic medley of remote locations beyond Florida.
“COVID restrictions are lighter than they were last year,” A1 Kevin McCloskey notes happily. “We still wear masks when we need to, but it’s starting to look more like it used to.”
Covering Fox Sports, McCloskey will work on location aboard mobile unit Game Creek Encore (they’ll switch to Game Creek Cleatus for the remainder of the season), with chip weaver sub mixer and Doug Wilsonwho is in charge of communications on the track.
Working remotely will be Andy Rostonhandling race car and truck communications from New York; radio editor Jeff Bratta at home in Georgia; and Jeff Feltz radio mixer, on a Calrec Brio console at his home in Indianapolis. Tape and graphics operations are located in Pittsburgh; video editing, in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Bratta and Feltz use Unity Intercom as the audio signal transport format. Their signals are converted to and from Dante on the track. Communications are via the RTS Voice Over Network (RVON).
That new car sound
The big change this year is the car itself and, therefore, its sound signature. The Next Gen car under development has left and right headers and downpipes, with dual exhaust pipes passing through boxed channels under both sides of the car and exiting in front of the two rear wheels. This is a significant departure from the previous right-side single tailpipe configuration. And you can hear it.
“The car is definitely huskier and deeper,” says McCloskey. “I noticed it straight away. It’s a huge difference in sound.
This will not change effects capture techniques; the number, type and position of microphones deployed are the same as in previous years. McCloskey says he could add just a touch of equalization if needed.
Also new is the beta use of newly developed software to improve the intelligibility of car radio voice audio. The new noise reduction software was developed for Fox Sports, and this will be its first on-air use. However, the roughly 10 seconds it takes to complete its processing means it won’t be used live. But, says McCloskey, viewers can expect a much clearer sound from the cars, which has always been a fan favorite.
Another fan favorite also returns. “Crank It Up”, the SFX “drum solo” that Fox inserts at one point in the run, consisting of a mix taken directly from Weaver’s Calrec Artemis submix console and sent through McCloskey’s main mix , will be part of the sound of the show.
Says McClosky, “It’s not a NASCAR race without ‘Crank It Up.'”