ARD gears up for the Olympics with Lawo

By Birgit Heidsiek

The ARD radio team has already passed a crucial technical test for the Olympics. To provide their listeners with the best audio experience possible, the ARD’s technical staff in London is going to rely again on Lawo equipment which has already been successfully used at the Euro 2012 Championships in Poland and the Ukraine.

The ARD radio team covered all UEFA EURO games and produced reports from the stadiums. Various ARD radio stations also mixed parts from live reportages in their programmes. “Sports on the radio is live,” states Sabine Toepperwien, the head of the ARD radio team for the EC. “The demand was tremendous.”

The WDR (West German Broadcasting) had taken on the responsibility for planning, preparing, and implementing the coverage of the UEFA EURO 2012. As the host broadcaster for the ARD, the WDR was not only responsible for organisational and editorial tasks, but also had to take on the technical management for TV and radio broadcasts. In addition to ARD’s existing pool of Lawo equipment two crystal consoles, one mc²56 console and one Nova29, were rented from Lawo’s rental partner Audio Broadcast Services (ABS). The entire setup will be used again for the Olympic Games in London.

For the management of all control room tasks, ARD radio uses software which has been developed specifically for international sports events. This required a close cooperation with ABS. During this process even the development department was involved to assure an optimal system integration. “Due to the very positive experiences from this project, we are planning cooperation closely during future projects of this magnitude,” confirms Manfred Brass, technical director of ARD radio at the IBC in Warsaw.

The technical preparations were directly connected to the planning for broadcasts from the Olympics in London. During a four week test set-up at NDR (North German Broadcasting) in Hamburg, a comprehensive setup for all components was created, configured, and tested. Because of the extremely small time window between packing up in Warsaw and Danzig, transporting the equipment and setting up in London, both events need to be broadcast using almost identical setups. “In this situation, the strengths of the Lawo system really shine,” adds Brass.

Some of the software tools developed by ARD, such as the central control module Cassandra, work closely together with the Nova29, Nova17, Nova73HD as well as the crystal consoles. “Lawo equipment provides the basis for the many in-house developments from the ARD-facilities involved. These complement our portfolio and bring us a long way towards creating a perfect user-oriented workflow. The openly designed interfaces provide the ideal condition for this,” adds Brass.

The most important features of the Lawo system are the free and flexible configurability of the crystal consoles for quick adjustments by trained staff, the clarity of the console surface and the overall ease-of-use. The crews in the ARD production facilities particularly value the clear and well-designed surface of the crystal consoles. After their experience at the EC, they are well prepared for the Olympic Games now.

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