YLE debuts new truck for Ahonen’s swansong

Finland: Finnish broadcaster YLE chose the final appearance of ski jumping legend Janne Ahonen to debut its brand new, Lawo-equipped U10 OB truck at the recent Lahti Ski Games.

YLE took delivery of its new OB van, the U10, from integrators Sony Broadcast just in time for the games, and the 40-ton unit was immediately assigned to the Ski Jump arena in Salpausselkä. In the vehicle, there are two audio production areas; in the larger of the control rooms is a 24-8-16 Lawo mc²66 console, and next door is a 16-fader Sapphire desk. Over a network, the consoles which share common resources, including 6 DALLIS frames, 6x 3G HD-SDI cards and 52x HD-SDI, intercom integration and centralised DSP flat-screen monitoring delay compensation.

There is one centralised audio routing resource for both production rooms, with capacity for around 8000 crosspoints. With 192 DSP channels, capability includes sub-matrixing, downmixing and summing, all within the network. All the ‘noisy’ equipment has been installed in a discrete area, leaving the main production space and main audio control room especially quiet.

From a technical standpoint, the OB from the Lahti Games is not complex. “We were using quite a low channel count,” explains YLE audio supervisor, Pasi Vatunen. “However, the challenge lay in the fact that we had a new truck, and we had to get to grips with it very quickly! Although everybody has been using Lawo consoles for about 10 years, YLE actually only has one mc²66 model so far, and this is installed in a studio. But we are all familiar with Lawo philosophy so it was quite easy for us to get up to speed, and we were helped by the mc²66 providing such a high degree of visual feedback.”

Pasi Vatunen and his OB team became the first to use the new sapphire console in a mobile unit: a desk which was designed for radio, but which has a very slim profile and streamlined wiring. “We had very little space in our second control room, and the sapphire fits in very easily with just a power supply and one Ethernet cable, and it can be taken out just as easily. There are some differences in the layout of the console, but we have had very good experience with it so far. The engineers can send any audio source to the router, and any microphone from any of the three stageboxes can be linked to the sapphire over MADI, controlling mic gain at the stagebox from the console.”

With the first big sporting event successfully completed, Vatunen can look ahead to the future. “We have space for another DALLIS card in the mc²66, and we’ll add some extra SDI cards if we connect up one more EVS unit. And we may add another router card for more DSP in the Sapphire.  This is the best part of the Lawo design philosophy, that there is always the option for expansion at a future date.”

Swiss star Simon Amman took the laurels at the competition, with an emotional – for once! – Ahonen only managing 117m with his final jump and failing to progress beyond the second round. Still, as he made his way out of the arena, one of Finland’s most enduring and popular sportsmen was given standing ovation by the thousands in attendance, all captured for posterity via U10’s consoles.

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