IBC Q&A: Calrec’s Goodman Sees an Expanding Broadcast Market
Calrec remains the top dog in the OB-van audio-console market, but, as that market becomes more competitive, it’s focusing on new developments, such as the Calrec Automation System for Apollo and Artemis, and getting deeper into object-based audio. Here, Henry Goodman, director, support and market development, discusses the company’s plans.
What’s Calrec bringing new for the IBC Show this year?
Calrec will launch two new products at IBC2015. The first is the Calrec Automation System for the Apollo and Artemis consoles. Designed to record the movements of a console’s channel and bus controls, Calrec’s implementation is unique in that it operates entirely in the background during a live broadcast, allowing the user to concentrate on the task at hand without additional controls interfering with the surface layout. Afterwards, the automation controls can be called back to the surface display to make simple work of automating a mixdown or repurposing the material for quick turnaround.
The second is our Mod I/O card, which allows full Waves [plug-in–processing] integration. The module provides direct connection between Hydra2 and the Waves SoundGrid network, allowing simple integration and fewer parts in the chain, meaning lower latency and greater reliability. This capability gives Calrec users instant access to the vast range of highly regarded Waves plug-ins and powerful broadcast tools.
As the broadcast-sports market expands, especially into the regional networks, the opportunities for new brands has increased. What’s the level of competition like now, and what are Calrec’s strategies around that?
You’re right, the broadcast market is expanding, but we actually see that as a huge opportunity for Calrec. Calrec’s reputation in the live-broadcast market has enabled us to work with our customers to provide the appropriate tools they need for the level and genre of broadcasting they work. There will always be the big-ticket live sports events like the Super Bowl and the World Series, where big, reliable, and powerful consoles are very necessary. The expansion you are asking about is in additional content, and new technologies like [at-home] production mean it is becoming increasingly cost-effective to broadcast more events, like college football and athletics. Calrec is already working very closely with specialists in this field, like Pac-12 [Networks], looking to address the challenges in this new market.
How are new formats in object-based audio factoring into Calrec’s long-range plans?
There is no question that object-based audio will come to play a big part in the viewing experience of armchair sports fans, although there is still a good deal of thought going into not only how the proposition to the viewer should be structured but also the commercial model for these additional services. Calrec has been working closely with a number of technology companies who are involved in this development, chiefly to help ascertain the operational implications from a console-operator point of view. The delivery of object-based audio is an entirely separate thing to the practicalities of mixing it, and, when the market is ready for it, Calrec will be in a position to supply the right tools for our customers.
How is the rapid uptake of audio networking affecting OB production?
The truth is that OB productions have been using networking technologies for distribution of audio at stadiums and other fields of play for years now. The ability to move and control audio over a few fiber cables has made OB operations much simpler and reduced setup times dramatically. As the large high-profile events get larger, there is an increasing demand to provide more production facilities, and the ability to have multiple trucks sharing I/O resources becomes a necessity. MADI has met this need for some time, and now it is possible to connect multiple Calrec consoles together on an ad hoc basis with Hydra2. The newer networking technologies promise even more ways to provide interconnectivity and simplify OB environments. Key to this are the management tools that are provided for handling the networks connected, and this is where the management tools provided by Calrec really help.
Pro Audio folks love a good drink. Favorite cocktail, wine, or beer?
You know us at Calrec, we like to be individual. We’ve come up with a little tipple that’s quite on trend in our industry. We’re pleased to announce the third offering for IBC2015: our very own AoIPA that we will serve at 5 p.m. during the show. It comes accompanied by a traditional English-pub quiz and the opportunity to win a handcrafted seven-string guitar made from one of our upcycled prototype field boxes!