[email protected] Perspectives: On-Field Sound Is Coming Up Klover
On-field audio has never seen (or heard) bigger demand, and Paul Terpstra has been busy finding new ways to capture it.
The president of Klover Products, developer of a series of parabolic sound collectors that can catch sound from the sidelines, says the parabs are increasingly being mounted permanently in some sports venues. He cites the New York Mets’ Citi Field as an example: eight 16-in. parabs installed last year to cover the outfield, infield. and home plate were joined by three more this season to blanket the stadium’s outfield.
The dishes have been most ubiquitous at NFL games. Fox Sports was the first user three years ago and remains the sole network to purchase them directly; most sales are to rental houses and remote-production providers, such as CP Communications. However, Terpstra says, baseball is finding that they’re able to cover a lot of ground in the outfield at games on television.
“They’re also getting mounted adjacent to the large video screens or press boxes in stadiums,” he points out. “They’re able to go beyond what shotgun mics do for capturing crowd sounds.”
The parabs’ ability to home in on specific targets is part of their allure for broadcast audio. Although the handheld ones that ply the sidelines of NFL games can be redirected with a quick instruction over the intercom to the A2 carrying it, fixed-installed parabs can also be attached to remotely controlled PTZ-type mounts, allowing them to follow action from the field to the stands from considerable distances.
Terpstra says he hasn’t seen that application requested in sports yet but it is being used by security applications.
“It’s definitely in the realm of possibility for sports,” he adds, noting that it works well in conjunction with player microphones by complementing that tight sound with some on-field ambience. “It’s less of an abrupt switch and more natural sounding when you go to the player microphone.”.
Klover’s parabs have also been used recently in Canadian football, making an appearance at the Grey Cup, and Turner Sports deployed them for the latest two NBA seasons and iterations of March Madness. New at NAB 2016 is a camera-mounted version of the 9-in. parabolic that supports a Lume Cube lighting rig or other shoe-mounted accessories.
“My background is R&D, so we’re always trying new things,” he says. “Viewers really want more sound from the playing field. We keep looking for ways to do that.”
At NAB 2016, Klover Products is co-located with Broadcasters General Store at booth C2330.