Rio 2016: Broadcast Audio Looks Muscular Ahead of Olympics Opening

The pro-audio pantheon presents a wide array of broadcast solutions for the Summer Olympic Games, which open in Rio de Janeiro tomorrow. Leading brands of audio offerings — mix consoles, processing, intercoms, systems testing, and project management — are represented at the quadrennial event.

rio-og-2016Calrec has supplied NBC Sports Group’s NBC Olympics division with seven audio-mixing consoles. Four Artemis audio consoles will be divided among flypack venues and the International Broadcast Center (IBC) in Rio. Four Artemis and three Summa consoles will provide full audio mixes for the coverage. Three of the 40-fader Artemis consoles will be stationed at NBC flypack venues to provide coverage of basketball, cycling, triathlon, marathon, volleyball, and diving. The fourth will be based in Audio Control Room X in the NBC Olympics compound within the IBC. This console will be in use with venues moving audio and video over IP. One 24+8-fader Summa console will provide the main output in Audio Control Room X; the remaining two will serve as backup in Audio Control Rooms A and B. In addition, Calrec has supplied 26 I/O boxes, creating a comprehensive and fully redundant Hydra2 network for signal management and full control across MADI and Dante.

Intercom Systems
NBC Olympics will deploy RTS broadcast intercom systems and support, including OMNEO, RVON, IP trunking, ADAM intercom matrix, and intercom panels.

During the Games, Clear-Com’s intercom and audio-connectivity products will be used by a number of global broadcasters in a variety of applications at the IBC. Among the broadcasters is TV Globo (Brazil), which has just built its first 4K production truck. Communications at the soccer stadiums and other venues throughout Brazil will be based entirely on Clear-Com Eclipse HX-Omega digital matrix network. In addition, TV Globo will use six Eclipse frames at its main headquarters and two at the IBC, interconnected via IVC-32-HX boards using IP technology and using MADI and fiber as a redundant interconnection. The broadcaster has also secured approximately 30 Agent-IC mobile-app licenses, connected to the Eclipse HX systems for roaming crew members using iOS devices.

SportTV (Brazil), a Globo Network channel, will dedicate 16 live channels broadcasting multiple events over eight connected Clear-Com Eclipse HX-Omega matrix frames. ESPN’s Brazil headquarters is deploying Eclipse HX-Omega digital matrix systems for communications and its MADI and IVC-32 IP boards for high-performance, low-latency audio connection between the Eclipse matrix systems and highly scalable IP-based intercom systems. Fox Sports Brazil, Rai Italy’s Rio studio, and Esporte Interativo (Brazil) rented mobile production units from Salvatore de Lucca for local broadcasting. Each unit is outfitted with Clear-Com Eclipse HX-Median digital matrix intercom systems and support equipment. Besides the sports venues, a Clear-Com FreeSpeak II system will be used throughout the Olympic City by TV Globo.

Mics for Broadcast and Monitoring
Audio-Technica has provided microphones, broadcast headsets, and monitor headphones for the production of the games. BP4027 and BP4029 stereo shotgun microphones will be mounted on cameras to closely follow the action. AT4050ST large-diaphragm stereo mics and BP4025 X/Y stereo mics will capture venue ambience to create a realistic surround bed for the broadcast. BPHS1 broadcast stereo headsets will be worn by announcers in audio-over-IP venues to provide considerable separation between their voices and the ambient sound. BP4001 handheld cardioid dynamic microphones will be used for interviews. ATH-M50x professional monitor headphones will be deployed in edit rooms, for monitoring RF mic receivers and submix consoles, and for other critical listening applications.

The Process
On the processing side, Linear Acoustic will provide audio upmixing and technical support for NBC’s production. More than 40 of its UPMAX v4 units, along with remote controls, have been delivered to NBC Olympics. The company is also providing MT2000 multichannel bitstream analyzers and onsite technical support.

Lawo’s VSM (Virtual Studio Manager) broadcast control and monitoring solution, along with its IP commentary system, will be deployed both at the NBC Olympics production compound within the IBC and at NBC Olympics’ studios in Stamford, CT. VSM will be the overall control system for the broadcaster’s core routing and tally management, connecting to multiple third-party devices on an IP backbone, using approximately 80 LBP hardware panels and 80 GUI-based VSM panels accessed from various monitors and tablets provided throughout various production facilities.

NBC Olympics will also deploy a Lawo audio-over-IP commentary system, along with several Lawo V_pro8 video processors, to manage coverage from Stamford. The V_pro8s will receive video feeds from Rio, de-embed the audio, and insert it into Ravenna and MADI streams that will ultimately feed the Lawo LCU commentary system for up to 20 announce positions covering various sports. In addition, several venues in Rio will be connected to the NBC Olympics compound within the IBC with Lawo’s V_remote4 units to provide connectivity and processing for network audio and video signals delivered via IP connections from the remote sites.

“In going through the collaborative design process with NBC Olympics,” explains Mark Whitman, VP, sales, Lawo, “it was critical that we had the ability to customize the overall system to support the workflows they wanted, while also providing the flexibility to grow the system as technologies evolve in the future.”

Testing, Testing…
For ensuring that signal quality is what it needs to be, Tektronix has provided audio- and video-test and quality-monitoring equipment. NBC Olympics will use its WFM7200, WVR7200, WFM5200, and WVR5200 waveform monitors and rasterizers, SPG8000A master-sync and master-clock reference generators, and Sentry video-quality monitors to support its coverage. The equipment will be used to monitor and test the quality of video and audio content used in production, postproduction, transmission. and distribution workflows at NBC facilities. For UHD applications, NBC will use the WFM8300 waveform monitor, which supports numerous UHD formats and ITU-R BT.2020 wide color gamut (WCG). The instruments will be used for quality monitoring and compliance checking during content distribution and broadcast transmission and for quality control in content production and postproduction. The units will also be used for equipment qualification and troubleshooting during installation and maintenance of the facilities at the Games. The Tektronix SPG8000A reference generators will be used by NBC Olympics to ensure that stable and reliable timing and synchronization sources are available for mobile, studio, postproduction, and broadcast operations. The instruments provide multiple video and audio reference signals and 3G/HD-SDI test patterns for video-equipment verification, facility link testing, and display calibration. The SPG8000A units are also equipped with IEEE 1588 Precision Time Protocol (PTP) support, which offers solutions for system timing over IP for a gradual transition to hybrid SDI-based and IP-based infrastructure.

The NEP Group, which has been part of NBC Olympics’ coverage of the past 11 Games, is providing mobile broadcasting and engineering consulting for NBC Olympics. NEP’s SS25 A, B, C; Iridium; Zinc; NCPXI; ST41; ND5; and associated support vans will be deployed for coverage of the Opening and Closing Ceremonies at Maracanã Stadium, track and field at Olympic Stadium, gymnastics at Rio Olympic Arena, swimming at Olympic Aquatics Stadium, and beach volleyball at Beach Volleyball Arena on Copacabana Beach. In addition, approximately 25 NEP technical-engineering and support personnel will be on hand at NBC Olympics’ mobile broadcasting facilities, and more than 15 will be at the IBC to provide operations management and technical consulting.

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