NBC Olympics adds eighth Calrec console for Beijing Games
NBC Olympics has selected a 56 fader Alpha with Bluefin console to be stationed at Beijing’s National Aquatics Center at the 2008 Olympic Games. System integration for the console, which will provide coverage of swimming and diving events, will be provided by NBC Olympics’ official partner Bexel Corporation, based in Burbank, Calif. Established in 1981 to provide video equipment and ancillary support gear to the production community, Bexel also owns the Audio Specialites Group, who is the Calrec distributor in the Central and Western regions of the USA.
The console brings the total number of Calrec boards used by NBC Olympics at the 2008 Olympic Games to eight; NBC is using two Sigma with Bluefin consoles at the International Broadcast Center, and a further five Omega with Bluefin consoles in fly-packs at various locations in the city. In addition to swimming and diving, Calrec consoles will be used to cover the opening and closing ceremonies, track and field, gymnastics, and beach volleyball.
“Each Olympic Games’ coverage brings with it new demands for better technology, increased flexibility, and greater efficiency,” said Bob Dixon, NBC’s director of sound design at the Olympics. “Even our ‘smaller’ events are quite demanding. The number of real and virtual tape machines with four to 12 audio tracks each, has gone up tremendously.
“What used to be a stereo source is now a six-channel source,” continued Dixon. “For example, crowd mixes, sound effects mixes, and music playbacks have all dramatically increased our requirement for more input and output channels. If many inputs make up a 5.1 channel group, and you have several of these groups making up your 5.1 program mix, that demands quite a sophisticated console. We need to monitor in 5.1, and in stereo, and also check how it is in mono as we still have a lot of people with smaller receivers in their homes.”
The Alpha console provides 480 channel processing paths packaged as 162 stereo and 156 mono channels, allowing up to 78 x full 5.1 surround channels. This capacity is provided on just one DSP card, with full EQ and dynamics on all channel groups and main outputs.