NAB adds Surround Sound Conference to show slate

By Dan Daley

SVG Audio Editor

This year’s NAB Show will have a forward-looking sideshow for audio
professionals via The Surround Broadcast Conference, a joint venture between
the National Association of Broadcasters and Pro Sound News. The new conference
will focus on the production of digital, multi-channel broadcast audio and
related issues, including recording and mixing, the consistency of the listener
experience, and transmission and distribution of 5.1-channel audio that will
accompany high-definition video.

Conference panelists scheduled to participate include Jim Starzynski, principal
audio architect of the NBC Universal Advanced Engineering group; Jim
DeFilippis, senior vice president and principal engineer for the FOX
Entertainment Group; Robert Seidel, vice president of engineering and advanced
technology for CBS Television; Sean Richardson, post production manager and
audio engineer for Starz-Encore; and Michael Nunan, director of post production
for CTV.

“The fact that this will be the last NAB Show prior to the digital TV
transition also makes this an extremely relevant topic, as stations look for
new opportunities only available in the digital era , particularly in sports
broadcasting,” states NAB spokesman Kris Jones. “ The vast majority of stations
are already broadcasting in digital, with many enhancing their HDTV experience
with surround sound.”

An NAB report on the topic stated that, “The transitions [to surround audio]
are well underway at the network and distribution level, with lessons learned
and issues like the consistency of the viewer experience still being refined.
Many production facilities are already providing a high-quality surround
experience for their projects, while many others still need to extend their repertoire
to multi-channel sound.

At the local level, though, the report goes on, signal flow and infrastructure
are significant issues for many stations, as well as developing a production
philosophy that lets local production stand up against network fare. “This
conference will show how it’s being done and will provide the information
needed to reach the full potential of digital, multi-channel broadcast audio,”
it concluded.

Registration for the conference to be held on April 16 costs $395 for members
and $495 for non-members, through April 11. On-site registration will cost $495
and $625, respectively.

As part of the registration fee attendees will be extended free admission to
the Beijing Olympics Technology Forum to be held by the Sports Video Group and
NAB in room N 119.

Several pro audio manufacturers, including Harman, Dolby and Holophone, will
provide product demos and case studies. Topics include implementing 5.1
automatic level control, new tools for multi-channel audio capture, and DTV
audio techniques in a file-based world.

“Whether it’s scripted entertainment programming or live sporting events,
consumer demand for high-quality surround sound continues to increase,” said
Jones. “America’s love for sports and the TV viewer’s desire to be ‘in the
game’ is certainly one of the driving forces behind this increased demand.
That’s why this new conference is a natural fit for the NAB Show and sports
audio professionals.

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