NBC Olympics goes for gold with Calrec

NBC Olympics has selected five Omega with Bluefin consoles as part of its coverage of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. The 56 fader consoles will provide audio mixing for a number of events across several venues. Two consoles will provide audio coverage for both the opening and closing ceremonies and the athletics; a further two consoles will be used for gymnastics and trampoline, and a fifth will be utilised for beach volleyball.

“We will have some very large scale venues like ceremonies, track and field, and gymnastics,” says Bob Dixon, NBC Olympic’s director of sound design.

“This is the first time the games will be produced totally in high-definition with 5.1 discrete channels of audio. We are still in a period of transition in the United States, so most of our audience will still watch the Games on standard-definition television receivers with two channels of audio. This means that everything we do in China must serve both communities.”

“We will send six discrete channels of audio with HD pictures to the U.S., but we will also be paying the greatest attention to the down-mix of those channels for our stereo-listening audience. From each venue we will be sending not only a 5.1 channel program mix, but a simultaneous two-channel program down-mix and a stereo down-mix of the sound effects as well. We use the stereo sound effects mix in promos and post-produced pieces.”

The new Calrecs will give NBC Olympics the ability to address all six channels at once, or divide them up quickly and easily to provide independent control of each channel. Calrec consoles provide the quick flexibility needed by an operator mixing a live surround event.

The Omega with Bluefin console provides 160 channel processing paths packaged as 48 stereo and 64 mono channels, allowing up to 24 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.

NBC Olympics specifies the major pieces of equipment that will be used, and has partnered with vendors from the U.S. and the U.K. for the total system integration, installation and maintenance support of each Flypack.

These companies include NEP/Visions from England, NEP Supershooters from Pittsburgh, Pa., and Bexel Corporation from Burbank, Calif.

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