Crowd Goes Wild, but Audio Stays Steady

It’s The View but with lots more testosterone and shades of Sabado Gigante mixed in. Crowd Goes Wild is Fox Sports 1’s daily live Web soup of sports news and commentary, a noisy, newsy circus headed by aging-yet-ageless über sports fan Regis Philbin, supported by regulars Georgie Thompson, Michael Kosta, Trevor Pryce, Jason Gay, and Katie Nolan (for some counterbalancing estrogen). The show is shot on a film stage at New York’s Pier 60, where mixer Brian Pannier (pronounced pan-YAY) blends dialog, music, sound effects, and some bits of comedy into an eminently watchable 60 minutes.

Mixer Brian Pannier

Mixer Brian Pannier

“We do a lot of music and effects cues, and they can move pretty fast,” says Pannier, whose sports-audio work includes being part of the documentary crew that shot background pieces for CBS and TNT at the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan. He also mixed gymnastics at the 1998 Summer Goodwill Games on Turner Sports. He picked up some daytime-talk-show experience with ABC’s culinary chatfest The Chew. All that comes together on CGW.

Music and effects cues signal shifts in the show, from group chatter to in-person interviews and then to a sports-themed game-show bit. Longer music beds, pulled from, are used to underscore comedy bits. These audio elements are pulled from a central hard drive and transferred to a 360 Systems’ Digicart instant-replay drive that both Pannier and his effects mixer, Chris McGuire, can access on the fly.

Many of Crowd Goes Wild’s sound effects are scripted, but Pannier is alert for ad-libs called out by the director. These include a thunder-and-lightning effect, coordinated with the stage’s lighting crew, when Philbin commences one of his regular tirades about the quality of play of New York’s major-league teams. “It’s a very funny effect,” he says, likening it to zoo-crew–type morning-drive-time radio.

Most of the hour is taken up with managing a slew of live microphones, which are mixed through a Studer Vista 1 digital console. These include six talent mics plus guest mics, for which Pannier uses Voice Technology VT500 lavalier microphones through a Shure UR-1 wireless system. The audience is picked up through an array of four Sennheiser 416 shotgun microphones. Of the Vista 1 console, he says, “It’s a small desk but is being used to its complete and full capacity, and it’s performing great.”

He notes that the comms audio is as important as the sound from the stage, to ensure good communication between director and crew. Furthermore, the show is shot in New York but is sent via fiber to Fox’s Los Angeles network-control facility, from where it’s distributed to cable and satellite.

Crowd Goes Wild tries to stay short of manic but aspires also to emulate the excitement and unpredictability of the sports it covers, Pannier says. “It’s like a sporting event itself: it’s live and fast-paced. Television sports covers a game as it happens, and that’s what we’re doing on this show. We turn up the faders and follow the action.”

The action can be surprising, like the time when Orlando Magic defender Victor Oladipo came on and performed a musical duet with Philbin, both of them vocalizing to a backing track. “We were all pretty impressed,” recalls Pannier about Oladipo’s performance. “He really knows how to work the mic.”

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