DTV Audio Group Plans Next Round of Training Initiatives

The nuts-and-bolts of IP-based and object-based audio will be the focus

The DTV Audio Group is in the process of planning curricula for two key areas of broadcast audio that it expects to become critical within the year: IP-networked audio and object-based audio. In both cases, according to DTVAG Executive Director Roger Charlesworth, the focus will be on the practical aspects of these rapidly emerging technologies.

dtv-audio-group-logo“SMPTE ST2110 is driving standardization around AES67 for audio in broadcast,” he says. “Having a single common standard is going to make IP-based audio-signal routing expand much more quickly in the future.”

Charlesworth expects that object-based audio will experience similarly rapid uptake in the next year, as Dolby Atmos makes deeper inroads into premium episodic television. In addition to cinema-derived content, three Starz series now use the format, including Black Sails; HBO’s Game of Thrones, like others, deploys it on home-video editions of the hit series. Future premium UHD content being commissioned now by Netflix, Amazon, and others will likely also use the format. High-end sports production is a logical next step for object-based audio, with BT and SkySports already applying the technology to Premier League broadcasts.

Hands-On Training
“The emphasis in any training program needs to be on the practical, hands-on aspects of these technologies,” Charlesworth says. “There’s a lot of stuff out there already about the theoretical and engineering aspects of object-based audio and audio-over-IP but not as much on the nuts-and-bolts operational side.”

He reports that all stakeholders in the DTVAG’s existing online training program, which currently hosts modular tutorials on loudness and 5.1-surround mixing, are participating in discussions about these next topics. They include Fox Sports, NBC Sports, Turner Sports, and ESPN. “We are looking at the best way to facilitate training in these areas,” he says, “including partnering with key solutions providers like Dolby in facilitating ongoing education.”

There is no consensus yet on how best to approach training for these technologies; methodologies under consideration include online modules and webinars. However, one goal that is close to being firmed up is a symposium for leading sports A1s on these and other emerging audio-technology topics. This could take place in July, during the MLB All-Star Game break.

“There has been a tremendous response from the networks, the solution providers, and the mixer community in putting this together,” Charlesworth notes. “We’re looking at the lessons we learned from the roll-out of AC-3 and other new audio technologies. It’s important to reach out to the freelance A1 community as early as possible. They’re the ones ultimately on the front line of all of these new technologies.”

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