Date posted: March 12, 2015

Mobile production specialist supplies all live TV, audio and post services for BET and Centric, while bringing “Salute Selma” concert to viewers worldwide

Mobile production specialist TNDV was onsite in Selma, Alabama this past weekend to document a series of special events and concerts surrounding the Bloody Sunday 50th Anniversary, where President Barack Obama joined a crowd of thousands to commemorate the confrontation between police and peaceful protesters that spurred the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

TNDV’s Vibration audio truck was one of three TNDV production trucks onsite. Vibration provided the multitrack recording workflow for the Salute Selma concert on Sunday, March 8.

In addition to a lineup of influential speakers, the weekend included the Selma 50th Anniversary Concerts, which brought together local musicians and popular national artists for three concert events across Saturday and Sunday. TNDV provided audio, video and uplink facilities for the main “Salute Selma,” concert event on Sunday, featuring Rick Ross, Keith Sweat and other well-known musical acts. TNDV worked with cable networks BET and Centric to bring the concert to viewers worldwide via a live stream. A broadcast special will air this Sunday, March 15 on Centric.

In addition to the Salute Selma production, the TNDV team captured various events over the weekend to incorporate into the live webcast and Centric broadcast. This includes the commemorative march across the Edmund Pettis Bridge, in recognition of the 600 civil rights activists that crossed the bridge on March 7, 1965 during a 54-mile trek to the state capital.  Exclusive HD drone footage of the march, captured by TNDV President and Owner Nic Dugger from an aerial perspective above the bridge, can be viewed at https://vimeo.com/121626969.

The TNDV crew on the Edmund Pettis Bridge

Through the weekend, TNDV served as BET’s on-site TV facility, handling everything from live switching the high-end audio mixing and post. To accommodate the enormous size and scale of the production, TNDV brought three of its trucks—Elevation, Aspiration and its Vibration audio truck—to Selma, building a common networked architecture to share video and audio signal routing, monitoring and a multichannel intercom matrix across the entire production workflow.

“In a remote area like Selma, there are literally no technical facilities and few resources to assist in the production of a live TV show,” said Dugger. “This put the responsibilities on TNDV to accommodate the entire workflow from multi-camera acquisition to transmission, designating one truck each for video, audio and uplink services. Selma was deservedly under a unique spotlight this weekend in light of the Bloody Sunday anniversary, and the additional recent exposure through the movie and the Oscars. With an event of such historical value, the honor of being selected and trusted to execute this technical plan cannot be understated.”

The mobile production workflow across the three TNDV trucks included six Hitachi HD cameras, a Deko 3000 graphics station and Renewed Vision’s Pro Presenter system for media playout.  The audio workflow included 128 inputs from the stage to a Studer stage boxes, which were routed to a Studer Vista 9 console onboard the Vibration audio truck. Multitrack audio was managed on board Vibration as well, using a ProTools system with JoeCo recorders on backup.

“The TNDV crew did an excellent job on a very challenging production throughout the weekend in Selma,” said Monte Johnson, CEO of Showtek Productions, the company responsible for managing all broadcast and production elements over the weekend. “TNDV brings together a team of professionals that are truly passionate about their craft. They were a part of history this past weekend, and work of this level makes them not only a rare special breed in this industry, but deserves to make them famous.”

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Date posted: January 12, 2015

Mobile production specialist brings the unusual and unexpected to “19 Kids And Counting”, “The Real Housewives of Atlanta”

 

NASHVILLE, January 12, 2015 — The secretive nature of reality television is a big part of the allure for viewers of programs such as 19 Kids And Counting, punctuated by the record-setting 4.4 million viewers that tuned into Episode 9 this season.  Though viewers were aware they were tuning in for the wedding of Jill Duggar, one of the popular show’s principal stars, they were treated to unexpected guilty pleasures associated with the story that Reality TV fans enjoy.

The TNDV crew worked aside production company Figure 8 Films to delivery the unexpected in mobile production for 19 Kids And Counting: Jill’s Wedding

As Reality TV’s ongoing success is tied to the unusual and unexpected, the nontraditional approach of mobile production specialist TNDV has proven an ideal match for programs like 19 Kids And Counting and The Real Housewives of Atlanta — two shows that have recently relied on TNDV’s multi-camera expertise for special episodes.  TNDV also recently wrapped a multi-camera shoot for a second 19 Kids And Counting wedding — this one featuring Jessa Duggar — to air later in 2015.

“Most of the footage we shoot for these shows aren’t seen for weeks or even months,” said Nic Dugger, president and owner, TNDV, of his experience shooting the similarly surnamed 19 Kids and Counting family.  “While it’s fun to keep the plot twists under our hats, the real challenge is bringing our multi-camera experience to programs that are typically accustomed to single-camera, film-style shooting teams.”

TNDV’s flexible strategy for multi-camera shoots — Reality TV and otherwise — is fueled through its a la carte approach to mobile production, which carefully customizes the technology and workflow for each project.  The TNDV staff worked aside single-camera production teams from Figure 8 Films to strategize and enhance diversity in coverage, employing long lenses, jibs, Steadicams and robotic systems — all recorded independently along with multi-track audio.

With load-in and rehearsal time limited, Nic Dugger and his production crew at TNDV had limited time to prepare for the unexpected of reality TV - a situation where they excel

“In the world of Reality TV, thinking on your feet and quickly changing course are valuable assets,” said Scott Enlow, producer and director, Figure 8 Films.  “Although we usually operate with an extremely mobile crew of 8-12 members for 19 Kids And Counting, bringing TNDV on didn’t hamper or slow production one bit.  Nic and his crew brought a problem-solving approach to challenges with a great attitude, and were willing to adapt to last minute changes with professionalism and ease.  TNDV was a great asset and contributed greatly to our highest rated episode in the show’s history, as well as the highest ratings for TLC in nearly five years.  I won’t hesitate to bring them on again, whenever or wherever the need arises.”

TNDV has used two different trucks, Elevation and Inspiration, for the two Duggar wedding episodes.  For the recently aired 19 Kids And Counting: Jill’s Wedding episode, TNDV brought Elevation, its newest sixth and newest truck, to the production site along with 11 cameras.  According to Dugger, each camera was timecode-locked with a shared timecode feed delivered to truck sources on Elevation on Inspiration, as well as the loose ENG teams following the various characters seen in the episode.

TNDV also added microphone drops across the production space to ensure the highest audio quality.  The provision of wireless microphones for every character on the show augmented the audio experience for the viewer, producing an intimacy akin to being in the room for the weddings.  Additionally, TNDV supplied intercom feeds to every member of the production team, including the single-camera production teams working alongside TNDV staff to ensure everyone involved was on a communications channel.  TNDV also adapted two-way radios to the intercom system to enable a truly remote intercom architecture.

“By avoiding the traditional expectation of a multi-camera facilities provider, our clients depend on us to address the challenges they are facing with a level of professionalism that surpasses expectations,” said Dugger.  “For example, the live switch was used, but the ISO recording was far more valuable as you rarely know what to expect in a live environment.  Things happen very quickly and the team needs to be prepared, especially considering there is not much time for load-in, testing and rehearsal.  It is our job to capture genuine moments, and we cannot let technical problems get in the way.  This is why having a high-density, multi-point intercom matrix with remote capability is absolutely pertinent in reality TV shoots.”

TNDV used its Inspiration truck for The Real Housewives of Atlanta shoot, exemplifying how the company has an ideal mobile production solution for every project.  For this special episode, the TNDV team followed documented the opening of A Mother’s Love, a new play written by Kandi Burress, one of the show’s principal stars.  Using a similar multi-camera production model, Dugger and his team captured the nervous energy — and ultimate success — of Burress and the rest of the cast as the play came to life.

“There is no production environment we are afraid to face,” said Dugger.  “We excel at solving problems for the unusual and unexpected in production, and enjoy the challenge of employing the right technology for every environment.”

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Date posted: September 4, 2014

Compact, affordable Dante™-enabled amplifiers bring audio networking benefits to installations requiring lower channel counts for local amplification

The benefits of digital audio networking continue to extend past the mixing board and signal processing racks, bringing simpler connectivity, lighter infrastructure and improved flexibility and control to the amplification stage and beyond.  However, most networked amplifiers today specialize in high channel counts for large installations, with amplifiers centralized in densely populated racks to serve global PA systems.

Stewart Audio today introduces a family of four low-wattage, networked amplifiers that address the need for lower channel count support at the local amplification stage.  The new series brings the benefits of power-efficient digital audio networking to an underserved customer base, where consultants, systems integrators, dealers and end users require simple, affordable networked amplifier solutions scaled for smaller zones.  This provides an affordable and reliable option to the larger, high-wattage amplifiers for high channel counts that permeate the market.

Importantly, the compact footprint of all four products enables simple installation at endpoints, providing networked amplification to smaller zones – whether for standalone needs in small-to-mid-sized installations; or to provide low-power amplification to smaller, distant zones in larger scale projects.  Dual inputs in two models (AV25-2 NET+, CVA50-1 NET+) allow customers to serve both local and global PA systems if desired, with the option to target and prioritize pages and other audio events across many zones.  This flexibility ensures that Stewart Audio customers can address larger facility needs while filling the void of local amplification requirements.

“To date, the market has lacked an affordable way to position networked amplifiers at endpoints,” said Brian McCormick, chief marketing officer, Stewart Audio.  “Our new family of compact amplifiers create a cost-efficient way to run CAT5 or CAT6 cable to local zones, allowing our customers to enjoy the benefits of digital audio networking beyond the central infrastructure.  These products give our customers a simple and affordable way to address a broad range of low power, low channel count applications without the expense of larger networked amplifiers, or the complexity of architecting custom solutions with bridge devices and analog amplifiers.”

Stewart Audio incorporates the market-leading Dante™ media networking solution from Audinate into its product architecture to enable many operational benefits.  The incorporation of Dante Ultimo technology in all four products specifically addresses the requirement of affordable networking solutions for lower channel counts and lower power consumption.  Compatibility with other Dante-enabled products is also ensured for a seamless, high-performance networking architecture across installations of any size.

Installations are further simplified with the presence of Symetrix Composer 2.0 software.  Composer 2.0 software natively integrates device discovery and signal routing all four new products through its unique Dante third-party programming environment.  This further reduces complexity for the installer, accelerating deployment times and creating a cohesive end-to-end Dante networking solution with local amplification.

The complete range of new Stewart Audio networked amplification solutions include:

  • AV25-2 NET+:  A 2x25W, 4 or 8 ohm low impedance amplifier with two analog and two Dante inputs, and remote and local volume control.  Automated port switching can override audio feeds depending on which Dante or analog feed is set to priority.
  • AV25-2 NET:  A digital-only version of the AV25-2 NET+ with two Dante inputs.
  • CVA50-1 NET+:  A 50W, 70/100V mono amplifier with one analog and one Dante input, remote and local volume control, and automated priority port switching to insert local audio feeds over main programs.
  • CVA50-1 NET:  A digital-only version of the CVA50-1 NET+ with a single Dante input.

All four compact solutions can be pole mounted or attached to a flat surface near loudspeakers, and are plenum-rated to reduce the installation costs associated with rack-mounted systems.  However, the 1/3RU design enables simple integration into central equipment racks if desired.

Date posted: June 9, 2014

Company will showcase high-efficiency transmitters and flexible IP transport architectures

At BroadcastAsia2014, GatesAir, a global leader in over-the-air broadcast solutions for television and radio, will showcase how over-the-air broadcasters can leverage IP-based, high-efficiency transmission solutions to cost-effectively launch and monetize next-generation, multichannel digital services.  The company will exhibit at Stand 5B3-03 in the Marina Bay Sands, Singapore, June 17-20.

Following the March transformation of Harris Broadcast, GatesAir will make its debut at BroadcastAsia2014, showcasing its high-efficiency Maxiva™ and Flexiva™ TV and radio solutions covering all over-the-air standards and power requirements across TV and radio networks of all sizes.  The company will also feature its latest breakthroughs in signal transport, including support for AES192 over IP; and advanced, IP-based distribution architectures for DAB radio networks (EDI and ETI).

GatesAir will demonstrate how over-the-air broadcasters can reduce operating costs as they transition to digital, while laying the foundation for bandwidth-efficient architectures that accelerate the deployment of revenue-generating, multichannel broadcast services.  Rich Redmond, chief product officer, GatesAir, notes that TV and radio broadcasters across the Asia-Pacific region are specifically seeking ways to leverage the opportunities associated with the transition to DVB-T/T2 television and digital radio – notably DRM and DAB+ – while keeping operating costs low.

“The digitization of broadcast brings all of the challenges of multichannel content delivery, from leveraging IP networks for content distribution to monetizing the new revenue potential from additional streams,” said Redmond.  “Our customers seek over-the-air solutions that balance high performance and quality with Total Cost of Ownership, covering everything from size and weight to overall efficiency and maintenance.  Similarly, over-the-air broadcasters are looking to maximize their potential through emerging opportunities, including the convergence of traditional TV and mobile networks.  We’re dedicated to helping our customers address these and other challenges associated with digital transitions.”

All high-efficiency Maxiva (UHF, VHF/DAB) and Flexiva (AM/FM, DRM) transmitter models incorporate GatesAir’s next-generation PowerSmart® 3D architecture to reduce transmitter footprints and rack space requirements by up to 75 percent; and enhance energy efficiencies to yield annual power savings exceeding 50 percent.  Broadband amplifier designs greatly contribute to these efficiencies, while increasing bandwidth for higher channel counts; and simplifying maintenance through modular designs, lighter weights and fewer parts.

GatesAir will also showcase new IP Link™ codec features that enhance how broadcasters can cost-effectively move audio between one or more points, including flexible studio-to-transmitter, remote broadcast and internet delivery architectures.  New built-in Intraplex® SynchroCast™ technology for the IP Link enables precision-timed on-air program delay for content delivery across large single-frequency networks.  This is ideal for broadcasters and network operators covering large areas and difficult terrains, where many low-power transmitters cover widespread populations.

Date posted: December 16, 2013

Mobile television production specialist TNDV has standardized on Harman digital audio consoles, allowing the company to deliver exceptional multi-channel audio production capabilities for remote broadcast and production projects of all sizes.

Nic Dugger, owner and president of TNDV, notes that the fleet-wide upgrade took several years and required a sizable investment, but the return on investment has been clear from the outset — and in some cases, the standardization has encouraged repeat business.

The Studer Vista 9 console gives TNDV’s Vibration truck the top tier in audio production tools for live mixing.

“Harman digital audio consoles produce outstanding sound quality, which is primarily why we choose them,” said Nic Dugger, TNDV’s president and owner. “Today, when a customer books any of our trucks, they are assured the best performing digital audio consoles on the market.  Freelance crews can use the same intuitive user interface, operation, and architecture, and once familiar with set-up and software they can quickly turn their attention to the production.”

Besides having a high degree of confidence in their performance, Dugger likes that all Harman models have compatible, interchangeable parts.  Because of this consistency, TNDV’s flexibility on live show sites is greatly improved since parts can be swapped between the Soundcraft and Studer models on different trucks in the field.  And since TNDV’s truck engineers are intimately familiar with the Harman architecture, they can perform routine maintenance and even trouble-shoot the consoles when necessary.

“Because Harman appreciates that their media and entertainment customers are doing time-critical projects, they send us replacement parts no questions asked.  They stay engaged with our engineers until the matter has been resolved,” he said.

 

Meet the Fleet

Aspiration, TNDV’s flagship HD expanding side video mobile unit, offers a Soundcraft Vi4 live production console with 72 input channels and 36 outputs, with up to 42 faders and 5.1 surround sound mixing capability in a private, on-board audio mix booth.

TNDV’s Vibration—a digital audio-only mobile unit—features the flagship Studer Vista 9 console with 256 inputs and 7.1 surround sound capabilities.  Designed for audio mixing and recording of broadcast television and digital film productions, Vibration is a 53-foot semi-trailer that houses an acoustically isolated audio suite, machine room, and comfortable client lounge with custom furnishings and hardwood floors.

TNDV’s other Nashville-based trucks, Inspiration and Origination, both feature Soundcraft Vi1 consoles with up to 32 motorized faders, 96 DSP channels and 5.1 surround sound mixing capability.  The Origination installation was the most recent upgrade, with the Soundcraft Vi1 vastly improve audio capabilities on the 30-foot mobile production unit.

Dugger approximates his business at 60 percent live entertainment and 40 percent live sports, which he says makes Harman consoles attractive for his bookings since they are “primarily entertainment desks.”

Date posted: October 15, 2013

Cloud-based streaming architecture supports custom music services with dynamic ad insertions for businesses   

Internet music service Custom Channels is helping retail businesses like Whole Foods Markets transform in-store environments with broadcast-quality audio programs, mixing music and dynamic advertising that deliver a branded, radio-like experience.  The company is relying on robust, cloud-based streaming services from StreamGuys to support its customers.

Custom Channels brings a rare broadcast perspective to the growing business of in-store audio streaming.  Its principal partners, including President/Co-Founder Dave Rahn, launched Custom Channels following years of experience working at and consulting for radio stations.  Today, Rahn and his team leverage their professional production skills and broadcast programming knowledge to build custom in-store programs for retailers like Whole Foods Market, for which they support two-thirds of their stores.

The company recently switched to StreamGuys for content delivery support, recognizing its broadcast expertise as well as its shared spirit of customization to meet client needs.

“We have always used an outside CDN because the specialized technical knowledge required to maintain servers, bandwidth and overall infrastructure is frankly beyond our area of expertise,” said Rahn.  “The difference with StreamGuys is that they are not forcing us into one business model for streaming services.  They instead provide us with the streaming services that are right for our model, and deliver the ongoing recommendations, support and troubleshooting we need.  That helps us keep costs low and leaves us to focus on program content and customer relationships — which is what we do best.”

Custom Channels takes program content beyond music by incorporating dynamic ad insertions in the form of “mid-rolls,” which Rahn cites as a particularly strong tool to trigger ads and promos for in-store streaming models.  StreamGuys incorporates third-party ad insertion software into its streaming architecture, targeting broadcasters and IP-based music services that wish to incorporate promotional content in the form of pre-rolls, mid-rolls and post-rolls — and potentially generate new revenue streams.

“The ad insertion software in the StreamGuys architecture allows us to manage content at the server side as opposed to just pushing messages to individual players and boxes,” said Rahn.  “For example, we work with a large chain of dental offices, Comfort Dental, with offices all over the country.  The mid-roll insertions allow us to take a single Comfort Dental radio channel and insert specialized ads for each region, or even down to the local office level.  The messages don’t have to live in the origin stream; instead, we create a place in the stream and insert them on a very targeted basis.  It’s a very efficient model, and makes for good use of IP delivery.”

Rahn’s broadcast experience also means a focus on audio quality.  Custom Channels currently delivers most audio content using the aacPlus codec at bitrates ranging from 64 to 96 kb/s, and uses other high-quality codecs like Ogg Vorbis for specialty services such as ReMix, which allows customers to create their own custom mixes.   Rahn will explore Ogg Opus moving forward, the new versatile, open-source audio codec for low-latency, high-quality audio streaming.  StreamGuys is the first CDN to announce support for Ogg Opus audio streaming.

“We’re dealing with businesses, and we try to keep as light of a footprint as possible since there are other demands on their bandwidth and technical infrastructures,” said Rahn.  “StreamGuys allows us to use various high-quality, bandwidth-friendly formats so we are comparable to FM quality and usually higher than satellite quality — a sweet spot that our clients can easily handle on their networks.”

Rahn also points to several restaurant brands as Custom Channels clients, including the 200-plus Which Wich sandwich shop chain; and the fast casual Mod Pizza chain based in the Seattle region.  Another interesting client is Floyd’s Barbershop, which operates more than 70 barbershops around the country.  Custom Channels produces a true “retail radio” station in this case, with full-blown professional production, deejays and live requests.

“We focus on music-conscious brands that essentially want custom radio stations, and many of these clients also stream their channels on their websites,” said Rahn.  “Ultimately, StreamGuys offers an ideal service for in-store delivery, whether it’s conventional streaming of a radio station or a business that wants something a little more unique.”

More information on Custom Channels can be found at http://www.customchannels.net.

Date posted: September 30, 2013

Mobile production specialist supports “Gospel Music’s Largest Annual Event” with two trucks – and celebrates 100th shoot for flagship Aspiration truck

TNDV this month hit the 100-project milestone for its flagship HD/SD mobile production truck, Aspiration, in Louisville, Kentucky, where the company produced outside broadcast and in-house feeds for the annual National Quartet Convention (NQC).  TNDV also brought its recently-launched audio truck Vibration to the venue, Freedom Hall, to produce surround sound feeds (5.1 and 7.2) and multitrack recordings for the world-renowned six-day gospel music event.

The in-the-round event was captured for later broadcast on TBN (Trinity Broadcasting Network), with veteran TV producer and director Russell Hall overseeing the 10-camera shoot on board Aspiration.  Hall hand-picked TNDV for the show based on his previous experience with the company and its Aspiration truck.

The Vibration audio production staff hard at work on site at the National Quartet Convention in Louisville, Kentucky

“We’ve used six different mobile unit providers for this event over the past 12 years, but Aspiration is specifically targeted toward capturing entertainment and music specials,” said Hall.  “It gave us an ideal complement of gear, a large expando working space and a small parking footprint.  I have said many times that if I built a mobile unit, this is exactly how I would lay it out.”

The National Quartet Convention brings gospel music’s biggest stars together, and Aspiration’s layout helped Hall deliver the right product for many production elements beyond the TBN broadcast, including a live webcast, an IMAG shoot and retail videos.  The project also required pristine audio production on behalf of record labels and performing artists, a role that TNDV ably filled with Vibration.

Vibration features a 256-input Studer Vista 9 console and ProTools multitrack recording at its core, with the on-board crew using more than 100 inputs for the NQC production; and running Joeco Black Box recorders in the background for maximum redundancy.  Hall communicated with the Vibration crew using a centralized RTS ADAM intercom matrix, employing multiple partyline channels and point-to-point channel assignments.  Similarly, TNDV built a single routing infrastructure between the two trucks, sharing video and audio resources across a Harris Broadcast Platinum router.

For Hall, the impact of employing a separate audio truck raised the overall production quality to a level not seen at previous NQC events.  They previously tried mixing and monitoring inside the venue, on board video trucks, in remote audio trailers and via other methods to varied success.

Aspiration and Vibration at the NQC: Two Trucks, One Infrastructure for Video and Audio Production

“In the past we have had to compromise on the quality of the audio capture, and this year we realized we had to make audio just as important as the video,” said Hall.  “We were producing an intense music event over a six-day period that would incur nearly 50 hours of audio capture.  Vibration gave us that same commitment to excellence on the audio side that Aspiration provides for video.”

For Nic Dugger, president and owner of TNDV, celebrating his 100th shoot with Aspiration at a nearly week-long event that covered 50 hours of complex concerts — with multiple producers and production companies — put into perspective how quickly things have progressed since launching the truck.

“In 25 months, Aspiration has done 100 unique shoots with unique load-in and load-out processes, often for multi-day events,” said Dugger.  “In the meantime we have launched three additional trucks, including our first audio truck with Vibration.”

Dugger notes that NQC was a special event to hit that milestone given how much planning went into the production.  “There was a crew member for each position — something not done very often today — which allowed TNDV engineers to truly service everyone involved instead of covering open positions.  It’s ultimately our jobs to make sure these portable facilities work just like their home studios, which allows everyone to work in complete comfort.”

Date posted: July 30, 2013

Compact, efficient design allows installation team to seamlessly integrate PowerChiton amplifier modules into existing scoreboard

Students rooting for the home team at Excelsior Springs High School in Excelsior Springs, Missouri, can now enjoy vibrant, crystal-clear sound as they take in football games and other events at their school’s outdoor stadium.  As part of a long-overdue audio upgrade, the school has installed two Technomad PowerChiton modules at the stadium to drive its loudspeakers, significantly improving sound quality.

The compact, low-profile – and weatherproof – design of the PowerChiton makes it easy for installers to co-locate the amplifiers with loudspeakers outdoors.

Kansas City, Missouri-based systems integrator Harvest Productions, which performed the upgrade, housed the new PowerChiton modules inside the stadium’s scoreboard.  The compact PowerChiton design enabled the unusual installation, ensuring they are not visible to spectators.  The PowerChiton amplifiers now deliver 1100 watts at four ohms, with excellent sound quality across the stadium.

The weatherproof design also ensures better outdoor protection than the school’s previous amplifiers, which were damaged from years of exposure to the elements.  PowerChiton modules are built with an integral IP66-rated, NEMA weatherproof shell, and can be installed anywhere without concern about moisture or dirt.

“The old amplifiers were a mess; we found insects nesting inside the amplifier casings, which were standard electrical boxes without any weather sealing,” said Martin Pilewski, Corporate Business Development Manager at Harvest Productions.  “Plus, the casings would cause the amplifiers to overheat.  Every time this happened the staff would turn up the volume, which caused the speakers to blow.  The PowerChiton was right in line with the school’s need for compact, weatherproof amplifiers.  Not only were they ideal for outdoor audio use, but they also fit within their budget.”

The efficient PowerChiton design requires only a passive radiator for cooling, so there is a lower chance that the system will overheat.  The amplifier unit is also fuse-protected for maximum operational efficiency.

“We have one of the most sophisticated high school stadiums in the area, and it was embarrassing when our speakers blew out during a football game,” said Roger Siegel, assistant director of activities at Excelsior Springs High School.  “We’ve been up and running with the new system for a year now and the sound quality is a monumental improvement. The audio is crisp, clear and perfectly leveled across the stadium.  We are absolutely thrilled with our new system.”

The PowerChiton is available in both wireless and Ethernet options.  Pilewski chose the Ethernet version as the most cost-effective configuration for Excelsior Springs High School.

“The system was easy to set up and install,” he said.  “There were already solid line level feeds in the scoreboard, so there was no need to overhaul anything just to install wireless units.  We just screwed the amplifier to a wall, connected the input and output through compression fittings and plugged in the unit.  It doesn’t get much simpler than that.”

Date posted: July 22, 2013

First gig for TNDV’s new audio truck Vibration is to mix and record country music festival for High Five Entertainment

TNDV, a Nashville-based mobile television production company, provided broadcast audio mixing and recording, as well as video gear and expertise, to High Five Entertainment for its HD production of country music Superstar Toby Keith’s Oklahoma Twister Relief Concert.

The all-day festival—held July 6 at the University of Oklahoma’s Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, OK—featured non-stop performances by a stellar lineup that included Toby Keith, Garth Brooks, Trisha Yearwood, Willie Nelson, Carrie Underwood, Sammy Hager, Ronnie Dunn and Mel Tillis.

The TNDV crew produced and multitracked audio onboard Vibration using its Studer Vista 9 digital audio console

At the request of long-time client High Five Entertainment, an Emmy Award-winning video production company in Nashville, TNDV provided its new audio truck Vibration for audio multi-tracking and music mixing, along with technical management expertise.  TNDV donated its talent, time, and equipment to the cause of helping victims of the May 2013 tornadoes that struck the Moore, Oklahoma area.

“It was an honor and pleasure to be associated with this momentous benefit concert,” said Nic Dugger, TNDV’s owner.  “This was also the first project of significance for Vibration and it performed exceptionally well under very demanding circumstances.  Since the eight-hour concert came together in a relatively short time, our crew had to make swift creative and technical decisions and respond on-the-fly as the fast-paced production unfolded.”

The TNDV crew included Nic Dugger, who served as on-site technical manager; Adam Ellis, TNDV engineer-in-charge of Vibration; and Mills Logan, a freelance audio mixer and recording engineer who has worked closely with Toby Keith on all his records and two movie soundtracks since 2005.  The crew devoted four days, including set-up and show days, to support their High Five Entertainment clients.  Representing High Five on-site were Executive Producers Edie Lynn Hoback and Martin Fischer; and Production Coordinators Ashlee Locke and Catherine Melvin.

High Five Entertainment captured the performances and excitement of the day—culminating in a spectacular fireworks display—in HD video and surround sound for post-production. Considered one of the largest music concerts in Oklahoma history, High Five documented the event in anticipation of a network TV special and/or DVD distribution deal, to be determined.

Good Vibrations

Designed for audio mixing and recording of broadcast television and digital film productions, Vibration is a 53-foot semi-trailer that houses a Studer Vista 9 digital audio suite, machine room, and comfortable client lounge with custom furnishings and hardwood floors.

While the truck can handle over 256 inputs simultaneously, the concert required mixing 128 inputs delivered via single fiber cable that ran over 1000 feet from stage to truck.  Using the video production’s video and timecode reference, audio signals were recorded onto Vibration’s ProTools recorders, with back-up recordings on four Joeco MADI recorders.  TNDV’s Ellis and Logan also positioned 10 Audio Technica mics around the stadium—including six shotguns directed towards the upper decks and four condenser mics at the front of the stage—to pick up ambient/crowd sounds to add greater dimension to the audio mix.

While mixing all the sound sources on the Vista 9 console, Mills Logan watched the 1080i HD video program mix—produced by the University of Oklahoma’s in-house production center using 13 manned HD cameras—as well as ProTools Mix Window displays on the truck’s four large Samsung multiviewers.  “The Studer Vista 9 console with ProTools recorders was a flawless combination,” said Logan, whose first hands-on experience with the console and truck was on set-up day.

“There was no time to do sound checks and there were only 20 minute breaks between performances. But the audio mixing and recording went very smoothly because the console was very intuitive, with lots of ergonomic, timesaving features, like the ability to pre-configure the board and instantly reset or recall memorized settings,” said Logan. Despite the enormity of the task, Logan said the console was a joy to work on and sounded fantastic.

According to Adam Ellis, who played a significant role in building the truck, “Vibration was designed to put freelancers at ease, even if they’ve never worked on a Studer Vista 9 before,” Ellis said.  “Having a simple, streamlined workflow is everything, especially during a live event.  The faster audio mixers get acclimated to the workflow, the sooner they can focus on being creative.  And that’s what really matters.”

Date posted: June 10, 2013

Streaming media provider will support radio broadcasters with interest in delivering live streams for emerging format    

StreamGuys will give radio broadcasters more options for high-quality, low-latency audio streams through support of Ogg Opus, the new versatile, open-source audio codec standardized by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). Its royalty-free status eliminates licensing fees for broadcasters, minimizing costs while enhancing the online listening experience.

Ogg Opus incorporates technology from the Skype-developed, speech-oriented SILK codec and the low-latency CELT, developed by the Xiph.Org Foundation as a next-generation music codec.  These diverse strengths enable Ogg Opus to scale seamlessly from 8kb/s lo-fi audio all the way to full-band, high-fidelity music and surround sound.

For the benefit of broadcasters, Ogg Opus offers both exceptional audio quality and very low delay, distinguishing itself from audio codecs that excel in one category but lack in the other.  For example, MP3 supports broadcast-quality audio but often lags noticeably behind real-time broadcasts.  Ogg Opus also offers a natural transition to the similar Ogg Vorbis by delivering higher audio quality at a lower bitrate.

Eduardo Martinez, Director of Technology for StreamGuys, expects Ogg Opus will initially attract radio broadcasters interested in cutting-edge formats.  He cites its ability to support a wide variety of bitrates as attractive for broadcasters concerned with bandwidth usage, while emphasizing the cost-free benefit.

“Broadcasters don’t have to pay for the encoder or decoder since they are royalty-free,” said Martinez.  “And broadcasters using open-source audio programming tools like Liquidsoap to generate live streams today can benefit from Ogg Opus immediately.  It’s a very compelling advanced audio option for broadcasters that want to improve the quality and delay of their online streams while keeping costs low.”

StreamGuys is the first CDN to give broadcasters that option by efficiently transcoding live Icecast feeds into Ogg Opus streams.  Monty Montgomery, Executive Director at the Xiph.Org Foundation, believes that StreamGuys will be instrumental in driving greater demand for Ogg Opus streams in the broadcast space, which he notes is currently split across many different, older codecs — a splintering he views as a potential disadvantage to the broadcast industry.

“Opus defines the new state-of-the-art: It is higher fidelity, lower latency, more efficient and more flexible than any other audio codec,” said Montgomery.  “Opus, as one codec, does a better job at the same bitrate, and can scale across an entire range of speech, music and interactive uses — seamlessly and dynamically in the same stream, and without the need to license, pay or request permission.  It is technology available to everyone just like the Internet itself.”

Montgomery adds that its royalty-free status further simplifies adoption through compatibility with free media player software, including VLC, WinAmp and Firefox Mozilla, which natively supports Ogg Opus through its HTML5 audio tag.

Martinez emphasizes that StreamGuys will maintain its position as a codec-agnostic CDN, and simply offer Ogg Opus as a new option.  He notes that StreamGuys’ cloud-based architecture is capable of simultaneously transcoding live feeds into multiple formats (mp3, HE-AAC, Ogg Vorbis, etc.) and bitrates to meet a variety of broadcaster requirements around the world.

“We can essentially relay a broadcaster’s live Ogg Opus streams locally – ideal for streaming live concerts – or provide a streaming platform that translates Ogg Opus into our global network,” said Martinez.  “This allows broadcasters to deliver another format option alongside existing streams, at once preserving bandwidth and expanding their audience reach.”

About StreamGuys, Inc.

In business since 2000, StreamGuys is a provider of audio and video streaming toolsets and services.  The company has a reputation for outstanding customer service, a robust and reliable network, and competitive rates.  More than 600 clients worldwide, across many industries, depend on their mission-critical service.  Projects include serving as the technology backbone for live streaming/podcasting for top public broadcasters such as New York Public Radio, WAMU Washington D.C., KQED San Francisco and WXPN Philadelphia; live video events for major auto racing circuits and the British Royal Wedding; audio streaming for government entities such as D.C. Court of Appeals, U.S. Army, and the National Science Foundation; mobile video content for Cisco Systems; and IPTV content for international broadcaster ABS-CBN.

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