Golf Channel, the worlds premiere distributor of golf-related programming, reaching over 120 million households worldwide, is currently upgrading all of its post-production and live suites at its Orlando studio as a facility-wide upgrade to HD/surround sound production. Control rooms PCR 1 and PCR 3 host a new Solid State Logic C100 HDS and C10 HD, respectively, joining the existing C100 HDS in PCR 2. The three consoles offer a consistent operator interface throughout the facility, all feature SSLs Production Assistant options to help streamline production and are connected via a MORSE Router to enable audio asset sharing between studios.
Through our experience with the original C100 HD in PCR 1, we upgraded PCR 2 in 2009 with a C100 HDS, says Ken Botelho, senior director of engineering for Golf Channel. As our production schedule continues to expand at an exponential rate, and to meet the demands for HD productions in 5.1 surround, we also made the decision to install a C10 HD in PCR 3, our voice-over control room, and we upgraded to a C100 HDS in PCR 1. This presents our session engineers with uniform console topology and functionality between the three rooms. We have a rigorous production schedule, so any method we can use to save time on a task is welcome. Having all three audio control rooms with the same console features and interface is invaluable.
Golf Channel produces coverage of the European Tour, PGA Tour, LPGA Tour, Champions Tour and Nationwide Tour, as well as a variety of other tours from around the world. Production includes the nightly golf news program Golf Central, Morning Drive and the reality series Big Break, as well as early round coverage of the FedExCup. With audio feeds coming in from around the world in different formats, combined with the production of pre/post event and regular programming, the C100 and C10 consoles give Golf Channel the ability to handle both analogue and digital audio from multiple sources, process embedded audio and share resources between all three control rooms.
Having our audio strategy fully in place really enhances our production capability, continues Botelho. Once our engineers have programmed in the settings for one of our internal productions, for example, we can take that snapshot and apply it to any of the three consoles. This gives us huge flexibility for scheduling in multiple productions.
The cable network selected two of SSLs popular Production Assistant options, Dialogue Automix and 5.1 Upmix, for the consoles. Dialogue Automix provides software-driven automation of levels for panel-type programs, while 5.1 Upmix offers convincing and adjustable 5.1 Upmix and Downmix capabilities, allowing stereo programming to be broadcast in believable surround sound for production consistency.
The Dialogue Automix and 5.1 Upmix options present another pathway to production efficiency, states Botelho. Our Morning Drive show involves panel discussions that can get quite lively, so having the Dialogue Automix option gives this type of programming an ease of engineering. The 5.1 Upmix allows us to take a legacy clip in mono or stereo and include it with a 5.1 live production, providing us with uniform audio tracks that do not pump back and forth between surround and stereo. This yields a very consistent experience for the home audience.