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Apple services in Brazil

Apple services in Brazil


Broadcast Brazil Column by rené Schaap


The title of this column is maybe not right, but…. read on.
Past years we heard about some … crazy experiences with Apple services in Brazil. To prevent any lawsuits from the Brazilian companies against our website we will not mention their company names and locations. Our first experience is a kind of consumer experience… the second one is about a professional services that is needed for Apple video edit and animation workstations at a company that produces corporate videos for major companies.

The consumer experience.
Some time ago an iPhone 5 started to suffer from bad batteries. This device was about 2 years ‘old’ at that moment. The iPhone was bought in Europe. The owner moved to Brazil and is living there. At the same time Apple started to replace defective iPhone 5 batteries back in 2014… for free… worldwide. On the Apple website you could check if your iPhone 5 could get this free battery replacement by adding your serial number on the Apple website. Yes… this iPhone 5 could get new ones for free.

Broadcast Brazil - Apple services in Brazil

The consumer made an appointment with a Brazilian company that is pointed out by Apple on their own website. So we are talking here about an official Apple iPhone repair center. The consumer traveled off for a 3 hour trip by busses, metro and taxi. This official Apple repair center welcomed the consumer, got his phone and started to work on it. After a 30 minute wait they came back with the phone telling the consumer that they cannot change his battery because the phone was bought abroad. The consumer explained he is a foreigner and that he bought the iPhone in the country that he lived at that time. They said that it is not possible to exchange the batteries in the ‘foreign’ iPhone 5. Sadly they also erased the whole phone because of privacy reasons they said, without asking the consumer in advance. The consumer could't use his phone anymore that day because his backup was only on iTunes on his computer at home and not in his iCloud.
Great!

Broadcast Brazil - Apple services in Brazil

The consumer went of for a second option, another official Apple service center nearby. Over there he was also told that they do not repair foreign phones. This store told the consumer that it would be better to go to the official Apple Store. After a 1,5 hour trip the consumer arrived. One of the so called Genius Bar people told him the same thing… with an addition. The repairs of foreign Apple phones is forbidden by Brazilian Law (Anatel). The ‘Genius Bar’ person also told the consumer that he could get the new free batteries in Europe. Ok, let’s buy a R$3000 plane ticket than to get some free batteries .. crazy!

So… the consumer who was entitled to get free batteries for his iPhone 5 by Apple did not get this ‘worldwide’ service of Apple because of a specific Brazilian law in forbidding that. Nothing of this is mentioned on Apple’s website… they even point you as consumer out to these official Service centres to get the free replacement batteries. The consumer was now forced to go to a 3rd party who installed some new batteries in his iPhone 5 and they have worked since than without a flaw. The consumer lost at least one whole day by communication, traveling and such and in the end he has to pay for these new batteries. We are honest that Apple contacted the consumer to help him out after this, but yeah… batteries were there and iPhone 5 worked. The help from Apple came too late.

—————————————————————————————————


Service for audio visual professionals.
The second story is from an international postproduction company with edit suites in Brazil, specialized in producing corporate videos for big companies. At their Brazilian edit suites Apple’s are running FinalCutPro X and Motion. The machines they use are high spec and will costs about R$ 15.000 till R$ 20.000 each. Because the Apple products are of very high quality you can use them for editing and such for more than 6 years this postproduction company tells us. After those 6 years they can still be used for a lot of other jobs within the company.

One day one of their edit-machines did not start up any more. The machine was an iMac 27” inch from 2012, almost 6 years old. The machine was normaly left on 24 hours a day… was never turned off for more than a year for sure. But… it had a problem. The company called 2 official Apple service centers in a big city in Brazil. Specialized in repairs and official recommended by Apple on their website.

Broadcast Brazil - Apple services in Brazil

The phone call was short and clear. The employee explained that they not repairs Macs that are older than 5 years. When they were asked if the iMac must be thrown into the trash than they did not answer… or even trying to give a solution for the Postproduction company who spend already al lot of money in buying these iMac's.. Service with a smile again! By one phonemail the Apple service center lose a client.

The Postproduction company was also forced to turn to a 3rd part repair center and they solved it. After an inspection by the company the ‘old’ iMac was repaired, cleaned and also got a new Harddisk installed for R$ 1500 within 2 weeks. They also installed a new operatig system for free.
Amazing service from this 3rd party repair center.

Conclusion.
It seems that the official Apple centers, repair centers and even the Apple stores themselves cannot deliver the service Apple promises worldwide… even when it is guarantee or a refund for free replacement batteries. As we know a lot of Brazilians buy their phone, laptops and tablets in the USA or Europe and bring this to Brazil after their holiday. If they cannot be repaired by Apple… what will or can Apple do? What can Apple do if we talk here about a special Brazilian law?

The regulation of ANATEL is the basis of any and all commercial contract involving Smartphones in Brazil. If the device is not homologated by ANATEL a repair or refund is forbidden by law. This counts for all Smartphone brands, also Samsung and LG.

Broadcast Brazil - Apple services in Brazil

Worse it is for Audiovisual professionals who has to turn to a 3rd party when their edit tools are older than 5 years. Of course there will be user experiences from Apple owners who are different than the ones mentioned in this column, but still… just for you to know that nothing is granted, even when you spend your R$’s on a quality Apple product. It would be honest from Apple to mention this on their Brazilian website and also point out maybe to some 3rd party repair centres who can help out to repair these expansive quality devices. We will mention already one 3rd party developer who works very professional and gives a honest good price, iTec-Solution in Santos. If you know also a good quality Apple 3rd party repair centre… contact us. We will be happy to mention them here.

Apple delivers a great service worldwide, but cannot give it in Brazil


would be a better title for this column.
Meanwhile Anatel is not resting in their hammocks, read this article from MacMagazine, Anatel começa a bloquear celulares irregulares.


René Schaap
More info you can find on his LinkedIn: br.linkedin.com/in/connectingmedia follow him on Twitter René_Schaap

mentioned:
Apple
Cnet article - Apple will replace your defective iPhone5 battery for free
Anatel

3rd Party Apple repair centers:
iTec Solution Santos

Comments

If you start making a difference, more people will follow.

If you start making a difference, more people will follow.


Broadcast Brazil Column by Roeland van der Manden


As this is the first column of 2018 i would like to start to wish each and every one you a great new year full of chances and new opportunities, to chase your dreams and step out of the ordinary and fulfill your wishes in business.

Broadcast Brazil - NewStart


That said; let’s take a look at the new year. This year is election year, which means a lot, depending on the outcome, more than ever before. The country is on its knees but there are positive signs for the next year. At the end of last year people already spend more money on gifts, more people got jobs so there is light at the end of the tunnel. But the outcome of the elections will decide if that light keeps growing or if it will diminish. I like to see the glass half full rather than half empty, seek opportunities and go for it. Election year in general also means more jobs in the media industry as all the politicians needs there commercials, promo videos and so on, that’s another positive point.

At the moment I am abroad and I always get surprised about the development elsewhere and the fact that Brazil needs these changes too.
Today I want to use as example the equipment from EVS Broadcast Equipment. This company develops soft- and hardware for the broadcast industry. They started back in 1994 with equipment for replays. Nowadays it is the most used system in the world for replays, live editing and recording and they develop new soft- and hardware all the time.
Last week I was part of the broadcast team for Camels 2018 in Saudi Arabia. This is one crazy event about camel races, camel fairs and everything that involves camels in the middle of the desert near Riyadh.

Broadcast Brazil -EVS Xfile3

There I used for recording a so-called Xfile system. It’s a system that allows you to record feeds and restore clips form the EVS server to Hard disks for example.
This system also allows you to streams directly to HD’s. You can stream up to six feeds at the same time to several destinations. Copying this would take a lot more time, so it is very handy and time saving. And time is money, so a very good solution.

Broadcast Brazil -EVS Xfile3


In Brazil I have never seen this system being used while it exists in the OB vans. Operators don’t know how to use it so they stay behind from the rest of the world.

Broadcast Brazil -EVS Xfile3


Operators who are using this system are being invited to work all over the world and they gain a lot of experience and can improve the workflow and quality of TV making. That is a missed opportunity. It requires little effort and it’s really worth it.

Opportunity !!


Last year we even searched for english speaking EVS operators in Brazil for a client, there was non to be found!!

Broadcast Brazil -EVS Xfile3

This is just an example but there could be many more projects like these and it all starts at the attitude. No one gets anything done by saying that won’t happen. We just have to make it happen and it all starts at your very self.

If you start making a difference, more people will follow.

So let’s start the year positive by thinking about opportunities and making market for all of us! To an excellent new year from all of us at Broadcast Brazil!

video:



Links:
EVS Broadcast Equipment

Roeland van der Manden
More info you can find on his LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/pub/roeland-van-der-manden , Check his website or follow him on Twitter AmsterdamProductions

Comments

Pay-tv, But what are we paying for?

Pay-TV, Pay-tv, But what are we paying for?



Broadcast Brazil Column by Roeland van der Manden


This time I want to talk about the rights on pay-tv. In Brazil there are many pay-tv channels not to talk about the sports and movie channels. All those channels people have to pay for to watch as the name describes. 


But what are we paying for?


Let's pick GNT for example. This is one of the biggest pay channels in the country and yet they show so little. People pay for reprises. Some programs have 2 seasons a year and they are being repeated over and over throughout the year. And that's the case for almost all channels. If you see the programming for a week the same episode passes sometimes 3 to 4 times.

Broadcast Brazil - payTV

It's a vicious circle. Because of this people will more and more move to platforms as Netflix where they can watch tons of new content every day and these pay channels will lose more viewers and make less money. That’s a real threat. So pay channels need to invest more in new content, especially now it’s crisis in Brazil and people will spend more time watching tv at home instead of going out.

Broadcast Brazil - payTV

That brings me to another part of pay-tv. In Brazil among a growing amount of other countries people have to pay to watch live sports. We have nowadays FOX sports, ESPN, Esporte Interativo and SporTV in Brazil. Besides those channels there is as well Premiere. Premiere is a pay per view channel where you can watch only some soccer matches. These are matches from the same championship as the matches that pass on SporTV and FOX sports for example.

Broadcast Brazil - payTV

For example, a viewer from Rio de Janeiro can’t watch in many occasions the match of their favorite team from Rio. Those matches are blocked for the state of Rio but in the rest of the country you can watch those matches on SporTV. So the matches are only blocked in the state of the home team or the state where the match is being played. The viewers who want to see the match of their favorite teams are obliged to buy the game at the pay per view channel even if they bought a package of sports channels at their provider. That is for me the biggest example of screwing your viewers. You can see all soccer matches except for the ones that you really would like to see. Imagine a Chelsea fan who pays monthly to watch the matches in the premiere league but he can watch all matches except the ones from Chelsea. To watch a match of Chelsea he needs to buy a pay per view.

Broadcast Brazil - payTV


At this moment, especially, pay channels need to think what is important to them; happy customers or a lot of money. Because if they continue like this the money option is ending and that will result in less and less customers, read viewers, to whom they can sell their content and commercials.
Because…….


Brazilians are crazy about sports, but they are not crazy!!



Links:
Telecom and Pay-TV Services Markets in Brazil Set to Grow at 2.3% CAGR During 2017-2022

Number of subscribers of select pay TV providers in Brazil from April 2016 to April 2017 (in thousands)

Roeland van der Manden
More info you can find on his LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/pub/roeland-van-der-manden , Check his website or follow him on Twitter AmsterdamProductions

mentioned:
GNT
Netflix
FOX sports
ESPN
Esporte Interativo
SporTV

Comments

Service with a smile part 2

Service with a smile part 2
Can we GIVE a good customer service?

Broadcast Brazil Column by rené Schaap



It is crisis in Brazil. And also for some of us Audio Visuals it is not easy. We can see that a lot of equipment is for sale at the moment… a sign that some companies and freelancers struggle to survive in Brazil. Last year was a good year because of the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Big and small companies where able to get some pieces of the huge olympic pie. Not only foreign companies but also a lot of Brazilian companies, their co-workers and the freelancers.


But for this year and the next years it will be less… for all of us.



How to survive this Brazilian crisis is of course a little bit of luck involved, but… you need to work hard to get that luck on your side. Look for foreign clients and jobs at our
JOBS page is one example. Work on your professional network on LinkedIN and visit broadcast related events. Learn more about your jobs by watching Webinars by Broadcast related companies as we mention a lot on our facebook and Twitter timelines every week. YouTube, a huge free source of knowledge. But there is more that also works for the local Brazilian market. By showing a practical example you may can add it to your workflow. It are these little changes that will do it. Some years ago we wrote already a column about the same subject so we add another case.

case 4
Past weeks we had an electrician at work at our venue, a small father and son company. They needed to do some re-wiring. After some days they were done, they did a nice job and worked hard. But…. All over the place they left dust, dirt, little pieces of wire, tie-raps, little pieces of tape etc etc. So we asked them to please clean that up. Their answer was: That is not our job!

ImagesBlog_ServiceWithaSmile2-01

When i worked with my father some 30 years ago also as an electrician in Europe, My father teached me this lesson. When you leave the place you worked, the place must look cleaner than when you arrived. That was a smart piece of marketing, because his clients spread the word to others, that my father did his job very well and that he left the place cleaner than before he came. The result is that my father with his tiny company was never without work.

Work hard and smart.


ImagesBlog_ServiceWithaSmile2-02


For us audiovisuals it is also in this small things. Do not charge your clients if they wants some little extra’s from you. Be very flexible with charging hours you worked to your clients. Make and keep backups of your footage for example and keep it, when they need it.. you will be the hero that you have kept it and you can even charge money for it than. When you are on location be prepared, so bring more than you need in cables, microphones, lenses and even power.

This type of ‘marketing’ will get you in front of your competition. Sometime things may look it is not your job or not important, but if you pamper your client by giving them an awesome service, being very flexible and delivering an outstanding quality… they will spread that word to others. It also means that your price is of less importance because they trust fully in you and your product. My message to you all is:

Start with it.


When you make it easy for your client and deliver an outstanding result, he will come back for sure. The return will take some time but it is worth it.


René Schaap
More info you can find on his LinkedIn: br.linkedin.com/in/connectingmedia follow him on Twitter René_Schaap

mentioned:
Olympic Games
Service with a smile
Jobs
Industrial Agenda

Comments

The jogging dead

The jogging dead



Broadcast Brazil Column by Roeland van der Manden


The end of the summer break is near. People are coming back from holidays, schools are opening its doors again and the new TV season starts!  That's for me the best part of the end of the summer, beside the so desired temperature drop. 

Last week already some programs started the new season but the big majority starts after carnaval. Saia justa, papo de segunda among others will open the new season in the second week of march. As you can see, GNT is a favourite at home. Pedro pelo mundo is one of our favourite programs. I like the way the program is structured and the places they visit. But sometimes I wonder if this is Pedro at his most exciting, probably it's just the way he is. But he could be a little less monotonous and put some more emotion in his show. 
I hope we will see some new programs this year, not just a new show but something never seen before on Brazil's pay TV. 



I hope it's just the summer break but maybe the crisis is behind the countless repeats on GNT for example. Some shows pass over five times a week. And not only during the day but also at night and even at prime time. 

I was by far the most bizarre thing I have ever seen on TV


And than there was off course the second part of the seventh season of The Walking Dead. Many people were looking forward to the restart of the serie. But it was what happened before the new episode that caught my attention. And not only mine but of many others as well as I saw later on facebook.  Fox was showing all the previous episodes of the series in a marathon. The episodes were speeded up by thirty! percent. Why? According to FOX there wouldn't be enough time to show all the episodes in real time. What? Not enough time? How do you mean, isn't that just a case of starting earlier?  I couldn't even understand the serie because they spoke too fast. It was by far the most bizarre thing I have ever seen on TV. The person who came up with this idea should be very ashamed! 



It was almost like watching an old movie from the 30's when, because of the tapes they used, everything appears faster than it is in real life. I was waiting for Charlie Chaplin, as a zombie maybe? Lucky enough, in the time of Chaplin there only were silent movies. 
Source
: GNT , Diario de Pernambuco , FOX Brasil

Roeland van der Manden
More info you can find on his LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/pub/roeland-van-der-manden , Check his website or follow him on Twitter AmsterdamProductions

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Startup a company in Brazil

Startup a company in Brazil



Broadcast Brazil Column by Roeland van der Manden


Who has done it before knows that it can be a real challenge. Starting up a company in Brazil as a foreigner. A lot of bureaucracy waits for you when starting a company. In this column I’ll go over the types of companies that exist, and how much you can invoice with each of them.

Microempreendedor Individual The easiest for Brazilians who just need a company so they can emit invoices is a microempresa. They can just register a MEI (Micro Emprendedor Induvidual). You will only need your electoral title and personal contact details. Then you will get your CNPJ and you can emit invoices. This will only take you an hour or not even that much. The problem might be that you can only invoice up to R$ 60.000 per year, about R$ 5.000 per month. And there are a couple of other things you have to pay attention to. For example, it’s not aloud to open a MEI in your name if you are involved as a partner in another business or if you already have another company.

Micro empresa and Empresa de Pequeno Porte Who has bigger plans with a company, or is a foreigner, needs another type of company, the “simples” (LTDA) for example. With this system you can invoice up to R$ 360.000 yearly and in the case of Empresa de Pequeno Porte even up to R$ 3.600.000 on a yearly base. A good thing about the last system I mentioned is the tax percentage. This all depends on your turnover. At the beginning you would pay 6%, but when your company starts to run well, your tax percentage will raise as well. A fair system with good tax rates in my opinion. When comparing this to the Netherlands the rates a quite a bit lower here in Brazil. Though, to start this kind of company you need to bring in a lot of documents and be patient.

Startup a company in Brazil

Talk to an accountant to see what kind of company suits your business or ideas; this can avoid a lot of trouble and surprises afterwards. When you talk to an accountant about opening your company, mention right from the start in what area you want to start your business. This can be of importance later on when invoicing for your services or product.

Startup a company in Brazil

Don’t give up!


It is not cheap to startup your own company here, I think I paid around R$ 3.500,00 to R$ 4.000,00 on taxes, fees and the accountant off course.
Once you got that done, what took me about a year, you have to think about a company bank account. That went pretty smooth, I think it took me a about two weeks to get it all done. The only problem I had with some foreign clients was that I couldn’t receive money from abroad until 3 months after opening the bank account. Keep that in mind in your planning. Good luck business(wo)men!
Source: www.brasil.gov.br

Video



Roeland van der Manden
More info you can find on his LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/pub/roeland-van-der-manden , Check his website or follow him on Twitter AmsterdamProductions

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ATP Rio open 2016

ATP Rio open 2016

Like bread without butter

Broadcast Brazil Column by Roeland van der Manden


This year was the third year of the
ATP 500 Rio open at Jockey Club Brasileiro in Rio de Janeiro. The biggest tennis-tournament in South America and the 18th biggest tournament around the world.

Broadcast Brazil - ATP Rio Open 2016

As in previous years, Globosat again did the world feed and it was my third time at the transmission as well. I saw it starting of with twelve cameras, the year after there were twelve cameras as well but two of them were high-speed cameras for the superslomos. At this years edition there were again twelve cameras and three high-speed cameras. This is a pretty rich coverage for an ATP 500 tournament. Around the world this setup is used for a masters 1000 tournament, which is way bigger than an ATP 500. I was one of the three EVS-operators at this event and was responsible for the superslomos, winners package after each set and some highlight edits.

Broadcast Brazil - ATP Rio Open 2016


World feed
Globosat owns a lot of channels. SporTV is among those channels and was the channel we worked for in Brazil. When working on the world feed you have to keep in mind that you are not only working for the local channel but also for the rest of the world. The ATP did the countdowns for the world feed, this means that they tell you when you go to the commercial break and when you are back on air. This is all scheduled and is a fixed pattern during the whole tournament. This way all TV channels around the world know exactly when they can go the commercial break and when they have to back before the match continuous.

Broadcast Brazil - ATP Rio Open 2016


This year we had a new director without any experience in tennis, and without experience working on a world feed. I noticed that he made some mistakes regarding this, taking the SporTV countdown as leading. Normally he works that way so the first day, you can imagine, he needed to get used to that. But all week long he forgot that he was working for ATP instead of SporTV. Sometimes this lead to some mistakes. For example, ATP requires a wide shot coming back from break to air some graphics about the game score, when SporTV got shorter commercial breaks he had already cut to a close shot. It weren’t big mistakes, and maybe people at home haven’t even noticed it as a mistake. But in these details you can see that Brazilian networks aren’t used to transmit the world feed. With more and more international events coming up in Brazil in preparation to this year’s Olympic games this is an important lesson to be learned.

Broadcast Brazil - ATP Rio Open 2016


Risk taking
When I worked in the Netherlands 4,5 years ago I heard some directors there saying that Dutch broadcasting is leading and following. They mean to say by that, that they copy things from other countries, things they like, and that they try new things every now and then.
For example, last year there was a brilliant shot during the Dutch classic of soccer between Ajax and Feyenoord in Rotterdam. The director sent the camera inside the players tunnel and when the hatch opened he followed the goalkeeper, who just transferred to “the enemy”, for more than two minutes continuous. It was a shot like in a computer game and it went all over the world.
Feyenoord - Ajax opening by Ben de Graaf for Fox Sports NL:


This example is something you will never see in Brazil. There exists a pattern and everyone without exception follows that pattern. Back to the tennis tournament, when you have a coverage similar to a masters 1000 there must be something extra you can show despite the superslomos only. I am sure I wouldn’t have noticed this exceptional coverage for a 500 tournament watching at home.

Broadcast Brazil - ATP Rio Open 2016


The director didn’t take any risk for the million dollar shot. When you have twelve cameras, you can afford to miss one camera to get that shot people will talk about. Like I said, the director was inexperienced with tennis so I wouldn’t consider this his fault or lack of creativity. But this is something production crews should think about. Let’s not forget the tournament was broadcasted in over a 100 countries around the world. That’s a great stage to show your skills internationally.

Result
The transmission was pretty nice and ATP was a happy client. In this case my point isn’t about mistakes but about missed chances. I have to say there were very little mistakes for the amount of hours we broadcasted. So, congrats to the direct, producer, camera guys and the whole production crew. And, in my previous columns I sometimes wrote about the poor quality of care and catering but this time everything was lovely arranged!

#BehindTheScenes Video



Photo Album ATP Rio Open 2016

Roeland van der Manden
More info you can find on his LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/pub/roeland-van-der-manden , Check his website or follow him on Twitter AmsterdamProductions


mentioned:
SporTV GloboSAT: website
Globo TV: website
EVS: website - facebook - twitter

Comments

Switch on / off?

Switch-Off in Brazil



Last year, with a well-defined organizational chart, it was promised that the first Analog TV transmitter would be turned off, leaving the path to spread the digital signal in the air.

Column Marcel Almeida - BroadcastBrazil

But this year Gired, Teles and TVs reached a new agreement on the switch-off of unanimous way, the shutdown of analog TV should be delayed due to a number of details, for example the release of the 700 MHz band and the major events such as the Olympics, Elections and another World Cup in 2018.

Broadcast Brazil -   Switch On Off


Rio Verde, in the interior of Goiás state, already was to have only digital signal on the air from 30 November, last year. However, the percentage of homes able to receive the signal was
79%, below the target. To achieve the goal of this challenge, many converters with interactivity and Ginga C will be distributed to members of the Bolsa Família.

Broadcast Brazil -   Switch On Off


One of the criteria to achieve the goal is to reach 90% of households that only have cable TV and, for example, more than two cable points at home and a third older TV. Homes with DTH, C band do not enter the account. Thus achieving the goal more quickly and effectively. Until February 29, the first city in the switch-off, the stations:
SBT, Band, Record and Globo TV leave the analogue to history. Some stations like Canção Nova, Rede Vida and Record News already operate 100% digital.

Broadcast Brazil -   Switch On Off


Reaching the goal, Brasilia, will be the real driver with shutdown until October, and the only capital to have 100% of the digital broadcast signal, of course, if all goes well and there was no further discussion. Within this package, a thousand cities by 2018 must follow the federal capital.


Meanwhile, some alerts have begun to be presented to the public about the shutdown, such as logos and texts in informative stripes. Campaigns must adopt the aspect ratio 16:9 in transmissions, except for programs that have been recorded in 4: 3 originally. As an example, TV Globo, use an “A” indicating that the reception of the channel is still Analog.

Broadcast Brazil -   Switch On Off


We can only wait for the next chapters of this novel, and hope that the happy ending comes quickly and preferably in Full HD format.

Read also the column i wrote last year about the same subject:
Switch-Off in Brazil

UPDATE 23 feb 2018: Brazilians left waiting for DTT

UPDATE 13 apr 2018: 90 Million Brazilians DTT Ready

We would like to thank Marcel Almeida for writing for us.
More info you can find on his LinkedIn:
br.linkedin.com/in/marcelmg77/en or follow him on Twitter @marcelmg77

Mentioned:
Gired: website
TVs
: website
Anatel: website
Ministry of Communications (MiniCom): website
TV Globo: website
Rede Bandeirantes website
SBT: website
RedeTV: website

Comments

Salary in Brazil

Salary in Brazil

Brazil must start to reconize the new occupations in AudioVisuals.

Broadcast Brazil Column by Roeland van der Manden


This time I would like to talk to you about the salaries in Brazil. Most people know salaries here are much lower than in countries such as the U.S. and Western-European countries. I have no information about other countries so I just keep it in this column by these countries. But, please feel free to leave a reaction to share info with us. When I worked in the Netherlands in the TV area I started my career in EVS with a day rate of 90 euros a day. Mostly I worked at soccer matches and I used to arrive around three hours before the kick-off. Once we arrived, we divided work, who would be on which machine, who would make the roll out, who would make highlights etc. Then we went for lunch, about one-and-halve hour before the match we would go to the truck preparing ourselves. Then we worked on the match, and once the match was over we recorded interviews, press conference and we played out all valuable content to the network and our day was over. I think a total of six hours at the location. Like I said, in my first months my day rate was 90 euros, after it went in two years up to 275 euros per day.

Broadcast Brazil -  Salary Brasil

Brazil is a whole different story; the country is way bigger than the Netherlands off course. When we do a production here in the city of Rio, the Maracanã stadium for example, we arrive as well around three hours before kick-off. We divide work once everybody arrived, and than it’s waiting until kick-off. We don’t get to lunch all together at the venue, or somewhere else. Brazilian productions are way cheaper in all ways. The production companies are not used, or allowed, to spend money on their crew. This only in sports by the way. When I work on a concert registration, there is lunch or dinner available. When I work on the carnival feed, the company takes really well care of the crew.

Broadcast Brazil -  Salary Brasil

Now, in all these productions, except for Carnival, the day rate is around 250 reais ($ 65,00!!/€ 58,00!!). And this is a day rate without a maximum of hours. There should be a maximum of hours but almost never respected by the employers. This is for a production in the city of Rio.
For a production in the state of Rio, or even outside the state, day rate are a little higher,
300 reais ($ 77,00/ € 70,00). On these days you go with all crew together to the venue by shuttle bus. It is not unusual to travel over 5 hours to get to the venue, than you stay there for 5/6 hours and then you go back on the same day. This mean your work day is over 15 hours and you get paid a normal day rate, no extra money you spend travelling for your work. Mostly you receive 30-50 reais for food and drink along the way.

Broadcast Brazil -  Salary Brasil

The number above are for an EVS-operator, doesn’t matter if you’re just starting or have 3, 6 or 12 years experience. I once talked about this with a cameraman and he said that cable men get better payed than this. It’s a big shame that Brazil still doesn’t recognize EVS-operator as a regular profession. We are videotape editors, officially. Funny, I never get to see a tape.

Roeland van der Manden
More info you can find on his LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/pub/roeland-van-der-manden , Check his website or follow him on Twitter AmsterdamProductions


mentioned:
EVS: website - facebook - twitter

Comments

NBA Global Games Rio de Janeiro

NBA Global Games Rio de Janeiro

An all American production in Brazil.

Broadcast Brazil Column by Roeland van der Manden


On the weekend of 17 October the HSBC Arena in Rio hosted the NBA Global Games. The match between Orlando Magic and Flamengo. We started our preparations on the Friday prior to the match by checking all the videos to be played out the day after and organizing ourselves. I’ve been working on the UFC events in Brazil and so I have some experience in working with Americans. Although this event was produced and directed by a Brazilian crew, the event is American and was broadcasted live around the world with as most important countries the USA and Brazil.

Broadcast Brazil - NBA Global Games.  The match between Orlando Magic and Flamengo

When working in Brazil for a national basketball match, no replay-wipe, or other videos are involved. The commercials are played out by and at the network as well as graphics, at the location there is only a small truck, 6-8 camera’s most, and about 15 crew members. No script is involved, nothing is pre-produced and almost everything is improvised. But, and that’s unfortunate, this might be the only way to broadcast basketball live in Brazil. Only if you keep the production costs that low it might be possible. As well as broadcasting a third division soccer match on a monday afternoon, yes that happens! Brazil is crazy about sports, and especially soccer.

Broadcast Brazil - OBvan HDview

Comparing this to an event like the NBA Global Games, which is a friendly match, is pretty different. On Friday, we got a script with all commercial breaks, and special clips coming from EVS, all sponsored of course. We played the sponsor videos out from EVS and not from the video mixer, which is normal in the US. This may be done this way because the director is also switching himself. So, there is no technical director (TD) to do that for him. Then we had some rehearsals, meetings, and checks until the end of the afternoon.

Broadcast Brazil - Setting up Audio behind the basket\

On the match day we had the last rehearsals and meetings about changes in the format and we got ready for the match. Basketball in the U.S. You can’t compare it to basketball anywhere else in the world. I’ve worked on several American productions and always some things surprised me, the attention to detail, the size of the production, how much money there is involved in American entertainment and that people are paying the amounts of money to watch matches. That’s just incredible! I watch it jealously and wished Brazil would have this same sports climate, because the culture they already have.

Broadcast Brazil - OBvan crew - playout , director

THE game Orlando Magic vs Flamengo:



Roeland van der Manden
More info you can find on his LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/pub/roeland-van-der-manden , Check his website or follow him on Twitter AmsterdamProductions


mentioned:
EVS: website - facebook - twitter
NBA Global Games: website - facebook - twitter - youtube

Comments

Guest Columnist Roeland van der Manden

Guest Columnist Roeland van der Manden


The third guest columnist for BroadcastBrazil

Broadcast Brazil Column by Roeland van der Manden

Introduction:

Roeland van der Manden is a Dutch EVS-operator living in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Roeland started working in the television business in 2008 for
Eyeworks sports as an EVS-operator, responsible for live replays, live highlight edits, rollouts and other play outs. Later, that year productions of the national Dutch league went to Endemol sports. After working a year for Endemol sports Roeland moved to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Finding a hard time entering the local market in Rio, he got some propositions to work in Saudi-Arabia on the Saudi soccer league.

The first Brazilian job Roeland got himself into was the
Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) in Brazil. The first contact in Brazil was Daniel Littwin, founder of New York Digital, a São Paulo based production company. That was the first step of the start of his career in Brazil. Throughout that event Roeland got to know many people and “that’s the way it works in Brazil”. In 2014, Roeland worked on the FIFA 2014 World Cup Brasil for Univision USA and later that year he founded his own production company “Amsterdam productions” where he produces videos for the Dutch Consulate in Rio de Janeiro and LS Concursos among others.

Roeland still works on the UFC events in Brazil, as well as on the
Brazilian national soccer league, Rio Open tennis, Basketball matches (National and NBA Global Games) and will be working on the 2016 Olympic Games Rio.

We need more Guest Columnists at Broadcast Brazil, if you want to share your thoughts, join us.

Roeland van der Manden
More info you can find on his LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/pub/roeland-van-der-manden , Check his website or follow him on Twitter AmsterdamProductions

Comments

Are Audio Visual events in Brazil prepared for international?

Are Audio Visual events in Brazil prepared for international?



We visited some events in Brazil to find out.

Broadcast Brazil Column by rené Schaap


This year BroadcastBrazil.com and some foreign visitors had been visiting some of the most important Audio Visual exhibitions in Brazil. AES Brasil EXPO, Church Expo 2015 and SET EXPO 2015. We also paid some attention to Church EXPO and the ABTA 2015 on the Broadcast Brazil’s blog. We are also familiar with the NAB and IBC exhibitions in which we attended ourselves past years.

Broadcast Brazil - AES EXPO , IBC , ChurchTechExpo , IBC , SET Expo


AES Brasil EXPO and the Church Tech EXPO were planned on the same days. I am honest when i say that i did not really check far in front where exactly both were organised, i just checked AES on this a few weeks before the event would take place. I thought both events were located in the same exhibition building because of the dates they were held…. and i was not the only one it seamed. Than i found out that they were both on another exhibition location? For me as a visitor this is not really a problem, It just costs travel time…. in this case it cost me another day. But i think for the companies who hired some space in one of the both exhibitions would have preferred one location for both events… just to attract more visitors. Because even the big guys have a budget to spend each year and to be on both was impossible for them.

Trying to register AES Brasil EXPO 2015 as a foreigner was … special.
First thing to do is online register to attend the event for free, and that is also the start of…. some surprices. Because we put our selfs in the feet as a foreign exhibition visitor we attended the english part of the website which is given as an option on the top of the website by a little english flag. So far so good.

Broadcast Brazil - Website AES EXPO


As ‘Attendant: we clicked on REGISTER NOW! This leads to a page in portugese for exhibitors.. ok? After some clicking thru the website menu we found another link to register. As you can see in that english menu that there are also options in portuguese?

Broadcast Brazil - Website menu AES EXPO


We tried to register again. With some help of Google Translate we managed pretty wel. After filling in the form in a Safari browser on an Apple we had to stop because the form gave a ‘popup’ window that we were not capable to click away. Only a Forced Quit of the browser saved us. Let’s try Firefox than…. that worked much better. But … the links now leads us now to the Portugese register form? There they ask (of course) to attend by a ‘CPF number’ . As you may know… foreigner visitors, except foreigners who live in Brazil, do NOT have a CPF number.

We found out by clicking the other options in the same menu that not one result was something a foreign visitor to AES Brasil EXPO can use. It was available in Portuguese, or not available at all. It all seams that the website part for foreigners was not finalised yet.

Broadcast Brazil - Website form AES EXPO



After filling-in as much as we could in the portugese form, also by adding info like DDD 019 TELEFONE 12345678 we clicked CADASTRAR. And that the following happened. Nothing! No message… no reply by an email. NADA.

Meanwhile we contacted the event organiser by the contact form on the same website, after 2 weeks we did not get any answer from that side. We posted a message on the Facebook page of the event organiser … we got an answer…. in English. They said not to worry because i was registered!

Hi René! Don't worry: You are already registered! You just have to come to the AES Brasil Expo 2015 and show yr professional card or any personal doc at the registration desk in the venue. We deserve very nice time in São Paulo. Thanks for coming and any doubt, let us know, ok? Regards from Brazil!

They also promised to fix the problems on the website before the event. That is also good news.

So… All done… so let’s go to São Paulo. When we arrived at the AES Brasil EXPO it seams at the desk i was not registered at all and have to do a manuel one at the desk… with a pencil. Not one of the people behind the desk at Expo center North spoke english, so it was not easy for us to explain ourselves. It took time and it created a long line behind us with people who also want to enter this exhibition. It became even worse because other (not patient) visitors in the line said that we have to speak portuguese ‘here’. Really? I told them in my best portuguese that we do or best, but i am a foreign guest visiting this exhibition in Brazil.

For us this was a bad entry on this exhibition. Than we found out that it was….. small….. very small. We knew this exhibition from past years, but we would not expect that it had shrinked this way. The website problems were also never solved, the picture below was from a screenshot of the day the event started.

Broadcast Brazil - Website form AES EXPO


Besides these problems we also missed a FREE WIFI on location in which could be a good service for the visitors. Food and drinks were well arranged in the back of the event hall. And we still managed to network with visitors and companies Happy

Onto the next one. Church Tech Expo on the other side of São Paulo.
The expo organised by Panorama was much, much better arranged. As on the website as on location all went very smooth…. no problems with online forms what so ever, The exhibition was also much bigger and diverse than the AES EXPO. We really enjoyed this exhibition where there was space enough to walk, to talk en look around. Some special things were there to be seen like some new OB-vans and Uplink SNG vans, Jibs, camera’s etc. etc.


There were just some things we missed here.
- Free fast WIFI on location.
- And a bus that brings you really back to the metro station and not dumps you… closeby. We have had a walk in the dark a few blocks back to the metro station, we just followed others from our bus because we did not know where we were.

Third exhibition we visited was some weeks ago. SET EXPO 2015.
We must say, this exhibition was also very professional arranged and besides that.. the exhibition Photo • Image was happening at the same location.. For a lot of Brazilian Audio Visual companies a very good combination of exhibitions to visit. Online registering was easy and smooth as it was with Church Tech Expo. And… to get our entry card we were be able to go to a special desk for foreign visitors where somebody helped us out in english. The setup of the exhibition was very relaxed with a lot of new things to see and try yourself. At a lot of stands the language was not any problem, Portuguese, English and even French or German.

We did not find a Free WIFI at SET EXPO itself but at Photo • Image we found one. Also the bus service from and back to the metro station was excellent arranged. Food and drinks were well arranged in the back of the event hall, but was pretty expensive.


Now let’s see what is happening worldwide in these kinds of exhibitions. For example in USA we have NAB, in Europe we have IBC. They welcome foreigners very well, exhibitionars and also exhibition visitors. Both exhibitions are known about their no1 position in Audio Visual Broadcast exhibitions for their area, North America and Europe. So now my question…

Broadcast Brazil - IBC 2015 Amsterdam - [photo credit: Michiel Overeem]


Why AES Expo, Church Tech EXPO, SET EXPO and Photo • Image don’t combine in Brazil as one big exhibition on one location and around april each year? Maybe also add the Expo Music. It will be ‘THE Audio Visual and Broadcast exhibition’ for South America. Making it an International event and add people who can communicate in English and Spanish besides Portuguese. Arrange a website where all who are interested, from Brazil and outside brazil can easily register.

In doing so:
- It will safe costs for the exhibition event organisers and companies who exhibit
- It will bring more foreign companies to Brazil to exhibit
- It will bring more local visitors but also from neighbour countries
- The conference will bring a more diverse group of speakers
- It give opportunities for companies to work abroad

We at Broadcast Brazil think that the Audio Visual exhibition organizers in Brazil have to level up and try to do this. It will be better for everybody in our business What do you think?

René Schaap
More info you can find on his LinkedIn: br.linkedin.com/in/connectingmedia follow him on Twitter René_Schaap

For dates on next years events of the mentioned Broadcast events in this column, check our Industry Agenda.

mentioned:
AES Brasil EXPO
Church Tech EXPO
SET EXPO
NAB
IBC
Expo Music
Photo • Image

Comments

Switch-Off in Brazil

Switch-Off in Brazil
In many countries, particularly in Europe, this issue is already past. But in Brazil this is still a matter to be discussed.

Column Marcel Almeida - BroadcastBrazil

The shutdown of analog TV broadcast and operation only in digital modulation in high definition is taking place gradually. We hope that in 2016, the analog TV shutdown program arrives in large cities such as São Paulo, Belo Horizonte and Rio de Janeiro.

switch01

After seven years of the first digital television broadcasting in Brazil, finally it was published in the Official Gazette, by the Ministry of Communications, the shutdown schedule of the analog signal in Brazil. The process is taking much more than it was planned before, now the task may complete in late 2018.
One of the biggest difficulties in this process is related to the geographical dimensions that Brazil has. There are numerous cities and each should have a coverage plan that makes users continue to receive the signal and watch their televisions.

switch03


In my opinion, the choice for the first capital to take off the analog signal has been known and streamlined, taking into consideration that Brasília is geographically flat, facilitating signal implementation with few repeaters.

switch04

The numbers are promising. In the first step of the program, 60% of the population will no longer have the analog signal. Subsequently, on November 25, 2018, will begin the final stage of the switch off. But I believe that as more cities have the technical feasibility by Anatel, the execution and retransmission may shutdown the analog signal before scheduled.
Those who have not migrated to receive the digital signal, will be without television.
That is the price to pay for the development of systems and is well compensated when you see the difference between the two types of technology.

switch06

 
It is important to know that there is another factor that drives the fact that the switch-off should come as soon as possible!
With the switch-off, the radio frequencies in the 700 MHz band will be released for mobile operators use for 3G and 4G services. The 700 MHz band has superior range to currently used and is therefore cheaper.

switch05

A question that may come to mind of the viewer is – When the analog signal will be shutdown where I live?
Thinking about it, TV stations should inform the deadline date of the analog signal and the digital programming channel.
Disclosure begins with a year in advance and will be performed in two ways: through a stripe with fixed text or moving; and the logo of analogue television with indication of the digital transmission channel. Something that will catch the attention of the viewer.
In both cases the display will last 30 seconds and follows a schedule that begins with three daily inserts and reaches 18, one month before the shutdown. In the two months prior to the shutdown is expected even a countdown that will be permanently on the screen. So if the system is not prepared for the new signal, it is time to update.

switch08

The text posted on the stripe will have the date of the shutdown and the website address on the Internet and a central free telephone service for information - to be defined by GIRED (Group of Implementation of Digitalization).
As each viewer watches TV at different time, the inserts should be distributed by one third for each period of the day: in the morning (7am to 12pm), afternoon (from 12pm to 6pm) and evening (from 6pm to 11pm).
Of course, to achieve the greatest number of viewers the information should also be transmitted on the signal of broadcast channels on cable television.
Another challenge is to end the simulcast (digital signal exactly the same as analog). As the shutdown messages will only be transmitted in analog signal, it will be necessary to adapt the generation of analog and digital signals to transmit different images.

switch09

As this change affects everyone, it will be very important to have advertising campaign for clarification to the public about the shutdown of the analog signal, including broadcast television, at least one year before the start of the process.
Check out the government's schedule for the shutdown of analogue TV:
• November 29, 2015: Pilot - Rio Verde (GO)
• April 3, 2016: Brasília (DF)
• May 15, 2016: São Paulo (SP)
• June 26, 2016: Belo Horizonte (MG)
• August 28, 2016: Goiânia (GO)
• November 27, 2016: Rio de Janeiro (RJ)
• June 25, 2017: Curitiba (PR), Florianópolis (SC) and Porto Alegre (RS)
• July 30, 2017: Salvador (BA), Fortaleza (CE) and Recife (PE)
• August 27, 2017: Campinas (SP) and Ribeirão Preto (SP)
• September 24, 2017: Vale do Paraíba (RJ) and Santos (SP)
• October 29, 2017: RJ Interior and Vitória (ES)
• November 26, 2017: São José do Rio Preto (SP), Bauru (SP) and Presidente Prudente (SP)
• July 1, 2018: Manaus (AM), Belém (PA) and São Luís (MA)
• July 29, 2018: Natal (RN), João Pessoa (PB), Maceió (AL), Aracaju (SE) and Teresina (PI)
• August 26, 2018: Campo Grande (MS), Cuiaba (MT) and Palmas (TO)
• November 25, 2018: Porto Velho (RO), Macapa (AP), Rio Branco (AC), Boa Vista (RR) and other cities.


But this schedule may change… The decree 8061/13 says that the switch-off may be more flexible, watching the new realities of the market, taking into account the use of frequency for LTE and putting in installments shutdown signal. So we will have more time to update our systems, to a near future to the deadline in 2020, contrary to the previously deadline.

switch02

However, other details are highlighted as the problem with the bandwidth occupation, we highlight all the North and Northeast capitals, except Fortaleza (CE), Recife (PE) and Salvador (BA). I believe it is necessary to deepen more studies to establish the switch-off, then pulling the deadline for 2018 between the capital cities. As there is greater demand, there is greater consumer channels in the spectrum, precluding a simple reorganization.
An example involving the local terrain, is what happens in Palmas (TO), where there is problem of location of transmission towers outside the radius of 2 km, off-location, but that can be solved with technical solution. In São Paulo (SP) it works, because there transmitters with more than 2 miles away with optimal functioning.

switch07

In research conducted, TV Globo already claims to have digital coverage of 50% of the population. Digital TV extension is much faster, but can not do at a time as low as the switch-off schedule.
The director of engineering at TV Globo, Liliane Nakonechnyj says the dynamics of the TV market is different from telecommunications, which have investment and intensive revenue. And that in fact that the change of technology, which allows the adjustment to new infrastructure, advances differently to the consumer: as a cell has short shelf life (about two years), a TV set is about ten years.
That digital is here to stay, everyone already knows. What actually is the focus is the transition project well done with future projections and perform in a timely manner. These factors are the key points for a deployment well made in Brazil. As has happened with the transition from black and white TV to color TV, we are facing a new era where broadcast, audio and video is bordering the newest art of technology with higher quality.

We would like to thank Marcel Almeida for writing for us.
More info you can find on his LinkedIn:
br.linkedin.com/in/marcelmg77/en or follow him on Twitter @marcelmg77

Mentioned:
Anatel
Ministry of Communications (MiniCom)
TV Globo

Comments

Who earned some big R$ at the Worldcup?

Who earned some big R$ at the Worldcup?
Did Brazilians and Brazilian Audio Visual companies some business.

Broadcast Brazil Column by rené Schaap


I remember before the Worldcup Soccer started the international media told that Brazil would not be ready in time. I visited the Itaquera stadium in São Paulo 1,5 month in front of the start of the Worldcup myself and that did give me more trust that all will be finalised in time. Of course lots of things had to be done, but Brazil would manage this, I never doubted that. I was afraid of Brazilian audio visuals and companies not getting jobs at the Worldcup because of their knowledge of English, because of the import-tax they have to pay for professional equipment while foreign companies just import their equipment temporary and not paying the import tax. Was I wrong? No, I was right and that is sad.


 I visited the Itaquera stadium in São Paulo 1,5 month in front of the start of the Worldcup


Several foreign companies and broadcasters took major parts of the Worldcup AudioVisual work. Like the Euro Media Group. They bring equipment, people (120) and their OB-vans to Brazil because their price is maybe better than Brazilian companies and that is weird. A company like NEP from the USA has an OB-van in Brazil, they work together with the Brazilian company Casablanca Online.


Euro Media Group. They bring equipment, people (120) and their OB-vans to Brazil

Ok…Globo SporTV had a new OB-truck you say? but they have money (a lot) and very important connections. Also in smaller productions we heard that most foreign ENG crews brought their own people and equipment to Brazil. Of course Brazilian audio visuals and companies were working at the event and even sometimes for foreign companies but still the 'sharks' did far better I think. There is always involvement of foreigners.


Globo had a new OB-truck

We are curious at Broadcast Brazil if you did work at the Worldcup, what was your function and if your payment was alright.

Next big event will be the Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro in already 2 years, now we all know what's about … be prepared, Let somebody with connections in Brasilia mention the position of the Brazilian Audiovisuals and stop this 'temporary import' for such events so also the locals get a chance. For all other i can just say.. rehearse your english till you are on a good level. When you try to work at big international events like Formula 1, UFC , X-Games and such let yourself pay in wages compared to foreign ones. They expect the same quality so let yourself pay for it i the same way.

UPDATE 30 of March 2015:
BBC -Worldcup leaves Brazil with bus depots and empty stadiums

UPDATE 25 of March 2015:
Rapid TV News - Globo profits dip despite Worldcup

René Schaap
More info you can find on his LinkedIn: br.linkedin.com/in/connectingmedia follow him on Twitter René_Schaap

mentioned:
World Cup soccer 2014
Euro Media Group
NEP
Casablanca Online
Olympic Games

Comments

Service with a smile

Service with a smile
Can we expect a good customer service at the next coming events

Broadcast Brazil Column by rené Schaap

As you can maybe find out already by my name, i am born in Europe. Netherlands to be more specific. For all those years i was in a luxury position i found out as soon as i arrived in Brazil. The availability of good tools, good equipment, quality power delivery and qualified audio visuals was not on the level that i was used to back in Europe. Last years Brazil is growing, growing rapidly in economics and also in availability of better tools and professional equipment. And that is good, the country and people deserve it. But it still misses something. Most Brazilians will think i mean the lack of 'technical' education. This is true, but Brazilian are catching up really fast and easy in our kind of business. Of course the education of technicians must being leveled up next coming 10 years. The influence of foreign companies and the up coming 2 major events ' World Cup and Olympic Games ' will push this forward for sure.

The influence of foreign companies and the up coming 2 major events ' World Cup and Olympic Games ' will push this forward for sure.<br />


No.. what we miss here is a very good level of support towards clients as we have in Europe and also in United States. Some of our foreign Broadcast Brazil members were perplexed several times by how they were treated as a client sometimes. I will not name the brand or name of these companies at both sides, but i will mention what's about. case 1 A foreign videoproduction company is in need of a Professional ENG set for serveral weeks. Good business for any rental company. This foreign company send out 10 emails to several rental companies in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. They got one reply ….. yes i said 1 ……. with the message that they do not rent to foreign companies without also send their own production people on site. solution: The foreign company decided to bring th equipment from Europe. case 2 A foreign video production company needed some professional HD video cable for a project in São Paulo. As they found out that the a cable manufacturer in which they know from their Europe location also had an office in Brazil, so it looked like a good idea for them to order in Brazil. This cable manufacturer is known worldwide as very trustfull, fast and professional. They did a order by phone for cable and plugs. Than it all went wrong… the local deliver did not call back (he was busy at an exhibition he told later) … did not answer the emails or SMS messages. When they were almost at the end of the deadline they finaly got a reply from the local CEO, and suddenly it seamed they could not sell the order to a foreign company because of some local rules. The video production company proposed several options to pay them, even by the European or American office of this company, but the CEO just did not want to have this trouble it seams. solution: Meanwhile the video production company needed the cable for their project in São Paulo…. they ordered it at the europe office, The Europe office shipped it in 2 carton boxes by standard mail to Brazil and it arrived within a week….. for far less costs than they would have payed in Brazil. case 3 This is another worldwide know company, their business is professional audio mixers and audio equipment for studio and PA. This is the story of another foreign production company entering the Brazilian market. They bought a professional mixing desk in São Paulo. The mixer came with a 110V power supply. The company is not only working in São Paulo so they were in need of a compatible 220V power supply. After some mails and phonecalls the deliverer and also the manufacturer in Brazil just said that they do not have it, and that this foreign company must get it somewhere else.

The mixer came with a 110V power supply. The company is not only working in São Paulo so they were in need of a compatible 220V power supply.

So, this Column is not to complain about Brazil. Because in all 3 cases it is about .. people. Can be the lack of knowledge in a foreign language, can be the lack of experience with foreign companies, or the knowledge in how it all works with tax rules in Brazil between foreign companies. Meanwhile in all 3 cases a Brazilian company lost already a client, for now and the future… they all 3 missed an opportunity. Main thing… this will almost ever happen in United States nor Europe, there they always will try to help their client, even when it is difficult. The Americans call it 'service with a smile'. I hope big and small companies in Brazil in the Audio Visual area will catch up in time because there is a big opportunity here. The opportunity in getting foreign clients and earning some good money. The Smile Brazilians have already, now we need an excellent service towards foreign clients.

My word: Do not be affraid, go for it.<br />


My word:

Do not be affraid, go for it.


Educate your people in the english language, learn in how you can being payed by foreigners. Because in 6 months a record of Audio Visual companies will arrive for the Worldcup and they need your service, equipmet and people.

René Schaap
More info you can find on his LinkedIn: br.linkedin.com/in/connectingmedia follow him on Twitter René_Schaap

mentioned:
World Cup soccer 2014
Olympic Games
Establish Brazil

Comments

SD - HD - 4K - 8K?

SD-HD-4K-8K?
Can we all financially catch up in Brazil

Broadcast Brazil Column by rené Schaap

My first column for Broadcast Brazil is about formats… no… i am putting it not right here. It is mainly about the speed of development in this last 10 years of audio visual formats and what this means for Brazililian Audio Visual companies.

When i started my work in Broadcast we have had some formats. U-maticC-format and Betacam SP. The company where i worked for at that time had to switch their recorder between edit-suites and OB-vans all the time. The Betacam recorders where pretty expensive and my boss just did not have financial possibilities enough to keep them in one place. But life was easy and clear in the analog SD (standard definition) time and as a company you had the chance to earn back these recorders by renting them as much as possible for the next 5-8 years… or even longer.

Broadcast Brazil - BetacamSP and Umatic

In 1993 we got DigibetaBetacam SX in 1996 , Mpeg IMX in 2001. Meanwhile HD (high definition) was set into the market. Last 6 years HD became the standard for most Broadcasters, also in Brazil where the XDCAM HD format is used by TV Globo. In some parts of the country they still shoot and edit in SD but this is changing rapidly in Brazil.

Broadcast Brazil - Digibeta - BetacamSX - IMX - XDCAM HD

Last 5 years the industry also pushes a 3D format to Broadcasters and consumers, but is seams that this is not something that will stay much longer… why? I think because of those glasses you need to put on….. but also because 1 new format just started to become mainframe…. 4K, and the first 8K demo's could already been seen at the last 3 versions of the IBC exhibition in Amsterdam.

Router Panel


In the last 10 years most broadcasters needed first to step from SD to HD, some of them just managed this last year. Even a big event like Formula 1 has it's first year of HD, besides the camera's on the cars which are still SD. The first 4K equipment enters the market rapidly, it means that broadcasters have to invest heavily again?… by knowing the 8k format can be available in some years from now. I think for most broadcasters this is too fast, the investments are too big. Not only the equipment but all what is connected to it has to change. This means some troubles ahead for a lot of companies because, who has a bag of money or a sponsor can invest in these latest formats. The ones who cannot will see their company shrinking or even disappearing.

Broadcast Brazil - 4K - 8K

With the Worldcup 2014 Brazil coming up a lot of Brazilian audiovisual companies have to step up to at least HD. With the tax the government puts on pro-equipment it is already difficult to invest in Brazil. In 2016 the olympic games will be held in Rio de Janeiro and of course this needs to be transmitted in 4K.. some major companies will push this for sure. I think that most Brazilian Audio Visuals do not have that bag of money again in 2016 and will loose a lot of opportunities to foreign companies (the sharks) . For the local market i think it is more honest to transmit the Olympics in HD, just to give the Brazilian Audio Visual world some support so they can be the event at this very important event for the whole country.

videos:


photos:
Check also some 8K equipment seen on the IBC this year.

René Schaap
More info you can find on his LinkedIn: br.linkedin.com/in/connectingmedia follow him on Twitter René_Schaap

mentioned:
U-matic
C-format
Betacam SP
Digibeta
Betacam SX
Mpeg IMX
XDCAM HD
4K
8K
IBC exhibition

Comments

Guest Columnist Rene Schaap

Guest Columnist René Schaap
The first guest columnist for BroadcastBrazil

Broadcast Brazil Column by rené Schaap

Introduction:

René Schaap works in the Broadcast industry for almost 30 years. Starting as an ENG sound-engineer in the Netherlands. The dutch company where he started stationed him at all kind of jobs and projects: ENGEFPStudio and Satellite Uplink what made him an engineer who could solve problems on location and finalise audiovisual projects with a 100% result.

His jobs made him work on big events like the Formula 1 and for big Broadcasters like the BBC and TV Globo Brazil. It also took him on a trip all over the planet bij these projects in all kinds of countries, and of course a lot of adventures.

Nowadays he is managing director of Connecting Media. This company is specialised in Interactive webcasting, broadcast, web and mobile. By living in Santos, he is running the Brazilian office and partly the dutch office.

René was a finalist in the documentary festival 'Curta Santos' and was 2 times nominated for a 'Streaming Media Award' with Connecting Media. read more about him on het personal blog www.reneschaap.nl.

We need more Guest Columnists at Broadcast Brazil, if you want to share your thoughts, join us.

René Schaap
More info you can find on his LinkedIn: br.linkedin.com/in/connectingmedia follow him on Twitter René_Schaap

Comments

Thoughts about 3D Technology

Thoughts about 3D Technology
I have been talking about the various merits and faults of 3D with my colleagues going back to a demonstration I saw in April of 2011 at the NAB convention in Las Vegas. I thought I would try and elucidate some of these thoughts and see if anyone had interest in replying.

NAB Las Vegas USA

I would like to start off with describing a simple experiment that illustrates the basic idea behind modern 3D video:
With both eyes open, point your finger at the place where the ceiling meets 2 walls. Now close your right eye. If your right eye is dominant, your finger will not appear to move, or will only move a small bit. Open both eyes and point again. Now close your left eye. Your finger will have appeared to move quite a bit.  Now you will know if you are left eye dominant or right eye dominant.  Note that this does not necessarily correlate to your dominant hand.
What is important for this discussion is the difference in focus between your two eyes.

 <br />What is important for this discussion is the difference in focus between your two eyes.

This is the mechanism that enables one’s depth perception. This is what a modern 3D camera seeks to emulate. These cameras use two lenses which allow a three-dimensional signal to be recorded by determining the differences between the two images which is analogous to how your brain decodes your own three-dimensional vision.  But these images are displayed on two-dimensional screens.  In order to give depth to the image, glasses are used.

3D

What is interesting for me is that while watching a live broadcast of a sporting event, I found the image presented to be very disconcerting.  I felt a little nauseous in fact!  A possible explanation for my discomfiture is that when I am moving through space, my brain is being fed information from all of my senses, not just my eyes. So my orientation is affected by my inner ear, for balance, by my hearing and also by the interrelation with my movements, gravity and so forth. When viewing a live 3D broadcast, I am affected only by the visual content, which is akin to looking through someone else’s eyes without being connected to the rest of their sensory input. This is particularly apparent when the images from handheld cameras are on screen. A realistic surround sound image would be helpful, but of course the soundfield is different from every visual perspective, and a live surround mix cannot possibly take all of the various perspectives in account. What is generally done, is that one perspective is chosen, and the surround matrix is built in coherence with it.

It is possible that stabilizing the cameras with gyroscopically controlled panheads will alleviate some of the discomfiture issues


It is possible that stabilizing the cameras with gyroscopically controlled panheads will alleviate some of the discomfiture issues, but that still leaves the rest of the sensory inputs to be concerned with. To my knowledge, there have been no definitive studies published on the effect of surround audio in combination with 3D imagery in terms of image stability. There have certainly been papers presented regarding localization of sound in a surround matrix, especially in respect to video game production. Studies indicate that audio information presented in 3D improves reaction time, as noted in certain high stress environments such as airplane cockpits.[1]  Will accurate 3D audio reproduction have a positive effect on viewer reaction to 3D disorientation?  It has yet to be seen.
3D technology is still relatively new, and is being studied and improved upon constantly.  Perhaps the answer may be to place the viewer in the center of a holographic matrix where one could possibly have a better connection between motor control and perception. 
Include Footnote Link (PDF) - Psyko Audio Labs , Surround Technologies for headphones.
I more or less cited this article when talking about the correlation between 3D audio and reaction time.  I have noticed that when mixing for TV - by having the various "instructions" (director/producer, etc) come from different speakers in different locations, I can react faster and understand better.
Daniel Littwin , director New York Digital.
contact:
daniel.nydigital@gmail.com
São Paulo, Brazil

Mentioned:
NAB convention in Las Vegas

Comments

Mixing and Live Audio Acquisition For Television Sports

Live audio coverage
for television sport presents several changes

Maintaining a consistent sound level while presenting a dynamic fast paced event.
Keeping the audio coherent with the on-screen action.
Signal routing for transmission, replay, resale and audio.
Maintaining signal integrity, continuity and lip synch whether in mono stereo or surround.
Creating and monitoring multiple mixes simultaneously: Surround, Stereo, Mono, router feeds, alternate mixes for international clients, etc.


Depending on the complexity of the production, an engineer has between
5 hours and 5 weeks to set up the show.

For a typical
NBA game one generally has 4 hours. This type of show will: be broadcast on 1 network, involve 1 field of play, have 1 announce position and possibly an “effects feed” for an associated second language or radio broadcast.

For the
US Open Tennis tournament, the total equipment set up time is more than 3 weeks. This show involves over 125 networks, 5 fields of play, separate EFX
feeds from each tennis court in surround, stereo, mono as well as ambience only, over 100 different announce cabins, multiple interview positions, internet, internal stadium webcasts, and an all-encompassing intercom system, as well as many editing facilities, etc.

Live Mix techniques, in general:
Stems – audio subgroups of the broadcast mix.

Stems facilitate ease of operation for live acquisition. Establishing international sound sub-mixes, creating IFB

mixes and router feeds are all made easier through the use of stems. For editing and rebroadcast they are essential to recreate the sound of the show quickly and easily while allowing the editor to change segment lengths. Operationally, the subgroups are sent to DAs.
The signals are then returned to the desk as inputs, to allow access to auxiliary sends and to allow level manipulation without affecting the group master gain. This is very important for enabling isolated recordings for editing purposes, signal distribution to downstream clients and off line recording for replays with audio during the live broadcast.

1 EFX - sound effects or action. US television refers to action mics as EFX mics
2 IFB - interrupted fold back
3 DA – distribution amplifier
Grouping and processing

The Announce Group:
Here, I generally use 2 levels of dynamics.

At the group level, I insert a
limiter, generally at a ratio of 10:1 a threshold of -1db, a medium slow attack time and a very fast release. This limiter acts as a safety, to prevent the overall submix from over-modulating. The insert point should be prefader.

Individual channels have “
soft knee” compressors at ratios of 1.8:1 with medium attack and release times. The insert point should be prefader, post filter, pre-eq, if the console allows. These compressors have the effect of enhancing speech intelligibility and of keeping the announcers more “present” in the mix. Additionally, they provide an extra gain stage, if necessary.

Equalization normally entails a
high pass filter set at 75Hz, a small, narrow “bump” in the low midrange somewhere between 450Hz and 800Hz to enhance the individual voice and a somewhat wider presence peak somewhere between 2200Hz to 3200Hz for clarity. A low pass filter is used in the event of high frequency noise problems that arise during broadcast or that cannot be solved in the allotted set up time.

Most of the processing is done to enhance intelligibility. Care must be taken not to allow harshness in the announcer voices, however.
The announce group (or groups) is then sent to a DA and returned to the desk as well as routed to various listening positions throughout the UM as well as to the video router or recorders as needed.
To
fix the physical location of the announcers in the stadium, I place the main stereo ambient pair in the announce cabin (or just outside) so that the stadium noise arrives at the ambient mics at the same time as it arrives in the announce mics. This gives the home viewer the illusion that they are sitting in the announce cabin, watching the game with the announcers. (See section Ambience)

Ambience:
I normally build a separate ambience or crowd group. This allows me to limit or compress the crowd mics separately for routing purposes as well as allowing the compressors for the action mics group to be affected by just the action and not be affected by crowd response.

TV sports generally, are shown from 1 perspective point, with varying views added to enhance coverage. (Golf, track and field and gymnastics are notable exceptions to this generality) The perspective is generally the announcer’s viewpoint. To place the announcers in the stadium for the home viewer, one should use a stereo coincident or near-coincident pair. My preference is a
matched pair of cardioid condenser mics in an ORTF configuration. (2 matched cardioid capsules set 17cm apart, at an angle of 110 degrees.) After experimenting with x/y and m/s pairs, I have found that the ORTF seems to best mimic human hearing. I place the mics so that they do not “hear” the announcers, but the arrival time of the ambient noise at the crowd mics is the same, (or almost the same), as at the announce mics. This is of course, limited to the announce cabin.

Depending on the event I use a
hard knee compressor or limiter with a ratio of 4:1, a slow attack time and a fast release. The threshold is usually 2 or 3 dB before 0.
It is important to keep a consistent sound field relative to both level and phase (position). If this perspective is changed repeatedly the sonic image presented to the home viewer will be confused.
The ambient mics also serve to mask any sudden changes made to the mix.

Action Group
All sports have specific areas of concentrated action, where points are scored, where plays transition from offense to defence and back, where coaches shout instruction and where players communicate amongst themselves. It is relatively easy to aim microphones at these areas of interest. The audio mixer must choose the correct microphone for each specific area of play appropriate to the event and the setting.

I normally
compress this group at a ratio of 4:1, a slight soft knee curve, slow attack, fast release times and a threshold of 3dB before 0.
I tend to classify the specific desirable sounds heard in most sports into 2 categories:

1) Thumps – low midrange (somewhere between 400Hz and 750Hz) ground contact, ball sounds, and physical contact.

and

2) Presence – midrange (somewhere between 1,25KHz and 4.5KHz) definition, voices, squeaks, pops and clicks.

By choosing the correct microphone, one can minimize the amount of equalization needed. In practice, however the perfect microphone is often not available and eq needs to be added to the channel signal. Too much emphasis or de-emphasis of a particular frequency can indicate problems: the monitoring in the audio mix room, a recurrent frequency in the arena, PA system equalization or other issues.

Following the action:
Most changes in the mix balance need to be fairly abrupt as the play moves around the field. To minimize the effect of rapidly opening and closing microphones, keeping a consistent tonal and level balance from channel to channel is essential. Select the primary or most important single source; optimize the sound and then balance the other sources to match. When mixing, I transition by leaving a mic open until the next source is also open, then the previous source can be faded out. This must be done almost instantaneously. When combined with the sound field established by the main ambient pair, the transitions are no longer apparent. The home viewers are unaware that anything is being altered in the mix balance; they simply hear the sounds that match the pictures.

Certain mics can be compressed for extra emphasis. Coach mics for example or any other sources that will isolate vocal responses. Other primary source mics may be suitably enhanced by compression. Compression may also be a necessity for microphones that will be isolated to the router and/or to tape machines. (see section
The Routing Switcher)

Caution and restraint should be exercised in equalization and processing, however. Otherwise, the mix could become strident and unpleasant and/or the announcers will be masked by the game sounds. Overemphasis of any particular frequency band can also lead to transmission issues such as overlimiting and distortion. Overprocessing will lead to listener fatigue, and make the presentation unpleasant to listen to.

The Router:
The routing switcher is one of the most important tools in the mobile unit. Many different elements can be added to the show to enhance production choices and capabilities. By isolating reporter and interview positions, camera mics, and other possible replay sources it is possible to give the home viewer a unique perspective using replays with audio.

Depending on the routing switcher and control panel a variety of signals are available to the video tape operator. These are usually organized by video sources. In the case of a stereo show utilizing VTR’s with 4 audio channels for example: All the camera source buttons are programmed with an
action/ambient stereo mix on channels 1 - 2 and a full program mix on channels 3 - 4. Another row of buttons presents video for the handheld cameras matched with an iso of the associated microphone on both channels 1 & 2. Additionally there are several other mixes generated from the console’s aux busses for prefade reporter mics, various interview positions and at least 1 extra stereo aux mix just in case it is needed. Router audio signals can be generated from groups, auxes, console direct outputs, satellite return feeds, and perhaps a betacam to access ENG or EFP footage gathered during the event. (see image below)

Router PanelRouter Panel

In the example shown above, assuming a 4 channel audio configuration, the top level of (blue) buttons are programmed so that channels 1-2 are a mix of the action and the ambience mics and channels 3-4 are a full mix of stereo program. The lower level of (green) buttons are programmed so that channels 1-2 receive the individual camera’s shotgun mic and channels 3-4 are a full mix of stereo program. The (yellow) button for camera 6 is an audio-only button programmed so that channels 1-2 are the pre-fade reporter’s mic.

For surround shows router configurations are of course, more complicated. In practice, audio elements are configured as stereo pairs and recombined in the mix desk prior to transmission. A surround synthesizer can be inserted across a stereo channel or mix bus to process stereo sources for surround transmission.

The routing switcher is fed audio signals from various outputs on the desk. Group sends, aux sends, direct outputs and multitrack outputs are fed to various inputs of the router for distribution e attribution for the video equipment, transmission, etc.

Many
VTR’s are limited to 4 channels of audio. Hard disc video recorders like the EVS are often configured for only 4 audio channels as well.

When working in surround reproduction and transmission it is possible to use a surround decoder/encoder set to route a surround imaging matrix to a stereo pair. This signal is then routed through a decoder and played back as a surround source through the audio desk. This would enable a machine with a four channel configuration to be used to reproduce surround material. Of course only one playback machine would be available at any given time. (
see image below)
<span style=VTR + EVS">

More sophisticated VTR’s and EVS recorders allow 8 channels of discrete audio recording.
It is therefore much simpler to maintain surround signal integrity in a live broadcast situation.
(
see image below)
Router Panel

Microphones Positions for Specific Sports:

Basketball
Basketball is most often played and telecast from an indoor arena with a hardwood floor, concrete walls and (hopefully) thousands of animated fans. Indoor sports arenas are generally very reverberant and often any acoustic problems are exacerbated by using PA systems that are much louder than they need to be.

Lapel mics (Sony ECM 77’s or similar) are mounted behind the baskets, on the backboards, in the rubber frame that surround the edge. A short shotgun mic (Sennheiser 416 or similar) is mounted on the stanchion pointed at the free-throw line and a long shotgun (Sennheiser 816) is mounted on the handle of the handheld camera behind the end zone. If there is a handheld camera at midcourt it also would have a long shotgun. An ORTF pair is mounted at midcourt.

Router Panel


Tennis
Tennis is unusual in that although the action is oriented side to side like most other sports, the perspective presented by television is from one end. Therefore the stereo perspective is perpendicular to the net rather than parallel.

A
stereo pair is set in the announce booth and another pair is mounted on the umpire’s chair to capture crowd and ambience sounds. A lapel mic is laced into the net. 4 short shotguns are mounted on short mic stands behind each baseline. Shotguns are also mounted on courtside cameras and beneath the umpire’s chair.

Tennis


US Open Tennis Championship, 2007 Louis Armstrong Stadium, USA

US Open Tennis Championship, 2007 Louis Armstrong Stadium, USA
US Open Tennis Championship, 2007 Louis Armstrong Stadium, USA

Soccer

To cover soccer (football) a combination of operated and stationary mics are used. I place an
ORTF pair in the announce cabin and use long shotguns mounted on tall poles for the response of the cheering sections.

Opposite the
team benches are two mobile operated mics. All cameras on the field have shotgun mics. The difficulty lies in trying to capture sounds from a great distance. Compression can help accentuate individual mics. It is extremely important for the mic operators to wear headphones to monitor their equipment, to be very active and to anticipate the direction of play. Over exaggeration of sounds that are close to mics, such as corner kicks, will make the other, more distant sounds seem inaudible by comparison. A careful balance must be maintained.

Soccer


Golf

One of the most challenging sports to cover is golf. The arena for the sport is huge and there are only 2 areas where sounds are easy to capture: the tees and greens. Every microphone (or pair of mics) must be available prefader with processing as a router source. For a
typical golf course, this would be 18 stereo tee mics, 18 stereo green mics, 10 wireless handheld cameras with mics, 8 wireless operated shotgun mics as well as ambience and crowd mics, about 62 stereo and surround microphone sources in all. Additionally there are between 1 and 6 announce cabins, 2 to 4 wireless reporter units, a trophy presentation area, 18 VTR’s, 4 EVS and edit suites as well.

Golf


PGA Golf
Verification of the installations with the Autor on the PGA championship, Medina, IL, USA, august 2006


This level of complexity is also common in
track and field, gymnastics and Formula 1 racing. Each of these sports has specific peculiarities and challenges including:

Widely varying sound pressure levels,
Difficulties with microphone placement
Difficulties with signal transport and cable paths
Difficulties with weatherproofing
Multiple events occurring simultaneously
Many channels of wired and wireless mics and electric points
Many channels of wired and wireless intercommunications
Interconnections between analog, digital, copper and fiber optics
Facilities and crews that are shared between different broadcasters and production teams.


The process is never simple. Audio production for television requires significant planning in advance, flexibility on site, troubleshooting and rapid decision making while confronted with many variables. However, with careful organization each broadcast can be presented in its entirety with the accuracy and creativity that will create a sense of realism and excitement for the home viewer.


Video to just hear the Sennheiser MKH 816 at work



Daniel Littwin , director New York Digital.
contact: daniel.nydigital@gmail.com
São Paulo, Brazil

Mentioned:

ORTF configuration
EVS
Sony ECM 77
Sennheiser MKH 416
Sennheiser MKH 816

Comments

Using Bidirectional or Figure 8 Microphones

Live audio coverage
for television sport presents several changes

Maintaining a consistent sound level while presenting a dynamic fast paced event.
Keeping the audio coherent with the on-screen action.
Signal routing for transmission, replay, resale and audio.
Maintaining signal integrity, continuity and lip synch whether in mono stereo or surround.
Creating and monitoring multiple mixes simultaneously: Surround, Stereo, Mono, router feeds, alternate mixes for international clients, etc.


Depending on the complexity of the production, an engineer has between
5 hours and 5 weeks to set up the show.

For a typical
NBA game one generally has 4 hours. This type of show will: be broadcast on 1 network, involve 1 field of play, have 1 announce position and possibly an “effects feed” for an associated second language or radio broadcast.

For the
US Open Tennis tournament, the total equipment set up time is more than 3 weeks. This show involves over 125 networks, 5 fields of play, separate EFX
feeds from each tennis court in surround, stereo, mono as well as ambience only, over 100 different announce cabins, multiple interview positions, internet, internal stadium webcasts, and an all-encompassing intercom system, as well as many editing facilities, etc.

Live Mix techniques, in general:
Stems – audio subgroups of the broadcast mix.

Stems facilitate ease of operation for live acquisition. Establishing international sound sub-mixes, creating IFB

mixes and router feeds are all made easier through the use of stems. For editing and rebroadcast they are essential to recreate the sound of the show quickly and easily while allowing the editor to change segment lengths. Operationally, the subgroups are sent to DAs.
The signals are then returned to the desk as inputs, to allow access to auxiliary sends and to allow level manipulation without affecting the group master gain. This is very important for enabling isolated recordings for editing purposes, signal distribution to downstream clients and off line recording for replays with audio during the live broadcast.

1 EFX - sound effects or action. US television refers to action mics as EFX mics
2 IFB - interrupted fold back
3 DA – distribution amplifier
Grouping and processing

The Announce Group:
Here, I generally use 2 levels of dynamics.

At the group level, I insert a
limiter, generally at a ratio of 10:1 a threshold of -1db, a medium slow attack time and a very fast release. This limiter acts as a safety, to prevent the overall submix from over-modulating. The insert point should be prefader.

Individual channels have “
soft knee” compressors at ratios of 1.8:1 with medium attack and release times. The insert point should be prefader, post filter, pre-eq, if the console allows. These compressors have the effect of enhancing speech intelligibility and of keeping the announcers more “present” in the mix. Additionally, they provide an extra gain stage, if necessary.

Equalization normally entails a
high pass filter set at 75Hz, a small, narrow “bump” in the low midrange somewhere between 450Hz and 800Hz to enhance the individual voice and a somewhat wider presence peak somewhere between 2200Hz to 3200Hz for clarity. A low pass filter is used in the event of high frequency noise problems that arise during broadcast or that cannot be solved in the allotted set up time.

Most of the processing is done to enhance intelligibility. Care must be taken not to allow harshness in the announcer voices, however.
The announce group (or groups) is then sent to a DA and returned to the desk as well as routed to various listening positions throughout the UM as well as to the video router or recorders as needed.
To
fix the physical location of the announcers in the stadium, I place the main stereo ambient pair in the announce cabin (or just outside) so that the stadium noise arrives at the ambient mics at the same time as it arrives in the announce mics. This gives the home viewer the illusion that they are sitting in the announce cabin, watching the game with the announcers. (See section Ambience)

Ambience:
I normally build a separate ambience or crowd group. This allows me to limit or compress the crowd mics separately for routing purposes as well as allowing the compressors for the action mics group to be affected by just the action and not be affected by crowd response.

TV sports generally, are shown from 1 perspective point, with varying views added to enhance coverage. (Golf, track and field and gymnastics are notable exceptions to this generality) The perspective is generally the announcer’s viewpoint. To place the announcers in the stadium for the home viewer, one should use a stereo coincident or near-coincident pair. My preference is a
matched pair of cardioid condenser mics in an ORTF configuration. (2 matched cardioid capsules set 17cm apart, at an angle of 110 degrees.) After experimenting with x/y and m/s pairs, I have found that the ORTF seems to best mimic human hearing. I place the mics so that they do not “hear” the announcers, but the arrival time of the ambient noise at the crowd mics is the same, (or almost the same), as at the announce mics. This is of course, limited to the announce cabin.

Depending on the event I use a
hard knee compressor or limiter with a ratio of 4:1, a slow attack time and a fast release. The threshold is usually 2 or 3 dB before 0.
It is important to keep a consistent sound field relative to both level and phase (position). If this perspective is changed repeatedly the sonic image presented to the home viewer will be confused.
The ambient mics also serve to mask any sudden changes made to the mix.

Action Group
All sports have specific areas of concentrated action, where points are scored, where plays transition from offense to defence and back, where coaches shout instruction and where players communicate amongst themselves. It is relatively easy to aim microphones at these areas of interest. The audio mixer must choose the correct microphone for each specific area of play appropriate to the event and the setting.

I normally
compress this group at a ratio of 4:1, a slight soft knee curve, slow attack, fast release times and a threshold of 3dB before 0.
I tend to classify the specific desirable sounds heard in most sports into 2 categories:

1) Thumps – low midrange (somewhere between 400Hz and 750Hz) ground contact, ball sounds, and physical contact.

and

2) Presence – midrange (somewhere between 1,25KHz and 4.5KHz) definition, voices, squeaks, pops and clicks.

By choosing the correct microphone, one can minimize the amount of equalization needed. In practice, however the perfect microphone is often not available and eq needs to be added to the channel signal. Too much emphasis or de-emphasis of a particular frequency can indicate problems: the monitoring in the audio mix room, a recurrent frequency in the arena, PA system equalization or other issues.

Following the action:
Most changes in the mix balance need to be fairly abrupt as the play moves around the field. To minimize the effect of rapidly opening and closing microphones, keeping a consistent tonal and level balance from channel to channel is essential. Select the primary or most important single source; optimize the sound and then balance the other sources to match. When mixing, I transition by leaving a mic open until the next source is also open, then the previous source can be faded out. This must be done almost instantaneously. When combined with the sound field established by the main ambient pair, the transitions are no longer apparent. The home viewers are unaware that anything is being altered in the mix balance; they simply hear the sounds that match the pictures.

Certain mics can be compressed for extra emphasis. Coach mics for example or any other sources that will isolate vocal responses. Other primary source mics may be suitably enhanced by compression. Compression may also be a necessity for microphones that will be isolated to the router and/or to tape machines. (see section
The Routing Switcher)

Caution and restraint should be exercised in equalization and processing, however. Otherwise, the mix could become strident and unpleasant and/or the announcers will be masked by the game sounds. Overemphasis of any particular frequency band can also lead to transmission issues such as overlimiting and distortion. Overprocessing will lead to listener fatigue, and make the presentation unpleasant to listen to.

The Router:
The routing switcher is one of the most important tools in the mobile unit. Many different elements can be added to the show to enhance production choices and capabilities. By isolating reporter and interview positions, camera mics, and other possible replay sources it is possible to give the home viewer a unique perspective using replays with audio.

Depending on the routing switcher and control panel a variety of signals are available to the video tape operator. These are usually organized by video sources. In the case of a stereo show utilizing VTR’s with 4 audio channels for example: All the camera source buttons are programmed with an
action/ambient stereo mix on channels 1 - 2 and a full program mix on channels 3 - 4. Another row of buttons presents video for the handheld cameras matched with an iso of the associated microphone on both channels 1 & 2. Additionally there are several other mixes generated from the console’s aux busses for prefade reporter mics, various interview positions and at least 1 extra stereo aux mix just in case it is needed. Router audio signals can be generated from groups, auxes, console direct outputs, satellite return feeds, and perhaps a betacam to access ENG or EFP footage gathered during the event. (see image below)

Router PanelRouter Panel

In the example shown above, assuming a 4 channel audio configuration, the top level of (blue) buttons are programmed so that channels 1-2 are a mix of the action and the ambience mics and channels 3-4 are a full mix of stereo program. The lower level of (green) buttons are programmed so that channels 1-2 receive the individual camera’s shotgun mic and channels 3-4 are a full mix of stereo program. The (yellow) button for camera 6 is an audio-only button programmed so that channels 1-2 are the pre-fade reporter’s mic.

For surround shows router configurations are of course, more complicated. In practice, audio elements are configured as stereo pairs and recombined in the mix desk prior to transmission. A surround synthesizer can be inserted across a stereo channel or mix bus to process stereo sources for surround transmission.

The routing switcher is fed audio signals from various outputs on the desk. Group sends, aux sends, direct outputs and multitrack outputs are fed to various inputs of the router for distribution e attribution for the video equipment, transmission, etc.

Many
VTR’s are limited to 4 channels of audio. Hard disc video recorders like the EVS are often configured for only 4 audio channels as well.

When working in surround reproduction and transmission it is possible to use a surround decoder/encoder set to route a surround imaging matrix to a stereo pair. This signal is then routed through a decoder and played back as a surround source through the audio desk. This would enable a machine with a four channel configuration to be used to reproduce surround material. Of course only one playback machine would be available at any given time. (
see image below)
<span style=VTR + EVS">

More sophisticated VTR’s and EVS recorders allow 8 channels of discrete audio recording.
It is therefore much simpler to maintain surround signal integrity in a live broadcast situation.
(
see image below)
Router Panel

Microphones Positions for Specific Sports:

Basketball
Basketball is most often played and telecast from an indoor arena with a hardwood floor, concrete walls and (hopefully) thousands of animated fans. Indoor sports arenas are generally very reverberant and often any acoustic problems are exacerbated by using PA systems that are much louder than they need to be.

Lapel mics (Sony ECM 77’s or similar) are mounted behind the baskets, on the backboards, in the rubber frame that surround the edge. A short shotgun mic (Sennheiser 416 or similar) is mounted on the stanchion pointed at the free-throw line and a long shotgun (Sennheiser 816) is mounted on the handle of the handheld camera behind the end zone. If there is a handheld camera at midcourt it also would have a long shotgun. An ORTF pair is mounted at midcourt.

Router Panel


Tennis
Tennis is unusual in that although the action is oriented side to side like most other sports, the perspective presented by television is from one end. Therefore the stereo perspective is perpendicular to the net rather than parallel.

A
stereo pair is set in the announce booth and another pair is mounted on the umpire’s chair to capture crowd and ambience sounds. A lapel mic is laced into the net. 4 short shotguns are mounted on short mic stands behind each baseline. Shotguns are also mounted on courtside cameras and beneath the umpire’s chair.

Tennis


US Open Tennis Championship, 2007 Louis Armstrong Stadium, USA

US Open Tennis Championship, 2007 Louis Armstrong Stadium, USA
US Open Tennis Championship, 2007 Louis Armstrong Stadium, USA

Soccer

To cover soccer (football) a combination of operated and stationary mics are used. I place an
ORTF pair in the announce cabin and use long shotguns mounted on tall poles for the response of the cheering sections.

Opposite the
team benches are two mobile operated mics. All cameras on the field have shotgun mics. The difficulty lies in trying to capture sounds from a great distance. Compression can help accentuate individual mics. It is extremely important for the mic operators to wear headphones to monitor their equipment, to be very active and to anticipate the direction of play. Over exaggeration of sounds that are close to mics, such as corner kicks, will make the other, more distant sounds seem inaudible by comparison. A careful balance must be maintained.

Soccer


Golf

One of the most challenging sports to cover is golf. The arena for the sport is huge and there are only 2 areas where sounds are easy to capture: the tees and greens. Every microphone (or pair of mics) must be available prefader with processing as a router source. For a
typical golf course, this would be 18 stereo tee mics, 18 stereo green mics, 10 wireless handheld cameras with mics, 8 wireless operated shotgun mics as well as ambience and crowd mics, about 62 stereo and surround microphone sources in all. Additionally there are between 1 and 6 announce cabins, 2 to 4 wireless reporter units, a trophy presentation area, 18 VTR’s, 4 EVS and edit suites as well.

Golf


PGA Golf
Verification of the installations with the Autor on the PGA championship, Medina, IL, USA, august 2006


This level of complexity is also common in
track and field, gymnastics and Formula 1 racing. Each of these sports has specific peculiarities and challenges including:

Widely varying sound pressure levels,
Difficulties with microphone placement
Difficulties with signal transport and cable paths
Difficulties with weatherproofing
Multiple events occurring simultaneously
Many channels of wired and wireless mics and electric points
Many channels of wired and wireless intercommunications
Interconnections between analog, digital, copper and fiber optics
Facilities and crews that are shared between different broadcasters and production teams.


The process is never simple. Audio production for television requires significant planning in advance, flexibility on site, troubleshooting and rapid decision making while confronted with many variables. However, with careful organization each broadcast can be presented in its entirety with the accuracy and creativity that will create a sense of realism and excitement for the home viewer.


Video to just hear the Sennheiser MKH 816 at work



Daniel Littwin , director New York Digital.
contact: daniel.nydigital@gmail.com
São Paulo, Brazil

Mentioned:

ORTF configuration
EVS
Sony ECM 77
Sennheiser MKH 416
Sennheiser MKH 816

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Mounting a Gala Show in Radio City

Last year, I had the opportunity to work on a very large production at Radio City Music Hall in New York. This is a brief description of what it is like to work at one the world’s premier theaters with some of the best technical and creative talent anywhere.

The Artist:
Gigi D’Alessio is very popular in Italy. He is also known in Brasil for having recorded “Um Coração Apaixonado", with Wanessa Camargo. The show at Radio City included guests Liza Minnelli, Paul Anka, Sylvester Stallone, Anastacia, Manhattan Transfer, Mario Biondi, Christian De Sica, Enrico Brignano, Benvenuti & Griffith, Valeria Marini, & Ivete Sangalo. His band: 2 guitars, bass, drums, percussion, piano, keyboards and a horn section, was supplemented by a small string orchestra of about 40 New York musicians. A dance troop of 12 persons was also part of the performance.

BroadcastBrazil- Column : Daniel Littwin - Gigi D' Alessio


Technical Details:
The show was recorded in HD, 1080i and surround by
All Mobile Video’s Crossroads OB unit for editing and transmission the following week in Italy. Richard Wirth directed the cameras. He and Lenny Laxer of AMV managed the technical aspects of the production. Twelve Sony HD1000 or HD1500 cameras were used, including two jibs, two fixed cameras, a remote controlled track-mounted robotic camera on a crane, a hand-held camera and a steadicam. The backdrop was an enormous (25m x 31m) HD LED screen that was provided by Radio City. This screen was fed with live images from the cameras as well as prerecorded scenes and images, all sequenced and timed to the show and controlled by a computer. The “line cut” and all of the cameras and images were individually recorded. Over one hundred seventy two audio channels were recorded, including the microphones used to capture the ambience and microphones mounted on the moving cameras. All of these microphones were mixed live as well as recorded individually in Protools for remixing in postproduction. Microphones and effect groups were created and organized by instrument type which were then sent to the Studer Vista 8 mixing desk in the OB UNIT. Certain key performance mics, like the lead vocal and certain soloists were sent individually. All audio routing in the OB unit originated in the Studer Vista 8.

BroadcastBrazil- Column : Daniel Littwin - Studer8


Because of time and budget constraints we never had a full dress rehearsal. Richard, our director used a series of coverage zones for the cameras, similar to a multi-camera film shoot, so that each camera had a specific area to concentrate on. One camera covered the star, Gigi at all times. Other cameras covered the dance routines and guest artists. This ensured that all aspects of the performance could be video taped for use in post-production, if necessary. Stage entrances were pre-planned so that each guest could be shown entering and leaving the stage. Occasionally, these were altered at the last minute which caused some consternation in the OB unit. However, clear communication and fast thinking always saved the shots.

Intercommunications:
The intercommunications system was an RTS/Telex Adams digital matrix system with 144 inputs and outputs. In the theater, 12 channels of wireless intercommunication were used in addition to 26 wired stations and all the camera intercoms. All key personnel in the OB unit had 32 channel digital key panels.


Setting Up
The show was scheduled to start at 19:30 on Monday, 14 Feb. Set up started two days earlier at 08:00. We were allotted 10 hours on Saturday to install all of the equipment. On Sunday we had another 10 hours for rehearsals of specific camera angles for dance routines and specific timing issues as well as some fine-tuning of the equipment.

The main lighting array was installed first. The PA system was installed next. It was an i-Series line array, provided by Clair. The house audio desk was a Protools Venue. The monitor audio desks were Digico SD8’s. Protools HD was used to record the show. Word clock was derived from the video master clock on the mobile unit, which also provided time code. As the show was for broadcast in Italy, all of the video and time code references were PAL, based on 25 frames/second. The audio tracks were recorded at 48K/24 bit.

The client provided us with a wish list, which we translated (sometimes literally from Italian into English) into our technical requirements. Intercommunications systems are always essential: often overlooked, until there is a problem, but if nobody can communicate, the show will NOT “go on”. In this case, someone would usually say or write, for example, that “Roberto” needed to speak with “Julio”, “Annette” and “Richard”. We would have to determine who these people were, what they did and what language they spoke. This in and of itself was a challenge as there was no complete crew list of both technical and production people and nobody wore nametags. We would then create the necessary channel in the matrix software and label it accordingly. Modern intercommunications systems are both software and hardware based, so not only does the computer need to be programmed correctly, but also the hardware needs to be adjusted and balanced for optimum performance. In a live event, there is only one chance to capture the moment, so correct equipment preparation is of the utmost importance.

The sound reinforcement crew and the artist determined all the microphone selections and positions. All wireless frequency allocation was determined on site by using “Shure Wireless Workbench
” software. The microphones, IFB’s, and wireless intercoms were coordinated to provide the most reliable performance without radio frequency interference. As there were 38 wireless mics, 24 wireless monitors and 12 channels of wireless intercom, as well as literally hundreds of walkie-talkies, this coordination was critical to the success of the show.

The intercommunications system had to accommodate both English and Italian speakers, sometimes sharing the same channels. Stage managers needed to speak with the artists, the Italian production staff and the American technical staff.
The television and camera crew all spoke English, as did the director. However, the producer, lighting designer, choreographer and musical director were all Italian. A great deal of patience was needed (as well as hand gestures). One interesting challenge was to keep the critical technical conversations in English separate from the creative/production conversations in Italian. All departments were assigned their own channels for communication; lighting, PA, TV audio, house coordination, video, camera, engineering and two channels for production.

A note regarding labels and identification: as the technical staff was mostly American and the production staff was mostly Italian all of the equipment needed to be labeled in both languages. This was especially critical for communications. Only a very few people were fluent in both English and Italian.

Video Tape
All cameras and images were recorded individually to videotape. All machines were fed with timecode referenced to time of day. Every machine received a stereo mix of the program. All of the machines recording moveable cameras were fed with the particular camera’s associated microfone, copied to two channels. Certain image sequences were also recorded to EVS video hard disk systems in order to create playlists that were later recorded to VTR’s. Additionally, several HD camcorders were used to capture ambience from backstage, the audience and on the street.

Videotape ran continuously. All recordings were started at different times, so that overlaps could be recorded in EVS hard disk recorders and then transferred to videotape with the original timecode. All tapes were 1 hour in length. With a total of 16 recorders it would be impossible to change all tapes at once and keep a continuous recording of every source. So this system of overlaps was implemented. Using longer videotapes is not generally advisable as longer tapes are thinner and more subject to damage.

Multitrack Audio
Every input source on stage was captured separately and recorded to a Protools HD system. Most of the signals were derived from the FOH audio desk. Ambience and audience microfones were recorded directly to the Protools HD system, using separate microfone preamps.

Here is a list of all of the microfones used in recording:

microfones used in recording

microfones used in recording

microfones used in recording


The antennas, receivers and transmitters for the wireless microphones and in-ears were located next to the monitor audio desk, backstage left. Most of the interface between the PA system and the OB unit was located here as well. To ensure better RF separation we placed the wireless intercom on the opposite side of the backstage area. This allowed for greater flexibility in focusing the antennas for better coverage and better access to the equipment for programming and maintenance.
Every frequency of every channel had to be changed to fit into the available spectrum.
Very often, on larger shows frequency coordination is handled in advance: every major venue in the USA has been “mapped” to show what spectra are available. It is therefore merely a matter of cross checking the available frequencies against what your equipment is capable of. All that is required is a list of the available gear.
Intermodulation and illegal frequency and power use is fairly common, so an RF spectrum analyzer is used to confirm the available space. The equipment is then fine adjusted on site. In the case of this show, all frequency coordination and adjustment was done on site, which took a considerable amount of time.

Radio City Music Hall is a “union” house. The entire technical crew are members of
IATSE, the International Association of Stage and Theatrical Employees. The rules are fairly rigid, but the crew at Radio City are extremely competent, helpful and generally friendly. It can be intimidating to work at such a famous facility, but with patience and respect to the regulations of the theatre, Radio City is one of the best places in the world to work. The attention to detail and personal safety is both impressive and reassuring. For example, when the lighting grid is about to be lowered, a horn sounds and ALL work stops. This reduces confusion, allows the appropriate personnel to work quickly and efficiently and prevents injuries due to falling objects or heavy cables.

BroadcastBrazil- Column : Daniel Littwin - Radio City Music Hall in New York


Radio City is renowned for its “stagecraft” Every part of the stage is on a hydraulic lift, so that entire sets can appear from and disappear into the floor, as if by magic.
Large objects, even trucks and elephants can be rolled, lifted into the ceiling, or flown across the stage. Of course our show did not include any flying elephants, but they would have been happily accommodated for, had they been needed for the production.
However, the capabilities of the house meant that we were able to build a very large show in about 16 hours, with an orchestra, band, dancers, special guests, complicated lighting and scenery cues, a large PA system, all of which had to be integrated with the High Definition OB unit with the Grass Valley Kalypso, Studer Vista 8, intercom system, and HD television cameras. Disassembling the show was also made easier by having such capabilities.

All of the necessary configurations were saved in all of the various mixing desks and recalled as each different pieces of music required. Lighting cues and video screen presentations were also preset. Camera shots were mostly handled manually, with a few presets on particular cameras for finding focus when the lights were out. Video settings for each camera were preset and then adjusted manually as required by particular shots. Cameras had to be maintained in correct adjustment constantly, as each camera was being recorded individually at all times.


The Show
The show was presented as one continuous performance without an intermission. Italian comedian Enrico Brignano provided some routines between musical segments. With all the performers and comedic intervals the entire show lasted about three hours, including the encores. The show was recorded with extensive notes and then edited in Italy for presentation the following week. The presentation was also to be made available for DVD release in Europe.


Daniel Littwin , director New York Digital.
contact: daniel.nydigital@gmail.com
São Paulo, Brazil

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Maintaining Intelligibility in Principle Mix Sources

Hello.

This is my first blog entry. So before I get to my subject, I’d ike to introduce myself. I am Danny Littwin, an American television tech manager, audio engineer and musician residing in São Paulo, Brazil. Before moving here in 2007, I was a US television freelancer, work that I still continue today occasionally. Most of my career has been as an audio engineer. I have mixed just about every kind of event imaginable, from live televised sports events to large orchestral presentations, from ice hockey to pop music and from football to traditional Irish music. For my efforts and through a combination of good timing and good luck I have received several awards: 6 Emmys, 3 Grammys and a bunch of nominations.


I think it is not so much the awards that count, but rather the fact that I have been able to help my clients and colleagues attain their artistic and commercial visions through my experience and intuition. TV is a great business to be in, as most of the people you work with are there because they enjoy it. You could certainly make more money as commodities trader, but then what fun is that? Some of my favorite memories are getting calls from my grandmother, telling me she saw my name in the credits.

Before I was a tech manager and director of a broadcast services company, I was an audio engineer. So today’s entry will deal with an interesting audio topic:

Maintaining Intelligibility in Principle Mix Sources

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The Broadcast Brazil Column will be written by Daniel Littwin

One of the most important challenges facing audio engineers is also one of the most basic:

How can one maintain clarity in the primary point(s) of focus of a mix? Whether that focus is a news anchor, sports announcer, lead vocalist or instrumental ensemble, it is necessary to hear the main performer clearly and in proper perspective.

There are many tools available to audio engineers to ensure that this perspective is achieved:
  1. Microphone position
  2. Choice of microphone
  3. Isolation mounts for microphones
  4. Gain and balance throughout the signal path
  5. Selection of specific equipment:
    1. Solid state or tube mic preamps, transformer, transformerless, etc.
  1. Use of signal processing:
    1. Equalization, dynamics, effects devices, etc.
  1. Pan position and mix balance.

There are many mitigating factors and potential problems:
  1. How many sources are in the mix?
    1. How many of the sources are microphones?
    1. Do all the microphones share the same space/time perspective?
    1. Is this a live event or a multitrack/multilevel recording?
    1. Is there a substantial amount of background noise?
    1. How reverberant is the environment?
    1. Are there competing points of interest?
    1. Will this be reassembled in post-production or broadcast live or both?
    1. Are there multiple mixing desks in operation? i.e.: transmission, recording and PA
  1. What is the final destination of the product?
    1. Radio or TV Broadcast?
      1. Mono, stereo or surround?
      1. What are the parameters of the metadata at the transmitter?
      1. What are the parameters of the limiters at the transmitter?
    1. CD, DVD or Video Game?
      1. Is metadata being recorded?
      1. What parameters are specified?
    1. Internet streaming or MP3?
      1. What bit rate?
  1. What is the record media?
    1. Hard drive, solid state or tape-based digital media?
    1. Analog tape
      1. With or without noise reduction?
      1. What tape speed is being used?

These are some of the factors that must enter into an engineer’s calculations.


Distortion

It is extremely important to keep the signal path free of distortion, whether from mechanical noise, or from electronic overloads. Accurate monitoring, metering and close attention is required to prevent distortions from entering the signal path. A single distorted signal can affect other clean signals detrimentally. Distortion becomes additive as well, in that the net effect of two or more distorted signals is worse than one signal on its own. Small bits of distortion at the beginning of a microphone’s signal path have an increasingly destructive effect on the final mix output.

This could be likened to listening to a stereo system where one speaker is slightly distorted: the sound is unpleasant, yet the overall effect is somewhat diminished when the other speaker is functioning normally. If both speakers are distorted, the system is extremely unpleasant if not impossible to listen to. However, if even only one speaker is distorted it still detracts from the response of the other speaker and from the sound of the system as a whole.

The dynamic range of a given signal may be too large to be processed by recording equipment and the corresponding media. Even though modern digital equipment is capable of dynamic ranges exceeding 110dB, unexpected variations of levels from synthesizers, crowd reactions or heavily amplified and processed instruments can cause even the best quality analog-to-digital converters to distort. Careful input adjustment, and judicious use of compression and/or limiting will prevent distortion.

Digital Versus Analog Distortion
Analog distortion can actually be used as a desirable effect. Analog distortion bears an inverse resemblance to the original audio signal, in that as more distortion is added, the signal waveform becomes less recognizable. Digital distortion is undesirable, as it bears no resemblance to the original signal. Furthermore, digital distortion is absolute above a given threshold and non-existent below that threshold. This also means that in response to a sudden transient, a signal can be distorted and unusable once the dynamic range of the system is surpassed.

Tape saturation, valve saturation and output clipping are all types of compression, which can be quite pleasant if used carefully. Transformers can have an effect similar to equalization, slightly emphasizing or de-emphasizing certain frequencies, depending on many factors including the core density, number of windings and wire gauge used in the transformer. There are also many digital plug-ins that emulate analog processors.
They can all be effective and complimentary if used within the dynamic range of the system.

In any mix, every signal affects every other signal. Good mixes take advantage of this phenomenon to create a new complimentary sound out of the elements presented. Distorted waveforms will combine with non-distorted signals and make the individual components of the mix appear to be corrupted. Distortion will affect not only frequency response but also signal phase as well. Therefore distortion will lead to irregularities or even a collapse of the stereo or surround image, which is based on phase information.

Data Compression, Noise Reduction and Signal Encoding/Decoding
If data compression is used it is imperative that the correct codecs be implemented. Most often this is handled automatically. In some cases it is necessary to choose. If noise reduction is used it must be consistent throughout the reproduction chain. When mixing in surround it is extremely important to manage the metadata correctly, both while encoding and decoding.

Accurate documentation is very important in maintaining signal quality. Regardless of how the information is preserved; on labels, as PDF files accompanying the data files or even as BWAV file headers, an accurate description of any relevant data will prevent mismanagement that leads to bad audio reproduction. Any signal must be decoded in coherence to how it was encoded regardless of whether that encoding is noise reduction, data compression or metadata. Good documentation facilitates proper signal management. Accurately reproducing the audio from a commercial CD is easy. Dealing with thousands of undocumented files in a myriad of formats is extremely difficult. It is good to assume that the work you do will be used by someone who has no idea of your project’s history other than what your notes indicate.

Microphone Technique
The first place to ensure intelligibility is at the very beginning of the signal chain; the microphone. Position is of primary importance. Engineers must strike a balance between two physical characteristics of microphones.

  1. The Inverse Square Law. The closer a microphone is to a sound source the louder that source will be in relation to the background sound by an inverse square factor. At a distance of 20 cm a source will be 4 times louder than at a distance of 40 cm. (40÷20=2. 22=4) Sound that emanates from a point source drops in level 6 dB for every 2 units of distance. So a signal of 90dB at 20cm will be 84 dB at 40cm.
  2. All directional microphones are subject to the Proximity Effect, where the bass frequencies are increased in relation to the overall tonal balance. See Fig 2.

Therefore if a microphone is too far from a sound source, the source will be indistinguishable from the background noise. If a microphone is too close to a sound source it will suffer from hyperextended low frequency response, making the sound appear muffled. The challenge is to find the position where the microphone distinguishes the desired sound from the background yet does not over-enhance the low frequency components. For most dynamic cardioid mics like the Shure SM 57/58 or Beta 57/58 that distance is generally between 15 and 30 cm.

Shure Proximity effect - Frequency Response Curve
Frequency Response Curve


The proximity effect can be used to enhance the bass component of a voice. However at distances where the proximity effect becomes apparent a very small adjustment in distance will yield a very large difference in bass response. The proximity effect will also increase the apparent sensitivity to plosives. Certain consonants, especially “P” and “B”, will be over-accentuated.

Wind and vibration are other factors that will affect clarity:
If the microphone is placed in a windy environment or if the talent requires, use a windscreen.
To reduce unwanted sound due to vibration use isolation or shock mounts. Certain microphones are designed for handheld use. Others will always require isolation mounts.
Isolation mounts should be used for orchestras, ensembles, choirs, and sources that are captured from a distance. Large diaphragm microphones also should be used with shock mounts. It also should be noted that in general, the greater the directionality of a microphone the more sensitivity it has to handling and wind noise as well as to proximity effect.

Certain microphones are sensitive to diaphragm overloads. In such cases either move the microphone farther from the sound source or change the microphone. Even extremely durable microphones can develop rigidity in the diaphragm over time, which will make them prone to distortion, as they get older.

Microphone Position
Microphone position is of primary importance regardless of what kind of music or program is being presented. If a microphone is correctly positioned the sound of the instrument will be captured. If a microphone is incorrectly positioned even with a perfect signal chain the sound will be compromised.

Vocals
The human voice was the first musical instrument, so regardless of culture or category of music it is the instrument that bears the greatest scrutiny. As such, artists and producers are most apprehensive and preoccupied with the recording of vocals. Achieving a great vocal sound can be compromised by the performer’s insecurities and/or the producer’s concerns and preconceptions. Clarity in the vocal is objective; you can either hear it or you cannot. The tonal coloration however, is subject to taste, available equipment and how the vocal sound fits within the rest of the tracks (or vice versa) and the remainder of the entire production.

A very important issue for engineers while recording vocals is an overabundance of bass due to the proximity effect mentioned above. Many microphones are equipped with bass filters to ameliorate this problem. Of course when recording an operatic bass this sort of filter cannot be used and the audio operator must rely on positioning. A second common problem is distortion. Distortion is not necessarily obvious nor is it always visible on the meters. Careful listening on an accurate speaker or headphone system is required.

Instruments
Every instrument presents its own particular challenge. Every individual instrument family has general characteristics and individual instruments each have their own sonic personalities.

Some examples:

Woodwinds:
Most of the sound from a woodwind comes through the keys. The sonic character of the instrument, the harmonic overtones and also the fundamental note all radiate from the entire instrument through the keys. Only the fundamental tones and the lowest note emanate from the bell. Flutes are the exception with the majority of the sound coming from the mouthpiece.


Horns develop their sounds from the bell.

Strings form their sounds from the bridge of the instrument. In the case of the violin family, it is a good idea to aim the microphone at both the bridge and the sound post. For guitars, the sound originates from the bridge and radiates outward across the soundboard, or top of the instrument. The sound of the instrument does not emanate from the sound hole. The sound hole acts as a bass relief port similar to the bass port on a speaker.

One of the more interesting challenges is how to make a clean recording of a highly amplified instrument such as a distorted electric guitar. In general, one should be able hear the same sound at the amplifier as through the monitoring system. If the quality of sound remains constant regardless of the monitoring level, all should be well.

Mix balance
Assuming that all the signals are well recorded and free of distortion, clarity can be assured through both level and pan position in a mix.

Equalization is mostly used as a corrective measure. However, EQ can also be used to emphasize or deemphasize components of a mix: In a simple voice over background music mix, a trick used in American radio production is to equalize the music to deemphasize the midrange frequencies so that voice can be heard clearly while the level of the music is still apparent. A small dip (-1.5 - -4 dB) from approximately 500Hz - 3.000Hz in the music track will make an announcer’s voice much more present without sacrificing the level of the music. It is often easier and faster to apply a static process, such as equalization rather than a dynamic process such as ducking, though ducking does work very well and can be quite transparent if set up properly.

Some artists or producers prefer that the main voice or instrument be much louder than any of the other sources. In such cases it is still necessary to pay attention to clarity. A muffled voice will always sound like a muffled voice, even if it is the only thing in the mix.

Dynamics
Compressors, gates and duckers can all be used to enhance clarity of a source. Limiters are considered to be mostly safety devices and are used to prevent the overall level from exceeding a given value, i.e.: -3 dBFS
, though they do alter the tonal quality of the signal and as such can be used to change the tonal coloration.

____________________
1 How do Woodwind Insruments Work? J. Wolfe University of New South Wales 1994

Compressors were originally developed to reduce the dynamic range of broadcast and recorded material so it would be coherent with technology available at the time. Transmitters have dynamic range limitations; if fed with a signal that is too loud, the transmitter will be damaged. If the signal is not loud enough then the station’s broadcast coverage area will be attenuated. Originally the audio signal was fed directly into the transmitter. The only level control was a skilled operator who worked with a script or a score to anticipate volume levels and keep the equipment operating at peak efficiency.



The compressor as we know it today has its origins in the CBS Laboratories in New York and Stamford, Connecticut.
The Audimax, an automatic gain controller was introduced in 1959 and the Volumax, a peak limiter, was introduced in the 1960’s. Both units were solid state electronic devices. Previous dynamics devices were tube based and were extremely expensive.

Volumax PicFig 3

Volumax Meter c_uFig 4



Dynamics processors function by using a control or side chain signal to determine the amount of process applied. This control signal is derived from the input or possibly from a parallel signal.
____________________
2 Decibels Relative to Full Scale
3 A short History of Transmission Audio Processing in the United States © 1992 Robert Orban



Compressor

Fig 5

Compressors have the effect of accentuating whatever frequencies are most prevalent in the signal; Music tends to have more energy in the low frequency regions. Therefore over-compressing a mix will accentuate the low frequencies while masking the high frequencies, making the mix sound dull. However, this characteristic allows a compressor to be used as a de-emphasis device.

Compressor w_ pre-emphasis

Fig 6

By exaggerating the frequencies associated with sibilance at the input to the side chain, the compressor will act on those frequencies and diminish the sibilance. By exaggerating those frequencies associated with plosives at the input to the side chain, the compressor will act on those frequencies and diminish them. Thus can a barrier to intelligibility be overcome. Over-processing can lead to listener fatigue, diminished comprehension and even distortion. An overabundance of any process, whether it is dynamics, equalization or effects can adversely affect the mix. It is absolutely preferable to make corrections early in the process; with the performance, with microphone choice and position, correct level management and so forth. This being so, there are many times when it is not possible to do so. In such cases equalization, dynamics and other processes can be applied as corrective measures. However, being aware of the optimum procedures can lessen the necessity for such corrective measure.

By carefully managing the available resources; talent or event, microphone selection and position, equipment and time, it is possible to maintain intelligibility in the components of any given mix.

Maintaining clarity requires a basic understanding of the physics of sound as applied to microphone technique, familiarity with the available equipment and in general, attention to detail.

Daniel Littwin , director New York Digital.
contact: daniel.nydigital@gmail.com
São Paulo, Brazil

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