Eric Wisby, sound supervisor for RT UK, mixes a program at the Calrec Summa console. Photo: CVP Ltd.
The London Bureau of “Russia Today”’ (RT UK) has installed a Summa digital audio console from Calrec Audio in its London news bureau. Introduced at IBC 2014, the sale marks Calrec’s first Summa installation in the UK.
“With the number and complexity of news programs we produce each week, and the number of audio sources required to do it, we needed a console that would keep pace with our dynamic operation, with comprehensive channel processing and bus facilities that could cater to every clean-feed scenario.” said Eric Wisby, sound supervisor for RT UK, who worked with fellow sound supervisor Tony Cosaitis to manage the console’s configuration and installation on behalf of RT UK. “Summa's relatively small size makes it useful for small TV control galleries and outside broadcast vehicles. It carries a lot of capability in a reasonably sized footprint.”
RT UK installed a Summa 128 with a 3U modular I/O box furnished with a specific combination of cards to provide 24 mic/line inputs, 32 analog line inputs, 24 analog line outputs, eight opto inputs/16 relays, and 32 digital AES inputs and outputs. Hydra2 mic pre-amps, six bands of EQ in every channel, and four automixers all contribute to a clean high-quality sound. [U.K. systems integrator CVP coordinated the sale and installation.]
Off-air conference and auto-minus facilities provide sophisticated solutions to various and sometimes complex clean-feed requirements, including RT UK’s need for studio presenters to be able to talk to contributors via Skype or line feed while the program is on the air and while video contribution is being played. This mix-minus talkback capability is also important for allowing operators and presenters to talk to remote guests off the air before those guests contribute to a program.
With the Summa console, RT UK produces five half-hour live news bulletins every weekday and three in-depth news programs every week, all of which include studio presentation; interviews with guests in the studio and from remote sources via line feeds and Skype; video and audio inserts played from a server and audio player; stings and bumpers to punctuate different sections of the programs; and varying levels of production value and style. During off-air times, RT UK runs dummy programs from old news broadcast scripts to aid in cross training and to give operators a chance to experiment with new techniques. The layout and controls accommodate multiple users and let RT UK's occasional freelance operators come up to speed quickly.
“All the controls are smooth and easy to use. Adjustment of any control is totally calibrated, accurate, and reproducible, which is important if several operators are going to use the desk and have their own settings,” Wisby said. “The dynamics are transparent and effective, the equalization is fine-tunable and easy to use live, and because everything does what it says it's doing, you quickly realize you don't need to over-adjust anything to get the desired result.”
“After extensive conversations with RT UK and observing their operation, it was clear that the new Summa console was the best solution for them,” said Philip Hatch, head of systems integration at system integrator CVP. “Summa is targeted toward facilities of this size yet perfectly capable of growing with them as their output increases. Calrec’s Hydra2 I/O is renowned for audio quality, and the modular approach made it easy to configure the system correctly for the complex combination of inputs and outputs necessary for a news environment.”
RT UK is the latest channel from RT, a global multilingual news network. From its studios in Westminster, RT UK broadcasts prime-time news programming focusing on UK issues. RT broadcasts 24/7 in English, Arabic, and Spanish from its other studios in Moscow and Washington, D.C., and is available to 700 million viewers worldwide. RT is the first TV news channel in history to cross the billion views mark on YouTube.
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