Eric Vasgaard, MidcoSN Executive Producer and A1, at work on the Calrec Brio console aboard their new “Lewis” van.
Midco Sports Network (MidcoSN), an emerging regional sports network covering high school and college sports across the Midwest, has become the first North American customer of Calrec Audio’s new RP1 remote audio production system. Used in tandem with a Calrec Brio audio console, this configuration will bring the cost savings and efficiencies of centralized production to MidcoSN, a regional cable provider serving subscribers in North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, and soon into Lawrence, Kansas.
Craig DeWit, production technology manager, MidcoSN, said that like many sports broadcasters, MidcoSN is moving to a “centralized production” model to reduce costs and expand the cablecaster’s scope of coverage.
“We have an extra advantage since our parent company is an Internet service provider and we can utilize the Midco IP fiber network,” DeWit, said. “This new Calrec equipment will enable us to centralize key audio production tasks at our main studio. Our skilled A1 engineers can mix the shows from the studio rather than having to travel to the venues, and with those cost savings we'll be able to cover a greater number of sports events throughout our region.”
Calrec Audio's RP1 remote audio production system on board MidcoSN's new production van.
MidcoSN worked with Calrec and its local reseller, AVI Systems, to install the RP1 and Brio system in time for the fall football season. Installed in the network's brand-new Ford Transit 350 van, called “Lewis,” the RP1 box will provide on-scene DSP for generating monitor mixes and IFBs with no latency.
Rather than having to deploy a second truck to each venue, some of which are at least a 9-hour drive from the main MidcoSN studio in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, the network is sending all raw camera and audio feeds back to the studio over its IP-based fiber backbone.
“We did extensive research among audio technology providers, and the Brio-RP1 combination came out on top. Not only did Brio come in at a great price point, but it packs all the audio-mixing functionality we need in a small footprint,” DeWit said. “RP1 offers exciting potential for us to move to the centralized production model.”
DeWit said the new Brio-RP1 deployment is the initial, proof-of-concept phase in MidcoSN’s longer-term strategy to expand its remote production operation, with plans to add additional control rooms and OB vehicles. The goal is to continue expanding the number of events the network can cover and develop additional revenue streams without a commensurate increase in production costs.
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