Presented by Surround Professional Magazine and Dolby, the “Surround Broadcast 05: Audio for the HD Revolution” conference took place this past Sunday at the Alexis Park Hotel in Las Vegas, just prior to NAB kicking off yesterday. Conference sponsors included Dolby, Genelec, Holophone, Mackie, and Studer.
The all-day event was broken up into 12 Sessions, and the interesting cross section of industry movers and shakers presenting held the crowd, over 120 attendees, throughout the day. The first presentation by Greg Coppa of CBS on the infrastructure changes made at the network to handle HD video and digital surround audio set the stage for the day and left attendees clamoring for copies of his power point presentation (alone worth attending, according to a number of audience comments). Erinn E. Thorp and Jay Yeary from Turner Studios also guided the audience through a virtual tour of their own HD transition, with practical advice to guide the attendees through the minefield of issues surrounding digital transition.
The in-depth view of how episodic TV is mixed, a fascinating conversation moderated capably by Sean Richardson of Starz-Encore held the audience until the end, capping the day with all of the panelists– revealing that they are handling copious amounts of tracks, mixing film quality effects, music and dialog with fast turnaround. And all revealing that they are now working totally “inside the box from Pro Tools.” Co-title sponsor Dolby revealed the infrastructure of Metadata, the techniques for carrying it through a plant and the intricacies of settings, while also showing the capabilities of the Dolby LM100 level monitor for monitoring dialog levels for consistent replay volumes. Genelec tweaked a powerful 5.1 system that rocked the house, particularly through clips from Lost and CSI, and also facilitated effective demonstrations of the Holophone surround mic and Studer’s VSP (virtual surround panning) featured on the new Studer Vista 8 live production console. TC Electronic’s Ed Simeone showed how the Air series of Dynaudio Acoustics monitors can let a facility maintain signals in the digital domain right up to the monitor inputs.
Mackie demonstrated the dXb.400 broadcast desk and handled PA chores for the program with a new Onyx mixer; Denon provided DVD playback (with a player that handled every disk thrown at it, a varied batch of DVD-R and +R media), while the Dolby’s DP564 decoder deftly handled the chores of decoding the playback material and providing signals for set-up. Russ Berger of RBDG provided timely advice for surround playback in often compromised acoustic spaces. Berger echoed Erinn Thorp’s mantra, “The LFE is a channel, the subwoofer is a speaker.”
“The broad cross section of industry talent both on the panels and in the audience kept the dialog focussed throughout the day,” said event co-chair Frank Wells. “Kudos to Dolby for helping bring some of the best talent in the industry to the conference, making it an unparalleled opportunity to gather information and exchange ideas, from the best in theory to bring-you-back-to-reality practicalities. Attendees left with their heads swimming in information.”