Franz Joachim oversees Laura Brunette, senior media arts major at the University of New Mexico, during a recent taping of “Public Square.” Photo by Randy Lantz
ALBUQUERQUE—As the largest PBS station in New Mexico, we have developed a reputation for turning out a large amount of productions, including long-format documentaries and public affairs interview shows. We're also the primary feed point for regional news to networks including CNN, Fox, MSNBC, CBS, PBS and the BBC. Adding to the complexity of our operation is the use of operators with varying levels of production skills, ranging from beginners to broadcasting professionals.
In evaluating our requirements for a new audio console, we needed a unit that was straightforward enough for an entry-level production student to control, but also with a feature set that would be needed by a very advanced level operator for complex productions. After evaluating several units, we decided to go with the Solid Stale Logic C10 Compact Digital Broadcast console as it provided high quality audio, as well as ease of operation and options that ensured that it would be future-proof.
NO MORE MULTIPLE MIC WORRIES
We now use the C10's Dialogue Automix feature to easily produce our new town hall-type program, "Public Square." A normal production usually involves 10 to 15 people with separate microphones sitting in close proximity to each other. A panel-type program such as this presents challenges to any operator, without factoring in the student operators. In order to handle the audio requirements for this show before we acquired the C10, two students and I would operate as an audio team at the analog conole, crossing our fingers and hoping that we were all working in sync. Sometimes things didn't always go as planned, providing mixed on-air results. We occasionally had to settle for less than optimal audio, with the first words of a participant's statement being "off mic." And, of course, that's something that no one wants to happen in a production.
With the SSL console, we've been able to completely overhaul the way we mix such shows. The presets are one of the most powerful features of the C10. When you combine them with the Dialogue Automix feature, I can assign a student with only two weeks experience to run a five-person interview with great results. Thanks to the C10, relatively inexperienced students are doing a really good job of running sophisticated audio, something that I consider fantastic.
A revamping of mixing techniques wasn't our only requirement; we also wanted to be able to grow our operations. We're not yet doing 5.1 on a regular basis, but that's coming and we need to be prepared. We also know there will likely be other upgrades necessary in coming years. As we're a PBS station, money is hard to come by.
When purchasing equipment, we always look for solid long-term value, even if we end up paying more up front. Our gear has to last for 10 to 15 years, so the console we purchased couldn't be one that would be obsolete in the near future. The C10 is an affordable solution with great audio quality and the capability to take us far into the future.
Franz Joachim has been with KNME-TV for the past 12 years and has served as director of content for both KNME-TV and KNMD-TV since 2010. He may be contacted at email@example.com
For additional information, contact Solid State Logic at 212-315-1111 or visit www.solidstatelogic.com.
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