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Televisa’s Soccer Coverage Gets Assist From Calrec

MEXICO CITY—Grupo Televisa is the largest media company in the Spanish-speaking world and a major player in the international entertainment business. I have been an audio engineer at Televisa for five years now and have mixed thousands of live television programs for Mexico’s premier channel, including all-important live football matches that are broadcast to our viewers worldwide.

Calrec’s Soccer Assist app in action in the Televisa control room

KEEPING UP WITH THE GAME
When it came to mixing the audio for live football, my main challenge was to follow the play and catch the sound of the action at just the right time; for example, capturing the sound of the ball being kicked precisely when it happened. It was difficult to do because, in some games, the play was just too fast and I had only a fraction of a second to open the correct mic and catch the action. At the same time, I had to mix the ambience of the stadium in order to capture the environment and mood of the game. It was a very tricky, physically demanding combination of tasks, even for an experienced operator.

But life changed last year when Calrec released its suite of assistive apps for the iPad: Soccer Assist, Hockey Assist, and Fader Assist. Simply put, Soccer Assist made the mixing job much less physically challenging. It changes everything when you are following the play of the game because you only have to follow the action with your fingers on a tablet, not directly with the faders.

With the Soccer Assist app, we can put more mics in the field and control them more easily. When you move your finger on the tablet, you open the mics near the play. It’s more precise and more efficient than having to open numerous faders in order to open the mics. Simplifications and efficiencies like that have not only made the job much easier but have also improved the quality of the audio experience.

The main result that we wanted to achieve was to hear the exact moment when the ball is kicked—the action of the game—and the Soccer Assist app has made it much easier to do so.

COMPLEMENTARY PIECES
Soccer Assist complements other functions of our Artemis console, which helps us create a super-slick production. For instance, in order to minimize mic spill and room coloration, Calrec’s automixer keeps the signal clean when things get a little heated, like when the commentators scream too loud. The automixer is a great tool to help even out the audio levels at the moment of the mix.

In addition, Calrec’s Hydra2 network helps minimize cabling and subsequent noise floors, improving the quality of the audio. Hydra2 is an amazing feature because it helps us avoid running large, awkward snakes. Instead we simply put Hydra2 analog boxes on the field and on the off-tube commentators, and then connect the boxes to the desk with fiber. In this way the sound is cleaner and we have entire control of the boxes with the desk.

Calrec technology is a very important part of the broadcast chain at Televisa because it gives us the features and tools to produce programs with more creativity, innovation, and efficiency. We just have to imagine how we want to do it, and in Calrec we have the perfect vehicle for doing it faster and to a higher standard.

José Alfredo Alanis has been in the broadcast industry eight years, five of which have been with Televisa. He is based in Mexico City at Televisa Chapultepec. He may be contacted atjaalanisra@televisa.com.mx.

For more information, visitwww.calrec.comor call 661-877-9775.