Full Sail University Trains Students with Calrec Consoles
The school has several audio control rooms outfitted with Calrec consoles including two Brio audio consoles
WINTER PARK, Fla.—To train students for careers in audio, Full Sail University is using a variety of Calrec consoles and bringing in audio professionals to talk to the students at events on and off campus.
As part of the training, the school has several audio control rooms outfitted with Calrec consoles including two Brio audio consoles and a Summa in its Education department and another two Brio consoles and an Artemis in its Events Department.
The training builds on university venerable history of teaching AV and broadcast courses across multiple degree programs, primarily the Show Production, Film, and Sportscasting Degrees.
Vince Lepore, a graduate of the university who previously served as the director of event technical operations, oversaw Full Sail events both on and off campus. His team managed two of the school’s on-campus live event production facilities including its flagship performing arts venue, Full Sail Live, and the largest collegiate esports arena in the nation, The Full Sail University Orlando Health Fortress.
“At Full Sail, our programs are centered on real-world experience and providing our students with project-based work in professional environments utilizing professional technology,” Lepore said. “This allows us to provide our students with a chance to experience what it’s like out in the industry even before they graduate. I like to think that we’re always out at the forefront of available technology.”
Students are working on all these consoles every day. “Our relationship with Calrec is a great example of Full Sail recognizing that Calrec is widely known and utilized in the professional industry,” Lepore explained. “By familiarizing our students with Calrec equipment at the student level, Full Sail is working to help prepare them to enter the broadcast workforce.”
Lepore added that each system has Dante, MADI, AES, SDI, Waves Soundgrid and Calrec’s proprietary Hydra2 connectivity. “There’s so much for students to learn about just in that Calrec ecosystem alone between all the various I/O options, router core options, and console surfaces,” he said.
In addition to the audio setup, Full Sail thought it would be a good idea to expose students to professionals with careers in audio and more specifically, what it’s really like to be an A1. With this in mind, they called upon veteran A1 Florian Brown, who had worked with some Full Sail students in the past after they graduated and who had built a relationship with the university. “We really wanted students to hear directly from a professional out working in the industry,” Lepore said.
Brown has worked on many high-profile audio events including Wimbledon, the US Tennis Open, and the ABC NFL Draft. “The best part of being an A1 is never knowing just how your day is going to unfold. Some days are easy, some are more challenging, but it’s always interesting and it’s certainly never boring! You get a real jolt of exhilaration every time you go live, plus a real sense of accomplishment after the show,” Brown commented.
With the Calrec Artemis on hand there at the University, Brown spent a full day with more than 50 students discussing the opportunities in audio broadcast and the career ins and outs of being a working A1. Brown covered all the different jobs available in audio, video, EVS, editing and more. He discussed what traits the crewing department and on-site management are looking for and dug into the nitty gritty of producing audio for live sports and the lifestyle that comes with that.
“Full Sail University is a great venue to be talking to media students about future careers because the school has most of the gear that we currently use in the field,” Brown said. “With the Artemis console, I wanted to show the students that what an A1 does isn’t much different from show to show or sport to sport, with the idea being to take some of the mystery out of the process. For example, with the Artemis you can set up a loose default setting that can be your baseline for almost every sports broadcast. Calrec is the premier console for audio in American sports and the Artemis, specifically, is widely used in this industry. It is prevalent in the industry, and it made sense to use the audio console that I think students will encounter the most in their careers.”
Lepore also called upon veteran audio professional Tom Sahara, senior vice president of production technology operations for Quintar, Inc., which is a startup creating augmented reality technology for sports leagues and creators.
Sahara has an illustrious career in professional audio that began in the 1980s. He has worked on many high-profile events and before joining Quintar, he served as Chairman of the DTV Audio Group from 2010 to 2016 and as SVG Advisory Board Chairman from 2013 to 2019. He retired from Turner Sports in 2021 after nearly 24 years as the VP Technology and Operations.
Sahara gave a video presentation of career opportunities in broadcast and production for the students. The presentation described the many positions behind the camera that students may find more in line with their interests and abilities. “The feedback from students has been tremendous,” Sahara said. “Not only did they learn about the preparations that an audio mixer goes through for an event. They were exposed to the many other technical positions, audio related and non-audio that are a part of every production. Many students had no idea that there were so many different positions and areas of expertise where they could develop their careers in broadcast production.”
“While there can be many job opportunities for students entering the live production industry, it can be tough to sift through everything,” added Lepore. “With two veteran audio pros at the helm, this session gave our students a focused look at broadcast and television production from industry professionals who are working in the business every day.”
As for advice that Brown would give young people looking to enter the broadcast audio workforce, he cites punctuality and a positive attitude as key attributes, but experience is key. “Do your best to get onto a crew — either as a cable puller or a runner. The experience you’ll get working on-site will be invaluable. Sports broadcasting needs new, young, fresh talent. The problem is that not many folks know that these professions exist."
“Start familiarizing yourself with audio GUIs, Dante, AzEdit, Waves and Unity,” he said. “It’s no secret that IP is the way of the future; think about networking and IP management. I also suggest visualizing what you want for your future. Have a plan about where you want to be and what you want to do. For example, if you want to work on the Super Bowl someday, a great way to do that is to start working in college football first.”
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George Winslow is the senior content producer for TV Tech. He has written about the television, media and technology industries for nearly 30 years for such publications as Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and TV Tech. Over the years, he has edited a number of magazines, including Multichannel News International and World Screen, and moderated panels at such major industry events as NAB and MIP TV. He has published two books and dozens of encyclopedia articles on such subjects as the media, New York City history and economics.