NBC Olympics get smart with Audiobrain

By Dan Daley
NBC
has once again hired Audiobrain, a New York sound-branding company,
to collaborate on creating what will be an even more complex sound design
for the summer Olympics broadcasts. Audiobrain creates sonic signatures
for companies and products including Microsoft’s Xbox 360, Sony Pulse,
Virgin Mobile USA, Apple and IBM’s Thinkpad. This will be Audiobrain’s
fourth Olympics audio collaboration with the network.
Audiobrain
will act as music supervisors at the broadcasts, responsible for musical content and rights
procurement from publishers, labels and artists, information architecture
and organization of the music for on-the-fly access during live events
and for post production in taped situations, and creative support to
producers on site in Beijing during the Olympic Games. NBC will layer
even more sound design under the 3,600 hours of events,
profiles, commentary and highlight coverage
the net will feed through NBC, CNBC, MSNBC, USA and Telemundo, with
about 2,200 hours of live streaming broadband video also available on
nbcolympics.com.
The
company has produced a reported 30,000-plus audio files for the Olympics
broadcasts to support virtually any event, mood, outcome or other visual
that might occur. What’s new this year is a more powerful filtering
system to locate and retrieve the exact sound clip desired on a moment’s
notice. The system allows NBC’s producers to choose sound and music by artist, album, instrumentation,
mood, era, and culture of origin. Editors can also tag clips and leave
notes for the next shift. Real-time technical support will be available
on a 24-hour basis from Audiobrain during the Olympics.
Bob
Dixon, director of sound design and communications for NBC’s Olympics
audio, says the system has two levels: an MP3 layer for quick downloads
to audition music and sound clips against picture, and a .WAV file layer
with 44.1 kHz PCM audio for broadcast use. “It really adds another
level to the narrative,” he says.