Lawo’s Strössner Previews Plans for World Cup Audio Production

Speaking at the DTV Audio Group’s conference during NAB 2014, Jeffrey Strössner, director, global events at Lawo, offered a technical preview of audio plans for this summer’s World Cup in Brazil. He thanked HBS (Host Broadcast Services) for greenlighting the preview and cited the host-broadcast provider as a forward-thinking organization keen on utilizing new technologies to deliver the best broadcast experience of the World Cup.

One of the biggest challenges in delivering the World Cup is the sheer number of feeds produced for a single game. For the first time ever, HBS will deploy a fully IP-based commentary system to ease the burden of delivering the large number of commentary signals from the venue to fans around the globe. Developed by Lawo and HBS, the system will connect all venues and the International Broadcast Center in Rio de Janeiro via multiple 10-Gbps paths. Those paths will move all audio and video signals between the venues and the IBC.

Each venue will feature four audio control rooms, which will be used to create ready-to-air feeds that will, in turn, be sent to the IBC for distribution to broadcasters locally and around the globe. The four feeds are the international stereo mix and the multi-feed, unilateral, and infotainment productions.

A 5.1 surround sound feed will be created at the IBC itself via two fully equipped 5.1 audio suites. Creating the surround mixes from a central location serves several purposes, said Strössner, because costs are reduced by not having to equip a separate 5.1 control room in 12 venues for surround mixing and monitoring and, more important, a high-quality and consistent surround mix is easier to achieve.

“The mixers will be able to focus solely on the surround mixes,” he noted.

Two more control rooms will be used to build mixes for pre- and post-event content. Known as the Extended Broadcast International Feed (EBIF), this show will be creating up to 32 multilingual feed, using just two operators. Utilizing the consoles’ automix possibilities helps support operators in getting this job done.

The 2014 World Cup will also be the first time that HBS offers signal distribution to broadcasters in the IBC via audio-over-IP using RAVENNA (AES67) technology. For broadcasters not using RAVENNA, HBS will provide a MADI-converted signal.

“Having this infrastructure in place,” Strössner concluded, “helps in building out for the future of broadcasting.”