Torino, Italy (February 22, 2006)–Audio-Technica microphones are being used by NBC Universal for the broadcast of the XX Olympic Winter Games in Torino, Italy.
Audio-Technica’s AT815ST stereo shotgun, which was designed specifically for the Games in 2000, was selected by the NBC team “to capture the intimate moments that are such a big part of what we want to bring to our viewers, with a sense of depth and a feeling of ‘place,'” explained Bob Dixon, manager, sound design for NBC Olympics. Other industry-standard models chosen for the NBC broadcast from Torino include the AT4050 multi-pattern condenser and AT4047/SV cardioid condenser microphones.
This year, NBC selected the AT4050 to capture the audio signal for 5.1 surround sound. “We are using the AT4050 to capture the ambience at virtually every venue,” said Dixon. “Any sport that will go on the NBC Standard-def Network, and as a result, the NBC Hi-def Network, will have AT4050s employed to capture the feeling of ‘the place.'”
Dixon said the microphone was selected to give viewers the front-row experience: “It’s becoming a rather hackneyed expression now, but really, we DO want the viewer to get a sense of what it’s like over here. When you sit in the middle of the stadium filled with people, music and song (as with the opening and closing ceremonies) it’s very dramatic. Surround is a great way to let the viewer get a sense of all of it.”
To capture the sounds audiophiles expect with HDTV, clarity is key: “Experience has shown me that to do a wonderful job with [surround sound], you need clarity,” said Dixon. “The sound has got to be clean, clear and open. So I thought, ‘Why not go for the best you can get? Use the same very-high-quality microphones all around to really go for it.’ The AT4050s were chosen for their sound.”
This is not the network’s only use of the microphone in Torino. “The AT4050 and AT4047 were first chosen for use in our voiceover rooms,” said Dixon. “They were definitely chosen for their sound characteristics.”
NBC also uses Audio-Technica microphones in stereo sound capture at the 2006 Winter Games. Added Dixon: “We have a lot of hand-held cameras that get close in to some very dramatic moments. For example, a coach with the skaters as they come off the ice. The drama at those moments is wonderful. An AT815ST on top of the camera gives us a very nice feeling of what is going on. We get to hear their soft-spoken words, but with a sense of place as well. I can’t imagine ever using mono shotgun microphones on hand-held cameras any more. The built-in X-Y converter of the M/S stereo makes using the microphone so simple and easy. It’s a wonderful tool.”