In NEP SS-24, Ed Soltis was the game audio mixer.Hebden Bridge, U.K. (February 12, 2010)—Everyone who watched Super Bowl XLIV on TV heard it via five Calrec Audio consoles.
The desks were on-hand, delivering full 5.1 surround-sound from NEP Broadcasting trucks on the scene in South Florida. “Consoles from Calrec Audio have two major advantages,” said Terry Kulchar, NEP Broadcasting design engineer. “First, they’re reliable and when you have 106 million viewers–more U.S. households than any other television program ever–you wouldn’t want to have a failure. Second, they are the predominant console for mobile production. That means you’d be hard pressed to find an audio operator who isn’t familiar with Calrec.”
To cover one the Super Bowl, NEP Broadcasting deployed five trucks: SS-24 for the actual game, with Ed Soltis at the audio controls; NEP/NCP-8 for the extensive pre-game and post-game shows, with Jack Stocker doing the mixing; NEP SS-9 for tape-release mix and sub-mix of replay sources, with Kevin Little on audio duty; NEP Denali Silver for pre-game and halftime musical shows, with Ed Greene mixing; and NEP-SS 25 for the NFL Network and world coverage feeds, with Peter Puglisi doing the mix.
For the musical portion of the Super Bowl coverage, NEP Broadcasting relied on a 1999 vintage Calrec Q-2 analog desk that has tackled multiple Academy Award broadcasts, the American Idol finale, and other entertainment shows. Beyond halftime, the sounds of the Super Bowl were brought to you by Calrec Alpha with Bluefin digital consoles, designed with assignable control surfaces to make it easier for an operator to keep up with the demands of a complex live production.
In fact, from an audio standpoint, the game was not the toughest part. More challenging was the lengthy pre-game broadcast with audio coming from every which way, including tailgate parties, announcers on a remote football field, and multiple studio sets. Then there were the replays, each of them with an associated sound that had to be coordinated by cross-fading among sources then feeding back to the main show mixer.
Kulchar himself logged more than 50 man hours preparing for and broadcasting the Super Bowl. On Sunday night, along with some 200 colleagues on the technical side, he celebrated success with a glass of champagne. On Monday, he was back at work bright and early, helping to take the whole thing apart.