Washington DC (March 13, 2008)–The National Association of Broadcasters and Pro Sound News are teaming up to offer the HDTV Audio/Surround Broadcast Conference, April 16 at the NAB Show in Las Vegas. New to the NAB Show conference program, the fifth annual HDTV Audio/Surround Broadcast Conference will focus on the production of digital, multi-channel broadcast audio and related issues including capturing and mixing, the consistency of the listener experience and transmission and distribution of 5.1-channel audio, which will accompany high-definition video.
“We’re less than a year away from the mandated transition to HDTV broadcast,” says Frank Wells, Pro Sound News Editor, and with consultant Roger Charlesworth, co-chair of the conference program. “A host of audio issues surround the transition, from creating a digital infrastructure to managing metadata to monitoring relative loudness to aesthetic concerns. Our conference presenters are the innovators who are leading the way in the HDTV transition, uniquely qualified to give guidance to the conference attendees.”
The Surround Broadcast Conference comprises 10 separate sessions featuring some of the biggest names in broadcast audio and surround technology as well as technology presentations on the latest broadcast surround tools dispersed between sessions. Dolby Laboratories is the premier sponsor for the conference, joined by Linear Acoustic, Loud Technologies/Mackie Designs, Harman Pro’s Soundcraft/Studer and JBL Professional divisions, Holophone, Solid State Logic, RTW, beyerdynamic and the Producers and Engineers Wing of the Recording Academy.
Jim Starzynski, Principal Audio Architect of the NBC Universal Advanced Engineering group, will lead the first session, “Leveling the Playing Field.” Starzynski’s extensive background includes oversight on the rebuilding of the infrastructure of the 30 Rock production center at WNBC. He will discuss deliberations in the ATSC tech subgroup on DTV loudness with specific information on the new ITU loudness measurement standard, metadata management at both network and station levels, monitoring levels, and the monitoring environment and dynamic range control for DTV.
“Loudness Managed: A Case Study” looks at Time Warner’s file-based approach to managing and maintaining consistent audio levels for over a quarter-million ad inserts daily, both digital and analog in origin, across 2,400 inserters. Developed for the Time Warner distribution center for the Midwest and Texas, the approach, which includes the Dolby DP600 Program Optimizer, provides a practical blueprint for quality control and dial norm setup. The process is scalable, and thus relevant to all distribution stages from program creation, to network, to the local station. Session presenters will be engineer Ivan Larsen of Time Warner and broadcast product manager Jeffrey Riedmiller of Dolby Laboratories.
Loudness management will further be addressed as FOX Entertainment Group’s Senior VP and Principal Engineer, Jim DeFilippis, shares an analysis of real-world loudness testing data. DeFilippis and Robert Seidel, VP Engineering and Advanced Technology for CBS Television, will discuss their co-development of an ITU BS1770-compliant level controller for automated level management.
Charlesworth will moderate the panel discussion “Taming DTV Loudness and Consistency Issues–A Discussion of Strategies to Improve the Listener Experience,” in which DeFilippis, Seidel and Starzynski will be joined by Bruce Jacobs, Technologist, Twin Cities Public Television; Ken Hunold, Broadcast Applications Engineer, Dolby Labs; and Tim Carroll, Founder and President, Linear Acoustic.
Following a networking lunch break, Sean Richardson, Post Production Manager/Audio Engineer, Starz-Encore, will moderate the panel “DTV Audio in a File-Based World,” discussing the audio analysis and manipulation strategies that reflect the fundamental changes in the way HDTV audio elements flow through facilities and potential conflicts in ownership and accountability that will affect a wide range of file-based audio workflows. Reidmiller and Larsen return to the stage for this panel, along with Hank Frecon, VP Sales and Strategy, Agnostic Media; Chris Seeger, New Technology Analyst, SNL, NBC Universal; Jim Kutzner, Chief Engineer, PBS; and Clyde Smith, Senior VP Global Broadcast Technology and Standards, Turner Broadcasting.
Sound Designer, audio-for-video and post production specialist Frank Serafine will demonstrate his setup for remote audio capture, play examples, and discuss ongoing projects.
Charlesworth returns to the podium to discuss “DTV Audio and the Local Station–5.1 on a Shoestring,” addressing how stations can provide a consistent viewer experience and practical strategies for 5.1-compatible local production, reviewing strategic guidelines for loudness, metadata, and center-channel compatibility, and outlining a simple checklist for 5.1-compatible local news and informational production that sensibly integrates legacy resources and takes advantage of workflow evolution to reduce operating and equipment costs.
Charlesworth’s presentation sets the stage for the panel discussion “Bringing it Home–Realizing HDTV Audio’s Potential in Real Time Production,” where he will be joined by Steve Stahl, Audio Supervisor, CNN; John McKenna, Chief Engineer, YES Network; Mark Metzler, Chief Engineer, KTVU; and David Hough, Audio Director, Austin City Limits. These panelists are using their experience creating marquee sports and entertainment programming in the field to transform how everyday news and informational programming is produced in 5.1-compatible formats. The discussion will cover how networks and local affiliates make the transition to creating homegrown live content that is format-compatible to what comes from outside.
The Grammys went all-5.1 this year for the 50th annual broadcast. Capping the conference, the Recording Academy Producers and Engineers Wing presents “Golden Audio: The Grammy Awards.” The Grammys are mixed live, with no post production or remixing, and the network approach to live music production is largely defined by the continually refined Grammy broadcast team’s procedures and practices.
Introduced by The Recording Academy Producers and Engineers Wing Executive Director Maureen Droney, the professional panel includes moderator Hank Neuberger, Supervisor of Broadcast Audio and Advisor to the Recording Academy; Michael Abbott, Grammy Awards Audio Coordinator; Leslie Ann Jones, Director of Music & Scoring, Skywalker Sound and Recording Academy Television Committee member; and Rocky Graham, Director of Technical Marketing, Dolby Labs. The panel will recap the history of Grammy broadcast audio, the decision-making behind the move to surround, the implementation of the surround production infrastructure, and the realities of broadcasting one of the biggest live productions on the planet.
The full program for the HDTV Audio/Surround Broadcast Conference 2008 can be found at www.surroundpro.com