Amsterdam, Netherlands (September 19, 2014)—Studer introduced a prototype device at IBC 2014 that provides sports broadcast engineers with enhanced control of the microphones positioned around the playing field.
Known as the Studer Ball Chaser, it allows broadcast engineers to use a joystick to open the shotgun microphone closest to the action on the playing area, while keeping the other microphones closed. Sports broadcasters often place 12 or more shotgun microphones around the playing area; however, leaving all 12 mics fully or partially open for the whole game results in a lack of detail in the audio mix.
Ball Chaser connects directly to any Vista console. The operator configures the unit with a web GUI, setting the locations of up to 24 microphones around the field and linking these to mono or stereo faders. Moving the unit’s joystick opens and closes the relevant faders with smooth cross-fades. Desk faders will respond in real time to the joystick movement and open only the microphone fader nearest to where the action is taking place. The faders do not have to be on the desk’s active layer.
Ball Chaser links to the desk via Ethernet, so the operator can be some distance from the Vista desk, even watching the action from the stands rather than taking space in the OB truck.
According to Studer, a key advantage of this unit is that it allows more gain to be given to the on-field effects microphones, as the unit always has the equivalent of one open microphone to air. This “single” microphone can have higher gain without the crowd pickup swamping the overall mix.