Article Overview

Flexible and Fully Networked

ARTE post production utilises Lawo crystal consoles

As part of overall improvements to the entire production facility at ARTE G.E.I.E’s Strasburg-based headquarters, the current audio post production system will become future proof. Having won a EU-wide bid, BCE’s technical division became the main contractor for the integration of the studios, production rooms, master control room, and the radio control room. As part of the update, fifteen 8-fader crystal consoles will be installed.

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In the past, every edit and presenter suite was individually connected to the equipment room, requiring a large amount of cabling. This kind of technology has become less and less suitable for the increasing requirements of today’s productions, not least because the presenter suites had no access to equipment in the other rooms. Having awarded the contract to BCE in late 2009, system configuration, training and test operation were completed by mid-January 2010. By the end of March 2011, an efficient and space saving production facility had been created, complete with a master control room and seven presenter suites. All rooms are equipped with cutting-edge technology that not only provides state-of-the-art mixing consoles, but also perfect networking and tapeless recording technology. The completion of all production and programme areas is scheduled for late 2011.

Networking

A crystal base unit (the system core) is only 1U high, so it can be easily located in tight situations. Space is also saved by placing all system cores in the equipment room, requiring far less wiring in contrast to the previous solution. The consoles are connected to the edit and presenter suites via standard network cables.

Lawo technology enables console interconnection over long distances. Allowing access to each system and signal in the entire complex, the most efficient use of the production facility is therefore guaranteed. Along the same lines, employees can finish their productions in separate edit suites without needing to move material from room to room. In addition, an IP connection allows external access for maintenance operations.

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Flexibility

Offering flexibility through a variety of possible configurations, the software-based system enables continuous upgrades and modifications. All inputs and outputs can be centrally connected to or disconnected from all the crystal consoles via the VSM (Virtual Studio Manager). Thanks to the inherent adaptability of Lawo technology, connections to a ‘foreign’ router via MADI present no challenge at all. In addition the crystal consoles can also create snapshots to act as standard settings for editing and voice recording. These can be accessed and retrieved at any time. “Not only can we adapt the console layout to our workflow, but the crystal is fast and easy to operate, which enables our editors to get up and running quickly. And while they do not need to be trained like sound engineers, we still end up with a better sound quality than before” explains Olivier Erb, Project Manager of Production Technology.

A specific requirement in this project was the need to work with multiple different language versions of the software. But even this particular challenge in ARTE’s production environment was overcome. “Lawo supplies state-of-the-art consoles that are perfectly tailored to our requirements. This package is completed with a customer specific configuration and excellent training seminars,” says Erb when asked about the further benefits of Lawo products. He added that, over the course of the project, all Lawo employees proved themselves to be very committed and fully competent. Overall, ARTE is extremely happy with the very positive cooperation with Lawo.

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