New oratis Commentary Systems in Constant Use on Swiss OB Trucks
The oratis commentary system is based on a matrix frame installed in the OB vehicle which acts as a central audio router. The commentators use an oratis commentary terminal connected over a Gigabit Ethernet link to a commentary card in the matrix frame. This approach enables the OB truck’s audio network to be extended easily via fibre-optic cable up to the commentary booth, making it possible to monitor and mix any audio signal locally at the commentary position.
Up to twelve commentary terminals can be driven by one matrix frame. In addition, the system can be tightly integrated with the NEXUS audio routers in the truck using MADI lines, making the oratis matrix frame a real audio hub for all the commentators. Integrating an extra commentator into this set-up requires hardly any expenditure of additional effort. Large productions in particular, with multiple commentators, as is usual in multilingual Switzerland, benefit most notably from this approach.
As a start, five tpc OB trucks have been equipped with one oratis matrix frame and six commentary terminals each and more installations will follow during the year. Up to three commentators can share a single unit; thus, a dual-commentator environment supplemented by a roving reporter loses its complexity and will become the norm.
The audio quality meets professional studio standards with 24-bit interfaces, 32-bit internal processing, and 48-kHz sample rate. This quality is maintained even over very long cable runs between the OB truck and the commentary position thanks to the use of optical cabling. Integration with the intercom system prevalent in Switzerland was also a consideration; this has been achieved in an ingenious way which enables the intercom to share the commentary terminal’s microphone, headphones, and cabling structure.
tv productioncenter zürich ag acts as the technical service provider for the German speaking public broadcaster Swiss TV in Zurich and is specialized in producing multilingual audio programmes for Switzerland. This, and the technology required for multilingual commentary mixes, is part of their everyday life. First applications of the new system include international broadcasting from the Spengler Cup ice-hockey tournament in Davos and a number of skiing and football productions – a total of ten matches or competitions, on average, every weekend.