Production of a live-recorded reality show can be challenging both for video and audio engineers. We teamed up with sound engineer Martin Gross from the company Smartregie for a chat about the challenges he faces when producing a large scale reality show, which runs 24/7.
Smartregie is a highly acknowledged production company, responsible for production of TV shows like "The Bachelor", "M.O.M" (Milf or Missy), "The Bachelorette" and "First Dates – Ein Tisch für Zwei". Additionally, Smartregie has done productions of Lego Masters Germany, German Idol and much more.
Martin Gross has been with the company for more than 10 years and is in charge of production planning, organisation, as well as the audio equipment and setup on large scale productions. He is also the guy who faces the audio-related challenges, working with a large audio setup in a live recording environment.
On a typical large scale reality show such as The Bachelor, each actor wear a wireless microphone 24/7 throughout the show. With up to 25 actors and additional atmosphere microphones, you can easily get close to 32 audio channels that need to be recorded and monitored continuously. With zero space for errors.
Martin has chosen Audinate®’s Dante® AoIP protocol as the audio network backbone, as it provides the sufficient amount of audio channels as well as being super reliable.
The gear that is typically used on a large scale setup therefore has to be Dante®-enabled, and Martin’s audio toolbox would typically look like this:
"All the devices in our setup are super reliable. We do have redundancy systems in place, but they are typically never in action," says Martin.
Using TouchMonitor in Live TV Productions
Martin explains: "The RTW TouchMonitor TM7-Dante provides precisely what I need with regard to always having a good overview of the channels in the Dante® network. While I love the YAMAHA console for its ease of use and reliability, it simply does not give me the metering I need, and therefore the RTW comes in handy in most setups."
The TouchMonitor would typically be set up to monitor 16 or 32 audio channels, and in most cases a simple configuration of lines of PPM meters is sufficient.
Making sure that levels are consistent is key
While Loudness measurements are not highly relevant on reality show production, as they are typically being mixed in post production, there are other cases where the loudness features of TouchMonitor come in handy.
Martin explains: "The TouchMonitor is a very versatile tool. While I mostly use it for monitoring multiple audio channels in the Dante® network, sometimes I get to do other types of work that allows me to make use of the TMs extended feature set, especially with regard to loudness.
For instance, I did the live show 'Dittsche' for the German broadcaster WDR. Dittsche was a live-transmitted TV show, which had to comply with the R128 loudness standard. In that case, TouchMonitor was an essential tool, helping me to comply."
Beside Analog, AES, AES3id, SDI 3G and Dante®, TouchMonitor is also available with a Ravenna audio interface.
Get a complete overview of TouchMonitor IO options or the many metering types on the TM7 or TM9 product pages.
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What is required for Dante® AoIP network monitoring?
With regard to software, depending on your needs, we recommend: