NBC uses Merging Technologies systems for Sochi coverage

Ovation and Horus provide basis for Winter Olympics broadcasts.
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NBC's Sochi Olympics coverage has seen it use Merging Technologies' Ovation and Horus solutions.

According to Merging, Ovation has been making inroads in the broadcast community in North America for the last two years. An early adopter was NBCSN at its Sports Center in Stanford, Connecticut, which made an initial order of four Ovation systems and four Horus units.

The NBC equipment list for Sochi includes three more Ovations and another three Horus. The full suite of digital I/O and RAVENNA remote control of the routing and configuration of Horus allows for easy set up and high quality output.

The Ovation/Horus set is connected to Calrec Artemis consoles via AES/EBU, with the dedicated keyboard controller located next to the console surface. The Primetime show’s theme music is cued on Ovation with a live voice-over channel and “bumpers” in and out of the commercial breaks. Any stings or highlight music cues are also pre-configured in Ovation and fired from the keypad when needed. This controller is one of many different user interfaces for Ovation; touch screen, web browsers or conventional keyboard and mouse can also be deployed as the client prefers.

Dennis Gaines from Independent Audio, Merging’s US distributor, is part of the International Broadcast Centre crew, and was required to train the freelance operators on the programming and operation of Ovation, and check that the installation was fully operational. One problem that was encountered early on was the inability of some other playout devices to accept a variety of audio file formats. Ovation can not only handle any incoming file format; it can also convert those files to alternatives with different sampling rates as needed.

Gaines commented: “It has been a blast being in Sochi even though I had to leave before the Games opened because there was nothing else to do! The systems were all up and running and the guys were fully up to speed, so now I can watch the end result on the TV at home.”

Merging reseller for Russia, Avallon, supplied the audio installation for the main Fischt Arena where the opening ceremony took place. Horus units were deployed to handle additional input signals and routing between the different systems. In this case, Horus was connected to the Stagetec Nexus via MADI and the audio was controlled by the Stagetec Auratus-24 located high up in the stadium to give the operators a view of the arena.

This was the first Horus installation made by the Avallon engineers. Sergey Vashchenko, president of Avallon, commented: “This is an extremely good product. We have now specified Horus for several football stadiums for the 2018 World Cup which is taking place in our country.”

Claude Cellier, president of Merging Technologies, remarked: “We have enjoyed a consistent presence at various recent Olympic Games with Pyramix for the big ceremonies and now Horus and Ovation being used in vital situations. It is a nice reward for the hard work of my engineering team to see our products being used at such high profile events.”

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