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Spreading the Word with CBN, Part 2

Jul 7, 2011 10:46 AM, with Bennett Liles

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Well, they’ve got to stay loose and take advantage of things coming in from the outside, but sometimes unforeseen things happen inside right there in the place. That Calrec console with all its great features on it; how does handle a power interruption? Have you ever lost power? And how fast does it come back up and re-gain its composure or are you pretty well protected on that?
Well thankfully the entire technical plan is on a large UPS. The local switch from the power company switching over from that to the UPS happens in a very, very short amount of time so that hasn’t been an issue. The Calrec itself has dual power supplies on every I/O box, dual power supplies on the console itself so we have those on separate legs of the power—hasn’t really been a problem thus far but I will say if we had to shut down and fully re-boot the entire system comes up in under 2 minutes and if it is just a simple console re-boot that comes up in under 30 seconds. [Timestamp: 6:06]

And you’re doing quite a bit of live programming aren’t you?
That’s correct. We do generally 25-27 live shows a week out of this one particular studio. [Timestamp: 6:15]

And that makes a big difference in the atmosphere for all the people on the production team for sure.
Yes it does, it’s the…you don’t have the ability to go back and do a take two on most everything. Our main production program, the 700 Club, goes out live to probably half of our audience when we shoot it here and then it’s syndicated throughout the rest of the day in other parts of the country. [Timestamp: 6:38]

You’re in the position of the one who makes sure that everybody knows what they’re doing particularly on the audio stuff. I know that anybody who’s been in that sort of job for a good while can compare what it was like training people on an analog board. Some of the early digital mixers were fairly difficult to wrap your mind around—so would you say it was easier to learn on the new digital boards or back in the day on the analog mixers?
To me the analog is still the starting point. If you train on the new digital mixers now like the Artemis, I find myself still referring back to the analog counterpart and in some cases we’ve setup a little analog mixer beside the digital one so that we can show, “This is what the knob looks like for high-shelf, this is what the BUS switching looks like going to a particular group,” and then you move from that into the virtual digital world and it becomes easier, I think, for people to conceptualize, “OK I’m pressing this touch screen but this is actually what it’s doing in real life.” [Timestamp: 7:4]

And it seems one of the primary goals of the designers of digital boards was to make it operate like an analog mixer especially in how easy it was to get to things on it.
Correct, and in fact, the Artemis has this what they call “wild’s mode” where it operates almost like a traditional in-line console. You can see on a channel by channel basis each of the knobs, each of the assignments, each of the EQ’s and so for guys that come right from analog and have really no digital background it makes it much, much easier to see, “OK this is actually what this button does,” instead of having one central panel that just assigns every particular channel strip. [Timestamp: 8:19]

So what are things like at the other end of the mic chain? Do you use a lot of wireless gear?
We do—all of our talent prefers to be on wireless so we use Sennheiser’s 3000 series and 5000 series…specifically the 37/32 receivers and the 30/63 body pack transmitters and then the handheld’s are the 5000 series so we’ve been very, very happy with those. [Timestamp: 8:41]

And you’ve got a remote antenna set up for all that?
We do—we have a combination of active antennas and some helicals for the in ears as well. We use the Sennheiser G3 in ear systems. [Timestamp: 8:54]

Well you know sometimes installing wireless mic systems can be more of an art than a science with all the variables. So were there any re-do’s or any interference things you had to get around on that?
Once we got past the initial DTB transition with the local station changing their transponders on a weekly basis the only real challenge was just overcoming some of the background. We have a large military installation close to us and Professional Wireless Systems was a big help in matching antenna cables with the right powered antenna or the right helical and we’ve been pretty interference free for a while now. [Timestamp: 9:33]

Yeah the RF situation lately has been a fast 6-handed game on avoiding interference and anticipating all these new mobile transmission sources.
Yes it sure is. [Timestamp: 9:43]

Well, Phil, I appreciate your taking time out to tell us about this I’ve watched CBN and always wondered what it was like behind the scenes and you’ve really given us a good glimpse into how you do things there especially with the Calrec Artemis mixer that you got running now. Thanks for being here to give us the details on it.

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