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Behind the National Quartet Convention Feed, Part 1

Dec 2, 2013 3:14 PM, With Bennett Liles

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Editor’s note: For your convenience, this transcription of the podcast includes timestamps. If you are listening to the podcast and reading its accompanying transcription, you can use the timestamps to jump to any part of the audio podcast by simply dragging the slider on the podcast to the time indicated in the transcription.

Inside the new TNDV audio truck called Vibration at the National Quartet Convention.

The National Quartet Convention in Louisville, Kentucky is a huge event with dozens of the best gospel music acts in the country, and bringing all of that to television is TNDV in Nashville. Nic Dugger is with us to talk about bringing in the big trucks for sound recording, IMAG, intercom and broadcast feeds. That’s coming up now on the SVC Podcast.

SVC: Nic, it’s great to have you back with us again on SVC Podcast from Tennessee Digital Video, better known as TNDV.

Nic Dugger: That’s right, TNDV—Television in Nashville.

Yep, there in Nashville, so what’s been happening at TNDV lately?

Well, I’ll tell you, we’ve had a very busy summer. All three of our Nashville-based video trucks have been staying very busy; probably 50/50 sports and entertainment. And about two months ago we rolled out a brand-new audio production facility, our Vibration truck, and after being on the road for just a month and a half or so, it’s already done four or five major shows, so we’ve had a great summer. [Timestamp: 1:21]

I talk to a lot of people who do permanent installs, but there’s nothing as challenging as when you put it all on a truck and do remotes at some very high-profile events. That’s a grueling environment and my hat is off to the guys who do remotes. I used to do a lot of them. It takes a lot out of you and it’s not an old man’s job.

It’s not. It’s very busy. And I’ll tell you, I love to chat with my friends who are studio engineers and hear their complaints—their day-to-day maintenance issues—and I say, “Look, take your studio and put it a box and shake it up for 800 miles and then make it work. Then you’re talking about some engineering,” because between the potholes in various states and the speed bumps in parking lots, you can do a number on a facility just by jogging it around the country. But it’s what we do every day. [Timestamp: 2:05]

The two TNDV trucks Aspiration and Vibration, parked at the National Quartet Convention.

Yeah, just getting it all moved around safely with all the different state-to-state regulations on big trucks and the state of the roads, it’s a very tough job. So you guys were at the National Quartet Convention. Sounds like a whole lot of music and singing. What’s that event all about?

It was. It’s interesting. We actually produce both of the major quartet shows in the country every year. The other show we do is the Barbershop Harmony Society’s National Quartet Convention. And this one is more of a southern gospel event. While it’s still called the National Quartet Convention, it’s a lot more than just quartets now. It’s a lot of family-style singing, large group singing. But you’re absolutely right, it is harmonizing and traditional southern gospel music and it’s extremely popular. You know, they sell tickets to these events and sometimes they sell out. It’s hard to get a ticket to attend some of the nights of this seven-day show. We have filmed the event in the past, but this year we were proud to come back and provide video and audio services. We were able to bring our expanding-side HD truck, Aspiration, and park right alongside of our brand-new audio truck, Vibration, and they were able to work hand-in-hand for the entire event. [Timestamp: 3:16]

You bring the truck in and set up. I know there are a lot of very professional acts involved and they know exactly what they need and when they sound just right. So what’s that like working with so many music professionals back-to-back over a very short period of time?

You’re absolutely right, they are professionals. Most of these groups are touring companies, so these acts are on the road, they’re in different venues every day, and they have very specific requirements. So what I needed to make sure our facilities were capable of was quick changes on the fly, because some nights there would be five or 10 different acts performing, but a very consistent sound. You know, we were mixing for surround sound this year, so we needed to make sure that the room sounded excellent whether it was a soloist or a group of 10 up there singing. And then we needed to be able to change very quickly and move from one band to the next because obviously every minute that you’re stopped down between the acts you’re losing your crowd. This even it also webcast and we didn’t want people to turn off their web cast, so we had to be quick on our feet but still provide that same consistency of sound quality and good mixing no matter what. [Timestamp: 4:22]

Earlier this year when we talked before, I don’t believe you had your audio truck named Vibration in service yet. It was in the works and just about to make its debut. So what do you have on the Vibration audio truck to handle all that it had to do with these music acts?

Vibration features a Studer Vista 9 console, which is a very large state-of-the art console. Ours is outfitted with 256 inputs and we also have the multitrack recording capability for all 256 of those inputs. So we have a Pro Tools input times 256 and, just because sometimes Pro Tools gets a little finicky, we run a backup record device in addition to the Pro Tools so if Pro Tools were to crash, we never lose anything. And so that backup device, we’re using a Black Box recorder from JoeCo. The JoeCo Black Box recorders take a single MADI stream of up to 64 inputs. We have four of those so we can support the 256 input infrastructure. So everything goes through that Vista 9 console straight to Pro Tools and then we also feed the JoeCo Black Box recorder so we’re able to mix and multitrack with redundancy, any show we work on. [Timestamp: 5:37]

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