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Behind the National Quartet Convention Feed, Part 2

Dec 19, 2013 10:22 AM, 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.

TNDV in Nashville is on the road the year-round with some of the biggest remote broadcasts in the business. Recently they were in Louisville, Ky., for the National Quartet Convention, the biggest gospel music show around. Nic Dugger is back to give us more behind-the-scenes looks at how TNDV pulls off this big show. That’s all right here on the SVC Podcast.

SVC: Nic Dugger, thanks for being back with us for part two on the SVC Podcast from TNDV, Tennessee Digital Television, in Nashville and we were talking about the National Quartet Convention in Louisville’s Freedom Hall. Lots of top gospel performers and TNDV was there for sound and video on it. You had Vibration, your new audio truck there. How did you set up having your own mix on everything?

Nic Dugger: I think the most important thing to note is the fact that we do take a full split—every audio input in use on the stage. We also take to the truck and in addition to that we also set up our own crowd microphone system just for effects mics. We typically end up having more inputs than the stage audio because we also want to supplement the sound with crowd noise, and we typically do that with shotgun mics strategically placed throughout the venue. This, in many cases, pushed our input count up to 50 or 60 or more inputs, which, you know, you think four or five or six folks on stage wouldn’t require that many inputs, but when you add a band and then you add crowd noise and crown effects mics to it, it’s very easy to get to 60 or more inputs. We split everything one-to-one with the truck. [Timestamp: 1:54]

And I guess it’s not just the crowd response you pick up on those but it’s really a certain amount of ambience that gives the whole show that live sound?

Very much so. The whole point of taking the Vibration audio truck to Louisville for this was to be able to monitor and mix in surround. And whether it’s 5.1 surround or 7.2 surround, those crowd mics are a huge part of what makes up that true like you’re sitting in the audience sound, so we take full advantage of that. [Timestamp: 2:21]

And you recorded all of this with the JoeCo BlackBox recorders that we talked about in part one. Are there any particular feature on those for you to bank so big a show on those things?

Sure. We actually have two recording devices. I think, you know, the industry-standard multi-track digital audio workstation would be Pro Tools, and we are avid Pro Tools users. We also use packages like Nuendo, but Pro Tools is what we use the most. The problem with Pro Tools—and it’s not a problem, it’s more of an opportunity—but it does run on a computer and computers tend to crash. So when you’re taking in up to 128 inputs per tower, and of course we have two of those to achieve the 256-input total that the truck can handle, there can be bugs. And occasionally RAM will have a problem, a hard drive might have an error, so we do everything redundantly. And what we back up our Pro Tools towers with is the JoeCo BlackBox MADI recorder, and we picked them for a number of reasons. Primarily they’re small. It’s only a 1RU infrastructure to put a JoeCo recorder in; of course we need four of these. Each JoeCo recorder does up to one MADI stream, and the MADI stream consisting of 64 inputs requires that we have four of those to achieve all 256 inputs, but they’re also extremely robust. One of the first shows we demonstrated the JoeCo’s capabilities on was a production we did in 2011 that required 24 hours of continuous recording. While Pro Tools managed to crash three times in that 24-hour period, the JoeCo was solid for the entire period and recorded all 64 inputs, all 24 hours, without a problem. That showed me that this is the kind of device that could stand up to the rigors of the road that we put these devices through, so we could easily record to the BlackBox recorder as our primary recorder and I would feel very comfortable with that. But to be safe, we do everything in duplicate, so it’s Pro Tools first, and then the BlackBox recorder second, but they do run simultaneously. [Timestamp: 4:20]

Well, I don’t feel quite so old school now because I record the podcast on two WAV recorders instead of a computer, for the same reason.

Just in case.

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