DPA 5100 in the Amsterdam ArenA

Following the broadcast of the Netherlands Coronation, the United OB14 mobile truck was in action at the 2013 UEFA Europa League.

The truck found itself at the centre of another mission critical international broadcast. This time it was of the Chelsea-Benfica encounter awaited by a worldwide audience, where United provided a live 5.1-channel surround audio feed to Infostrada Sports in the TV Compound for the 35-camera production.

Off the field, Lawo and DPA were key players in the event...

Equipped with its Lawo mc266 digital broadcast console and Dallis I/O system,  Lawo’s audio-follow-video (AfV) function and VSM (Virtual Studio Manager) control software – which is integrated into the OB14 console and enables the direct assignment of AfV events to the camera tallies – proved to be essential to the audio operation

Amsterdam ArenA TV Compound‘These AfV audio sources were each routed to a subgroup, so effectively there was one fader to control how much detail of the camera mics could be heard in the mix,’ United’s Jeroen ‘Huub’ Lelieveld explains. ‘This software controls all equipment in the truck, and opens the faders assigned to specific cameras.

Lelieveld’s United colleague Mischa Kortleve mixed the action from the field, while he watched the video line cut and controlled how much surround atmosphere and AfV sounds were added to the mix, making sure that the sound matched the ‘feel’ of the picture.

‘We created three video feeds, each with different pictures and – at some point – different cameras and interview/stand up positions,’ Lelieveld says. ‘VSM is able to create different virtual GPIs for different video outputs, so while we concentrated on mixing the main feed, the other two feeds were mixed automatically, with different faders being triggered by the video mixer.

In addition to the de/embedder cards in the OB14 mobile’s mc266, the console is partnered with a Lawo V__pro 8, which offers video bridging facilities – decoding signals from different formats, then transforming them to another.

‘We had a total of six outgoing feeds with Dolby E and another 15 or so video feeds with non-Dolby E embedded audio,’ says Lelieveld. ‘For this huge production our usual  de/embedder cards in our mc266 weren't enough so we had an additional V__pro 8.

‘OB14's mc266 has a Dallis frame full of Lawo de/embedders, however, with three (redundant) video feeds and many extra feeds going into the Television Operating Centre, we needed more embedders. For this, the Lawo V__pro 8 was perfect – connected to the mixer via Madi, all video and audio delay needed to compensate for Dolby E decoding was handled in this box, with no need for separate video frame synchronisers.

‘Delaying the video and PCM audio in a video feed that has Dolby E requires just the click of a mouse instead of our usual use of an extra frame synchroniser. Every video channel has up to eight frames of delay, and we can embed up to 32 channels of audio per video channel, also at the click of a mouse.

Sound capture

DPA 5100‘UEFA was adamant that the broadcast quality had to be top class as this was a huge production that was going out to broadcasters all over the world,’ Lelieveld says. ’We wanted to make sure the audio quality would be as high as possible and that we captured the ambience of the stadium in phase coherent surround so that it sounded huge in surround, but also still sounded great in stereo and even mono.’

As there are no mics permanently rigged in the Amsterdam ArenA, the OB14 team arranged tests with different mic set-ups during Europa league preliminary rounds and recorded them to multitrack.

‘After extensive listening tests, we chose a DPA 5100 for the surround microphone,’ Lelieveld says. ‘We rigged it in the catwalk of the stadium, where it was able to capture the whole arena. We complemented this with four DPA 4006A omni mics, which were hung from the catwalk in each of the four corners of the stadium, and we also used DPA 4017B shotgun mics on our two Steadicams, as these were smaller and lighter than the microphones we usually use.

‘We were really delighted with the performance of all of our DPA microphones, but in particular of the 5100, which sounded fantastic,’ Lelieveld reports. ‘It was incredibly easy to rig and protect from bad weather, and was significantly less expensive than other microphone systems. Thanks to the DPA 5100, we achieved a rich, smooth and fully enveloping sound that was great in its coherence, channel separation and localisation accuracy.’

While it was Chelsea’s night on the field, United undoubtedly had the winning formula for the sound broadcast.

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