Studer Digital On-Air Console solves problems for Mediaset’s football pay-per-view channel
June 14, 2005
Italy’s largest commercial broadcast organisation, Mediaset, has successfully completed on-air trials of its new pay-per-view football channel, helped by the installation of a Studer OnAir 3000 digital audio mixer at the TV studios in Milan.
Mediaset PREMIUM, a digital terrestrial PPV soccer channel is the first service of its kind in Italy, focusing on the matches of the national Serie A league. Costing from €3 per match, football fans can follow the whole of a single game, or, with the all-game special, catch nearly-live highlights of all the games in the league.
At Mediaset’s HQ in Milan, the PREMIUM channel has its own dedicated studio, set up to receive ten feeds from stadia around the country. The production team is extensive, with two people working on each match, flagging up incidents such as goals or penalties. In their own booth, ten commentators report live on the games, working in tandem with local commentators in each stadium. Thus each feed has two audio tracks, one for the commentator, the other for the local stadium sound and crowd.
On-air equipment is deceptively simple. A Studer OnAir 3000 digital audio console is slaved to a Grass Valley Group Kayak DD, and controlled by the video engineer. The system is operationally elegant, but Mediaset PREMIUM’s project manager Aldo Medici explains the detail behind it. “In the first weeks, we started this application using another audio mixer which was changing the snapshot via MIDI. Because the snapshot change was going straight into the memory of the mixer, it wasn’t possible to change the cue or the gain. It was a closed system, but we wanted the chance to modify the gain live.
“Since we changed to the OnAir 3000, we've got more flexibility and better quality; now we can change and modify all the parameters, such as optimising the voices of the commentators, and adjustment is immediate.” The OnAir 3000 also offers flexible capacity for the future. Aldo Medici explains, “if we move the boundaries, such as carrying live discussions after the match, the Studer OnAir 3000 can be expanded as we need it.”