10 NEWS & VIEWS Back to basics: Practical audio processing and routing Traditionally, this column focuses on “trending” topics —but this month we’re going to revisit some basic television audio workflow issues. Technology inevitably brings change, so if you haven’t grasped the fundamental issues facing today’s infrastructure and workflows, how can you begin to address the new set of technical challenges? Let’s break it down: workflows in broadcast facilities typically take one of two forms — live, or file-based. In most cases, a combination of the two is used throughout various stages of content production and transmission. Live workflow challenges In a live environment, most signals will be handled by discrete interconnects between equipment, such as MADI, HD-SDI with embedded audio, or AES. As has always been the case with video, the importance of synchronisation and a stable reference clock cannot be emphasised nearly enough! An unstable reference clock may not cause immediate signal failure, but at some point, it will cause a timing error. Timing errors can become cumulative as they pass through downstream equipment. Although some equipment will attempt to correct for this, the phrase “garbage in, (reclocked) garbage out” applies here. SDI can carry its own clocking information, but it is still possible to encounter a very unstable SDI signal for any number of reasons. Poor SDI signals may work just fine ... until they don’t. Now that we’ve reinforced the importance of signal timing, let’s discuss what we actually do with those signals. I touched briefly on converting to/from AES, as well as embedding/ de-embedding in SDI, but it may also be necessary to shuffle pairs within an SDI signal, perform surround upmixing and downmixing, loudness management and metering, secondary audio programmes, including audio description, local emergency audio (“text to speech”), and EAS alerts. Shane Toven, Applications Engineer, Linear Acoustic Live scenarios require realtime handling of audio, but in other cases it makes far more sense to correct issues before they reach playout. You may even be dealing with Dolby-encoded signals or Nielsen waterm ark encoding. If you don’t already have solutions in place, the AERO line of hardware from Linear Acoustic can address many of these challenges, while allowing full control of all parameters via GPI or IP. File-based workflows Live scenarios require real-time handling of audio, but in other cases, it makes far more sense to correct issues before they reach playout. This allows content to be adjusted for consistent standards, formats and audio channel configurations before transmission. Many of the considerations for filebased workflows are similar to those of live production and transmission, including pair shuffling, loudness management, QC/loudness metering, and Dolby encoding/decoding. These workflows can be operator-assisted, or fully automated. Minnetonka Audio has solutions for any or all of these functions through standalone applications, editing workstation plugins, software on dedicated servers, or cloud-based platforms. The right tools for the job It’s extremely important to use the right tools for the job. If you face an audio management or technical challenge, using the wrong tools or using them at the wrong stage in the chain can cause major issues downstream. You may already have some of these tools in your plant, but now would be a good time to ensure you are making appropriate use of them. q August 2016 What’s New on TV n Rise and shine with Daybreak Asia HONG KONG – Bloomberg TV has launched Daybreak Asia, a new morning TV programme delivering viewers the most pressing global business and financial information they need as US markets close and Asian markets open. In addition to having top business and financial guests on the show, Daybreak Asia, which replaces the First Up programme, provides viewers the data, breaking news, analyses and insights they need to start or close their day regardless of where they are in the world. Betty Liu, Ramy Inocencio, Su Keenan and Kathleen Hays will anchor the show in New York, with Angie Lau, Yvonne Man, Rosalind Chin, Haidi Lun and Shery Ahn in Hong Kong. Al Mayers, head of Bloomberg TV and Daybreak Asia anchors report from New York and Hong Kong to provide viewers with global business and financial information. radio, said: “The combination of anchors in New York and Hong Kong will tremendously enhance our coverage of global markets, and deliver to our viewers the essential news and information they need to start or close their business day.” n SLR Productions to bring Alice-Miranda to live on the screen SYDNEY – Along with partner ZDF Enterprises, Australian children’s and family entertainment company SLR Productions is developing Alice-Miranda, a best-selling and multi-award-winning Australian children’s book, into a 26 x half-hour animated dramacomedy TV series. Aimed at children aged 6-9 years, the TV series will be available on Australia’s Nine Network. Combining comedy, drama, friendship and mystery, the stories pivot around Alice-Miranda Highton-Smith-KenningtonJones, an extraordinary young girl who at the age of 10 has organised her own early entry into boarding school, along with her cheeky pony, Bonaparte. Alice-Miranda’s two best friends are Millie and Jacinta, and the boarding school they attend is a dream come true for these young girls. A home away from home, where they never have to leave their friends and can have all the exciting adventures they can dream of. Suzanne Ryan, CEO and executive pro- n New Alice-Miranda, a best-selling and multi-awardwinning Australian children’s book, is being developed into a 26 x half-hour animated drama-comedy TV series. ducer of SLR Productions, said: “We are absolutely thrilled to be developing this extraordinary book property into a 26 x halfhour animation series with our partner, ZDF Enterprises, and for the local broadcaster to be the Nine Network. The Alice-Miranda TV series will focus on friendship, fun, mystery and intrigue — all the elements 6-9-yearolds love.” Ben 10 to begin global debut this year ATLANTA – The latest franchise of Ben 10 will begin its global premiere later this year on Cartoon Network. To be available in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and the Asia-Pacific this year, Ben 10 will also reach viewers in North America and Latin America (LATAM) next year. Built on the animated franchise about kid hero Ben Tennyson, Ben 10 will introduce a re-imagined Ben, cousin Gwen and Grandpa Max, as they travel the country during summer vacation. When Ben finds the Omnitrix, a mysterious watch, which transforms him into 10 different friendly aliens, a world of extraterrestrial superpowers opens up to him. The animated series is produced by Cartoon Network Studios and created and executive produced by Man of Action Entertainment (Big Hero 6, Generator Rex), with supervising producer John Fang (Mixels, Generator Rex). The popularity of the show has also seen the launch of three additional animated series (Ben 10: Alien Force, Ben 10: Ultimate Alien, Ben 10: Omniverse); two animated movies (Ben 10: Secret of the Omnitrix, Ben 10: Destroy All Aliens); and two live-action Cartoon Network’s newest Ben 10 franchise begins its worldwide roll-out in Q4 2016. movies (Ben 10: Race Against Time, Ben 10: Alien Swarm).