Air Time

South African Broadcasting Corporation's Air Time Division Selects Max Air Audio Console for HD OB Truck

Router integration with Pro-Bel Aurora system facilitates increased workflow

Palo Alto, CA – Nov 13th, 2006

Avid is pleased to announce the installation of a Max Air digital audio console to Air Time, the OB (Outside Broadcast) division of the South African Broadcasting Corporation. This transaction represents the first time a Max Air and its accompanying ES-SH612 StudioHub router has been integrated with the Pro-Bel Aurora control system.

Installation of the Max Air console—a 40-fader system with 48 microphones, 96 full processing channels, 24 mix/sub group busses, 24 group matrix busses / clean feed outs and 16 Aux busses—was handled by Sony Basingstoke, UK. The new OB truck is designed to fully support South Africa's transition to HD television. The fully digital, HD, 16-camera vehicle is the first of its kind in South Africa.

Nic Bonthuys, Managing Director of Air Time, discussed the new vehicle, "We are extremely excited about this project that will put us in the technology division right up there with the best television facility companies worldwide. This is a bold step with the view to preparing for the 2010 Soccer World Cup. There will be a demand for HD 16:9 feeds by 2010 and we will be ready."

 This is a bold step with the view to preparing for the 2010 Soccer World Cup. There will be a demand for HD 16:9 feeds by 2010 and we will be ready
Nic Bonthuys, Managing Director of Air Time

Central to the Air Time transaction was the ability of the ES-SH612 StudioHub router to be seamlessly integrated with the Pro-Bel Aurora control system. Throughout Europe and many other areas outside the continental United States, the Pro-Bel system is the dominant protocol for router control in the broadcast arena. Pro-Bel developed the ES-Control Protocol Converter to enable their Aurora control system to control the Avid ES-SH612.

Integrating the ES-SH612 StudioHub with the Pro-Bel system eliminates the need for two routing and I/O systems, leading to a considerable cost savings and increased efficiency of operation. The production monitors, I/O feeds, tape machines, console mix, aux and group busses are all available on the router and to the console simultaneously. If a tape operator needs to get ‘mono fx' to Ch 1 of the replay machine, they simply dial it up on the router panel. It is no longer necessary to create the buss, assign it to a console output, then patch that output into the router, then assign the router source to the tape op destination. This greatly simplifies the way audio is routed throughout the facility/OB Truck. In conjunction with the full line of converter products, a fully featured 768 x 768 audio router with multi format I/O is achieved cost effectively and is easily installed – most connections are 75 ohm coax.

Collaboration with Pro-Bel is another step towards interoperability between digital audio routing and I/O devices with router systems from major manufacturers. Pro-Bel is the third manufacturer (the first and second were Grass Valley and Pesa respectively) to recognize the benefits of such close integration with the audio console manufacturer.

Dennis Feldman, General Manager of EMS, the Sub-Saharan Africa distributor for Avid, reflected on the Air Time transaction, "EMS Africa is delighted that SABC chose Avid for their new OB truck. This represents the 3rd Max Air purchased by the Corporation. We sent our audio engineer, Mark Hull, to the UK a few weeks ago to better understand the Max Air configuration in this particular application. The South African broadcasting and music markets are coming alive again and there is considerable interest in what Avid offers."