Meeting Topic: Audio for Live TV Sport
Moderator Name: Paolo Menolotto
Speaker Name: Phil Georges - freelance audio producer
Meeting Location: SAE Lecture Theatre, South Melbourne
Vice-Chairman Paolo Menolotto welcomed all to the meeting, and introduced Phil Georges to talk to us on his experiences and approach to audio mixing for major live television sporting events. Paolo outlined Phil's pedigree in working with the major sporting codes and some of the biggest organizations in TV sport.
Phil started by outlining his start in the industry mixing live sound, and how he transitioned into television, ultimately into live sport.
He then spent a little time talking about his philosophy of mixing, which boils down to keeping things as simple as possible with judicious limiting of the microphone signals followed by buss compression. He commented that he had found that this achieved easily translatable mixes.
He described his experiences in covering a range of sports — AFL football, international tennis, motor racing etc. Responding to an audience question he revealed that, apart from an earlier period at Channel10, surround mixes were not commonplace in sports broadcasting -- stereo is the norm. He then described the process mixing sports events in stereo and surround along with the pitfalls of some choices.
He went on to suggest that possibly the absence of surround mixes in Australian sports telecasts was because it was not providing any additional information to the viewer, going on to contrast that with stump microphones in cricket, which did add new information.
He went on to describe the complexities of the range of mixes needed for a major international event with, as well as the local full broadcast mix, a mix minus commentary needed to be delivered for other broadcasters with their own commentary teams, as well as the potential for dual language commentary. He went on to describe the complexity of covering the Australian Open tennis with commentary presences needed across the range of venues at Melbourne Park.
Responding to a question about the challenges of mixing for a wide range of sound equipment in viewers homes, from the TV's internal speakers to full-blown home theatre setups, Phil responded that keeping the mix processing simple, without too many "bells and whistles" gave a product which could sound excellent across the range of listening equipment.
Prompted by a series of questions, Phil then went on to describe the challenges of capturing the atmospherics of the various games — the crack of the bat, the thunk of the racquet and the thump of the football -- describing the challenges of capturing those sounds.
He then wrapped up the evening discussing his experiences with mentoring, and how the industry is changing with many of the good up-and-coming audio people coming from the smaller gear hire companies.
We thank Phil for a particularly interesting and illuminating presentation.
Written By: Peter Smerdon