Meeting Topic: San Francisco Opera's Sound Department, Audio Post Department, Video Post Department and HDTV Production Department
Moderator Name: David v.R. Bowles
Speaker Name: Max G. Christensen, Master Audio Engineer
Other business or activities at the meeting: The annual meeting of the San Francisco section of the AES started out with a reading of the committee election results. The AES 60th Anniversary Presentation DVD of the Oral History Project was shown as well.
Meeting Location: War Memorial Opera House, San Francisco, CA, USA
Reviewed by David v.R. Bowles, SF section chairperson
In 1991, San Francisco Opera's sound department was organized as a separate technical department, joining Props, Electrics and the Carpentry departments. In 1996 an in-house audio facility was completed as part of a major renovation of the opera house. In 2006, with the goal of self-producing, an HDTV facility was installed, the only such facility in an American opera house. As the building is shared by the San Francisco Ballet, all of the HDTV network construction had to take place between performances and rehearsals without disruption. At present HDTV productions can be simulcast from the Opera House to SBC Park or specially-equipped cinemas throughout the country.
Mr. Christensen and his team spoke at length of the challenges in design and implementation, as well as how inevitable changes were accommodated throughout. Tours were led through the facility, showing separate control rooms (for broadcast mix, video, and archival audio mix), computer storage and backup, rack-mounted gear and microphone storage.