SAN FRANCISCO, CA — KTVU, San Francisco’s local Fox affiliate, is bringing the audio for its special events coverage — most specifically the station’s coverage of the city’s Chinese New Year Parade — to the next level with Holophone®’s H4 SuperMINI Camera-mountable surround microphone.
The largest celebration of the Chinese New Year outside of Asia, San Francisco’s parade attracts visitors from all over the world. For over 20 years it has been KTVU’s task to bring the sights and sounds of the event to viewers at home. This year, in addition to the event being broadcast in HD, Mark Metzler, Operations Supervisor of KTVU and one of the sound designers for the show, wanted to further enhance the Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound mix of the live show, which has been presented in conjunction with Dolby Laboratories since 2003.
“High definition makes all the costumes and all the other beautiful colors of the parade really pop on television, but there are so many opportunities for great sound as well,” explains Metzler. “There are so many different audio elements, lots of marching bands, drum groups, martial arts performers yelling ‘Yah! Yah!’ and dueling swords clashing. We had been using stereo mics on the handheld cameras for a little crowd reaction, but Holophone’s microphones brought the audio to an entirely new level. We were really happy with them. They’re so easy to work with, because of their size. Once we put the batteries in the H4 SuperMINIs, they were a piece of cake to operate.”
The shoot location for the parade was set up in San Francisco’s Union Square. Two H4 SuperMINIs where mounted onto two Sony HD cameras using custom wooden mounts made by one of the station’s audio engineers Stephen Thomas. This allowed the cameramen to get right into the action, fully immersing themselves in the sights and sounds of the parade. What allows KTVU’s cameramen to capture it all is the mic’s patented design. The H4 SuperMINI features six mic elements arranged to coincide with the typical speaker setup found in a studio or home theater. The unique structure and configuration of the mic elements allows H4 SuperMINI users to effortlessly capture, from a single point, an accurate and immersive 3D audio recording.
The mic also features a Dolby Pro Logic II encoder which allows audio from its six microphone elements to be encoded from multi-channel to stereo and recorded directly to any broadcast camera or a stereo recording device. For the Chinese New Year broadcast, the encoded Dolby Pro Logic II signals from the H4 SuperMINIs were sent down the camera lines right to the remote truck where Dolby consultants Mike Babbitt and Adam Pinch, along with the KTVU team, decoded the mic signals using a Dolby DP564. In addition, six boom mic operators carried wireless rigs and were stationed in pairs across the street from each other to provide a high quality, accurate stereo field of the action on screen. According to Metzler, the addition of the H4 SuperMINIs really brought an additional element to this year’s broadcast and plans to use it on next year’s parade as well as other special programming provided by the station.
“Once you add the Holophone mics to a production, it isn’t just a camera looking at the crowd anymore,” continues Metzler. “It’s as if the viewer is standing right there, seeing and hearing the event. I’m so impressed with what these mics can do. As other local productions come up, I want to get the Holophone mics into those broadcasts as well.”
Holophone is committed to developing and commercializing products that use patented 3-D audio technology to bring the physical experience of “really being there” to a new level for all audio and visual productions by professionals and hobbyists. Holophone provides customers and business partners with industry-leading product and service quality. Holophone is firmly dedicated to providing outstanding value, excellence in service, and product performance.
Holophone® surround-sound microphones are patented audio recording devices designed specifically to address the challenges audio professionals face in capturing, recording and broadcasting multichannel surround sound. Developed by Rising Sun Productions in Toronto, Canada, Holophone systems effortlessly capture discrete signals that are ultra-realistic and provide the most accurate spatiality, audio imaging, and directionality of any recording device. Entirely compatible with all audio mixing, encoding, and playback systems, Holophone also enhances mono and stereo mixes. Holophone systems provide the perfect front end for all professional and consumer audio applications including HDTV broadcasting, standard broadcasting of live sporting and music events, feature film location recording, and studio recording for music, films, and worship applications. Holophone surround sound technology has been used for numerous national and international broadcasts, including the Grammy Awards and NFL Super Bowl. As a scalable system, Holophone technology is also available for license to the consumer electronics industry.
# # #