Observe, a mobile recording service based in Dublin, Ireland, is using its new high-definition outside broadcast unit to record ten HD TV specials featuring The Irish Tenors for broadcast on Ireland’s public service broadcaster, RTÉ.
HD1 is Observe’s new flagship vehicle (pictured), a 53-foot, triple-expander, semi-trailer truck with full studio facilities for live broadcasting, including 24 HD cameras and a 52-fader Studer Vista 8 digital live audio production console. The truck recently spent 10 days at Ardmore Studios in Bray, just south of Dublin, recording performances by tenors Finbar Wright, Anthony Kearns and Karl Scully, as well as guest artists including Hayley Westenra, Katharine Jenkins, Paul Carrack, Shayne Ward and Andrew Lloyd Webber.
Observe’s Colm Flynn has also been recording a 30-piece orchestra, five-piece band and string quartet using the Studer Vista 8. “We have 80 mic line inputs built into the truck, plus 40 more in our [flightcase-enclosed] stage box, and I can bring in additional I/O if I need it,” Flynn says. Observe’s stage box, which is on a fiber-optic connection, was positioned inside Ardmore’s Studio A, more than 300 feet away from the Observe OBV.
“When specifying the HD1, we decided to go for the Vista 8,” Flynn continues. “We preferred the look of the console and the way it worked; in fact, the ergonomics was a key factor as it made the Vista 8 the easiest surface to learn for all the freelance engineers that will use the vehicle.
“When the truck was commissioned, we went straight into a live on-air show, and it all worked perfectly. The Vista 8’s EQ is incredible—very nice and sweet—and the desk has proved itself to be extremely user-friendly, even for those operators who’ve never used a Studer before.”
HD1 has full 5.1 surround sound capability, although it is not being used on The Irish Tenors recordings. Another notable feature of the truck is that its main control system also controls the Vista console’s audio router, which permits audio selection for VTR record machines and monitoring positions to be controlled from other areas.
Observe was founded nearly three years ago when RTÉ decided to outsource its OB requirements. HD1 is Observe’s fourth vehicle, and its high specification reflects the company’s ambitious plans to attract new business, not only in sports, which currently provides nearly 95 percent of its workload, but also in music and new geographical territories.
“Production companies that wouldn’t normally expect to find facilities of this quality in Ireland have discovered HD1 and are very pleased with it,” adds Flynn. “And with the imminent arrival of the first HD channels, we feel that there are many more opportunities to contract our truck in the UK.”