Sennheiser and wireless systems specialists, Total RF (Bensalem, Penn.), are supplying NBC Olympics with large quantities of ENG audio systems for NBC's broadcasts of the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece. The equipment, including Sennheiser handheld and lavalier microphones plus RF body packs, transmitters, receivers, IFB Systems and accessories, will be packaged into kits that will be used by NBC to bring American viewers coverage of the Games.
Sennheiser EK3041 ENG true diversity receivers, together with accompanying SK5012 miniature RF body pack transmitters, will be supplied in both the venue and the features kits for use by NBC's crews. The packages will also include Sennheiser MD46 handheld and MKE2 lavalier mics, as well as pole-mounted MKH60 shotgun and MKH30 figure-8 microphones for M-S Stereo point source capture. IFB systems will include the new Evolution EW300IEM-G2 systems, including the AC2 4-to-1 IEM signal combiner and A2003-UHF directional IEM transmission antenna.
"When we choose a product it must first offer unquestioned reliability and technical specifications," observes Bob Dixon, project manager for sound design at NBC Olympics. "On the artistic side, we need the definition that will enable us to provide our audience with a clear and natural sound from our announce teams and capture the subtleties of what's happening in and around this amazing Olympic venue. The SK5012 provides performance in an unparalleled form factor."
Describing the two basic ENG kits that NBC is using in its coverage of the Athens Games, Dixon says, "Venue ENG systems are based on one of our camera people from a mobile unit at a venue taking a handheld camera and some basic audio gear and going out to shoot headshots or basic interviews. They often work alone, but not always. We provide Sennheiser MD46 handheld microphones that can be plugged into an SK5012 RF body pack. Sometimes we use a lavalier microphone. In that case the receiver would be an EK3041. For these Games, our feature audio kits will include two SK5012 transmitters and two EK3041 receivers," Dixon continues. "They also include a stereo fish pole that is internally wired for two microphones and has a 5-pin XLR connector built into the bottom of the pole. At the top we use a Rycote mount that holds an MKH60 shotgun microphone and an MKH30 figure-8 microphone directly below."
"This is our MS configuration for doing stereo in the field," Dixon elaborates. It offers all of the reach and clarity of the MKH60 for those times when we need to pick out a single voice. And with the MKH30 and the Sound Devices 442 mixer with MS controls, we can make the stereo image as wide or as narrow as the situation requires. Together they are wonderful tools. We also include two MD46 handheld microphones and two MKE2 lavs in the kit as well," he adds.
According to Dixon, NBC's Olympics unit also owns and uses 158 Sennheiser HMD 25-1-XQ announcer headsets and 200 or so MD46 handheld microphones. "The MD46 is a wonderful sounding microphone," he comments. "We especially love it in high noise environments: In the field during the Opening Ceremony, for example, where the SPL from the P.A. system is quite a challenge."
Total RF is additionally providing NBC with 42 SK250 miniature tunable body pack transmitters, six EM3031 rackmount true diversity receivers and 32 channels of EM3532 true diversity dual receivers. "We provide anything that's wireless to NBC for the Games—the cameras, mics, P/Ls, IFBs, control systems and data systems," states company owner Steve Gansky.
Reliability is the key at a global sporting event of this magnitude and complexity, Dixon points out. "Basically NBC Olympics does one very big show every two years. It requires an amazing amount of planning and execution. The events happen once and there are no 'do-overs!'"
For more information, go to www.sennheiserusa.com.