One of the world’s most famous cultural venues, the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, London, has decided to take control of its own artistic output in terms of broadcasting. The House is currently building technical facilities that will allow it to develop a comprehensive archive of its productions with full recording and broadcast capabilities that can also act as a core facility for third-party broadcasters.
Traditionally, the Royal Opera House has relied on broadcasters to get its material out on TV and radio. The decision to create an in-house recording and broadcasting infrastructure means that the House can begin the process of acquiring an archive of its productions, of which there are 35 a year on the main stage alone. The move gives the House greater control over the broadcast opportunities for its output and is more cost-effective than renting in the required equipment for each event. There is also the added bonus of substantially reducing the frequency of OB trucks on the streets, thereby fulfilling a commitment to Westminster City Council and its local neighbors.
One of the key pieces of audio technology in the Royal Opera House’s new production suite will be a 52-fader Studer Vista 8 digital audio mixing console fitted with more than 440 inputs and 330 outputs. The choice of the Vista 8 was made after extensive investigation among the House’s associates in the broadcasting world. “We’ve seen how widely used the Studer platform is,” says John Seekings, director of operations for the Royal Opera House. “The Vista design is fully accepted by the broadcast industry, and the advice we were given by the BBC and others centered on Studer as being a suitable console for our purposes.”
The Vista 8, and another digital console, the Studer OnAir 3000, to be used as a continuity mixer, will be installed into the 330-square-foot facility that is being carved out of the Royal Opera House block in central London. Seekings continues, “Pictures will be high-definition and sound will be 5.1 surround. Because archiving is the main priority of the kit we are installing, it follows that it must be of the highest standard available on the market. In addition, the systems can be used by external broadcast organizations, such as BBC Radio 3, so it made complete sense to follow their recommendations.”
For more information on Studer, visit www.studer.ch.