For the past two years, French-language Canadian educational public television network TFO has relied on a Studer Vista 5 console for its live production needs. TFO is a one-studio shop, with all of its productions coming from the same control room, producing childrenâ€™s programming, teen programming and news-style shows. In 2007, TFO embarked on an initiative to run autonomously from TVOntario. Conveniently, this decision coincided with TFOâ€™s preparation for digital and HD broadcast, with the goal of functioning completely tapeless. With a new location, new studio, new control rooms and edit suites, the need for new (digital) equipment was apparent.
As a member of the committee called upon to select a console for the new studio, Andy Gargul of TFO had a laundry list of criteria. â€œWe really wanted to stay away from any console that was heavily â€˜menu-drivenâ€™ or had master soft knobs in one area for
dedicated functions [EQ, compression, sends, etc.],â€? Gargul says. â€œAfter seeing demos of all the consoles, we all felt that not only did the Vista give the most features for the price; there were a variety of features that were quite unique, like the Vistonics screens and the off-air conference feature.â€?
Because of TFOâ€™s diverse programming, each production has its own specific needs. â€œThere is very little â€˜set it and forget itâ€™ at TFO,â€? Gargul says. â€œWith the Vistaâ€™s file structure, the operators are â€˜projects,â€™ and each production is a â€˜title.â€™ This way, each operator can have his/her own console layout, EQâ€™s and dynamics without disturbing the others, and each show within that project can still have its own layout, EQâ€™s and dynamics.â€?
In the end, customizability has been the factor around which TFO has built its success. â€œFor us, the biggest improvement was being able to tailor the console to each productionâ€™s needs, without having to find a compromise solely because of a piece of gearâ€™s limitations,â€? Gargul says. â€œThe fact that Studer decided to add the DAW layer and HUI implementation was an excellent idea, because I hate mixing with a mouse! The Vista is intuitive and very easy to use, which is great because during a live show, you really should be more concerned with making the sound better as opposed to worrying about which button youâ€™re pressing.â€?