When the going gets hot……..
When the going gets hot…..
Studio control areas with room temperatures of 34°C and more caused issues this summer here in Cannes – thanks to the very rapid response of Source-Connect all remained on schedule. A big thank you to Source-Connect for superb technical support.
Before we explain the other reason for this blog, let us start by saying we had to change our Fibre Internet modem. So what ? – you ask. Well the change request arrived without warning . This, when you are running a live recording schedule, is not ideal! So with urgent changes needed Source-Connect responded very quickly and we could retain our studio recordings schedule.
We have a rock solid Fibre Internet speed of 293MB/s so we are delighted with the service provider. If they offer an upgrade to the modem then we accept their recommendation. Before Fibre, it took over a day and a night to send a high definition video file to the West coast of the USA, now it takes 40 minutes.
The way Source-Connect organises their support calls is excellent. A time can be booked and they call us via Skype, direct from Chicago.
For those not familiar with Source-Connect, the product allows a microphone, or sound source to be connected directly to a studio anywhere in the world, as if that microphone is actually in the remote studio, allowing a broadcast quality connection. This can be for recording in the remote studio or even a live broadcast insert. The artist here can hear instructions from the producer in the remote studio.
We have had many studio sessions. Engineers in the remote studios are familiar with this technology. Their clients, advertisers and or corporate staff, whose chosen voice is in Cannes, perhaps on holiday, are staggered at the quality. It is impossible to differentiate whether the voice is in the studio with them or on the other side of the world. So far, our furthest link has been Cannes to Texas but of course it could be to Singapore or Tokyo, distance is not a problem.
It has been hot in Cannes and not having the benefit of a purpose built building structure around us we do not have air-conditioning in the control area that is totally silent. The studio area has of course only the microphone(s) needed and no systems and being deep inside the building is cool in all seasons. But the systems in the control, editing, recording area, are not blessed with thermal protection. Air conditioning has to be turned off when recording to prevent any noise being picked up by the studio mics that are very sensitive – the price we pay for microphones that claim to be and are the quietest in the business and give wonderful tone.
In the control areas we have had room temperatures of 34°C. So we are now in the process of replacing another laptop system and changing to another tower machine to make ventilation easier. The laptop had been rebuilt to remove dust but still it is getting close to its max operating temperature so we did not wish to risk this cutting out during a live recording, especially when stars from the Palais de Festivals, close to us in Cannes, are recording a link to video interviews we have sent to their host studio overseas.
We plan contingency wherever we can and have back up, instant changeover to battery power, 250V supplies. The system change will now complete the Source Connect configuration to a tower system. We shall call Source-Connect to check its configuration and edit the link to our firewall. We will change the thermal paste on the laptop and it will be used just for news gathering and name pronunciation research, so it will not have a critical place in the recording path.
It shows that we need to keep a constant watch on all systems in the recording path. Back in the time when working in BBC TV centre, I was able to envisage the entire video and audio signal path from stage to transmitter. Things have not changed in terms of needing to see critical components along this path, and build contingency and over the top reliability into them. Of course the steps on the patch are so different now with digital systems – but as they say, the show must go on – thank you Source-Connect.