SVG Audio Summit Honors Memory of ESPN’s Ron Scalise
By Carolyn Braff
On Wednesday Oct. 22, more than 100 sports-industry professionals gathered in New York to honor the memory of celebrated audio mixer Ron Scalise at the SVG Sports Audio Summit. A full day of panel discussions covered all things audio, from miking and mixing techniques to the loudness debate and a White Space update.
With surround sound seeping into most major sports broadcasts, the expert panels discussed the importance of building a sound mix from the ground up, rather than using individual parts as the base of a mix.
“Now that we’re doing everything in surround, the surround bed should be the first thing in, and all the individual microphones should then be a nuance on top of that,” said Kevin Cleary, senior technical audio producer for ESPN event operations. “That’s a direction that Ron [Scalise] and I had talked about, building the surround bed first.”
The discussions touched on the challenges inherent in live sports production from both the technician and manufacturer side, how to handle the varying demands of international broadcasters, and the best and worst environments for sound mixing. A recurring theme throughout the day was the importance of using audio to support the story on the screen.
“It’s all about the viewing experience. That’s how we sold surround to the network,” explained Tom Sahara, senior director of remote operations for Turner Sports. “When you connect the viewer with the audio, you move from just a passive experience to something emotional. It’s very important for the mixers to understand that it’s not just pushing faders; you are creating an experience.”
Using the surround-sound system set up in the room by A/V sponsor Bexel, Fred Aldous, senior audio mixer at Fox Sports, showed sound demos from Monday Night Football and a produced package of X Games coverage, allowing the audience to experience the topic under discussion.
Supported by title sponsor Linear Acoustic, the event paid homage to Scalise’s visionary work.
“Because there was almost a template that was put together by Ron, a drawing board already built together, the A1s do have time to experiment,” Cleary said. “On Monday Night Football, we’ll actually play some stuff that we’ve used and get a feel for where we’re going to take it.”
All proceeds were donated to the Ron Scalise Memorial Fund.