Broadcast Engineer Dennis Baxter Creates SoundLab Broadcast Education Curriculum with DiGiCo SD10B
Dennis Baxter’s progressive sound design for the Olympics and hundreds of other sporting events around the globe have earned him a stellar international reputation and a host of Emmy Awards in a career spanning over three decades. As an author and an educator, Baxter noticed that there was a deficiency in the area of audio broadcast education; no organization or university offered a proper and adequate curriculum to meet the growing needs of the live sporting industry clamoring for trained professionals.
He set out to define the core competencies necessary to be successful in broadcasting and began to craft a program with which to impart that knowledge. At the same time, he reached out to the manufacturing community in search of equipment allies to supportive his education initiatives. The result was the creation of the SoundLab Mixing Simulator program currently being offered at the Atlanta Art Institute in Georgia.
The SoundLab mixing simulator – much like a flight simulator – offers a live “sports experience” and environment for students to accumulate production practice in order to achieve levels of skill and certification before being put into an actual live event. Baxter chose DiGiCo’s newly launched, broadcast-capable SD10B for the console core of the simulator, as he was in search of a fully functional digital mixing console that did not have a steep learning curve. The ability for hands-on learning with DiGiCo’s fully customizable offline software was an added boon.
“According to ESPN, the shortages in the industry are two-fold: for competent mixers but also sound technicians that have adequate communication systems skills,” Baxter explained. “But acquiring hands-on experience is the big issue in the professional world. It’s extremely difficult for an A2 audio assistant to get the proper audio experience in the field, so it became extremely obvious to me that there needed to be some kind of mix ‘simulator’ situation that would allow a student to interface with a producer, 18 stems of sound, playback sources and announcers feeds, and mix a show. One of the strengths of DiGiCo is having the offline software module to setup a show. Easily downloadable, the software gives you the ability to get to know the console and learn about signal routing, soft patching to menus and stuff like that. Also, being able to drive through the menus fairly fast with very little instruction made the SD10B a perfect console to teach the fundamentals of digital mixing. I’m so pleased to have DiGiCo and Group One onboard to support this educational initiative. I think DiGiCo have their eyes on the right part of the broadcast market now and I think they will do well.”
“I was introduced to Dennis at a recent trade show in Sweden where I had the opportunity to show him the SD10B, and we chatted about his pioneering approach to Broadcast training,” recalled DiGiCo’s Technical Sales Manager Tim Shaxson. “I was delighted to later hear that he’d decided to specify an SD10B for SoundLab. We look forward to a long and mutually fruitful relationship with him.”