Live From Super Bowl LI: Fox Sports’ Fred Aldous of Ready To Deliver Big Sound for the Big Game
The goal is to make the home-viewing experience sound like the in-venue one
Fox Sports has always emphasized providing a high-quality and immersive listening experience, and Super Bowl LI is no different. Senior Mixer/consultant Fred Aldous and his team are on hand to make sure fans at home have an audio experience that matches as closely as possible the audio experience in the stands.
“I try not to do too many tricks because, in a show this size, if you try to do too many tricks in one show without having a chance to do them before that doesn’t make a lot of sense,” says Aldous. “So the philosophy is to have as clean a show as possible and to not fix things that don’t need to be fixed.”
The decision on whether the roof will be closed always has an impact on the audio team, and the decision was made 90 minutes prior to the start of Super Bowl LI to close the roof.
“I would prefer the roof is open because sounds escape rather than echo around inside,” says Aldous. “When they close the roof, the reflections are much greater, and we have to fight the PA more as they supplement it here. Of course, an open roof kills the video guys because they have to battle the lighting; they want it closed for level lighting, and I want it closed for level sound.”
In terms of new additions, some microphones are placed near the pylon cameras. The audio consoles — the two Calrec Apollo consoles in Encore and Cleatus, a Calrec Brio in the submix area, and another Brio in the tape-release area — are also linked so that they can share resources.
“For this show, it’s just making sure that we get as organized as much as we can before we get here, like figuring out the cameras,” says Aldous. “Of course, you can prepare only so much. Before we got here, I thought we were about 80% prepared, but, when we got here, we found out we were only about 30% prepared because of all the additions and subtractions and the entities we need to interface with.”
The pieces are now in place to feed the international feed and how to get feeds to or from certain places, such as the entertainment truck, the red carpet, and pregame-show trucks.
“And then,” he adds, “just as important are what mics are on camera and for what reasons.”