CRAS Students Get Real-World Dolby Atmos Experience on NBC Sports NASCAR Production

The Conservatory of Recording Arts & Sciences (CRAS) students recently had the opportunity to train with the next big thing in live remote broadcast production – Dolby Atmos – before many seasoned professionals have had the opportunity to do so. Students were afforded the chance to practice mixing live audio and video feeds from NBC SPORTS in the school’s 42-ft. remote-production mobile broadcast trailer utilizing the recently installed Dolby Atmos mixing workflow during the Can-Am 500 NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway (PIR) from Nov. 10-12.

Inside CRAS’s 42-foot Dolby Atmos mobile unit at NBC Sports’ NASCAR production

“As sports production continues to evolve, keeping up with new technologies such as Dolby Atmos is very important to deliver content to the audience that can rival cinema audio practices,” explains Denis Ryan, Senior Audio NBC, NBCSN NASCAR, ABC/ESPN Indycar. “Consumers expect to hear the same quality of sound from a live production that they hear in theaters.”

CRAS’ 42-foot remote production trailer includes a Dolby DP590 Atmos processor, four JBL Control 1 Pro overhead speakers, Crown 4150 amplifier to power the speakers, JBL Intonato control speaker management system; a brand new product that has sophisticated capability for fine tuning speaker performance in the room and is purpose-built to handle complex Dolby Atmos installations.

“While we were out at PIR, we also deployed a Sennheiser AMBEO microphone at the start/finish line,” says Robert Brock, Director of Digital Department, CRAS, who was on-site training the students during the NASCAR event in Phoenix. “It was specifically used to feed the Dolby Atmos overhead speaker positions. It really brought the audio alive. Our students were amazed at the sonic quality both the Dolby Atmos and AMBEO mic brought to the production.”

Dolby Atmos features moving audio that flows all around the user, even overhead. With Dolby Atmos, listeners are fully immersed in the action.

“Our students received the raw feed from NBC,” saus Kirt Hamm, CRAS administrator. “The feeds included all the behind-the-scenes audio discussions and directions between the directors, broadcast crews, producers, engineers, and videographers. With all the background streaming in simultaneously, our students had the opportunity to experience what a broadcast is really like and to practice mixing the audio and follow directions amid the chaos of a live broadcast. This opportunity was devised in an effort to boost potential careers in broadcast audio in a real-world setting.”

Three CRAS teams, each comprised of 10-12 broadcast engineering students apiece, trained during the three days NBC SPORTS broadcasted the Can-Am 500.

“Schools such as CRAS provide the training and exposure needed to be successful,” continues Ryan, who has 30 years of experience in sports production. “Being able to work with Dolby Atmos to create new experiences and incorporating this technology into the CRAS learning environment will give students the opportunity to be at the forefront of the industry. Our NBC audio crew is happy to be able to help CRAS provide another level of exposure to its students. Most of us have been helped along the way to learn our craft and it’s our duty to help the next generation be successful.”


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