TV2 Norway’s commercial station broadcasts with Genelec

TV2 Oslo
When you have travelled around and visited a number of different broadcasters you begin to create a picture of what service they provide represents to the communities they serve. You also become aware of recurring themes and trends that run through all broadcasting facilities and studios. Most notably you realise that most existing studio complexes are steeped in compromise. It is only at the very point of completing a brand new purpose built facility that the technical staff will tell you that everything is at the peak of its productivity and that they have factored in enough slack to accommodate any immediate and foreseeable growth. But most will tell you that even with the best crystal ball in the business it won’t be that long before the changing demands placed on a broadcaster’s operations start to nudge and test the perimeters of its capability and the need for work-arounds and adaptations become apparent.

Broadcasting emerges therefore as a short lived-lived period of ideal followed by an extended period of making do and being versatile and creative with what you have. The production flow is relentless and these are the tools you have been given to create output - successful broadcasting often has much more to with the attitude of operators to get the job done.TV2 NewsRoom

Oslo’s new is on-air from 6:30 in the morning until 5pm in the afternoon at which point Bergen takes over until midnight. The there are reruns during the early hours until Oslo picks up again in the morning. Like many broadcasters, TV2 had developed a highly automated news studio with integrated control of all sound, vision, cameras, lights and autocue - all of which is supervised by engineers. The news studio is a sight to behold and at the time of our visit was being run by a sound engineer who says he now finds himself doing everything but sound in a role that is referred to in-house as “the octopus”. There’s a Studer OnAir 3000 in here with Genelec monitoring in a set-up that is apparently very similar to what you would find at the Bergen facilities. Engineers work in shifts and, despite the degree of automation and preplanning, you can see that the job is intense and stressful.TV2 Studio

Elsewhere in the building there are two sound control rooms and two vision controls allowing maximum flexibility of the associated studio spaces- there are four studios covering news and current affairs. TV2 also creates non-news programming in Oslo, such as the daily Good Morning Norway show and regular current affairs slots but it also helps out with bigger projects when needs dictate.

TV2 has another studio complex with three huge studios on another site in Oslo that it uses for its big show productions. When these spill over Oslo central takes up the slack. At the time of our visit the ‘Pop Idol’ heats were being shot here and we were attracting a lot of interest in the media and on the street outside. The big studio plot does not have control rooms and so employs TV2 trucks from its OB Team fleet to handle the duties.

‘Genelec is our standard’ says Stig. ‘When I started here 14 years ago we were using Yamaha NS10s everywhere - I guess that was what they could afford. I came from NRK and there were Genelecs everywhere there. We now have Genelecs here in the sound controls, edit suites, OB vehicles, everywhere.’
TV2 SuiteThe 8240As they use in the control rooms are DSP models and their ability to ‘tune’ the room has proved invaluable to sort out less than idea monitoring environments. Part of the issue in a busy sound control room is the collection of screens, monitors and ancillary bits and pieces that accumulate in the process of getting job done. The room itself might have sounded fairly pleasant when it was empty, but things get more complex as it fills up with clutter. Stig says the DSP monitors have made a big difference and points out that the mic used to measure and set up the room is kept on its stand behind the desk’s right hand equipment rack. They’re also looking into use of the DSP models in the OB trucks - an application that is crying out for a friendly, simple solution.

As you walk around the facility you begin to realise that is all built in an enormous converted department store. The news offices are arranged on a floor that has been suspended across what was once the central atrium of the store. Reporters use Quantel server-based new production systems and iNews and the central floor area is surrounded by suites used for content preparation on Avid or Quantel and each room has Genelec monitoring.

TVs employs around 300 in Oslo and a similar number in Bergen and while the environment in the news areas is spacious and relaxed this contrasts to the frenetic activity that is going on behind the scenes. The production staff is being genuinely creative in their use of space and resourceful in their choice of technology and its application. It’s a case study in how to get the job done.