- Published on Wednesday, 20 July 2005 12:00
On the audio side, the flagship project is Studio 4, the largest of STV's studios with 400 square metres of studio floor, nine cameras, and comprehensive production facilities that have all been refurbished. This studio has been home to Slovakia's successful and popular version of 'Pop Idol' known here as 'Superstar'. Operational since November, the studio is based around an Euphonix Max Air digital console. According to Centron's consultant Varkonda, STV were looking for a console with at least 80 inputs, that had an analogue 'feel' and was 5.1 capable. The 'Pop Idol' series is typical of the demands that will be made on this studio with its orchestra, singers, groups and audience. The 5.1 surround capabilities of the new control room together with full Dolby encode/decoder units, are an investment for the future. The room had originally been planned for stereo use but the proximity of digital broadcasting changed their attitude. The Genelec system - 1032s all round with 7070 subwoofer - is currently being used in stereo and has been cleverly integrated within the video monitor wall. "The monitors sit upside down on shelves within the wall," explained Varkonda, "in a way that it is possible to adjust the vertical angle to put the speaker axis in the right position . They are then surround by a stiff foam to isolate then from the frame. The rear speakers are ceiling mounted." As is frequently the case in TV studios, STV had specific operational requirements that precluded placement of the audio monitors in the optimum acoustic speaker position within the studio, according to Varkonda. "STV insisted on rear access to the video wall and acoustically the front speakers are not in the perfect position but they do work well. Also the surround speakers had to be positioned further back. However STV and their engineers are very happy with the sound because this is still the best sounding control room they've had." The next phase of the studio upgrade is the completion of a digital infrastructure so that projects can be moved around the facilities. It is expected that the new 5.1 equipped Studio 4 will be handling more demanding audio work from other studios while also be used for music recording from its own studio floor. There are plans for further acoustic work in the control room before 5.1 mixing for broadcast becomes more frequent but that might be sooner than was originally planned. Digital terrestrial broadcasting experimental tests have found that coverage will be far better than that of the current analogue signal. The tall aerials aren't needed and interference with neighbouring countries will be easier to control. There is so much enthusiasm from the government, STV and the public that there are suggestions a changeover from analogue to digital might be able to be completed with 12 months, nearly eight years earlier than once thought!