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Telemedellín focuses on audio quality

With Avid systems as the axis, the Colombian channel Telemedellín installed an audio post-production room in order to improve the sound quality of the productions broadcast by the channel. Today it works for own and external content.

Richard Santa

Since the technical spaces where the new headquarters of the Colombian channel Telemedellín operates were conceived, two audio post-production rooms and one more recording rooms were thought. This project materialized at the beginning of 2017 with the start-up of one of the production rooms and the recording room.

Carlos Duque, director of engineering of the Canal, told TVyVideo+Radio that for some years Telemedellín has been concerned with improving the quality of the audio of the productions. Therefore, when thinking about the new headquarters, these spaces were taken into account from the beginning.

- Publicidad -

He stressed that it happens a lot in Colombia that the audio is the cinderella of the video, it is always hanging. And more taking into account that audio is not a topic that the common viewer perceives easily, they only realize when there are errors or problems, but it is essential to have productions with quality audio. 

Therefore, a few years ago in Telemedellín they incorporated a sound engineer and have a macro plan to generate an improvement in the quality of the audio, both the one that ends in the post-production room and the one that does not, which includes the training of all the technical personnel related to the capture of the audio, linking the cameramen.

An audio post-production room requires an architecturally adequate space, for that in the Canal they relied on a company specialized in acoustics, as well as state-of-the-art equipment that would allow them to have a room as close to the ideal conditions.

Training for all
Felipe Amaya, sound engineer of Telemedellín, commented that after his arrival at the Canal, there was the idea of improving the sound part, especially with staff training in topics such as microphone management and basic fundamentals. Thus they managed to provide tools that allow them to solve problems when they are making recordings abroad and reduce problems at the time of capture. For this they reached an agreement with the San Buenaventura University, which helped in the training. 

Carlos Duque and Felipe Amaya were in charge of designing the audio and recording post-production rooms. They contemplated a good isolation that allowed recording voiceover and documentaries. That is why it has a TL of 40, 12 absorbent panels that help lower the reverberation time, two bass traps in the corners to reduce problems with the low frequencies and four diffusers in the ceiling that help create a more homogeneous sound at the point where the person is listening. The glass is double and the door also has special technical conditions.

In the recording room there was a particular theme, just above is located the terrace of the building where there is a court used by canal employees. In order not to affect the recordings by vibrations when they were playing, the roof has an additional concrete plate.

The latest in technology
For the provision of equipment from both rooms, Telemedellín engineers looked for the latest trends for film and television that would allow them to meet the objective of having a high quality room. That is why they equipped the post-production room with an Akai medium controller, two JBL speakers and the heart of the technology is based on Avid, with an S3 console, which in this case is used as a controller for the ProTools 12 and an Omni interface.

- Publicidad -

Felipe Amaya stressed that this choice of equipment was made taking into account that they are the most used for the postproduction of audio for video around the world. In addition, ProTools is the most versatile tool at the moment and is an international standard and he has an extensive history working with this system and knows all the possibilities it offers when editing audio for video.

"There are other systems to edit audio only that work very well, but that have the audio plugin for video, ProTools is the one that works best. And as the other editing rooms of the Canal use Media Composer, for us it has been very easy to integrate the two systems, "added the sound engineer of Telemedellín.

This room is a response to the growth that the channel has had in recent years and responds to international standards of audio quality. Today in this room they are editing three types of content: documentaries, special programs and voiceovers for programs of the Channel. In addition, through the Canal's media agency, they are making external productions and content for the different secretariats of the Mayor's Office of Medellín.

What's next
On the audio Telemedellín has been working on two topics that will allow it to stand out among the television channels in Colombia. The first is that it is preparing to move audio from monophonic, as it currently is, to stereophonic. For this they have trained the staff and have done tests with companies such as Audio Technica. Today they are able to broadcast in stereo audio, but there are some problems with the set-top boxes that people have in their homes. Now they are evaluating possibilities to be able to broadcast in stereo audio without affecting viewers who do not have the technical conditions to receive it.

The second aspect is with binaural audio. In partnership with the universities of San Buenaventura and Medellín, they are planning a 6-chapter documentary series about Medellín, so that people can feel the City and which will be broadcast through social networks. This project arose after the trainings given by the San Buenaventura to the technicians of the Canal and seeks to unite the research of both universities, which have already developed a system for binaural audio, with the practice that the Canal can provide.

Finally, Carlos Duque said that "the room has been very well received. We had been working with some ProTools plugins for audio editing but they were very limited and with staff who were not widely trained to handle it. We now have two qualified people in ProTools and two more are in the process of training. Thanks to the room we are also making a better recording on the street. We feel it's a successful project and we're on the right track."

- Publicidad -

The second audio post-production room in Telemedellín is expected to be implemented in a year and a half if the volume of work for the current room, both internal and external, continues to grow.

Richard Santa, RAVT
Author: Richard Santa, RAVT
Periodista de la Universidad de Antioquia (2010), con experiencia en temas sobre tecnología y economía. Editor de las revistas TVyVideo+Radio y AVI Latinoamérica. Coordinador académico de TecnoTelevisión&Radio.

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