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50 TVBEurope The Workflow April 2012

Average audience over five evenings was 11,135,500 and peaked on the last night with 13,287,500

And the winner is... HD and 5.1!

THE SANREMO song contest show, presented by veteran pop star Gianni Morandi, actor Rocco Papaleo and Czech model Ivana Mrazova, was directed by Stefano Vicario, and featured an impressive motorised set (9m high, 20m wide and weighing 20 tons), christened the ‘Ark of Music’ for its spaceship-inspired lines. Stefano Montesi, RAI technical supervisor at the show, was at his 11th Sanremo Festival and explains, “We used a total of nine Grass Valley LDK 8000 Elite HD cameras — one mounted on a rail running up the main section of the stage set, another on a jimmy jib, two mounted on dollies, two at the rear of the stall seats, two wireless shoulder cameras and a steadicam.

“The main OB van was Roma

4, but there were also three 4-camera production set-ups, three HD editing suites, seven Edius NLE suites for news programmes and a server for continuous recording of the shows for archive use. At the festival itself we had a total of 147 RAI technicians and various other staff, plus another 150 for editions of the news programmes and various reports transmitted from Sanremo before, during and after the Festival.” The camera installed on the set

gave viewers spectacular original shots of the shows from behind and above the artists and was mounted on a special Hexagon dolly (by Italian manufacturer Tecnopoint), which ran a steeply sloping curved track. Its operator had three monitors at his disposal: one showing the on-air programme; another with the camera’s coverage of the show; and a third with a feed from two small on-board HD cameras monitoring the camera, dolly and track.

Technical first As well as a 40-fader Stagetec Aurus audio console, the main OB van featured 12 Grass Valley LDK 8000 Elite HD camera chains, three Grass Valley HD wireless camera systems, a Sony MVS-8000G multi-format production switcher, a Grass Valley Trinix NXT and a pair of Venus routers for digital and analogue video, audio and data

Director Stefano Vicario in the main OB van, Roma 4

“Test 5.1 sat transmissions and Ballando con le Stelle enabled our engineers to get accustomed to working with the format” Mauro Severoni, RAI

routing. It also housed Snell & Wilcox and Harris up/down converters and digital video distributors, a total of eight Sony XDCAMs, two EVS XT[2] multichannel video servers, a BLT video server and a Telex RTS intercom system for 80 users. Another RAI veteran, Mauro

Severoni, coordinated the entire audio set-up for the show and, rightly proud of the technical ‘first’ for such an important event, states: “Test 5.1 satellite transmissions and Ballando con

le Stelle, the Italian version of Strictly Come Dancing, enabled our engineers to get accustomed to working with the format before facing the challenge of a new way of mixing on such an important show.” The audio of the contestants,

foreign guests (who included Queen guitarist Brian May, The Cranberries, boy band chart-toppers One Direction, Al Jarreau, Patti Smith, Macy Gray and Sarah Jane Morris) and the 60-piece Sanremo

Festival orchestra was mixed on a pair of Studer consoles: a Vista 8 and a Vista 5. Severoni explains, “The audio

chain was as follows; the orchestra and vocal microphones were converted by the Studer stage boxes, then fed via MADI optic protocol to a Stagetech Nexus Star matrix, to which all the in-theatre desks and the HD OB van’s Aurus console (mixing speech mics) were connected. The OB van’s Aurus console was also connected to the Nexus

The Sanremo song contest was transmitted nationwide by Channel 1 of Italy's state broadcaster (RAI) in high definition TV with 5.1 audio

The Sanremo Festival of Italian Songs is the country’s longest-running live TV show and one of the most viewed. This year, the 62nd edition of the show was transmitted nationwide by RAI Channel 1 in high definition TV with 5.1 audio. Mike Clarkreports

matrix and, once all the signals reached the van, the final mix was created to send to viewers at home. The six discrete channels in AES/EBU — L/R, C/Lfe, Ls/Rs — were encoded in Dolby E and transmitted, embedded in the HD video signal along with the stereo signal, via a sat station in Sanremo to Rome, where RAI Way converted it to Dolby Digital for playout as a second language to viewers’ homes nationwide via HD terrestrial digital channel 501.” To recreate the theatre

environment for viewers with home theatre systems, a DPA 5100 mic was flown above the centre of the theatre’s stalls for the acquisition of 5.1 surround sound, plus a pair of Sennheiser MKH 416 shotgun ambient microphones in the circle to enable the soundscape to match video coverage. For the 5.1 mix, Roberto Proli and Edoardo Scognamiglio manned a DiGiCo SD Ten B console in a dedicated RAI audio van, under the supervision of Emanuele Moscardi, who continues, "As well as the six discrete outputs from the DPA surround mic and signals from the Sennheisers, the desk received a series of stereo feeds from the music and playout control set-ups, the latter with pre-recorded jingles, RVM, etc. “These were ‘spatialised’ with a Soundfield UPM-1 stereo-to-5.1 upmix processor, which enabled the channels to be positioned as required, along with a mono feed from the speech mics. A separate audio feed arrived from the RAI’s graphics team at the show, who had already recorded some of the graphic inserts with 5.1 audio.” The festival had an average audience figure over five evenings of 11,135,500 and peaked on the last night (18 February) with 13,287,500, when Emma was announced as the winner. After the event, Severoni

expressed his satisfaction with the result achieved, stressing the fact that it had been accomplished by an all-RAI technical team and eagerly looking forward to putting the experience gained on the challenging live project to use on other productions.

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