Glensound developed the commentary box concept in the 1980s, with single unit workstations (I/O on the commentary box itself), and dual-unit systems connected by a long length of coax (I/O on a separate box). Now it has developed Talent Box, which gives presenters their own remote controls and can allow more than 30 commentators to be linked together, if required, writes David Fox.
The Talent Box, which will be launched at IBC, has been developed from Glensound’s popular single box commentary system, the GS-CU001B (which will continue in the Glensound range). It allows for two main commentary positions plus a third guest position, which can make sense, as it is not always desirable to have three commentators with independent controls on the main panel as physical space for the commentators can be limited. The Talent Box simply lifts these space constraints.
With the Talent Box, each of the three commentary positions has an external remote control that connects to the main unit via USB. The Talent Box Remote has identical controls to the main unit so the commentator can move away several metres and still adjust their incoming audio feeds, turn their microphone on/off (or cough), and operate the three talkback buttons.
The two main commentary positions plus guest design is practical, but it does mean that the guest position does not get control of their own monitoring sources, or their own talkback buttons. Using a Talent Box Remote, gives this full functionality to the third commentary/guest position.
Single unit commentary has only ever accommodated up to three commentators. Some of Glensound’s twin box systems accommodate four commentators, but that’s the limit. The Talent Box features the CMBus, which allows multiple Talent Boxes to link their three main busses – programme, talk back and monitoring. This means that a large number of commentators can be added to a single mixed programme output – easily accommodating over 30 commentators.
Connections are only made to one Talent Box for mixed programme output, the monitoring inputs and the bi-directional talk back circuits. This is then available on any connected unit. Commentators connect their mic/line inputs to each individual Talent Box, and the CMBus routes all of the audio.
It is unlikely that any broadcast will ever require 30 commentators on one programme, but the CMBus link does offer new possibilities, with six contributors to a programme easily achievable. The extra positions are not necessarily commentators but can be used by producers, statisticians, or anyone else that needs to contribute to the commentators or just monitor the commentary system. This function should be particularly useful in conjunction with the Talent Box Remotes.
An internet connection on the Talent Box allows an engineer to remotely control the on/off and gain levels of each commentator via a web browser. This function has only been available on high-spec digital systems and not on a single box unit.
Other featured include: Digital or analogue I/O; gain control of programme and talk back levels; engineer security of settings; digital line ident; soft headphone switching; dual-channel international sound; and if the Talent Box Remotes are not used, the USB sockets can even be used to charge a mobile phone.