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MPE sounds good for ARD/ZDF in China and Korea

The ARD/ZDF Mobile Production Unit used at the Swimming World Championships in Shanghai heads to Korea for next week's World Athletics Championships.

Last month, the Mobile Production Unit (MPE) belonging to ARD and ZDF was in use at the FINA Swimming World Championships in Shanghai. This month it is in Daegu, Korea, where it will be used next week for broadcasting the IAAF World Athletics Championships (27 August – 4 September), writes David Fox.

The MPE is equipped with a Lawo mc²56 audio console in a 16-16C frame with two extensions of 16 faders each, giving a total of 64 faders. Seven digital signal-processing cards (one used for redundant cover) provide 336 DSP channels, out of which 288 DSP channels are used actively.

In Shanghai, everything was mixed on the mc²56 but not in surround sound, as the host broadcaster, CCTV (China Central Television), only broadcasts in stereo. The MPE’s administrator, Horst Dünchem (pictured), had to adapt the unit’s setup to cope with the limited space available on site. This was — apart from reliability and the redundancy design of Lawo consoles — one of the main reasons for choosing an mc²56, which is well suited for such applications. Fast access to any channel functions is possible thanks to the console’s Reveal function.

Planning for the two events started in March and, by the end of May, the MPE was shipped in six 6m containers from the port of Mainz in Germany (on the Rhine) via Rotterdam to Shanghai; the containers arrived in early July. At the International Broadcast Centre, offices and control rooms were erected, and this is where all the broadcast equipment was installed.

It took 16 different sized containers to house the technical equipment, control rooms, the editing staff, and offices for ARD and ZDF, Germany’s national public broadcasters, all with ample air-conditioning.

The central control room measured around six by eight metres. This accommodated the studio control and editing areas as well as space for EVS operators, a virtual technology unit, the video mixer and an audio control room for live broadcasts.

The other containers hosted three Avid edit suites, one audio mix area and a well-cooled equipment room with a video matrix, the Avid network, the EVS network, the Lawo console’s HD core and two matrix nodes for the Riedel talkback system.

Another room housed the Master Control Room for the technical control of broadcast outputs, the on-air broadcast scheduling crew, and camera control for five cameras (for national coverage in addition to the international feed). International feeds from the host broadcaster, which were used for transmission to Germany, included those for water polo, diving, open water swimming and the short-distance swimming competitions.

In the swimming hall, there was one commentator position for swimming, one presenter location and one flash interview location in the mixed zone and, if required, also in the athletics’ block. In all, 15 of Lawo’s Dallis modular I/O frames were used in different areas, all supplying signals to the mc²56.