Yet another Royal Wedding story. This time about how the BBC trusted its entire sound mix to a decade-old Stagetec sound desk, which will now move on to the Proms, writes David Fox.
As host broadcaster for the Royal Wedding, the BBC used two Stagetec-equipped outside broadcast trucks at Westminster Abbey to cover the event – one for TV and one for Radio. The corporation provided international versions of the audio mix for other broadcasters to add their own commentary.
The clean Radio mix was balanced by a sound engineer and two assistants on a 40-fader Stagetec Aurus in BBC Radio’s new General Purpose (GP) truck, Sound 5. The commentary by the BBC’s own presenter, Edward Stourton, from inside the Abbey was added in a downstream production van. The GP truck was used to capacity with its stage boxes deployed around the Abbey and connected by fibre optic cable to the truck.
The wedding service sound for TV was provided for the BBC in stereo and Dolby 5.1, by SIS Live’s specialist sound truck, MasterSound, with the mix reaching an estimated two billion viewers worldwide.
MasterSound (pictured) made its debut in 1986 and it was nearly ten years ago that the truck was digitised with the installation of a 128-channel Stagetec Cantus mixing desk together with a Stagetec Nexus routing system. According to Aspen Media, the UK distributor for Stagetec, the “wide dynamic range front end and transparent sound character” of the Nexus, together with the “uncoloured processing” of the Cantus were ideal for handling more than 80 sources at the wedding.
MasterSound’s next outing is a visit to the English National Opera for a new production of Berlioz’ the Damnation of Faust, directed by Terry Gilliam, closely followed by the Proms season of classical music at the Royal Albert Hall, where it will produce stereo TV sound for BBC 2 and 5.1 surround for the BBC HD channel.