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Covering traditional TV and OTT: A case study with Valencian local TV station À Punt Media and Calrec’s Spanish partner COEL
We recently had the chance to catch up with Guillermo Alberdi, Product Manager at our Spanish partner COEL and its customer Josep Balague, Project Engineer for Audio Systems and Live Broadcast with À Punt Media, the regional Valencian TV station.
In 2017, À Punt Media was in the process of launching as a local TV station with online output and was looking for broadcast-specific consoles with powerful networking capabilities so that audio resources could be shared between studios (four at the time, now five) and the control room. À Punt Media bought two Artemis consoles and in 2019 installed a third Artemis and a Brio, Calrec’s powerful-yet-compact console.
À Punt’s Project Engineer for Audio Systems and Live Broadcast, Josep Balague says: “As well as the ease-of-use and power of the consoles, it’s the reliability and redundancy capabilities that also satisfied À Punt’s requirements. The initial Brio was specified as a backup console for one of the studios, but it has also been used as a second mixer, especially for comms traffic.”
À Punt Media is a publicly owned regional TV station that covers Castellón, Valencia and Alicante provinces. It broadcasts on digital terrestrial TV, has an FM radio station and an OTT platform with live TV and radio and on-demand content. It also streams some live events. “We differentiate ourselves with our regional content and the quality of our presentation,” says Balague. Beyond pre-recorded content, it broadcasts regular live news, a four-hour live magazine show as well as covering regional sports and other live events.
Once the decision had been made to upgrade existing studios for À Punt’s use, a public tender was placed and awarded to Calrec, following the a winning presentation and discussion delivered by COEL which outlined the best technical and economic offer.
“Calrec perfectly suited our needs because of the number of sources it could handle and the well-known reliability and redundancy capabilities. Ease-of-use was also crucial as well as the easy and powerful routing and signal processing. The processing power is massive.”
He highlights a news program which covers national, regional and local elections. Balague says: “One studio was used as the “signal control” centre and a second studio was used for the program mix. More than 30 different live locations and over 100 external audio signals had to be handled from around the country. The result was a complete success!”
In terms of the network, À Punt uses a small Dante network but predominantly relies on Calrec’s Hydra2 capabilities. “Hydra2 satisfies all the requirements we have and it does so in a very reliable and easy way. Therefore, we think that right now there’s no need to for us to move to IP transport. In the future, we will have to move to an IP environment as that’s the way that the industry is going.”
When the time is right to move to IP, Calrec makes it easy with a range of equipment to ease the transition – its powerful ImPulse IP core can be added to À Punt’s existing Artemis consoles, and its Gateway products allow signal control and data sharing across a hybrid IP/Hydra2 network.
Hydra2 has also been key in allowing the station to continue to operate through the pandemic. Hydra2 allowed audio control and comms control to be quickly split into separate rooms to comply with social distancing.
“I would absolutely recommend Calrec to other broadcasters. ‘Resilience’ is a very fashionable word these days but Calrec has a long history in this regard. Reliability is paramount for us. Then there’s the processing power and the quick and easy access to operational resources, alongside the networking. The microphone pre-amps are a great example of the audio quality inherent in Calrec’s consoles.”
As a leading distributor of professional audio equipment, COEL has worked with Calrec for around 15 years. Guillermo Alberdi, Product Manager says: “We have a long relationship with Calrec and have a very high level of understanding across its complete product range. We see the key benefits of Calrec as being its technical innovation coupled with great reliability, which is crucial for broadcast implementations. They also provide great customer support.”
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