SSL adds immersive audio to EBU’s European Championship trials

A total of five European broadcasters and 19 technology partners will be participating in EBU’s 4K/UHD HFR HDR trial at the 2018 European Athletics Championships

At the upcoming 2018 European Athletics Championships, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) will be conducting trials to shoot, process, record and distribute live 4K/Ultra HD (UHD) content, in combination with high frame rates (HFR), high dynamic range (HDR), and next-generation audio (NGA). The competition is part of the multi-sport European Championships, which will take place in Glasgow and Berlin from August 2-12.

The trials involve live distribution of 4K/UHD content with both HDR (HLG/BT.2110) and HFR (2160p100). In Berlin, five European broadcasters — the BBC, France Télévisions, IRT, RAI and ZDF — will collaboratively set up a 2160p100 HLG/BT.2020 production workflow. The 2160p100 feed will be used to derive two additional 1080p100 and 1080p50 signals.

Particularly for the 1080p100 programme, it will also include NGA sound in the form of 4+7+0 channel- and scene-based beds, with four additional interactive mono object signals for two commentaries and two audio descriptions. In addition to providing immersive experiences, NGA also enables features such as personalisation, accessibility and interactivity, by means of “objects”.

Supporting the trials are 19 technology partners, including Solid State Logic (SSL). The audio console manufacturer is providing its System T S300-32 mixing console with 3D panning and network I/O, allowing the EBU to create an “immersive audio architecture” for the broadcast of the competition.

The console architecture of SSL’s System T is integrated with the support of NGA for ATSC 3.0, Dolby Atmos and MPEG-H. With the emergence of 3D immersive audio, SSL’s new three-axis coordinate panning for System T includes two- or four-channel overhead speakers in the available channel and bus formats. Besides positioning mono and stereo sources in a 3D sound field, System T is able to accept multi-channel 3D sources and their spatial components as they are added to the final production mix.

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