CRAS Students Train with Live FOX SPORTS Audio/Video Feed During Arizona Diamondbacks Games
The Conservatory of Recording Arts & Sciences (CRAS) is proud to announce that its students recently had the opportunity to practice mixing live audio and video feeds from FOX SPORTS in the school’s 42-ft. remote-production mobile broadcast trailer during a three-game Arizona Diamondbacks home stand versus the Seattle Mariners Aug. 24-26 at Chase Field in Phoenix, Ariz.
“Our students received the raw feed from FOX and were provided the opportunity to train in our state-of-the-art 42-foot mobile broadcast trailer,” said Kirt Hamm, CRAS administrator. “The feeds included all the behind-the-scenes audio discussions and directions between the directors, broadcast crews, producers, engineers, and videographers. With all the background streaming in simultaneously, our students had the opportunity to experience what a broadcast is really like and to practice mixing the audio and follow directions amid the chaos of a live broadcast. This opportunity was devised to boost potential careers in broadcast audio in a real-world setting.”
The CRAS 42-ft. remote-production mobile broadcast trailer was located adjacent to the Mobile TV Group–MTVG HDX-31 truck on the broadcast pad at Chase Field. Fred Domenigoni, freelance senior audio engineer for FOX SPORTS ARIZONA, assisted CRAS staff with the help from Mobile TV Group engineers.
“I’ve worked alongside the great people at the Conservatory for five years, and the in-the-field training offered to their students is a great way for them to learn how live broadcast works in real time,” said Domenigoni, “There are a lot of moving parts in a live sports broadcast situation, and you have to be ready for anything because there are no do-overs. These CRAS students get the fit and feel from industry professionals who are working the games. It’s a tremendous advantage for them so they know what to expect when they graduate and make careers of their own in our field. I can’t personally thank the D’Backs, FOX SPORTS ARIZONA, and the folks at CRAS enough for allowing me this opportunity to help give this real-world training.”
According to Domenigoni, this is the sixth season of bringing students into a live event with the D’Backs at Chase Field. He explained that his crew sends several video sources, including a camera mounted over his desk, and approximately 60 channels of broadcast audio for the students to utilize live in the school’s mobile unit. CRAS also records these sources for use in the classroom environment.
“Many CRAS students who are participating in their post school graduate intern program have come out to other sporting events I work on, such as for Pac-12 Network, ESPN, and others,” Domenigoni continued. “I usually send them out with one of my assistants of the day to learn the setup and connections required for a live sporting event. There is no set way to mix but keeping it as simple as you can will help you get through the very short setup times on these one-day set-shoot-strike events.”
The Conservatory of Recording Arts & Sciences is composed of two nearby campuses in Gilbert and Tempe, Ariz. A CRAS education includes Broadcast Audio, Live Sound, Audio Post for Film and TV, Music Production, Commercial Production and Video Game Audio, all taught by award-winning instructors who have excelled in their individual fields. CRAS’ structured programs and highly qualified teaching staff provide a professional and supportive atmosphere, which is complemented by its small class sizes allowing for individual instruction and assistance for students in engineering audio recordings. For over three decades, CRAS has set the standard in Audio Engineering Education, and is continuously seeking avenues that will keep with the spirit of constantly seeking to raise the bar. The curriculum and equipment are constantly being updated to keep pace with the rapid advancements in the music and sound recording industries. CRAS’ course offerings and subject matter have always centered around the skills and knowledge necessary for students’ success in the audio recording industries.
“My goal is to give students a firsthand look at how a sports broadcast is put together and executed,” explained Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame member and FOX Sports senior mixer and consultant, Fred Aldous, who also assisted CRAS staff during the series. “Once again through the generosity of FOX Sports Arizona and the Arizona Diamondbacks we have been given privileged access to park our mobile unit alongside the actual working production of this home stand against the Seattle Mariners. We can give the students a hands-on experience of mixing a live, real time production without compromising and on-air product.”
Aldous explained that they take the audio feeds from the Diamondbacks production truck, which includes all microphones from around the field and announce booth, a handful of cameras as well as the producer and director audio feeds. “We will take the students around the ballpark to let them see where all of the microphones are placed, why that particular location was chosen, and what sounds the will capture,” he explained. “They are given the opportunity to play announcer as we have been given access to our own announce booth where we will set up announce headsets and comms that emulate what the Diamondbacks announce team will be using on the broadcast. It truly is a real-world experience. We want to thank FOX Sports Arizona and especially Scott Geyer of the Arizona Diamondbacks for their partnership and willingness to promote education in a broadcast environment.”
The 11-month program is designed to allow every student access to learn and train in all the Conservatory’s studios which are comprised with state-of-the-art audio recording and mixing gear, the same equipment used in today’s finest studios and remote broadcast facilities, including Dolby Atmos, Pro Tools 12, API Legacy consoles, Avid S6 console, SSL AWS consoles, Studer Vista consoles, and much more. All students must complete a 280-hour industry internship to graduate from the Master Recording Program II that may ultimately lead to industry employment.