Scottsdale, Ariz., Dec. 8, 2016 – It was a great game between local rivals, and students from The Conservatory of Recording Arts & Sciences (CRAS; www.cras.edu), the premier institution for audio engineering education, had the opportunity to mix live audio and video feeds in its 42-ft. remote-production mobile broadcast unit during a recent Horizon High School (Scottsdale, Ariz.) versus Pinnacle High School (Phoenix, Ariz.) football game. The game was played at Horizon’s home football field. Both schools are members of the Paradise Valley Unified School District.
Although the home team lost in a 43-42 overtime Senior Night nail biter, Horizon H.S. Athletic Director Larry Boyles said that having the ability to watch the action from a live production standpoint was an experience that most of the high school students will never get again.
“Having the CRAS unit on-site to show our students and parents all that goes into producing a game was an awesome experience,” said Boyles. “The professionalism that the [CRAS] faculty and students exhibited made the experience very pleasurable. Professionalism at its best…we thank the [CRAS] faculty and students for producing a first class show.”
Faculty and students from CRAS brought the production unit to Horizon High School for set-up two days prior to the game, parking on the home team side of the football field. On Friday, three Horizon H.S. classes toured the unit. During the game that evening, additional students and their parents were also able to get a tour in order to see both what goes into producing a game, as well as what CRAS has to offer its students in real life production situations.
“During the game, we used six cameras, four belonging to CRAS, two belonging to Horizon, all of which were operated by CRAS students,” explained Robert Brock, director, Live Broadcast/Game Audio department for CRAS. “Positioning of these cameras included one on a riser at each end zone, two sideline cameras, one camera in the announcer booth, and one rover camera that was used to do interview segments with a HHS (Horizon H.S.) student acting as the host. He utilized a wireless microphone and IFB (ear piece for communications from the director/producer) so he could interview students and teachers for brief interviews during stops in the action.”
Mics, according to Brock, were also on all of the camera positions. “We flew a tall pole just behind the home team bench with a pair of mics aimed at the stands to capture crowd noise, and another pair aimed at the field to capture the marching band at halftime. We also placed one additional stereo mic on the track in front of where the band plays when they're in the stands.”
In all, 12 CRAS students were involved in setup and tear down, operated all of the cameras, assisted in the truck at the console, and one also was the replay system operator. One Horizon H.S. student also acted as technical director, who switched between cameras. Five CRAS instructors served as producers/directors, graphics, and EIC (engineer in charge) A1 (audio mixer) during the game.
“On Friday during the school day, we had about 30 students from the school’s drama classes that were given time to come out and see our technical setup as those students also do tech crew work on their own shows,” said Brock. “While we talked about the football setup, we also talked about the role of audio production in live theater. The Studer Vista audio console that's on the truck is also the same console used in live theater production on Broadway, such as Disney's Aladdin. These students were very interested and engaged and I was impressed with the questions they asked.”
Both Brock and Boyles said that it was such a positive experience for all involved that they plan on conducting similar broadcast opportunities at future Horizon H.S. sports events.
“It was an awesome time for all involved as the feedback I received from everyone was very positive,” Brock added. “I also understand that the parents of the seniors were very grateful for the coverage, as it was the last game for them at Horizon. Before the game, they introduced all of the seniors and had them walk out onto the field with their families, which was also part coverage.”
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, film and TV audio, music, and video game audio, all taught by award-winning instructors who have all excelled in their individual fields, including sound reinforcement, audio recording and production, digital recording, troubleshooting/maintenance, and music business.
“[CRAS’] structured programs and highly qualified teaching staff provide a professional and supportive atmosphere, which is complemented by our small class sizes allowing for individual instruction and assistance for students in engineering audio recordings,” added Kirt Hamm, CRAS administrator. “CRAS has been providing quality vocational training in audio recording for more than three decades. 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.”
The 11-month program is designed to allow every student access to learn and train in all of 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 Pro Tools 11, API Legacy consoles, 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.
About The Conservatory of Recording Arts & Sciences
Based in the heart of The Valley of the Sun with two campuses in Gilbert and Tempe, Ariz., The Conservatory of Recording Arts & Sciences (CRAS) is one of the country’s premier institutions for audio education. The Conservatory has developed a unique and highly effective way to help the future audio professional launch their careers in the recording industry and other related professional audio categories.