Sweetwater Digital Productions' Control Room at work

by Robert Wilson

Sweetwater Digital Productions, a well-established leader in partnered production facilities and mobile production units, teamed with Telepictures to deliver the new premiere standard for stage installations industry-wide. By starting with their unique portable production trailer design, and crafting it to the specifications of Tele-Pictures’ John Ankwicz, Sweetwater was able to deliver a functional, budget-conscious – and stunning – production and control room facility.

In July 2009, Sweetwater set out to create a complete production facility out of two custom 60’ x 40’ trailers provided by Telepictures – one to serve as control for the production of Lopez Tonight, the other to be used as a post facility.

Sweetwater carefully selected equipment, with price and flexibility in mind, utilizing long-standing relationships with vendors such as Grass Valley, Ikegami, and Studer among others.

Inside the Production Trailer, there are four custom rooms serving Production Audio, Music Mix Audio, Control Room and Tape, and Video Control and Engineering, all designed to spec by Sweetwater’s head engineers Stephen Sharp and Mark Hale, together with Ankwicz. Custom production consoles were made to house the switcher head for the TD area, and provide monitoring and communications for the production staff.

The system uses a Grass Valley Kayak switcher, and the monitor wall consisting of Boland 55” & 32” LCD monitors and a Harris Centrio multiviewer/router. Each show is recorded on Sony XDCam decks for archive, while the Post Trailer uses Avid Multistream for instant editing. Ikegami CMOS cameras outfitted with Fujinon lenses are used to shoot the show, while the video engineer uses Ikegami glass monitors to shade with a Boland LCD monitor as a second reference. The Lighting designer also uses an Ikegami glass monitor for continuity.

The show’s playback is done via Grass Valley K2 Summit Server with a direct connection to the Post trailer so as to send content directly. Sweetwater also provides an Avid Deko 3000 for all of the on air graphics.

On the audio side, Sweetwater provided a Studer Vista 5 audio console and two Yamaha O2R96 Audio consoles for the production mix and two Yamaha DM2000 audio consoles for the Music Mix. A Tascam X48 was provided for the Music Mix. The stage audio system consists of 2 Yamaha PM1D audio consoles with JBL Control 5 speakers in the audience for distributed sound. A Riedel system was installed for all communications with RTS 2 wire speaker stations and belt backs for the stage.  

Sweetwater Digital Productions is located in Van Nuys, California. Phone: 818.902.9500

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