World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) recently upgraded its post production facilities with a Solid State Logic C10 HD compact broadcast console in Audio 5 studio to support foreign language broadcasts.
WWE programs, including Monday Night RAW, SmackDown and WWE Total Divas, are delivered to 650 million homes in over 150 countries and translated into 30 languages. WWE live and televised entertainment encompasses terrestrial, cable and satellite broadcast and Pay-Per-View, along with the recently-launched over-the-top (OTT) WWE Network.
The C10 HD is used to simulcast RAW in Spanish live in the U.S. and to Spanish-speaking countries like Puerto Rico and Mexico. It’s also applied for multilingual voice to picture (ADR) post-production of all WWE shows for localized programming in Brazil, China (in Mandarin), Japan and Russia.
“While our five-room facility is primarily used for post production, we need to broadcast the Spanish language version of RAW live from our Audio 5 room,” says Jason Miller, senior broadcast engineer for WWE. “Being able to handle both the post-production and live broadcast roles was extremely important in our choice of a console. SSL is just rock-solid reliable and the topography is very straightforward and easy for an operator to use.
“We had an onsite demo of several competitor consoles, but, while they had some bells and whistles, they always took too many button presses to get to where the operator needed to go,” he continues. “Beyond the great sound, ease-of-use for the operator and reliability for engineering were two strong reasons for us to choose the SSL C10.”
WWE produces nearly 320 events over 52 weeks each year, so production efficiency is the rule for the busy studio complex. Audio 5, the studio control room used to accomplish the translations has a dedicated booth for voice-over and commentary work.
When used for the live Monday Night RAW broadcast, Audio 5 takes its feed directly from the OB truck at the event and uses the C10 to complete the live Spanish version. Both the English and Spanish versions are simulcast on USA Network in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, while TelaVisa broadcasts the show in Spanish on tape delay.
“We have two Spanish speaking announcers working the RAW show here at the studio,” Miller explains. “One of the immediate benefits of the console was the sound, which ensures that our Spanish simulcast has the same quality audio as our main broadcast. In fact, Jim Widman, WWE’s audio engineer who handles 95 percent of the workload in Audio 5, has been with the company for years and he was just over the moon with the functionality and sound of the SSL.
“Additionally, Chris Argento, who is also VP and head of post audio and the final word in selecting the console, was equally impressed. In fact, all of the operators in the complex just rave about the sound quality of the C10.”
The presets on the C10 also help to streamline workflow, which requires that a variety of engineers and languages are being supported from the same space. “Everything about the C10 makes our job easier and better than before,” notes Widman. “We have many operators running the console to accomplish our Japanese, Chinese, Russian and Spanish versions and there are many presets being used for different situations, such as an ISDN session, ADR or live production, as well as for voice over and commentary.
“With the push of a button, we can instantly recall a setup and start working. Additionally, we can also expand our functions through the production assistant software packages that are available on the console. Essentially, the C10 accomplishes everything we need it to do very effectively.”