CEI Builds Audio Production Suites for Discovery Communications

Discovery Communications has more than 2.5 billion cumulative subscribers in more than 220 countries and territories. Discovery’s leading networks include Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, Science and Investigation Discovery, as well as U.S. joint venture networks OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network and the Hub Network.

The Discovery Creative and Technology Center (DCTC) facility and its staff are responsible for post-production and media creation, including sound design, post mixing and VO recording, across Discovery’s portfolio of networks. Working closely with the Discovery Communications project team, Communication Engineering, Inc. (CEI) provided professional services that included consultation, project management, system design, documentation, implementation, testing, commissioning and equipment for the DCTC Audio 5 and 6 Audio Mixing Suites project. The team, led by Discovery’s Media Technology, Production & Operations group included Discovery’s Technical Facilities Planning and Engineering unit, other internal Discovery groups, Discovery’s outside architect, Archcentric, CEI and the general contractor, Harvey-Cleary Builders. 

Through thoughtful design, each suite is comprised of a room-within-a-room via the use of floating floors, walls and ceilings – achieving supreme acoustical isolation. With a shared narration positioned between both suites, architectural features of each vibrant blue suite include: cam-lift acoustical doors; extensive acoustical treatments, such as vertical and horizontal diffusion; individual dedicated HVAC systems; dimmable LED task lighting; and independent maintenance lighting.

The technical design for each suite features 5.1 audio monitoring and mixing, utilizing a 32-fader Avid System 5MC control surface. The control surface provides the human interface into the Avid Pro Tools HDX digital audio workstation engine, which is equipped with 16 analog and 48 digital channels in and out. Custom consoles wrap to the right and left of the Avid System 5 control surface.
The consoles house numerous accessories and patch panels that, along with the equipment and software plug-ins housed in the remote technical core, provide for a fully featured and highly capable post-production mixing and sweetening environment.

Key Technology:
· Avid – System 5MC Control Surface
· Avid – Pro Tools HDX Digital Audio Workstation Engine
· Avid – Symphony Nitris DX DNxHD System w/Video Satellite Software
· Thinklogical – DVI KVM Transport via Fiber Optic
· Focal – Focal SM6 Powered 5.1 Surround Sound Audio Monitoring
· RTW – TM9 Touch Screen Audio Metering and Monitoring
· Tascam – HS-2000 2 Track Recorder
· Minnetonka – SurCode Software (Dolby E Master Suite)
· Sony 55” Pro Displays
· Marshall Lip Sync Monitor
· Telos Hybrid and Codec
· Harris Broadcast Router and Control Panel
· API Microphone Pre Amps

The collaboration delivered a feature-rich comprehensive solution within a small space that met the project’s technical, budgetary and schedule requirements.