Boulogne, France - Canal Factory, a recently developed production facility for French premium subscription channel Canal+, and the free to air channel C8, has undergone a major upgrade to its technical infrastructure. The studio has moved its audio and video workflow to a facility-wide network, which includes the installation of four large-scale SSL System T broadcast audio production systems, an SSL L500 Live console, and SSL Network I/O interfaces. All of these are connected via a high-capacity (120+ devices, 6000 x 6000 audio channels), fully redundant Dante AoIP network that shares the core Canal Factory IP infrastructure.
“During this project we created the first large scale broadcast centre based on Dante Protocol for audio”, says Ralph Atlan, CANAL+ Broadcast CTO. “CANAL+ and SSL learned a lot together about the best way to implement SSL consoles in a full IP live broadcast environment. It really makes our partnership stronger.”
Canal Factory is responsible for much of the Canal+ and C8 core daily live programming and music events broadcasts. The C8’s daily talk shows, as well as its nightly news and talk shows such as Le Petit Journal, plus live music and the major sports shows Canal Football Club and Canal Rugby Club are all broadcasting using the new systems. When not in use on live productions the new studios are used for pre-records of shows such as the popular satirical puppet show Les Guignols.
The facilities include two main audio control rooms, four production stages, and a music pre-mix studio. All audio I/O is connected to and routed around the facility’s IP network using the Dante networked AoIP protocol via ‘Commercial Off The Shelf’ (COTS) Cisco network switches. This provides comprehensive, ultra-low latency distributed routing with full device discovery and more than 6000 x 6000 system channel capacity. The Dante Network has also been extended to the Canal+ Lumière Master Control Room 4km away across Paris via a dark fibre link, so that existing MADI infrastructure is now connected to the new network.
The Canal Factory also hosts a 100% network-based video system that includes multiviewers, processing, and edge routing technology, using SMPTE ST 2022-6 (7 to come).
The two audio control rooms at Canal Factory each feature a 64-fader, 3.5-bay main System T control surface and PC-based T-SOLSA control software with a 16-fader panel connected to one Tempest Audio Engine, plus an additional 16-fader 1.5-bay pre-mix/back-up surface connected to another Tempest Engine. Dante system-wide routing can be controlled directly from the consoles, or via Control System panels in each room.
Those Tempest Engines (four in total) are in the Machine room. SSL’s OCP network which handles communication between Tempest Engines and control interfaces is carried via the same standard Cisco switching hardware and facility-wide network infrastructure as the Dante network. The Machine Room also has SSL Network I/Os: SDI-MADI and Network I/O: AES units on the Dante Network, plus Dante services and control servers.
For flexible analogue I/O, the facility uses a number of SSL Network I/O SB 8:8 (8-channel mic/line in/out) stageboxes in the TV production stages, the OB services area, and other spaces. The entire facility uses more than 100 Dante I/O devices from many other manufacturers, all connected to the same network.
The SSL L500 console is used as a powerful music pre-mix facility, and as System T's user interface is closely related to the L500's, operators familiar with one, will have no problem operating the other. L500 audio input is from the stage via MADI, and the console feeds the main Dante network.
Head of Technical Studies Pierre Maillat, Head of Engineering Charles Lesoil, and Project Technical Executive Jean Marc Delage were responsible for specifying the new studios, in direct connection with Olivier Beneuf’s (Chief Operating Officer) teams. There were many aspects to the decision to invest in System T and SSL Live, not least the move to a true networked infrastructure where all audio is available anywhere in the facility and where several operators can control a single Tempest Engine simultaneously. "We have around 120 devices on the Dante Network at the moment," says Lesoil. "This facility is proof that a large-scale AoIP network infrastructure can serve a sophisticated round-the-clock broadcast operation. It's made us more flexible - ready for anything."
"The SSL I/O and processing power also makes a big impact on our operation," adds Delage. "The sound quality of the whole system is regularly complemented by our operators, and they love the SSL user interface and processing, - its high capacity and sonic performance is amazing."