• News
  • March 18, 2020

12th Man Productions Provides Access to All Texas A&M Fans Thanks to Dante and Dante Domain Manager

PORTLAND, Ore., March 18, 2020 – Located in the heart of the
Houston-Dallas-Austin triangle, within a two-hour drive of most of the state’s
28 million residents, Texas A&M’s main campus in College Station is home to
more than 62,500 students. Another 5,700 are at branch campuses in locations
across Texas – and as far away as Qatar.

A&M Athletics’ award-winning 12th Man Productions handles the television
production needs for Aggies sports – including content for 12thMan.com, TV
shows, videoboard presentations and ESPN’s SEC Network productions. Along with
producing live broadcasts and video features for all teams, 12th Man Productions
also entertains A&M fans with television shows such as The Pulse, which
gives fans an up-close look at Texas A&M Football in the fall.

12th Man team, which includes 18 fulltime staff members and up to 90 Texas
A&M undergraduate students, moved into an all-new facility at the south end
zone at redeveloped Kyle Field in 2015. The new facility was created with
a nearly $12 million investment in the electronics infrastructure to
serve Texas A&M athletics.

state-of-the-art facility hosts four HD control rooms, an ESPN bureau cam
studio, a main studio set area, a radio broadcast room, and six post-production
edit rooms. 12th Man Productions produces 110 events a year, and the facility’s
multiple control rooms allow the staff to produce side-by-side productions
for the SEC Network from different venues as well as support in-venue shows at
the same time.

his role as Chief Broadcast Engineer for Texas A&M, Zack Bacon oversees all
technical support for the 12th Man Productions facility as it relates to
vendors, system upgrades, installations, and system maintenance contracts – as
well as provides lead technical support for new and emerging technology needs.
He also provides live event technical support and manages the student
engineering staff.

A Networked, Centralized Approach

the Kyle Field renovation, the team began moving toward an IP infrastructure
for their audio network.

total, the new infrastructure has 48 fiber optic runs that tie the Kyle Field
control center to the school’s seven main sports venues. Over the last few
years, they have been working to control all venues from the centralized area.

we started the renovation, we had to choose our audio network platform, and it
was obvious that Dante fit our immediate needs and was also supported by the
industry enough to cover our future plans,” said Bacon. “We
definitely have an extensive Dante deployment, and we’re trying to grow it as
much as possible. It’s a great technology, and we can vouch for its flexibility
and how using the IP infrastructure allows us to do a lot of things we wouldn’t
otherwise be able to do.”

explained that as a centralized facility, audio from all facilities is
transported to the production control rooms via Dante, and nearly all audio for
broadcast is on a Dante network as well. The team produces everything
essentially through Dante with Yamaha consoles. The audio signals are mixed,
married to the video, and then either used within the venue or broadcast out.
The team also has a direct fiber connection to ESPN, allowing them to share
audio and video content directly.

have four control rooms, so we’re able to do two sports at a time,” said
Bacon. “That means two big-screen shows and two ESPN broadcasts simultaneously,
so things can get pretty hectic — and we’re relying on Dante more and more so
we can be as efficient and responsive as possible.”

the team upgraded their Studio Tech 214 announcer consoles to be Dante native,
instantly improving audio quality and signal flexibility.

team has also integrated this type of Dante connectivity into their intercom
system and are able to directly patch the announcer consoles into the intercom
system as well as the audio mixer. Now, when they need to feed audio in and out
of the intercom, they can do it straight through the Dante network and into
whatever source or destination desired.

Managing the Live Sound

are multiple ways we could get it into Dante and to the PA mixer, but we run it
through our console and do direct out, then we set up the shared audio group
within Domain Manager,” said Bacon. “Then we just do the patching in
the Dante Controller, and as long as we have the network infrastructure set up,
everything just works.”

PA systems are distributed audio DSP networks that are all interconnected by
Dante because of the large distances covered. The Dante network delivers the
signal to a network of Harman London BLU DSPs, and from there to the individual

Dante Domain Manager in the football stadium, we’ve already seen the benefits
integrating the PA and being able to send multiple sources to the PA mixing
console, as opposed to previously, we would only be able to send two,”
said Bacon. “We’re currently working with and sending about six audio
signals, but we can obviously send a lot more. This has been a very convenient
and efficient way for us to improve our workflow to make sure we’re getting
audio to the PA and the football stadium so that the show can go smoothly, and
everybody can hear it cleanly.”

Secured Efficiency

Domain Manager is network management software that enables user authentication,
role-based security, and audit capabilities for Dante networks while allowing
seamless expansion of Dante systems over any network infrastructure. Dante
Domain Manager organizes a network into zones called “domains” that
each have individual access requirements, making it clear and easy to know who
can access any area of the system. All activity is logged, tagged, and
date-stamped so problems can be quickly identified and solved.

Dante Domain Manager, Bacon and the 12th Man Productions team is able to route
their audio signals across subnets to cover the multiple venues and the
production areas. Donte Domain Manager enables the team to create management
groups and to segment areas, venues, subnets, and production rooms as needed.
The team is now able to create some very granular control and security
parameters across the network.

student workers do many functions for us, everything from operating cameras to
post-production, and we have about 20 student engineers as well who are out in
the field making sure everything is working and are actually connecting
everything and mixing the shows,” said Bacon. “Our student engineers
are trained on Dante Domain Manager, and they now do the routing and patching
for the various productions, and we don’t want operators mistakenly going into
Dante Controller and re-routing anything that might impact other simultaneous

Dante Domain Manager coordinates
multiple subnets, allowing Dante audio to be used across networks of nearly any
complexity or size. Dante Domain Manager enables audio to be plugged into any
Ethernet jack, anywhere on campus, and route the audio data to where it needs
to go. Users of Dante-enabled devices do not have to perform any special
configuration; Dante Domain Manager completely automates this task.

more on the story, visit: https://www.audinate.com/meet-dante/dante-in-action/projects/12th-man-productions-provides-access-to-all-texas-am-fans-thanks-to-dante-and-dante-domain-manager

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