Following on from our Object Based Audio article, in this article we will explore 3 case studies of applications for object based audio presented at the Dublin AES Convention from recent live events where engineers from the EBU, Fraunhofer and Dolby experimented with delivering object based audio to the end user.
Roland Garros French Open Tennis tournament used NGA object-based audio to feed 7 simultaneous versions at the same time.
France Télévisions and the French Tennis Federation, in collaboration with TDF and FRANSAT, a subsidiary of Eutelsat, successfully tested the transmission and reception of MPEG-H Audio immersive sound over DVB-T2 and satellite during the Roland Garros tennis tournament. The MPEG-H Audio stream was included in the regular live Ultra HD broadcast of the Philippe Chatrier court, starting with May 27th and will be broadcasted live until the end of the tournament on June 10th 2018.
Although France Televisions has been producing surround mixes for a number of years for the 2018 coverage the main court was augmented with an ORTF-3D Schoeps microphone, to produce some ambient sound in 3 dimensions. MPEG-H object based audio feeds provided the following new features for users…
to switch between English and French commentaries
to select a version without any commentary and enjoy the live atmosphere of the Philippe Chatrier court
to enhance the dialogue for better intelligibility
to change the position of commentaries in the audio scene
During the first end-to-end trial of MPEG-H TV Audio in Europe, the tennis-court action as well as the cheers and applause of spectators, delivered in immersive 5.1 surround plus four height speakers channels, could be experienced in MPEG-H Audio in the France Télévisions broadcast center using a Fraunhofer reference design of an immersive soundbar together with an Android set-top box and a UHD TV set.
Eurovision Song Contest, where NGA was tested to offer multiple languages and musical mix versions to the consumer.
The European Broadcasting Union EBU and Fraunhofer IIS successfully conducted the first trial for live production of immersive and interactive sound using the MPEG-H TV Audio System at the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest in Lisbon, Portugal. For the trial, engineers installed a dedicated surround microphone array in a “Hamasaki Square” configuration 26 meters above the ground. The four figure-of-eight microphones arranged in a square form were used for capturing the ambient, diffuse sound in the arena.
The Fraunhofer led team were able to use the audio feeds from the main production and the 37 feeds for monitors in commentary booths for production of the immersive mix, in addition to the stereo and 5.1 mixes provided by the EBU and its production team.
With the MPEG-H Audio authoring and monitoring tools, all music and ambience audio feeds as well as up to five different languages for the commentaries as individual objects were mixed into one stream. Furthermore, various MPEG-H presets (versions of the mix, such as “Default”, “Dialogue Enhancement” or “Venue”) were authored live, together with metadata describing the personalization and interactivity options.
All presets, downmixes to various configurations, different Dynamic Range Control (DRC) modes and interactivity features were monitored using the 5.1+4H speaker setup as well as binaural rendering over headphones. During live demonstrations to broadcasters and sound experts on site in Lisbon, the MPEG-H TV Audio System’s personalization features, such as language selection, dialogue enhancement or position interactivity, could be experienced with a MPEG-H player installed on a tablet providing an easy to use interface for these features.
European Athletics Championship, where a single NGA production mixed channel-based, scene-based and object-based sources to feed 3 different codec technologies.
The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) led trials with five EBU Members and 19 industry partners of production workflows to shoot, process, record, and distribute live Ultra High Definition (UHD) content, with High Frame Rates (HFR), High Dynamic Range (HDR), and Next Generation Audio (NGA), at the 2018 European Athletics Championships in Berlin.
The 1080p100 programme also included Next Generation Audio (NGA) sound in the form of 4+7+0 channel and scene-based beds, with four additional interactive mono object signals for two commentaries and two audio descriptions. NGA is commonly thought of as providing immersive experiences, but also enables additional features, such as personalization, accessibility and interactivity, by means of “objects”.
It was very interesting to see and hear the demonstrations and experiences gained from these 3 experiments and how they all show how MPEG-H and AC4 can deliver both immersive sound and separate audio objects to provide commentary and audio description in multiple languages.