SALT LAKE CITY — At Bonneville Salt Lake City, we have found it a nice idea to take ENCO’s automation program, DAD, along with us wherever we go. I’m really speaking, of course, about iDAD (and its Android cousin, enDroid). IDAD is ENCO’s simple smartphone and tablet app for field access to the studio’s ENCO playout system. A free download from the Apple App Store or Google Play, iDAD is really easy to use. Press the record button, voice your sound and prepare to send it right to the automation system.
Before iDAD we spent time manually having studio people record sound from the field. Now all the producers have to do is tell the reporter or the talent what cut number to send it to. That and a group name are easily entered or, if no cut number is specified, the system can be adjusted so it puts the cut in a group so it can be easily found.
Users can also assign and reuse the same number for a recurring event, as we have done with our consumer reporter. Before iDAD, he would call from his office on an ISDN line and someone would have to manually record him.
IDAD also has a rudimentary head/tail editor available. Sometimes we have taken advantage of that and prerecorded what would have otherwise been live hits from remote site appearances and sent them on to DAD. We have experimented using the built-in mics on the phones and also using pro mics using iRig “Pre” adapters. The built-in mic is generally OK for quick news hits. The pro mic, naturally, sounds better.
The other thing iDAD can do is control the automation module. You can send commands to play a specific predetermined cut. We can tell DAD to stop playing and turn on console audio from a codec or even start an emergency playback system. There are all kinds of things the command language can do we have not imagined yet.
As in all good things there is a gotcha. IDAD only works if you have ENCO’s PC interface device “Interchange.” While the iDAD app is free, Interchange is not. Interchange is a good idea though, as most audio networks are best kept isolated from the facility’s or network’s other computer networks. That’s what the Interchange box does. It has two Ethernet ports, one for the DAD network and one for the rest-of-the-world Internet connection. ENCO says it will support any number of iDAD or enDroid instances. We have about 20 instances of it installed.
Besides running Interchange itself, we have found having this device in the system useful for running other things. It interfaces an app we have that let’s our reporters send video from their iPhones. We strip the video for the Internet dudes and send the audio to DAD via the Interchange box. We also have modified the process a little and have a scheme set up that scrapes a phone-mail box and uses the Interchange machine to post reports from traffic tipsters right to specific DAD cut numbers. What I’m saying is Interchange is an OK investment, not only to run Interchange and iDAD, but also as a place to do unusual stuff that you probably would not want to run on the main audio server.
We still are dreaming up things to do with iDAD and Interchange. But dreaming is fun!
For information, contact Ken Frommert at ENCO Systems in Michigan at (248) 827-4440 or visit www.enco.com.