More than 2,500 individual events comprised the 34th “Evangelischer Kirchentag” (Protestant church convention) that took place from May 1–5 in Hamburg, Germany. The closing service attracted around 130,000 people, as well as media interest.
At the press center, reporters represented about 40 radio stations, and setup was managed by local public broadcaster NDR, which provided the various ARD stations with separate cubicles for editorial staff, in addition to two self-op studios, three studios with sound engineers and one central control room. Outside, several radio stations had also positioned OB trucks that needed access to the audio feeds.
The trucks were linked via fiber-optic cables configured as three virtual LANs. The first connected the OB vans with the internal ARD network, the second established a general Internet connection, and the third was for Ravenna streams to feed audio. Quality of Service was assigned to guarantee sufficient bandwidth.
The OB vans also had their own monitor boxes: an Axia xNode that could receive eight channels and connect to the Ravenna stream, and a Lawo KS-16 connected via Ethernet to select the required audio signals. The KS-16 controlled a Lawo crystal console in the master control room, which then supplied a selection of eight channels via the Ravenna network.
Nine Lawo crystal consoles were used: two with four faders in the self-op studios, three with eight faders in the studios, and one with 12 faders in the central control room. Additionally, there were three crystal base units without control panels to switch signals. The central audio administration was managed by a Lawo Nova29 router and VisTool touchscreen software. Up to 12 events were simultaneously transmitted to the press center plus additional streams with news.
Broadcasters were able to book the self-op studios, and journalists also had small monitor speakers and a Lawo KS-16 module to select the audio signal required. The editorial workplaces were combined in groups, which were each fed audio from a crystal base unit. These received signals from the Nova29 router.
“Because Lawo is so widely used at all the big events, it makes a lot of sense for us to work with them also on smaller radio broadcast events. The only difference is that the number of available channels is not of highest priority. Much more important to us in this context is to be able to use existing network structures with Ravenna,” said Sascha Schwoll, who was responsible for outside broadcast at German public broadcaster SWR and part of the ARD-team that planned and implemented the technical setup.