For the past two years, French-language Canadian educational public television network TFO has relied on a Studer Vista 5 console for its live production needs. TFO is a one-studio shop, with all of its productions coming from the same control room, producing children's programming, teen programming and news-style shows. In 2007, TFO embarked on an initiative to run autonomously from TVOntario. Conveniently, this decision coincided with TFO's preparation for digital and HD broadcast, with the goal of functioning completely tapeless. With a new location, new studio, new control rooms and edit suites, the need for new (digital) equipment was apparent.
As a member of the committee called upon to select a console for the new studio, Andy Gargul of TFO had a laundry list of criteria. “We really wanted to stay away from any console that was heavily â€˜menu-driven' or had master soft knobs in one area for dedicated functions [EQ, compression, sends, etc.],” Gargul says. “After seeing demos of all the consoles, we all felt that not only did the Vista give the most features for the price; there were a variety of features that were quite unique, like the Vistonics screens and the off-air conference feature.”
Because of TFO's diverse programming, each production has its own specific needs. “There is very little â€˜set it and forget it' at TFO,” Gargul says. “With the Vista's file structure, the operators are â€˜projects,' and each production is a â€˜title.' This way, each operator can have his/her own console layout, EQ's and dynamics without disturbing the others, and each show within that project can still have its own layout, EQ's and dynamics.”
In the end, customizability has been the factor around which TFO has built its success. “For us, the biggest improvement was being able to tailor the console to each production's needs, without having to find a compromise solely because of a piece of gear's limitations,” Gargul says. “The fact that Studer decided to add the DAW layer and HUI implementation was an excellent idea, because I hate mixing with a mouse! The Vista is intuitive and very easy to use, which is great because during a live show, you really should be more concerned with making the sound better as opposed to worrying about which button you're pressing.”