TWiT Brick House Equipment
Switching at the new Brick House studios is managed from a central turret in the studio. There, a single engineer (dubbed the Technical Director) controls lights, graphics, camera switching, audio mixing, recording and playback, screen shots, video calls, and all other elements of the live production. The turret can be rotated to face the active set and is equipped with its own lights, cameras, and mic so that the TD can participate in the show. Leo continues to switch his own shows in his office with a satellite keyboard and mouse and Axia Radius console.
- EFM: Sonic.net Flexlink Ethernet in the First Mile (also known as IEEE 802.3ah). This connection is 35Mbit/s symmetrical. Dedicated for most of the Skype calls during the netcasts and to stream out the BitGravity, Ustream and Justin.tv video. The Studio has 2 EFM connections, one for the streams, and video calls and the other as the studio LAN.
- ISDN Line: AT&T ISDN. Used to stream studio audio to and from the Premiere Radio Network studios for The Tech Guy show.
- Cable: Comcast Fiber Optic and copper provide a 100Mbit symmetrical connection in conjunction with the EFM.
- Audio Console (mixer):
- Telos Axia Element control console and accompanying Powerstation processing unit. This equipment is on loan to Leo from Axia. Cost of the Axia Element console and PowerStation is about $22,000. The backup power supply and extra audio I/O ports add about $6,000. New Telos Xstream and two Omnia audio processors are worth about $13,000. Additional IP-Audio software including drivers, logging, and management software sell for about $3,000. Axia IP-audio consoles typically cost $12,000 up to about $24,000, according to Axia representative Kirk Harnack.
- On August 18 2009 (prior to the installation) Leo interviewed Kirk Harnack of Axia Audio, who provided a good description of the new digital audio system's features and advantages; the interview is available here (YouTube).
- Kirk Harnack posted a collection of photos taken during installation at the cottage to PicasaWeb.
- Kirk Harnack posted a video of installation highlights to YouTube. Shot and edited by Erik Lanigan of TWiT.
- The Axia is the console originally installed in the TWiT Cottage. Before moving to the new studio, it was removed and taken to the new studio. For that interim time, Leo used the old Mackie analog mixer that was used before the Telos. After poor audio quality, the current Telos Axia Radius consolewas put into Leo's office set.
- Audio Equipment in the Rack (from top to bottom in image):
- Telos Zephyr Xstream Used with ISDN line to stream Leo's audio to Premiere for the Tech Guy radio show
- Axia Router Selector Node
- (6) Axia Analog Line Nodes/Microphone Nodes These units allow the analog signal from a microphone to be used as an input on the digital Axia. console.
- (2) Axia PowerStation Units One unit is the main PowerStation and the other allows for additional I/O and redundancy.
- Omnia ONE Studio Pro Processor
- TD Desk Monitors: BX5a Active Monitors (Replaced by the BX5 D2 Monitors
- Some desks including Leo's position at the round table and the desks at TNT have Axia Mic Control / Headphone Selector Panels built into the desk to control microphone and headphone level.
- Avatar TVs mounted using Peerless-AV SR560M Carts
- Host Monitor (Dual TV setup for onscreen talent to see live output and chatroom feed)
- (2) VIZIO TVs - Top monitor shows live output, bottom monitors shows feed from Chatomatic
- Mounted using Peerless-AV SR560M Cart with additional mounting bracket
- (2) Radio Systems CT-2002 Desktop Clock/Timer Systems (Top timer shows program run-time, bottom timer shows PDT time)
- Battery Backup unit attached to bottom of cart
- The avatar TVs and studio monitors are a combination of Samsung and VIZIO 32" LCDs. Most of the avatars have had the VIZIO logo replaced with a TWiT logo.
- Many of the areas, including the TD station and Leo's desk are equipped with Blackmagic Design's SmartView Duo SDI displays. The frame for Leo's monitors was custom-built by Creedence Construction.
- The front of Leo's desk has a Blackmagic Design SmartView HD SDI display built into it.
- Blackmagic Design Broadcast Videohub 72x144. The router is controlled by an iPad app.
- Leo's Desk Computer: 27 inch iMac
- Arm Mount: Ergotron MX Desk Mount
- Leo's Laptop: 11 inch MacBook Air
- Logo on Leo's Air: ARES Logo
- Many of the TWiT hosts use various sizes/models of MacBook Air or MacBook Pro, but with exceptions like Brian Brushwood (often seen with a 17" Windows-based notebook PC).
- Dell Precision Workstations
- Dell Precision R5400
- Skype Machines (1-4)
- Axia Management -- Allows remote access and serves as an NTP server
- Dell Precision R5500
- Dell Precision R5400
- Mac Minis (4)
- Videohub Control
- Chatomatic (on-screen chatroom feed) -- Running X-Chat Aqua for OSX
- TD Station Computer -- Used for general browsing, e-mail, etc. by the technical director/producer of the live show
- Mac Pros (2)
- One machine runs Final Cut Pro 7 which records directly to the SAN for editing after recording finishes/
- Another machine in the rack was to be a re-run machine with just:play by Tools on Air, but didn't meet TWiT's needs.
- LiveU Endpoints
- SAN (Storage Area Network):
- Ethernet Wiring (Data):
- Yellow: Production -- Used for host's computers and prioritized for high downstream bandwidth (for web browsing, etc.)
- Orange: Editors -- Used by editors to upload mezzanine files for distribution and prioritized for high upstream bandwidth
- Red: Streaming -- Used to serve streams to TWiT's streaming partners and prioritized for mission-critical high upstream bandwidth
- Blue: Office -- Lowest duty network, for general producers and office staff which is a lower priority
- Ethernet Wiring (Audio):
- Green: XLR Inputs -- Run XLR over Cat6 to digital Axia system
- Pink: Line-Level Inputs -- Run line-level inputs (Computer, iPad, iPhone, etc.) over Cat6 to the Axia, must be powered
The studio uses over 140 different lighting fixtures purchased, installed, and configured by Brent Bye of Ocean Studio, Santa Monica including:
and numerous LED fixtures for color.
When TWiT moved to the new studio, they hoped to use Vidyo as a replacement to Skype but they experienced many issues with it. For this reason, most remote guests are brought in using Skype. TWiT utilizes four Dell rackmount machines that reside in the basement and can be routed to any place in the studio. The Axia Element console provides a mix-minus back to the Skype machines over LiveWire.
Live Remote Events
Getting it back to the studio
- TWiT had a partnership with LiveU and used their streaming backpacks for floor coverage at trade shows like NAB and CES. Two LiveUs would be used: One returned video to the stage for mixing in a TriCaster, and one lived on stage to send the remote TriCaster back to the Brick House. Newtek provides loaner TriCasters for remote TWiT events.