I think it’s safe to say that Great Britain managed to pull it off. It was well organised with the most extensive coverage ever, in 5.1 and 3D, and to top it all 3rd on the medal table with more golds than we’ve had for a century! As the sun sets on this summer’s extravaganza it also sets on NBC Olympic’s director of sound design and communications Bob Dixon’s reign in audio.
According to SVG’s Ken Kerschbaumer Bob has worked on 12 Olympic games, beginning in 1984 at the Los Angeles Olympics and spending six as a mixing engineer, working for NBC, ABC and CBS along the way. He has seen a transition from mono to stereo and then to 5.1.
Dave Mazza, NBC Olympics, SVP, Engineering stated:
“It’s going to be a big loss and it will be sad not having him helping us. A lot of things happened on his watch and things that had to be invented so that we could go through the huge growth in the amount of programming without adding hundreds of people.
“He grew up in both the music and truck world and is a purist who wants to give the viewer the best seat in the house from a sound standpoint. He was there when we were pioneering stereo, there in 1996 for Surround Sound Dolby matrix encoding, and the first games for full Surround was elegant and simple.”
In the article Bob lets us in on a few tricks of the trade he and fellow audio enthusiast Dennis Baxter of OBS have instigated over the years. On this year’s Olympic opening ceremony Bob comments:
“The artistic group that was hired to produce the show really knew what they were doing, so we let them shine. But our own real artist mixer, Wendell Stevens, did such a good job of taking the crowd and fitting it in. He did a really nice job and it sounded gorgeous.”
Ever the perfectionist though he goes on to say:
“This is a nice way for me to do my last Olympics, to have it sounds as good as it does. It’s not perfect, by any means, but it is way better than in the past.”
Well for many the Olympics won’t be the same without him, but we at Calrec wish Bob all the best in his future endeavours and hope he looks forward to a well earned rest.