Print This Page

Yamaha QL5 and Dante Networking Used for Reality Tattoo Competition TV Show

October, 2014

QL5 Makes An 'Imprint' On Reality TV Show

Ink Master is an American reality competition on Spike TV in which 17 tattoo artists from around the country compete in challenges assessing their tattoo and related artistic skills as they perform timed-challenges spanning an array of styles and techniques on willing ‘human canvasses’ battling for the grand prize of $100,000. They are judged by noted tattoo artists and tattoo enthusiasts, rock legend Dave Navarro and tattoo icons Chris Nunez and Oliver Peck, with one or more contestants being eliminated during each episode.

Shooting reality TV is a complicated, fast paced, process that requires immense precision. For example, the audio team for Ink Master juggles 40 audio inputs for the contestants, judges, and human canvasses plus 16 plant mics and four boom operators, the show’s host, not to mention, producer mics, stage manager mics, cameras, etc.

Using the Dante™ networking protocol and a custom control surface designed by Peter Schneider co-owner of Gotham Sound and Communications, Inc. (NYC) who designed the show’s entire audio system in collaboration with the show’s film mixer and sound supervisor, the late Martin Kelly who passed away shortly after the new season began. With this custom design, all audio and video is seamlessly juggled and successfully networked together. The mixes are pulled all together by a new Yamaha QL5 Digital Audio Console, provided by Scharff Weisberg/Worldstage of New York.

"The control room essentially never gets powered down, and shooting takes place around the clock, states Schneider. Marty's (Kelly) main concern was that the system be absolutely rock solid. We both felt that the Yamaha QL5 and Dante networking could provide that inherent reliability.”

Schneider provided an overview of the signal flow that includes wireless mic sources for the 16 tattoo artists and ‘human canvasses’, the four judges, and four boom operators. 16 wired plant mics are used, one per tattoo booth, along with communication sources for the director and producer/show runner, plus output destinations for recorders and boom recorders, and mix outputs for the director mix, producer mix (via Aviom), including eight mono camera mixes via Lectrosonics DNT.

“With all of these patch points, we needed an audio transport technology that wasn't an after-thought to the mixer, but rather integrated into the very heart of the mixer, Schneider says. In this way, audio could be converted one time and then distributed, mixed, and processed to all of the needed destinations, all without leaving its native transport stream. The Yamaha QL5 digital audio console met our requirements, and more, including integrating analog I/O that can be seamlessly combined with the Yamaha Rio input/output box preamps and other Dante audio sources. In the Ink Master situation, our 16 plant mics were input via a Rio1608 that was remotely located 200 feet away in the studio. These outputs were used for IFB feeds and LTC time code.”

Since season two of Ink Master, the show has always relied on Yamaha as its mixing solution, starting with the Yamaha LS9-32 (using MADI) followed by a CL5. “We all loved the rock solid reliability of Yamaha's products, and moving up to the new QL5 was really the only logical choice for the mixing console.”

For more information on Gotham Sound and Communications, visit www.gothamsound.com.

Return to Top