The Tonmeistertagung every two years in Cologne, organized by the Verband Deutscher Tonmeister (VDT), is THE major professional audio event in Germany. For four days sound engineers and Tonmeister (sound directors, a specific job description mainly in Germany, originally dealing more with the artistic than technical part of the job, but boundaries and competences are more and more fading…) gather to get updated not only on new technologies and devices but also to listen to best-practice and award winning productions and hear and experience from experts and acclaimed colleagues on how they got achieved. So ‘being there’ and presenting ORPHEUS at this event is simply a must….
Four of the ORPHEUS partners were present: MAGIX and TRINNOV, both directly showing their products. FRAUNHOFER IIS with demos of their portfolio of technologies and codecs, also offering practical insights in workshops. Yet, IRT’s booth in the main exhibition hall was the central hub for the ORPHEUS project. There, the complete workflow for ‘next generation audio’ was sketched and exemplified with demos from production and distribution to reception on different channels and devices, i.e. legacy television, PC internet browser and VR headsets. Additional demos showed related technologies for loudness adjustment, voice intelligibility and binaural rendering. For four days all expert teams of our partners were busy explaining details and discussing questions.
On the traditional ‘first day’ Thursday, IRT had organized a special ‘theme day’ on the emerging 360º VR audio and video technologies, giving an overview of current projects and achievements in research and best-practice examples. There, ORPHEUS was featured prominently, too, with two presentations: Frank Melchior, lead of the audio group of our partner BBC R&D, presented a visionary concept, how ‘object-based audio’ along with the shift to total IP delivery will revolutionize the broadcast media landscape. Michael Weitnauer from IRT brought the audience back to earth, focusing on the practical end-to-end workflow, already feasable today.
More opportunity for going into details and sort of presenting first results after almost one year of ORPHEUS was provided on the second day at a dedicated ORPHEUS session, organized by FRAUNHOFER IIS. Andreas Silze, our technical project leader, explained the outline of the ORPHEUS project in depth. Franck Melchior unveiled some secrets of the ‘IP Connected Studio’, presently build at the BBC Broadcasting House London, an environment where audio signals will be, right after the microphone diaphragm, transported, processed, stored and forwarded completely in the digital domain. Michael Weitnauer, leader of the ORPHEUS ‘umbrella’ work package 2, explained the developped model of ORPHEUS ‘reference architecture’. Werner Bleisteiner from BR showed, how the group approached the tasks of defining ‘use cases’ and their relationship to the following research on ‘quality of end user experience’. Finally, Peter Vanselow from MAGIX demonstrated, how the change to ‘object-based’ editing and mixing are implemented in the SEQUOIA digital audio workstation. As expected, this stirred critical questions and a lively discussion for almost one hour with the audio professionals.