Newbie In A Studio

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Qs23
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Newbie In A Studio

Post by Qs23 » Thu Feb 21, 2013 7:33 pm

Hey All,

For those who don't know me from my previous thread... What should a new guy be doing?, My name is Antony Low and I'm a student currently looking to get into broadcast engineering.

Well, I got my foot in at the 100W FM student run station on campus, since it seems that they've had a studio engineer in name only for a few years now. I'm not going to be handling the transmitter or the EAS (The engineer for the NPR station on campus is going to handle those), but I guess I'm covering all of the rest of the in-studio stuff.

I'm posting here to find out what you guys think for my initial "plan of attack".

#1. Meet everybody in the station, and introduce myself. The last thing I want is for somebody to call campus security on me if I'm there in the middle of the night.

#2. Sit in on people DJing. This could go along with #1, but I want to chat with people and see how the day to day runnings of the station are like, see what each person's likes and dislikes of the current setup are, and what improvements they would want to see.

#3. Create a studio schematic. I know I'm slightly OCD with my electronics, but I like to know what connects to where via which cables before I start digging in to fix things. Plus, whomever comes into the studio after me, won't be going in completely blind.

#4. Create & Post an In-Studio "Fix-It" List. I'm not sure if this is going to be a physical thing, or something on-line, but I would like to have a central master list of things that need to be fixed/improved/wished for in the station, so I don't find out 3 weeks later that the CD player 3 stopped working.

So what does everybody think? Anything else that you would suggest somebody should do walking into a new place for the first time?

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Re: Newbie In A Studio

Post by techboywi » Fri Feb 22, 2013 10:00 am

I'd say you have a pretty good handle on things. Especially #2 and #3. Good luck!
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Baylink
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Re: Newbie In A Studio

Post by Baylink » Fri Feb 22, 2013 10:59 am

I'm not sure how much of an IT guy you already are, but there are several open-source trouble ticket tracking sofware packages available for keeping a handle on what needs to be fixed.

RT is fantastic, but pretty complicated, and a bitch to install right.

I generally use Bugzilla, which is really intended more for software bug tracking, but can be used for general trouble ticketing as well with a few added bug statuses...

And yes, print the studio. It will make your life a whole lot easier.

While it's tempting to pull dead cabling at the same time, I recommend against, since you're The New Guy.

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Qs23
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Re: Newbie In A Studio

Post by Qs23 » Fri Feb 22, 2013 10:28 pm

Ticketing software might be down the road a bit, but I'll keep that in mind.

Any suggestions for mapping out the studio? Right now it's just notes / flowcharts in a 3 ring binder.

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Re: Newbie In A Studio

Post by Deep Thought » Fri Feb 22, 2013 10:34 pm

Qs23 wrote:Ticketing software might be down the road a bit, but I'll keep that in mind.

Any suggestions for mapping out the studio? Right now it's just notes / flowcharts in a 3 ring binder.
Unless you are in a multiple station/multiple studio scenario that's enough for now. You might want to set something up in a spreadsheet or other electronic format (follow the binder layout if you want) just to make it easier to access and make changes as you go along.
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Re: Newbie In A Studio

Post by Baylink » Fri Feb 22, 2013 11:09 pm

My usual approach -- though a diagram is nice, is to do a spreadsheet:

Column A - From Box
Column B - From Connector
Column C - Signal Type
Column D - To Connector
Column E - To Box

EG: VTR1 | SDI Out 1 | SDI-SD with audio | SDI In | SDA 27
Or: VTR1 | SDI Out 1 | S107 | SDI In | SDA 27

It should really be a database, but spreadsheets are easier to set up.

If your studio was built and maintained well enough that you have properly labeled cables at each end, add a column for cable ID on the left; I usually use a letter and 3 or 4 digits:

A - analog mono audio (or L, R)
V - NTSC Video
S - SDI-SD
H - SDI-HS
R - RF (monitoring, etc)
M - Microwave (from an exciter to an uplink BUC, frex)
etc, etc, etc

(note that you can skip the signal type column, as I have, if your cables are labeled properly -- and of course, radio is easier. :-)

If you don't, of course, you should get some -- well, I think the best way to do this, short of a very expensive Brady is the premade cable labels for your laser printer; label both ends about 4 inches from the connector. Heatshrink over is wonderful if you have the luxury, but does require unplugging the cable. Remember Rule 1: if you unplug a cable, whatever happens is your fault. :-)

If you have SDI with both embedded and no audio, you can use other letters, or lower case for runs with no audio.

You can then sort by Columns A,b to get all the outbound signals for a box, or E,d to get the inbound ones all together, or by C,a,b to get them by type; it's probably good to print all 3 on paper, and hang them up somewhere on a rack.

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Re: Newbie In A Studio

Post by radiowave911 » Wed Feb 27, 2013 4:11 pm

Baylink wrote:Remember Rule 1: if you unplug a cable, whatever happens is your fault. :-)
You forgot the rest of the rule. "If you unplug a cable, whatever happens is your fault - no matter when or where it happens."

You can also get blamed for evein being near the building sometime withint he last 6 months. Or having toalked to someone on the phone. Or thought about the place. Or.....

:P
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Re: Newbie In A Studio

Post by Baylink » Wed Feb 27, 2013 5:41 pm

Yup, computing's like that too...

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Qs23
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Re: Newbie In A Studio

Post by Qs23 » Thu Mar 07, 2013 4:36 pm

Well, I finally was able to get into the studio to see what I could see...

Punch Blocks... Punch Blocks everywhere. There were 6 of them under the desk. I think that they were 66 blocks but I'm not too sure, since I've only heard of them and never studied them before this. I've always thought that they were only used for telephone and old data networks. But it seems that everything running into the board goes into a punch block first.

So is there somewhere I can get a primer on them?

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Re: Newbie In A Studio

Post by Baylink » Thu Mar 07, 2013 4:49 pm

Not uncommon in older audio plant. Solid wire only, though people cheat, come in 66 and 110, each different blades. Tool at Home Despot usually these days. Each row is normalled across, sometimes split in middle.

Very common for 60s thru 90s telephony work, qv.

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Re: Newbie In A Studio

Post by radiowave911 » Thu Mar 07, 2013 8:09 pm

Qs23 wrote:So is there somewhere I can get a primer on them?
66: http://lmgtfy.com/?q=66+punch+blocks
110: http://lmgtfy.com/?q=110+Punch+Blocks
And if you are really lucky/unlucky (depends on who you talk to), Krone: http://lmgtfy.com/?q=Krone+Punch+Blocks

Our old studios used a lot of 66 blocks. The newer studios are wired with Cat6 Shielded cables and jacks. Some Belden audio cable running about the place, but not much.
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Re: Newbie In A Studio

Post by Baylink » Thu Mar 07, 2013 9:03 pm

Shame, too. Nemo circuits are pretty handy.

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Re: Newbie In A Studio

Post by ChuckG » Fri Mar 08, 2013 12:43 am

Baylink wrote:Not uncommon in older audio plant. Solid wire only, though people cheat, come in 66 and 110, each different blades. Tool at Home Despot usually these days. Each row is normalled across, sometimes split in middle.

Very common for 60s thru 90s telephony work, qv.
MIght also add the wire isn't stripped before punching it down. The clips in the block displace the insulation and form (theoretically) a gas-tight connection. Hopefully they're numbered somehow with a reference sheet somewhere.
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Qs23
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Re: Newbie In A Studio

Post by Qs23 » Fri Mar 08, 2013 6:16 am

ChuckG wrote:Hopefully they're numbered somehow with a reference sheet somewhere.
As if I was going to be that lucky...

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Re: Newbie In A Studio

Post by Baylink » Fri Mar 08, 2013 8:30 am

It would have been wrong anyway.

This is your Big Chance to do the as-built. :-)

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