Inconspicuous omnipresence

Inconspicuous omnipresence

The performances of Dutch National Opera & Ballet use a great deal of audio and video technology which often goes unnoticed by the audience. Every performance features sound effects or 'off-stage' singers and musicians who need to sound good in the auditorium. In some cases, the entire orchestra is amplified.

Close cooperation

The artists on and around the stage always have to be able to hear the orchestra properly and see the conductor clearly, whether in person or on a television screen. The department's highly qualified technicians and engineers work closely with the artistic staff and the stage managers of Dutch National Opera & Ballet.

“Just how people from different disciplines at Dutch National Opera & Ballet work together to create a performance, and to be part of it: that never ceases to amaze me.”

Sjoerd Dijkstra - engineer

Geavanceerde apparatuur

Not only for performances

If required, the AVM department also provides the technology for events, lectures and workshops at other locations within Dutch National Opera & Ballet.

Advanced equipment and training

It is impossible to work in the AVM department without knowing about and using the latest technology and equipment. Regular maintenance and training are therefore key in ensuring that the recordings our audiences see and hear, are of the highest possible quality.

Audio, video and media

The recording engineer and sound director

A recording engineer has to be able to read and analyse scores, due to the close cooperation between this department and the musical staff. It is the task of the Audio, Video and Media team to translate the musical aspects into technical ones. This makes them a kind of musicians, so it’s no coincidence that they’ve all studied at a conservatoire. The recording engineers bridge the gap between two worlds or, indeed, two disciplines.

The recording engineer and sound director

There is always a sound director/music producer on hand during recordings and broadcasts to assist the recording engineers when they have their hands full with mixing. They give instructions to ensure that all the microphones are switched on as required and use the orchestral score to help equalize the sound during the recording or broadcast.

“It’s down to us whether an orchestra that plays well also sounds good to our audience, in the auditorium and digitally”

Rámon Schoones - sound engineer

Audio tracks galore
All vocalists are fitted with what is usually an invisible mini microphone. The sound director or music producer then makes sure that this is switched on or off at the right time for the recording – a very important task! If something does go wrong (which can happen!), up to 128 different audio tracks have already been recorded, so that this can be corrected later, provided the broadcast was not live.

Audio, video en media

Everything under one roof

Streams, TV and radio broadcasts can be produced entirely in-house at Dutch National Opera & Ballet, from the very first idea to the live broadcast or the delivery of the various broadcast masters. With a team of specialised directors and sound and video technicians, the AVM department also produces trailers, podcasts, behind-the-scenes films and documentaries, and sound and video effects. Dutch National Opera & Ballet has its own, very well-equipped audio studios, video editing sets, and a TV control room.

Line to Hilversum

An important task within the AVM department is to register image and sound recordings. In several advanced sound studios, a full recording can be made of everything that happens on stage – be it an opera or ballet, or even a presentation, conference, demonstration or workshop.

Live
To begin with, these recordings can be broadcast live; for example, via online radio, television and all kinds of streaming platforms, including our own. There is a physical fibre-optic connection between Dutch National Opera & Ballet and the Media Park in Hilversum, where they can convert our recordings into high-grade content for audiences at home. On occasion, operas are also streamed directly from our house to cinema theatres in the Netherlands!

“I often make videos here that I’d also want to make if it weren’t my job. That’s when you know you’re in the right place”

Maurice Angenois - video director

Even better than it already was!
The AVM department also makes session recordings that are intended for merchandise or special editions. These are then released on DVD, Blu-Ray, CD or SACD. For these purposes, the team can combine (edit) the best parts of different evenings without you noticing it. Basically, they make the performance even better than it already was, which the musical team is obviously happy about too!

Ramón Schoones
Yannick van Leeuwaarde

interview

Achter de schermen: de geluidstechnicus