Manufacturer Musings: Ian Cookson, Calrec

Calrec's Ian Cookson
Neal Romanek
August 30th 2016 at 10:27AM : By Neal Romanek


Ian Cookson of Calrec reminds us that IBC is a marathon, not a sprint.

Name: Ian Cookson

Job title: Communications Manager

Company: Calrec Audio

Number of IBCs you’ve attended? IBC2016 will be my seventh

What do think will be the big technology trends at this year’s IBC?

?Broadcasters are increasingly demanding more versatility and integration from their audio equipment.

AoIP interconnections provide flexible and elegant connectivity and offer greater capacity, flexibility and multicast possibilities - and on an infrastructure shared with other services. IP technology is changing the broadcast industry in a revolutionary way, sweeping aside cable-based connections in favour of packet-switched workflows. This will transform how audio, video and control data is encoded, transported and managed, and the impact on the design of broadcast equipment will be profound.

Traditional distinctions between audio, video and data transports will disappear, being replaced with a single agnostic, scalable network. Gradually, old video and audio cabling will be replaced by fibres carrying IP traffic, and conventional audio and video routing equipment will be replaced by standard IT switches

In the longer term, broadcasters’ ambitions will extend beyond merely replicating existing working practices and workflows will evolve to take advantage of the greater flexibility and geographical freedom.

What’s will your company be highlighting at IBC?

Calrec Audio will unveil a number of technologies at IBC that offer simultaneous interfacing with multiple protocols and unique and comprehensive flexibility across various audio and video standards. 

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing the TV industry right now?

One of the biggest challenges facing broadcasters currently is the increasing demand for a wider range of content, whilst maintaining the same level of quality.

Remote production offers the ability to capture a broader range of live events, such as sports, news or regional music festivals. Broadcasters cannot always justify the time or expense of sending a dedicated outside broadcast truck and a team of skilled onsite operators for these niche events, but they must always ensure that the same high broadcast standards are met.

Remote broadcasting means fewer resources are needed on site. Controlling audio from a remote console saves money on setup time, crew, logistics, and equipment. It is simple to set up and very easy to use. It also enables broadcasters to cover a greater number of specialised events, such as regional or college sports and smaller entertainment events, at significantly reduced cost, making it possible to maintain an increasingly wide range of content.

Given that the RAI is two meters below sea level, what is your business doing to address climate change?

Being environmentally aware and keeping on top of current and forthcoming legislation is an integral part of Calrec’s company policy. As a manufacturer of electronic equipment, Calrec is a member of a producer compliance scheme, allowing the company to ensure compliance with the WEEE Regulations.

Although in practice Calrec’s products are environmentally friendly, with a typical life span of 15 years or more and often being sold on before end of life, the company is well-prepared for product recycling when units are sent back from end-users.

We are conscious of the part we play on environmental impact. Being located in a small Calder valley town, we have been in a smoke free zone for some years; in fact, apart from the use of gas, electricity and water necessary for our operation, our emissions are negligible. All our paper is recycled, as are all our “scrap” pcbs, modules and metalwork. We solder using a vapour phase reflow process which uses less power, and a totally inert liquid for the soldering process.

In 2010 we moved to a “jet flow” method of solder paste deposit for our pcb placement manufacture. This means that we no longer buy solder stencils for any pcb designs, meaning less cost and recycling, and nor do we need stencil cleaner as this method is fixtureless, making this process considerably more environmentally friendly. 

What are your top tips for trade show survival?

IBC is the longest trade show on Calrec’s calendar. At five days it is definitely a marathon rather than a sprint. It is easy to forget this though, and get carried away in the fantastic nightlife that Amsterdam has to offer.

I usually have three days of setup followed by five days of show and then teardown. I like to take one evening in the middle of the show to just take it easy and recuperate. As much as I’d like to think I’m 18 at heart, my body blatantly tells me otherwise!

Your favourite place(s) in Amsterdam to unwind and why?

After a hectic day at IBC my colleagues and I often find ourselves in the Jordaan district. It’s a great area as it has lots of fantastic restaurants and bars but it is just far enough out of central Amsterdam to be not filled with the hustle and bustle of Amsterdam’s thriving tourist trade. After a day at a show, a more peaceful dinner and a couple of drinks is what’s needed. It is also a great place to wine and dine customers.