Lights, Camera, Action: Noise Block Solutions for the Television Industry

Television studios are carefully designed to incorporate the right lighting, backdrops, and soundproofing to produce a high-quality finished product. The soundproofing aspect of the design is crucial because the audio is such an essential piece of the product. Grainy sound quality, disruption from outside noise, and echoing can all seriously impact sound quality, as well as distract the people who are working in the studio. If this happens, your studio could be left with something unusable, which means pouring money into reshoots.

What kinds of noise does a TV studio need to worry about, and how do acoustic management solutions come into the picture?

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Acoustic Challenges in the TV Studio

TV studios need precise quiet to capture quality audio. Noise Criteria (NC) value is used to understand the noise floor of the studio, which determines the level of undesirable noise. A rating of NC-20 or above typically means the environment is not ideal for recording audio, according to TV Technology.

Common issues that result in unwanted noise include:
  • Location. While some studios are purpose-built, others operate out of repurposed spaces. In the latter, ambient noise from outside of the studio can become an issue. For example, many studios operate in buildings with other businesses, which can mean external noise.
  • Equipment. Studios, particularly studios that host live broadcasts, require specific types of lighting that can quickly cause the temperature of the space to rise. In turn, the studio needs air conditioning to keep the temperature manageable, according to TV Technology. Depending on the studio and its purpose, standard air conditioning can create noise that interferes with sound quality.
  • Sound reflection. Sound will reflect off of the different surfaces in your studio and sometimes pose acoustical challenges. This reflection can lead to reverberation and even echoing. The shape of the room and the material of its surfaces can mitigate or exacerbate this challenge.

Solutions for the TV Industry

While big-budget studios may be able to afford redesigns to solve unwanted noise issues, this is not the only avenue. TV studios can also use a variety of different sound barriers to absorb sound and get the room’s noise level where it needs to be for production and broadcasting.
  • Studio curtains. Acoustic curtains by AmCraft Manufacturing, available in single and double barrier technology, can be hung on a track system, creating an enclosed space that dampens and absorbs unwanted sound (from another business in the building, for example). Although several material options are available, TV studio curtains frequently opt to choose fabric to provide maximum sound absorption. Cloth curtains are often used in theaters and music studios, translating well to the needs of television.
    Typically, the soft side of the curtain is hung facing the noise it is designed to absorb, while the hard surface of the curtain faces the area that needs protection from noise. TV studios have the option to customize the curtain fabric on the absorbing side (solid PVC coated polyester, mesh PVC coated, or cloth), depending on their needs.
  • Panels. Studios can also mount wall panels, a stationary solution, to improve acoustics. Acoustic panels can help reduce noise related to equipment used in television production, according to TV Technology.
  • Baffles. Television studios often need to manage sound coming from multiple different angles (equipment in different places, sound coming from outside the studio, and noise from people working in the studio). Baffles, strategically placed on the wall, ceiling, and as free-hanging barriers, can effectively dampen sound to help ensure the audio being recorded is not suffering from competing sound.

If your television studio needs help improving its acoustics, AmCraft Manufacturing offers a wide range of curtains, panels, and baffles solutions to meet your sound management needs. The show must go on and we are here to help. Contact us today!