It’s never been easy building a large OB van. Keeping within axel weight, getting enough technology in and working within a tight project timeline, not to mention keeping the expanding sections cool and water-tight is no easy task. Add on that social distancing thanks to SARS-CoV-2 and life gets particularly tricky.
This project was intriguing before Covid-19 because it called for two identical SMPTE ST-2110 IP trucks to be built, explains Geert Thoelen from NEP Belgium. Both are 16-camera trucks with 3 EVS each. The idea being that people could walk into truck A on Saturday and do a show then walk into truck B on Sunday and work in exactly the same show but on a different match. Being identical, when these trucks will be delivered to Belgium public broadcaster RTBF, production crews won’t need to worry about getting a better or worse truck then the other programmes.. The added benefit is that weight is reduced compared to SDI baseband. The trucks come loaded with Sony Cameras, Arista Switches, Lawo audio, EVS replays and Riedel intercoms. It’s ready to take a software upgrade for UHD and offers 32 frame-synched and colour-corrected inputs plus 32 outputs.
Broadcast Solutions have worked with NEP Belgium for many years, an ironically close relationship which became a key asset in this project which had to be completed under social distancing rules. Working open book and having an existing trust between the parties, we hear, was important in completing this project on time. Broadcast Solutions separated internet access for the truck to access the truck as it was being built with 24/7 remote access for vendors.
Axel Kühlem fro broadcast solutions address a question from the audience of the benefits of 2110. He confirms that weight is reduced compared to SDI by about half, comparing like for like equipment. Furthermore, he says the power is reduced. The aim of having two identical trucks is to allow them to be occasionally joined for large events or even connected into RTBF’s studio infrastructure for those times when you just don’t have enough facilities. Geert points out that IP on its own is still more expensive than baseband, but you are paying for the ability to scale in the future. Once you count the flexibility it affords both the productions and the broadcaster, it may well turn out cheaper over its lifetime.
When SDI came in to replace analogue video, there were difficulties and setbacks yet now it’s very well trusted and ubiquitous. Similarly, life is not simple moving from SDI into IP, either 2022-6 or 2110, let alone PTP which replaces black nad burst.
In this talk we hear from people who have made that change and are working with IP. We find out what went well, whether things are up and running yet and also what the challenges and lessons learnt are.
SVP of Systems and Technology,
The most complex part of this solution is Broadcast Centre built for very large premium UHD productions (routing capabilities of 2000×2000 UHD IP feeds, 4 vision mixers). Such large productions take place only a few time a year, so for all the other times the same hardware can be reconfigured into smaller flypacks that can do multiple independent productions at different places around the world. All devices in Broadcast Centre are installed in mobile racks, so you can simply wheel them in and out of different sports venues.
These flypacks can also be used to extend capabilities of IP OB vans – the only limit is the number of ports available on the switches. A truck can be put in any location and connected to multiple IP systems, creating fully scalable and large broadcast system – the kind that you would only previously find in a fixed studio set up.
The case study covers lessons learned from this COTS based system which leverages SMPTE ST 2110, SMPTE 2059, and adaptive FPGA based edge processing. Maurice Snell focuses on advantages of ST 2110 IP design (massive simplification of wiring, use of COTS equipment, audio breakaway possibility, signal agnostic capabilities, flexibility, scalability) and describes the challenges (operators shouldn’t need to know or care if they are routing SDI, IP or a hybrid mixture of the two, importance of unified facility monitoring and configuration and a new approach to fault finding for engineers).
To mark the launch, today, of a new section of The Broadcast Knowledge highlighting what the industry is doing to promote a better gender balance in the broadcast industry, we have a panel discussion from the RTS about that very topic.
I’ve said it before, and again I implore everyone to take it upon yourself to do just one thing to improve diversity in gender, little or small. The numbers are clear that in technology, there is a large imbalance and, according to Rise director Carrie Wootten, Research shows that “having a more gender balanced structure leads to additional ideas, creativity, business development and crucially income generation.”
With experienced voices, from UK TV, TeenTech, Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock, NEP Sound engineer Anna Patching and the deputy chair of Women in Film and Television, we hear questions and answers about how companies can find female candidates, and how individuals can advance their careers.
The message is that there are things people throughout a company can do to address gender balance, so watch to find out more.
Chief Technology and Operations Officer,
Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock,
Space Scientist, Science Educator & Presenter
Sound Engineer & STEM ambassador
Women in Film & Television (UK)
Subscribe to get daily updates
Views and opinions expressed on this website are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of SMPTE or SMPTE Members.
This website is presented for informational purposes only. Any reference to specific companies, products or services does not represent promotion, recommendation, or endorsement by SMPTE