In Broadcast - September 2017 - 46

46

www.inbroadcast.com | Vol: 7 - Issue 9 | September 2017

InFocus

Rolling Out OB Coverage
Contributing Editor Kevin Hilton examines some of the trends
and developments in the latest outside broadcast technology...

B

ack in the days of analogue
broadcasting,
which
was
dominated by only a few television
channels, the Outside Broadcast
(OB) was an important but largely
occasional part of the schedules. Then,
as today, sport dominated the location
production scene, and provided much
of the business for broadcasters' inhouse OB departments and the small
number of commercial operators in
the market. Today the situation has
flipped, with more OBs of all types
and TV companies mostly relying on
independent contractors to provide
the latest technology in vehicles that
can accommodate larger production
teams.
Ultra
High
Definition
(UHD)
broadcasting and 4K production have
been gradually moving into all areas
of TV but location work has become
a particular target. While Netflix and
Amazon have led the way for OTT and
streamed services, sports broadcasters
- notably Sky and BT Sport - have
made the format a major selling point
on satellite and cable platforms. Most
OB companies now have at least one
4K truck but behind the buzz-terms of
'UHD' and '4K' is another technology
that is changing the way live events
are produced.
IP Drive
Like 4K/UHD, IP - for both vision
and audio - is becoming a major
consideration when planning a new
vehicle. Among the first to make the
move into IP was Arena Television,
which now has three trucks based on
the format, with a fourth on the way.
Arena also has a fleet of eight HD
trucks, with supporting video vans.
It works on a variety of productions,
including Premier League football for
BT Sport, Sky's rugby union coverage,
the Springwatch / Autumnwatch /
Winterwatch nature series for the
BBC, ITV's Sunday Night at the London
Palladium entertainment show and The
Voice UK talent contest, plus BBC TV at
Glastonbury. During the summer the
company was able to provide facilities
for the One Love Manchester Concert,
which was organised at short-notice to
support the victims of the Manchester
Arena bombing.

Columbus boasts a 4K monitor wall

Dafydd Rees, Deputy Director of
Operations at Arena Television,
explains that the decision to build
IP-based trucks was a combination
of future-proofing and technical
reasons: "We don't see quad-HD as
a satisfactory way of creating UHD.
We took the view that to be able to
produce shows in 4K on the scale
people are used to in HD, the only way
is IP. Which is why we've invested in IP
so heavily."
Arena introduced its first IP truck,
OB X, in August-September 2016. This
was followed shortly after by OB Y,
after which an existing HD vehicle, OB
12, was upgraded to accommodate
the technology. OB 12 now works as
the presentation facility on Premier
League coverage in conjunction with
OB X, which handles the main match
production. Both X and Y feature Audio
over IP (AoIP) in the form of Dante,
although this is being used primarily
for monitoring within the trucks. Rees
says the forthcoming IP vehicle, OB Z,
will "feature AoIP much more heavily".
Hamish Greig, Technical Director at
CTV OB, comments that IP for audio
transport and communications is
"much more common" and "a must"
for any new equipment or projects.
"IP is very much a consideration
when building a new system or truck
and for future proofing but not so
much for conversions," Greig says. "In
video-land it's still very much a hybrid
landscape for the foreseeable future."
CTV's first UHD truck was OB2,
which was converted for full 4K/
HD operation. This was followed by
OB11, with work on OB4 to begin in

October. OB2 and OB11 were systems
integrated during the first quarter
of this year; routers are Sony BVMX300s with UHD/HDR capability and
full 3G monitoring, while there is UHD
waveform monitoring throughout. "We
are doing more and more UHD," Greig
says, "from The Isle of Wight Festival
live on Sky Arts to the South African
Cricket Test series, also live on Sky.
Most concerts are also done in UHD
now. HDR [high dynamic range] and
WCG [wide colour gamut] are definitely
coming but are still not a requirement
on all UHD productions. I suspect they
won't be until it's easier to have a
combined SDR/HDR workflow."
4K Requirement
Sports production has driven
many technology innovations and
implementations in the last 20
years. This holds true for UHD today,
with OB providers such as NEP UK
seeing delivery in 4K as a growing
requirement. "When building our
NEP UK Pacific double
expander OB

new trucks we have to ensure they
are all 4K ready," says Engineering
and Technical Director Rob Newton.
"This past year we have delivered 148
football matches in 4K, which signifies
the way the industry is going. As far as
HDR goes, there is interest but no big
commitments."
Newton also acknowledges that
UHD is calling for the new breed of IP
infrastructures in OB trucks covering
both vision and audio. "As 4K becomes
more common, there are massive
routing systems to deal with, which
realistically only an IP solution can
handle," he explains. "Migrating from
HD to 4K multiplies the I/O [inputs/
outputs] by five to six times. While it
is possible to do a really large system
in base band, it becomes unbelievably
large and expensive due to the router
core size growing in a square law,
especially if it is to be non-blocking.
Whereas, the size of an IP based
system grows in a linear fashion. We
have two new trucks on the way, which
will be fully equipped with IP."
Screen Types
Broadcasters and facilities providers
alike have always had to consider how
viewers are watching the programmes
- black and white, colour, size of
screen and, latterly widescreen and
stereo/surround sound formats. But,
observes Newton, the wide array

"When building
our new trucks we
have to ensure they
are all 4K ready"
Rob Newton, NEP


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of In Broadcast - September 2017

Contents
In Broadcast - September 2017 - Intro
In Broadcast - September 2017 - Cover1
In Broadcast - September 2017 - Cover2
In Broadcast - September 2017 - Contents
In Broadcast - September 2017 - 4
In Broadcast - September 2017 - 5
In Broadcast - September 2017 - 6
In Broadcast - September 2017 - 7
In Broadcast - September 2017 - 8
In Broadcast - September 2017 - 9
In Broadcast - September 2017 - 10
In Broadcast - September 2017 - 11
In Broadcast - September 2017 - 12
In Broadcast - September 2017 - 13
In Broadcast - September 2017 - 14
In Broadcast - September 2017 - 15
In Broadcast - September 2017 - 16
In Broadcast - September 2017 - 17
In Broadcast - September 2017 - 18
In Broadcast - September 2017 - 19
In Broadcast - September 2017 - 20
In Broadcast - September 2017 - 21
In Broadcast - September 2017 - 22
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In Broadcast - September 2017 - 24
In Broadcast - September 2017 - 25
In Broadcast - September 2017 - 26
In Broadcast - September 2017 - 27
In Broadcast - September 2017 - 28
In Broadcast - September 2017 - 29
In Broadcast - September 2017 - 30
In Broadcast - September 2017 - 31
In Broadcast - September 2017 - 32
In Broadcast - September 2017 - 33
In Broadcast - September 2017 - 34
In Broadcast - September 2017 - 35
In Broadcast - September 2017 - 36
In Broadcast - September 2017 - 37
In Broadcast - September 2017 - 38
In Broadcast - September 2017 - 39
In Broadcast - September 2017 - 40
In Broadcast - September 2017 - 41
In Broadcast - September 2017 - 42
In Broadcast - September 2017 - 43
In Broadcast - September 2017 - 44
In Broadcast - September 2017 - 45
In Broadcast - September 2017 - 46
In Broadcast - September 2017 - 47
In Broadcast - September 2017 - 48
In Broadcast - September 2017 - 49
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In Broadcast - September 2017 - 77
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