In Broadcast - NABSHOW 2015 - 9


9

www.inbroadcast.com | NAB SHOW 11-16 April 2015 | InShow Guide

Bluebell Opticom Lets Broadcasters
Maximise Fibres, While Minimising
Costs and Headaches
By Paul McCann, Managing Director

L

et's face it - we've been putting
broadcast signals on fibre for a
long time now. Although fibre was
new and mysterious (and expensive)
20 years ago, today you'll find it on
most OB vans, helping broadcasters
around the globe to bring events into
our homes.
The idea of optical multiplexing isn't
new, either. By using CWDM along with
TDM and other multiplexing schemes,
we can get a mind-numbing number
of signals onto a single strand of glass.
But making CWDM plug and play is
more challenging. Undoubtedly, the
expertise of broadcast engineers
has grown as optical systems have
become more prevalent, but we are
always trying to make our systems
easier to use, while making them more
powerful, at the same time.
The common SMPTE hybrid cable
has two single-mode fibres inside,
and many broadcast camera systems
use them to send video, audio, data,
and intercom signals to the camera,
with all of the signals going to the
camera on one fibre, and all of the
return signals on the other. Optically
speaking, that configuration keeps
things simple.
What makes a SMPTE hybrid cable
"hybrid" are the other components -
the copper conductors that provide
power to the camera. The narrow
diameter of these conductors becomes
the limiting factor in how far the
cameras can be located from their
CCU.
But, as we all know, signals can

go a very long way on fibre. Hence
Bluebell's Shax products.
Our
Shax
products
allow
broadcasters to extend their cameras
up to 10 km from the CCU, by taking
the hybrid cable out of the equation.
Instead, the Shax setup requires just
two fibres to carry signals between the
camera and the CCU, while the camera
is powered locally. This solution is
great for events that typically have
long cabling distances, such as with
golf, skiing, and motorsports. But
sometimes it can be difficult to power
the camera locally with reliable mains.
So we came up with the ShaxX.
The ShaxX has a camera power
supply built into it, so it need only be
positioned near the camera, which
allows a great deal of flexibility when
placing cameras. The goal is to let
production teams put the camera
where they want it, rather than letting
the availability of power dictate the
location.
We have had many opportunities to
join our clients on outside broadcasts,
and observe how they use our
products. It is truly the best product
development experience that one
could ask for. In watching how golf
was being covered, it was obvious that
cameras were usually co-located. An
example of this would be one camera
positioned in a tower behind the
green, and another over at the next tee
box. So we thought, "How can we make
this production scenario easier?"
The ShaxX-DUAL came along next to
address this. With the DUAL, we were

The ShaxX-BC364 combo can support up to 16 cameras on only two fibre strands

The ShaxX-DUAL
provides power to
both cameras on four
monomode fibres

able to support two broadcast cameras
on four monomode fibres, with the
DUAL unit providing power for both
cameras. So we solved one problem
with ShaxX-DUAL, but we knew there
was more to consider.
Broadcasters are often looking for
ways to put more signals onto less
fibre - not only because some facilities
have limited preinstalled fibre, but
because events have a lot more going
on than they used to, with flying
cameras and cranes, and other bells
and whistles that viewers have come
to expect.
To answer this requirement, we
developed the BC364 CWDM Manager.
This clever little box takes in multiple
optical signals, and retransmits them
at a wavelength that can be inserted
into a CWDM mux. On the other end
of the link, the signals are returned to
their individual state. Typically, for a
device to be used with CWDM, it has

to be equipped
with a laser of a
specific wavelength. This
requirement creates two
problems. First, someone has
to keep track of all of the individual
devices with their unique wavelengths
and second, you would have to have
wavelength-specific spares should
something fail. With the BC364, all
of the CWDM magic happens inside,
so broadcasters can keep using their
standard 1310 and 1550 wideband
optics.
When you combine the BC364 with
the ShaxX or ShaxX-DUAL, you can
support up to 16 camera systems on
just two fibre strands!
To illustrate the power of this
solution, consider a racing circuit that
has camera positions 5 km away from
the OB compound. How much SMPTE
hybrid cable would be saved by using
the Bluebell ShaxX-BC364 system?
How many hours of rigging would be
saved by putting in and removing one
cable, rather than 16? In addition,
the ShaxX-BC364 combo provides
justification for facilities to preinstall
fibre, since running multiple cables
often involves hanging them in the
air or having to manage them around
vehicle and pedestrian traffic. These
result in safety concerns for both
the broadcasters and the facilities.
In scenarios like this, which some
broadcasters face regularly, the
economics and convenience of the
Bluebell ShaxX-BC364 system are
clear.
Give us a call for a demonstration.
We have plenty of kit that we can
supply with one of our sales team to
plug it up, because it is that simple. If
you are coming to NAB Show, please
stop by the Bluebell Opticom and see
for yourself.


http://www.inbroadcast.com http://bluebellcomms.co.uk/

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of In Broadcast - NABSHOW 2015

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In Broadcast - NABSHOW 2015 - Cover3
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