Being heard in the jungle


Andy Clements TV-Bay Magazine
Read ezine online

Professional wireless sound solution specialists, Raycom, were asked in summer 2015 to specify, supply and commission a huge new RF wireless distribution system for ITV's popular reality television show, "A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here!"

The show is set in 500,000 square metres of dense Australian jungle. The celebrities competing are filmed in various settings and locations across the whole area making wireless belt pack microphones the obvious solution. It was down to Raycom to create sufficient RF architecture to make sure their every word was heard loud and clear even if they weren't screaming "get me out!"

Through experience with other geographically challenging applications, in the world of motorsport, Raycom turned to Italian manufacturer Wisycom, who they represent in the UK, knowing they would have the equipment and technology required to get the job done.

Wisycom's LNNA active antennas and RF matrix switches were selected as the most suitable solution. In total 40 antennas were installed around the site feeding back through a number of their new unique MAT288 eight way RF matrix combiners.

The MAT288 enables specific coverage areas to be selected on the front panel or remotely in addition to allowing gain control where required. DC power is provided for active antennas along with voltage and current measurement to provide remote diagnosis of antenna or feeder issues. For other non-permanent locations another pair of antennas feed back to the studio using a Wisycom MFL plug and play RF over fibre system.

Pyers Easton, Managing Director of Raycom who personally assisted in the design and commissioning of the system says " a system this large, possibly the largest of its kind in the world, requires extreme care to make sure the gain structure is correct to maintain the dynamic range throughout the system ensuring it is free from overload and does not introduce noise. The system also has a high degree of redundancy so that a failure of any antenna will not put the system at risk from dropout".

The entire system is broadband and unfiltered, the antennas cover from 470 to 870MHz. With 5 Watt walkie talkies on 515MHz that can be in close proximity to the antennas the large signal handling of the amplifiers is critical as any overload could cause serious loss of signal. In the finished system the combined noise floor was -112dBm with no overload even with levels of up to 20dBm when a walkie talkie was keyed up under an antenna!

The LNNA antennas are ideal as the gain can be set from the front panel in 1dB steps from 0 to 15dB meaning that just the correct make up gain can be applied to compensate for feeder loss. In some areas, such as the Bush Telegraph where the celebrities are very close to the antennas, gain can be easily taken out to ensure the very local antennas contribution to the mix is at a similar average level to that from areas where the talent is located further away.

Hard wire runs between antennas and matrix combiners also had to be considered. Some of the feeders were up to 500m long so Wisycom BAW amplifiers were deployed at appropriate points, providing gain range from 0 to 22dB with very high line driving power making them ideal for the application.

Despite the tough conditions and wild nature of the location the system has proved to work flawlessly. Wisycom's products and Raycom's RF expertise worked seamlessly to provide a reliable solution. They now look forward to even more extreme projects. Perhaps "I'm on the moon get me off here" is already in the planning stages ?

www.raycom.co.uk


Tags: iss111 | raycom | jungle | celebrity | antennas | Andy Clements
Contributing Author Andy Clements

Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Article Copyright tv-bay limited. All trademarks recognised.
Reproduction of the content strictly prohibited without written consent.

Related Interviews
  • SISLIVE Manpak tripod antennas at NAB 2015

    SISLIVE Manpak tripod antennas at NAB 2015

  • Jampro Antennas at NAB 2013

    Jampro Antennas at NAB 2013


Articles
A switch in time: how KVM can unlock the future of broadcasting
Chris Smeeton

One of the major changes for broadcasters during the pandemic has been the shift towards remote production; by no means a new phenomenon in an IP environment, yet accelerated under lockdown to accommodate travel and gathering restrictions. A 2021 report found that almost 40% of broadcast professionals now employ remote production, up 9% on the previous year.

Tags: KVM | ARGOSY | GDSYS | KVM Tech | Chris Smeeton
Contributing Author Chris Smeeton Click to read
Rohde & Schwarz integration with Adobe Premiere Pro
Ciaran Doran

Rohde & Schwarz SpycerNode storage & VENICE ingest are perfect partners for Adobe workflows

Tags: Rohde Schwarz | media | VENICE | SpycerNode | adobe | premier pro | Ciaran Doran
Contributing Author Ciaran Doran Click to read
Cloud integration: The only way is up
Francois Vaillant

In 2017 we saw the introduction of SMPTE 2110 and since then, the transition to IP has emerged as a priority for broadcasters looking to streamline their operations, decrease their footprint and effectively integrate with an industry in a rapid state of flux. A 2020 survey by Devoncroft found that almost 20% of broadcasters had already deployed SMPTE 2110, and over 25% were planning to do so. Then came the pandemic, precipitating the need for on-the-fly collaboration and accelerating the transition to remote, virtual and cloud production.

Tags: dejero | smpte 2110 | dazzl | streaming | Francois Vaillant
Contributing Author Francois Vaillant Click to read
The Cloud - a measured approach
Ciaran Doran

With the buzz of ‘cloud’ everywhere in our industry it would be natural to think that cloud is the only game in town. Isn’t it time to step back and consider very carefully how, or whether, you make that journey to the cloud?

Tags: cloud | rohde and schwarz | rohde | schwarz | Ciaran Doran
Contributing Author Ciaran Doran Click to read
Meeting the specification
Chris Smeeton

A good technical specification will detail precisely what is required, from the equipment to the cables connecting it. Many specifications will give  particular manufacturers and model numbers. On many occasions, this makes tendering simple and gives vendors a secure and fair way to bid.

Tags: CPR specification | argosy cable | fire safe cable | eu standard cable | chris smeeton | Chris Smeeton
Contributing Author Chris Smeeton Click to read