TV-BAY Magazine Issue 75

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commentator cameras or perhaps a presentation area on location. There may be a need to feed other services. We recently built a fleet of trucks for RaceTech, which cover 700 horse race meetings in the UK. These trucks have to perform three functions simultaneously. They deliver television coverage of the races to a broadcaster; they create a fully presented race day television channel to be shown on screens around the course and in the hospitality areas; and they capture every second of every race with around 10 cameras, each independently recorded, so that the stewards can carefully study any incident immediately all in high definition. Rugby and cricket at the top level now also rely on television replays, so these need to be delivered from the truck, and sports have specific codes of practice on when the officials’ replays can be seen by the crowd at the event. There will probably also be giant screens for the crowd at a sports event or a concert, which need content similar to the main output but not the same. So the architecture of the truck has to support multiple outputs. It may be that a 3 M/E or 4 M/E production switcher is specified, allowing full production values while still allowing clean feeds and alternative graphics to be delivered. The leading vendors of switchers allow functions to be dynamically linked, to make it easy to break away when different outputs are required, and as easy to come back to a single output. Developing ways of serving multiple platforms from an outside broadcast is an extension of this existing requirement. The same core material is delivered in new ways to new platforms. Some of this may require additional processing, for instance to change resolution, encoding and wrapping to deliver to online or mobile devices, and this will require additional hardware. But the core challenge is to chop up the right pictures for the right destination. New media opportunities are opening up. Sports fans in the stadium, for instance, might be excited by the ability to see replays of key action, on their mobile phone. That requires the moment to be clipped, perhaps reframed for mobile devices, and delivered to a local edge server really quickly. Other events might call for live streaming as well as television broadcasting. Again, there will be differences in the coverage, perhaps with alternative presentation and content. The traditional assumption is that online and mobile services require more tight shots focused on the action, fewer wide beauty shots which look impressive in HD on a large screen but less so on a handheld. Content may also need to be changed for commercial reasons. There may be different sponsors for the broadcast and online coverage, calling for commercial messages to be split away even within the continuous output. Adding multi-platform delivery to the list of requirements on a major outside broadcast does increase the flexibility, of course. It requires more paths through the router and production switcher, it will almost certainly call for different graphics and possibly repackaging if the online streams are to be delivered locally. Adding the capability of more outputs in more formats to the design of the truck, though, is well understood, at least by the design team at Megahertz. Success will be judged by an environment that ensures the technical team can implement whatever outputs are needed without increasing the rigging time, and the production team is comfortably housed with good communications, good monitoring and good air conditioning. 56 | TV-BAY MAGAZINE TV-BAY075MAR13.indd 56 11/03/2013 16:52