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Michael Essien Charity
Football Match broadcast
with Blackmagic Design
by Barrie Williams
W hen Michael Essien wanted to broadcast his charity football match
from Ghana, the natural choice was In-5 Broadcast, who over recent
years have become well- known for cost-effective outside broadcasts,
writes Barrie Williams.
However, with no HD broadcast equipment hire in Accra, it was necessary
to take a complete fly-away studio on the plane. It made an interesting sight
at Gatwick Airport seeing the six-man crew arrive with 17 flight cases which
included a particularly heavy EVS.
The original plan was a day trip to Ghana, but fortunately the crew were
permitted to fly with the footballers one day early, giving them an evening to pre-
rig the studio before the game. The stadium was very large so using fibre to the
cameras was the only option, not just for the cable lengths, but also to keep the
shipping weight down.
In-5 Broadcast owner Carl Owen remarks: “The Blackmagic ATEM Camera
Converter was the obvious choice due to its size, weight, and having tally and
intercom built in. And for realtime scores, leader boards and on-screen graphics,
I was very pleased with the ATEM 1/ME Production Switcher as a compact and
lightweight character generator.”
Not everything goes well on live broadcasts, and one locally sourced camera
needed urgent attention just five minutes before kick-off so we dispatched
someone to run around the pitch perimeter to adjust the camera. That seemed
to amuse the locals who cheered his valiant effort and giggled rather a lot.
Then just 90 seconds before we went live on the satellite feed to London, a shy
lad from the satellite truck entered the control room and said everybody looks
very tall, and very thin. He was describing anamorphic 16:9 stretch. It was clear
we needed to send 4:3, not 16:9 widescreen. The standard conversion from HD
to SD was being done with the Teranex 2D, so with literally just seconds to go,
we pressed the aspect ratio button and the picture was re-scaled. The local lad
had clearly never seen a Teranex, and could not believe that one touch of the
button could instantly fix what he imagined was an insurmountable problem.
For the next 75 minutes all went as planned, until suddenly one camera went
to black without warning. We despatched one of team to investigate. A few
minutes later the camera came back on line. The problem? Unbelievably, a
security guard saw a mains socket under the camera, and realising his mobile
phone battery was flat, unplugged the camera, and plugged in his phone
charger. The joys of the outside broadcast!
74 | TV-BAY MAGAZINE: ISSUE 81 SEPTEMBER 2013