The British Open Championship is the oldest golf tournament in the world. Since 1860, it has been held annually either in Scotland or in England. Past winners include virtually all the games legends, including Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods and Greg Norman. The venue for the British Open 2013, which ran from July 18 to 21, was the idyllic Muirfield links overlooking the Firth of Forth in East Lothian, Scotland. The worlds largest sports-only channel, ESPN, provided coverage of the event, enlisting for the purpose the aid of IMG and CTV Outside Broadcasts, a British company that has been active now for over three decades in the broadcasting industry and numbers the BAFTA film awards as well as a variety of NFL, cricketing and golfing events among its references.
For this years Open, CTV employed around ten outside broadcast vehicles and, for the first time, OMNEO network technology. I have worked on a large number of major productions, says Hamish Greig, CTVs Director of Engineering, but this was one of the most complex. We deployed, for example, 42 line and HD cameras, 4 remote heads on camera cranes and a flying camera. We were extremely impressed by the RTS+OMNEO combination. It provides a networking technology ideal for events like the Open Championship, offering as it does not only program transport but also system control at the same time, and it gave us the further advantage of being able to operate the keypanels in a remote session. Thanks to the OMNEO-capable RTS equipment, Greig and his team had no difficulty in assuring communications between the diverse and numerous group of individuals involved in the massive project.
The nerve centre of the CTV Outside Broadcasts communications system at Muirfield was an ADAM full-sized modular matrix intercom in a 128 configuration. Located in OB9, this matrix with a capacity of up to 464 ports is the flagship of the RTS matrix range. Equipped with redundant power supplies and controllers, the integrated MCII-e controller allows the simultaneous operation of up to 32 parallel AZEdit clients via Ethernet and/or RS-485. The keypanels from RTS were linked using OMNEO network technology. They included representatives of the KP-32-CLD, KP-32 and KP-12-CLD series. The communication between the matrix and the keypanels was implemented using an RTS OMI card in the ADAM matrix as well as six RTS OKI cards in the keypanels. The use of OMNEO offered numerous advantages over a conventional network: a lower cabling outlay, automatic allocation of IP addresses and the daisy-chaining of the Ethernet signal from keypanel to keypanel.
The integration of an additional ADAM matrix via a TBX card allowed the creation of a unified but elaborate system with many and varied technical options. RVON connections, furthermore, assured the link with ESPN headquarters in Bristol (Connecticut, USA), which considerably facilitated the logistics, as well as enhancing the overall quality, of the production. Two Cronus matrices on board OB1 were also integrated into the ADAM network using an analogue connection. Cronus is a modular, 32-port, digital matrix intercom only two rack units in height but capable of accommodating up to four AIO analogue or RVON-C VoIP cards with eight ports each.
The added flexibility and configuration options that OMNEO contributed were of decisive importance during this event, says Greig. Take for example the keypanels: thanks to OMNEO, we were able to connect up to 20 keypanels in series. We were able to integrate each of them using fiber optics and Ethernet via RJ45 connections into the system. It worked perfectly and brought huge gains over previous years. The combination of equipment from RTS and OMNEO facilitated to an enormous extent the communications logistics.
OMNEO is a network technology for the transmission of audio and control data via a standard Ethernet connection. With OMNEO up to 10,000 devices can be integrated into a media network. OMNEO is based on two software components. The Dante network technology developed by Audinate is responsible for the transmission of the audio signals. This also makes possible the integration of other Dante-based devices into an OMNEO network. The second component, the Open Control Architecture (OCA), is an open-source technology that handles the transmission of the control data. This being the new transmission standard, OMNEO devices from different manufacturers can be combined in a single network without problems of compatibility arising.