When some of the nation's best golfers hit the course to tee off earlier this season, Studio Technologies' Live-Link(tm) Mini Remote Camera Interface System and its new portable truck-end unit, helped to support the television coverage before it was released for general use. The first official use of the portable, battery powered truck-end unit was in April, and it offered the network the flexibility needed to support monitoring and communications in a complex field production with limited fiber resources.
"Studio Technologies recommended its latest portable truck-end unit for the Live-Link Mini system, as the production team has relied on the system's rack-mounted truck-end units in the past and had great success," says Marc Caputo, senior director, remote operations at Golf Channel. "As the truck-end unit runs on only one strand of fiber and is portable, it simplifies the installation process and streamlines the ENG workflow. Its flexibility proved especially important on the golf course, as our production crew was stationed in a remote, mobile unit 4,000 feet away from the camera."
Caputo and his crew set up a Sony HDC-1500 portable camera, embedding microphones on the camera side, which ran on a Telecast HDX(tm) fiber system. The Live-Link Mini Remote Camera Interface System was housed within a full production mobile unit and used to support monitoring and communications for the A2 stage manager. "We fed it a return so that the talent could see what's on the air," continues Caputo. "Since we were running the cameras through the HDX box, the crew used the video input on the course to feed a tape machine, if needed. They were then able to feed two channels of intercom through the Live-Link Mini and an IFB going back to the mobile unit."
Caputo mentions the truck-end unit's ability to interface without using four-wire ports, which were scarce at times, proved useful. "We were able to just feed it from a SAP (source assignment panel) and get two channels of intercom," adds Caputo. "While the Studio Technologies rack-mounted truck-end unit we relied on last year required a four-wire intercom port, this new portable truck-end can function with a simple partyline, which has provided improved communications with the uplink truck."
For this particular golf tournament, Caputo and his crew had access to just three strands of fiber, deploying two for the main program picture and camera control, and one strand for everything else. "The fact that the truck-end unit runs on a single strand of fiber really gave us a lot of added flexibility and control," he adds. "With only three fiber strands on the course, we had full communication, a return monitor, a feed deck point, two channels of PL and IFB for the reporter. Not to mention, we still had a broadcast camera with full camera control. So, during long days of shooting from sunrise to sunset, a video operator was able to control that camera like we could with any other camera on the course."
While all three Live-Link Mini truck-end units run on one strand of fiber, the new portable truck-end unit has the benefit of added flexibility, as it can be battery powered and does not need to be rack-mounted. "We could just put it down on a table or anywhere," concludes Caputo. "It's easier for a person to do installation, because, if a company had this and rented it to uplink providers or mobile unit providers, it can just be placed on a counter top with cables running to it."
The Live-Link Mini Remote Camera Interface System offers one SDI path in each direction, supporting a wide range of SD-, HD- and 3G-video signals to make it the ideal camera extender system for electronic news gathering, uplink truck and focused broadcast applications. For quick and reliable field deployment, the camera- and truck-end units interlock through one single-mode fiber, and use standard optical, video and audio connectors for maximum flexibility. Unlike other systems from the Live-Link family, the camera-end unit relies on the associated camera or camcorder to embed on-air audio signals into audio group 1 of the source SDI. This minimizes the camera-end unit's size, reduces cost and simplifies setup. The embedded audio signals are then transported, along with picture data, via up to 10 km of fiber to the associated Live-Link Mini truck-end unit.
The new Live-Link Mini portable truck-end unit is housed in a lightweight aluminum enclosure and includes an integrated carry handle. Its size and weight make it well-suited for portable and "throw-down" applications. Two DC power sources can be connected. A 4-pin XLR connector on the front panel allows a 12 V DC power supply to be connected. A battery mount, located on the back of the unit's cover, is compatible with Anton/Bauer(r) batteries. An optional V-Mount can be provided for other battery solutions. The new portable truck-end version is identical in size to the system's camera-end unit, and a pair of mini portable units can be easily transported in a small portable case. Additional features include two de-embed analog outputs and partyline (PL) intercom support.
For more information on the Live-Link Mini Remote Camera Interface System and its new portable truck-end unit, visit www.studio-tech.com.
About Studio Technologies, Inc.
Studio Technologies, Inc. provides tailored, high-performance video, audio and fiber optic products for the professional audio and broadcast markets. Founded in 1978, the company is committed to designing and manufacturing dependable, high-performance solutions for broadcast studio, stadium and corporate environments. Known for "designing for the way professionals work," the company is recognized as an industry leader. Product categories include fiber-optic transport, intercom and IFB interfaces, announcer consoles, and loudspeaker monitor control systems. For more information, please visit the Studio Technologies website at www.studio-tech.com or call 847.676.9177.