Telecast Fiber Systems' CopperHead(TM) 3200 camera-mounted fiber optic transceivers are playing a starring role in the first HD broadcast of the popular U.K.-based television series, "The X Factor." Working in tandem with Telecast Fiber's Python II(TM) bi-directional transmit/receive systems, the CopperHead 3200 units have enabled "The X Factor" producers to leverage the portability and low cost of fiber for on-location shooting at a variety of outside broadcast locations.
"The X Factor" is an entertainment talent show originated by FremantleMedia and carried by the British network ITV on its ITV1 and ITV1 HD channels. In early October, the show entered its live studio phase after several weeks of on-location, remote production at various audition, "boot camp," and "judge's house" sites around the U.K. and the rest of the world. To facilitate the remote HD productions as cost effectively and effortlessly as possible, show producers talkbackTHAMES and Simon Cowell's SyCo Tv enlisted the services of HotCam, a broadcast equipment rental company based in the U.K. and U.S. HotCam supplied the production with fiber optic-based flypack production packages that included 15 Sony XDCam PDW F800 camcorders, each equipped with a CopperHead 3200 HD transceiver. In addition, HotCam provided portable vision mixing and lighting packages that could be delivered in flight cases and easily installed to provide temporary "video villages" in venues including Wembley Arena, Manchester Central, and the Cardiff International Arena.
"For a production of this type, which requires a real 'documentary' feel, we've always resisted deploying mobile broadcast trucks," said "The X Factor" Executive Producer Andrew Llinares. "The portable solution that HotCam provided is not only cost-effective, but also extremely versatile -- and the Telecast equipment has enabled us to leverage all of the advantages of fiber for shooting on location in a variety of outside venues."
The CopperHead 3200 systems provided a robust fiber optic link between the camcorders and the temporary video village positions, transporting HD camera feeds as well as two-way signals such as camera control, data, tally/call, and intercom over a single fiber connection. In addition, HotCam provided two eight-channel and four 16-channel Python II systems to transport bi-directional video signals to the monitor stacks.
"'The X Factor' is a prime example of our clients who are shooting in large venues that require massive cable runs -- and they've discovered they just can't get the job done with heavy copper cable," said Trevor Hotz, CEO of HotCam. "With the Telecast gear, these productions can carry all of the signals they need over a single lightweight fiber cable. That's why we chose the CopperHead 3200 and Python II systems as the basis for a fast-turnaround, tapeless broadcast operation that can be rapidly rigged and de-rigged. It's really ideal for productions such as 'The X Factor' that are constantly on the go, moving around the country to shoot at various location venues such as theaters, stadiums, and studios."