Blackmagic Design Teranex 3D helping to stream stunt-friendly winter sports event
Blackmagic Design’s Teranex 2D Processor is playing a vital role in the live streaming workflow for the Swatch FreeRide World Tour by The North Face. A global audience has the opportunity to watch top skiers and snowboarders in real time as they execute breathtaking stunts at the top of the world’s biggest mountain resorts.
A full, self contained production unit is constructed at the top of the mountain hosting one of the tour’s four European stops. ‘We arrive 24 hours before the competition kicks off, and transport three tonnes of broadcast equipment by helidrop,” explains Steeve Morales, technical manager, FreeRide Europe and Switch Productions. “The production desks are set up in a heated tent to protect from winds of up to 100km/h and we have a uninterrupted power supply system, to keep everything working, even if temperatures plummet overnight.”
Nine cameras capture the action, with six positioned at the finish line, judges’ and presenters’ positions, and three wireless camera transmitting from the start gate and from a helicopter for overhead wide angle shots. Six ATEM Camera Converters and more than 3km of optical fibre cable are used to position the cameras across the mountain. The fibre signals are converted back to SDI using two ATEM Studio Converters and then routed through a Smart Videohub to an ATEM 2 M/E Production Switcher.
The switcher produces a programme output and a clean feed, which has scoring and graphics removed, both at 1080i50. Both are routed back through the video router to a series of Teranex 2D Processors, which are used to embed clean and dirty audio feeds into the TX feed.
One Teranex embeds both the clean (ambiance) and dirty audio (presenters and media) into the programme output, which is then scaled to 720p50 for live streaming. This is encoded and transmitted via satellite to Red Bull TV, dailymotion and the FreeRide online player.
The remaining two Teranex units are used to create two versions of the clean feed, one with the clean audio embedded, and one with the dirty audio feed. These are fed to two HyperDeck Studio Pro recorders for two editing workstations to create highlight packages for distribution to sponsors and for the tour’s website. “The ability to embed audio with the Teranex and create consistency in our feeds is essential,” says Morales. “We are able to manage the programme and clean TX feeds much more smoothly, and ensures we have the formats we need for instant and future distribution.”
“Flexibility and reliability are critical for us, because we have to balance the safety of our crew and riders with getting the very best footage, but the Blackmagic Design kit has withstood the most extreme weather conditions and production demands,” says Morales. “Previously we would have had to rent equipment at each stop, which is not only more expensive, but also doesn’t give us any consistency. You don’t want to be worrying about kit not integrating properly when you’re trying to set up in freezing temperatures, and the Blackmagic Design equipment has given us a fixed infrastructure that we can rely on, whatever the weather chooses to do.”