Confederations Cup: Live venue and international contribution from Russia
Whenever you see live images from the Confederations Cup 2017, they will probably be from the live video network designed and operated by VIDI engineers, writes Robert Oszvald, Director Event Service, VIDI. To ensure this all works, the VIDI team installed and thoroughly tested the adaption technology in advance in the match venues — Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kasan and Sochi.
Carrier connections have been realised via the network of the Russian telecommunications company, MegaFon. The local cooperation and contract partner for handling the entire project is CSJC Synterra Media.
To ensure the signaling pathways throughout the national network are protected against outages during live transmissions, a complex network topology with redundant signaling channels was set up. This means that in the event of problems, it will be possible to switch to the backup channels using hitless switching technology without the viewers noticing anything.
VIDI engineers and some of our contractual partners have been deployed in all game venues in Russia as well as in the International Broadcast Coordination Center (IBCC) at the stadium in St. Petersburg.
The audio and video data from the cameras in the stadiums is received in the IBCC, where it is processed and then forwarded. What’s more, extensive file services are also being realised via these connections.
This represents a significant responsibility for our engineers, who are tasked with handling the signal transmissions sent from the individual stadiums to the IBCC and for forwarding them around the globe to the many rights holders. Just in Russia alone, the signals need to traverse enormous distances. For example, the distance from St. Petersburg on the Gulf of Finland to Sochi on the Black Sea is nearly 2,000 km in a straight line.
The Network Management System (NMS) from VIDI is also the central tool in Russia for monitoring all signal connections and ensuring transmission quality. The detailed evaluations and network analyses of the system were a great help even during the network set-up phase, and this is the case even more so during the ‘action-packed’ phases of the live transmissions.
In the IBCC in St. Petersburg and the network monitoring rooms at the game venues, access to the NMS monitoring system was set up. The VIDI engineers thus have access to the monitoring results from each of these locations, and can also manage the network via this access.
First time: remote production in an international enviromment
One of the particular challenges related to a request from the public service broadcasters in Germany, who wanted to use the Cup for extensive testing of remote production applications in an international environment. This not only meant that production resources and operational responsibilities had to be relocated to Germany, it also placed special requirements on the design and operation of the transmission capacities.
The technical requirements for remote production could only be fulfilled if the flexibility of the international connections would allow an integrative realisation of live video services, file services and IT applications. The VIDI team is also responsible for many international connections, including to South America, Europe and of course Germany.
It’s no secret that we are proud of the fact that we will also be responsible for transmitting live images from the World Cup next year. You could say the Confederations Cup is sort of the first act, prior to the really big event next year in June. We are already looking forward to it.