Gearhouse serves aces with Dolby, Bel Digital at the Australian Open

Among the technology highlights of the television coverage for the recent Australian Open tennis tournament was Gearhouse Broadcast’s use of 66 Hitachi SK1200 cameras. The rental and systems integration company is the first major supplier to use the product for a high profile sporting event ( but this should not be allowed to overshadow other critical aspects of the installation, including the sound side.

In its technical operations areas, which were used by host broadcaster Channel Seven Australia, ESPN and the Tennis Channel, Gearhouse Broadcast installed 64 Bel Digital Audio monitors and de-embedders to process the audio on the HD transmissions.

Gearhouse Broadcast used 50 3G HD compatible BM-A1-2SHDs, which were selected for their compact 1U size as well as technical capability. The two-channel monitor is able to de-embed audio from video feeds, as well as monitoring the sound components in 3G, HD and SD-SDI bitstreams.

To deal with multi-channel feeds Gearhouse brought in 14 BM-A2- E16SHD units for decoding Dolby signals, as well as automatically identifying 3G/HD/SD-SDI streams through a pair of inputs. The E16 is able to handle eight analogue audio inputs and eight AES 3id pairs, with monitoring on a front panel display of 16 bar graph meters. The Dolby decoder can deal with Dolby E, Dolby Digital and Dolby Digital Plus in the AES feeds or embedded SDI streams. The unit also features eight Dolby mix-down algorithms.

Gearhouse Broadcast is now in the second year of its four-year contract to provide technical facilities at the Australian Open and supplied audio monitoring on feeds from all seven courts used during the championship.

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