Live from London: Many approaches deliver sound to many destinations

TV coverage of the London 2012 Summer Olympics has involved not just the host broadcaster but many national broadcasters using a broad range of technologies and equipment to get pictures and sound of the Games to their audiences. Among these is home service BBC, which has its own facility within the International Broadcast Centre (IBC).

A substantial part of the facility houses the BBC’s audio operation, featuring seven Studer mixing consoles on a Route 6000 network. Feeds from the 34 venues used during the event have been brought into this area as part of the broadcaster’s transmissions.

The BBC’s broadcasting centre, designed and built in conjunction with integrator Dega Broadcast Systems, has three 62-fader Vista 9 desks and one Vista 5, along with two OnAir 3000s and an OnAir 1500. Lead sound supervisor Pete Bridges says each Vista 9 is “the hub” of the BBC’s three HD/5.1-surround-sound production galleries. An interactive gallery with two OnAir 3000s manages and routes 24 streams being sent to online and Red Button services, as well as for Freesat, Sky, and Virgin Media distribution.

OB trucks used by the BBC, NDR, RAI, and CCTV have relied on Stagetec mixers and routers, with approximately 70 Nexus frames, 15 Nexus Star switchers, and eight desks. Stagetec systems have also been used at some of the main Olympic venues, including Earl’s Court for volleyball and Wimbledon for tennis, as well as at the IBC.

On the commentary side, another member of the Stagetec group, Delec, provided its Oratis terminals to the Australian Broadcast Corp. (ABC) for three commentator booths at its dedicated studio. These allow up to three commentators to broadcast at one time, with a fourth microphone input available for a guest. These feeds are passed through a Stagetec AURATUS console and NEXUS router for mixing and distribution.

Host broadcaster OBS is providing AEQ commentary systems, with all audio signals from venues switched through an AEQ Titan 5000×5000 router. The EBU has its own Titan system for sending feeds to member and associate-member broadcasters, over a variety of circuits, including E1, IP, and ISDN. The last two formats are processed through AEQ Phoenix Studio audio codecs, with all links arranged on a peer-to-peer basis.

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