Vislink, Timecode Systems and GoPro collaborate on NHL review capabilities
Timecode Systems has announced its role in a new integrated wireless goal post camera solution for the NHL. The project sees GoPro providing the camera systems, Vislink the wireless video transport in a solution called HEROCast, and Timecode Systems the wireless timecode solution. The complete integration was delivered in time for this season’s Stanley Cup playoffs.
HEROCast now not only delivers unique camera angles for the viewer, but also provides pre-timecoded camera feeds to the NHL’s “situation room”, where operators monitor up to 16 simultaneous feeds of NHL games. Whenever a goal is scored or a contentious scoring play occurs, the NHL situation room uses its in-house instant replay camera/server system to provide a quick analysis. That analysis is immediately available to each game’s referees and goal judge via dedicated communication lines. Highly accurate ‘stadium’ timecode and sync get embedded with the video feeds wirelessly at the source, which ensures all wired and wireless cameras in each stadium are synchronised with each other. This function has tremendous technical benefits not only in eliminating timecode drift due to latency in the wireless video-transmission path, but also in key game-play decisions that require absolute accuracy when reviewing frame-by-frame footage.
“We’re making a continual effort to broaden the range of applications for our long-range wireless sync and metadata exchange technology,” said Paul Scurrell, managing director at Timecode Systems. “We were delighted that the NHL invited us to be part of this exciting project following the league’s successful trial of the Timecode Buddy :mini trx/rx system. The demand for reliable long-range wireless sync, status, and control on live events is growing rapidly, and this high-profile project will give the industry a glimpse of the many benefits our products can bring to this sector. This is only the beginning.”
“Bringing Timecode Systems’ wireless sync technology into the recent GoPro/Vislink product partnership has enhanced the appeal of the new HEROCast system,” said Adam Silver, director of strategic product opportunities at GoPro.
Ashley Jackson, vice president of engineering at Vislink, added: “We are delighted to be working with Timecode Systems and GoPro to enhance the NHL viewing experience. Vislink is well-established as a leading provider of low-latency, high-performance wireless camera transmission systems for the world’s most prestigious sporting events. This project is a testament to our industry-leading wireless video technology and its proven operational ability in even the most challenging live broadcast environments.”
For each of the equipped NHL arenas, HEROCast uses a Timecode Buddy :mini trx ultra compact timecode and genlock generator and transceiver in TX mode, locked to the stadium’s ‘house’ timecode. Integrated into each goal post is a stripped-down GoPro camera and a Timecode Buddy :mini rx unit in RX mode. In this way, each :mini rx unit’s super accurate TCXO timecode and genlock generator is constantly soft-locked over the long-range 915-MHz data link. When in RF lock mode, the Timecode Systems products are accurate to within less than 5 microseconds of each other. This highly accurate timecode is then embedded into the video signal going to the Vislink wireless video transmitter, which in turn transmits the two video sources separately, each on its own RF path.
At the Vislink receiver in the arena ceiling, the signals are received and converted to HD-SDI with the timecode included in the outgoing HD-SDI stream as ANC timecode data. This workflow ensures that all cameras are synchronised, regardless of any local encode/decode or TX/RX latency. The signals are then distributed to the NHL situation room in Toronto, to the house video production area, and to OB vans covering the event.
Timecode Systems has delivered 40 :mini rx units and 20 :mini trx units for HEROCast systems that have been installed in the 20 arenas that host the Stanley Cup Playoffs. There are four cameras (two at each goal), four video links, and three Timecode Buddy systems per arena. After successful integration into those 20 arenas, HEROCast systems will be installed at the other 10 NHL venues, amounting to 30 more Timecode Buddy units.