Wedding fallout part one: PacTV supports global coverage from London

UK: Pacific Television Center (PacTV) recently managed hundreds of feeds, many of which were running simultaneously, from its London facility, to ensure that coverage of the Royal Wedding on April 29, as well as in the days leading up to the event, reached viewers around the globe. It was, says the company, good preparation for London 2012.

“The Royal Wedding was the biggest single event we have ever worked on, here at PacTV London,” says Paul Abbott, UK Branch Manager, PacTV London. “We are very proud to have handled the massive amount of coverage on that day. As compared to PacTV Los Angeles, we are a smaller facility so we had to be well-organized. Without our assistance, client viewers in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and the US may not have received wedding coverage at all.”

PacTV, which was running at full capacity that day, received multiple live content versions from the UK host broadcasters; BBC, ITN and BSkyB, as well as from international broadcast crews that were flown over especially for the event. All content was successfully transmitted internationally to numerous broadcast stations, including Global TV and CBC (Canada), CBS and (Entertainment Tonight, U.S.), Foxtel, AuBC, SBS, Seven Network and Network 10 (Australia), TV3 and TVNZ (New Zealand) and Nippon TV (Japan).

“We actually received core coverage feeds from the BBC and ITN as well as stand ups from Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace and various points along the procession route,” says Dave Miller, Technical Engineer, PacTV London. “Using JPEG2000 technology we were able to send ‘lossless’ compressed HD and SD content to our clients across the globe. The most complex feed we did was for Global TV in Canada. While almost everything else was handled via our fixed lines and internal system, Global TV purchased a 45Mb pipe from us and using an MPEG-4-based codec, muxed a 3 x HD camera studio setup from outside Buckingham Palace, which we configured and supported to give an eloquent ASI turnaround solution through BT Tower into PacTV London.”

Abbott also cited the significance of this situation, as the pipe was quickly removed after the wedding was over. “We have never done this before with a client, it was certainly an unusual situation,” says Abbott. “The fact that this circuit was installed for just a week rarely happens. Usually clients ask us for one-, two- or even three-year solutions. But our business model and infrastructure is easily adaptable to any situation. It has been quite an interesting time for us here in London and leaves us in good stead for the London Olympics in 2012.”

In addition to all of the activity on the day of the Royal Wedding, PacTV had been busy with preparations months in advance of the event. The facility hosted Australian reporters at its facility to work on the build-up to the big day, recording tape playouts and studio shots.

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