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Because of difficult African road conditions, the OB requirement of the broadcaster was fairly unusual. Instead of a single-truck solution using articulated trailer-lorries, common for OB in Europe and the US, C2S Systems provided SuperSport with two smaller and more mobile rigid chassis trucks, designed to join together once on location to make a single OB.
Four Mercedes Axor-R 2529’s were selected as the truck model for the OB units with two further vehicles being provided for support. Each operational pair provides enough space for production, audio and replay areas in one truck and an engineering and uplink area in the other. The production area was designed to include capacity for six VT’s and three on-air graphics systems, while the engineering truck includes capacity for five EVS media servers for slow-motion replay and highlights editing.
Each equipped with twenty HD system cameras, including one super slow motion, plus two HD box cameras on robotic heads, the units provide all the functionality of a single truck with the advantage of additional operator space and an on-board uplink removing the need for a satellite van. Dolby D and E encoding enables 5.1 audio capabilities. The two complete OBs were designed to be almost identical with only the choice of audio mixer differing between them.
“The real challenge and the unique element of this build was joining the two units to give a seamless overall system,” commented Jonathan Lyth, C2S Systems’ head of projects. “Connecting the two had to be easy and relatively quick for operators on location, so we based the interconnection around 4 duplex fibre cables capable of carrying a total of 96 bi-directional HD-SDI signals and intercom. Audio is carried by eight 64 channel madi streams over copper, which integrated directly into the router. Because the local skill-set is still developing, these units will generally be used by less experienced operators than might be found elsewhere, so we factored this into the overall design, using a customised control solution to help simplify both operational and engineer tasks, while still allowing for upgrade and expansion in the future.”
Andre Venter, Director of SuperSport Media Solutions Africa, commented: “It was a going to be a complex and ambitious integration project from the outset, so having previously worked with C2S Systems on our studios in Nigeria; we knew they had the right team to design and build the units to the standard we were after. They already had experience in the region and a strong relationship with our team; we were impressed by their commitment to understanding the intricacy of our operations, designing a solution to perfectly suit our needs. We needed mobility and scalability as well as space, so there were a lot of problems to solve. Our mission is to provide viewers with the highest quality picture & audio possible, with these new OB units, C2S Systems are helping us to deliver this promise to our audience.”