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HBS and a customised, standardised World Cup

The 2010 FIFA World Cup, which begins in South Africa tomorrow (11 June), will be broadcast internationally in high definition with 5.1 or stereo sound, writes Kevin Hilton.

The 2010 FIFA World Cup begins in South Africa tomorrow (11 June) with the opening match between the host nation and Mexico, which, like the whole tournament, will be broadcast internationally in high definition with 5.1 or stereo sound, writes Kevin Hilton. Host broadcaster HBS has assembled a vast array of audio and video equipment at the International Broadcast Centre (IBC) in Johannesburg and the 10 venues round the country. (The stunning new Green Point Stadium in Cape Town is shown in our picture.) International broadcasters are enhancing the unilateral feeds by bringing in their own facilities. Distribution equipment for the host feed at the venues is housed in Technical Operations Centres (TOCs) built into Portacabins by systems integrator Gearhouse Broadcast. This includes approximately 6,470 items supplied by UK manufacturer and distributor Canford. Among these are 685 custom-built panels, plus BNC HD termination panels, Musa HD panels and standard XLR panels. Gearhouse Broadcast project manager Simon Atkinson says all signals from the venues, which include numerous SD feeds and HD feeds, which are being distributed to unilateral broadcasters at the venues and then fed to the IBC in Johannesburg over the telco infrastructure. In a first for the World Cup HBS is providing the same microphones, Lawo mixing consoles, Genelec monitoring, Dolby encoders and ancillary equipment at all stadia and in the IBC. HBS’ senior engineering manager, Christian Gobbel, says the intention is to give “as standardised a product as possible”. Two 3D OB trucks are out in South Africa; from the UK Telegenic’s T18, equipped with a Calrec Apollo digital console, and the French AMP Car 8. Unilateral broadcasters have also taken OB trucks or flyaway packages to the World Cup, with equipment supplied by SIS LIVE and CTV OBs, among others. Belgian company Alfacam is providing facilities for HBS and will be using TSL PAM1-3G8 audio monitors in broadcast compounds at Durban, Port Elizabeth, Johannesburg and Pretoria. It also has five HD vehicles in South Africa, which will operate with a Riedel MediorNet fibre-based network to distribute and route audio, HD/SD video, intercom and data. TSL equipment also features in the four South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) vehicles built by the OB unit within Sony Professional Solutions. German public broadcasters ARD and ZDF are tailoring footage to their requirements using facilities provided by Media Logic. This involves a mobile production unit at the IBC based on two Fairlight surround sound workstations, linked to an Avid Unity ISIS-Interplay network and content management system.