Originally featured on BroadcastEngineering.com
10/21/2008 5:13 AM
Digital SoundField Systems Provide 5.1 Sound For Guinness Premiership Rugby
Wakefield, UK, October 2008: UK surround microphone manufacturers SoundField have sold an additional digital DSF-2 microphone system and a DSF-3 digital 5.1 surround sound processor to satellite broadcaster Sky Sports. The systems are being used on their HD coverage of the currently on-going Rugby Union Guinness Premiership, which started in early October 2008. The microphone and associated processor has been permanently installed in T16, the recently completed new HD OB vehicle owned by UK broadcast facilities company Telegenic, and will be used for coverage of all UK-based games during the championship.
In conjunction with the DSF-3 processor, the digital DSF-2 microphone provides broadcasters with a one-microphone, all-digital solution for capturing and broadcasting surround sound to accompany HD transmissions. The DFS-2 can output phase-coherent multi-channel surround sound in a variety of formats including 5.1 stereo and M&S, simultaneously if required, and with a great deal of configurable control over the eventual format, perceived width of the image, and even the microphone's pickup pattern and orientation. These features have endeared it to HD broadcasters that need to maintain a phase-coherent stereo alternative to accompany backwards-compatible SD transmissions. Sky Sports were amongst the first to use the DSF-2 for surround sound to accompany HD transmissions, and it now sees regular usage on Sky's internationally broadcast coverage of UK Premiership Soccer matches, Champions League, Rugby League, and Cricket. Sky has even permanently installed DSF-2 microphones in many stadiums in the UK Premiership, and in third-party-owned broadcast trucks used by Sky for their HD coverage.
Such is the case with the new DSF-2/DSF-3 system installed in Telegenic's T16 truck. "We've been transmitting HD pictures for Rugby Union for several years, but without 5.1 surround to match," explains Sky's Operations Manager Keith Lane. "We wanted to upgrade the experience we were offering Sky Sports Rugby Union fans, and the SoundField system was the obvious choice, as it's doing such a fine job on all our other HD sports coverage; it's become our standard basis for OB HD surround sound. With the system permanently installed in Telegenic's T16 truck, we can offer 5.1 surround via the SoundField on all of the domestic games in the Guinness Chamnpionship, and where we can match this coverage overseas, we will."
At the time of writing (mid-October 2008), the first domestic Rugby Union games have been successfully broadcast with the new SoundField systems, and HD surround using the SoundField is promised on November 15th, when England will face Australia at Twickenham.