Ikegami Brings Wireless HD Camera to the Super Bowl

January 30, 2004
In its U.S. debut, the Ikegami HDL-0101 wireless portable HD camera will be roaming Reliant Stadium this Sunday during Super Bowl XXXVIII. It will be one of the first production deployments - possibly the first deployment - of a high-definition RF camera in the country.

The HDL-0101 is a 2/3-inch 1080i CCD unit with self-contained digital RF transmitting and receiving capability as well as user-variable MPEG compression. The compression is necessary to compact the video information to fit within a microwave channel.

"This is a one-man camera, there is no second antenna man or anything like that," said Ikegami vice president and director of engineering, Alan Keil. "It's based on a camcorder body-style and includes an HD camera with built-in, selectable MPEG encoding."

The wireless camera, complete with lens, battery and three omni-directional antennas mounted on the unit, weighs 21 pounds.

"It has built-in spread-spectrum, back channel, 2.4-gig RF for intercom, control, error correction and status feedback. It has a clip-on-the-back RF-digital OFDM 7-gig RF main channel, which has the HD digital video and embedded audio," Keil said.

In Japan, newsgathering SNG trucks use the HDL-0101 camera's microwave capability to allow the cameraman to wirelessly link back to the vehicle for live news coverage. For its Super Bowl coverage, CBS will borrow the wireless receiver technology from Ikegami's PF-503, also used in Japan.

"Most Japanese broadcasters are using this as part of their STL system to get the HD signal from the station to the transmitter site," said Keil. "The OFDM FDU is kind of a flat antenna that has a reasonable reception angle."

CBS will mount the receive site high in one end zone to allow it to be seen by the camera from almost any place within the stadium.

The received signal will then be decompressed and fiberlinked to CBS's broadcast center, where it will be controlled by an Ikegami RM-11 Digital Remote Controller. Camera painting instructions, camera return video and tally will be sent the other direction back to the camera.

Those with sharp eyes might have seen the HDL-0101 coming at a previous NAB.

"You might recall a couple of years ago at NAB we had an MPEG CA camera adapter that we had on a docking-style HD camera," said Keil. "And we said that that would be for RF application. This is an extension of that technology."

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