UK production company Lime Pictures has chosen 91 Crystal Vision interface boards for its major upgrade to HD, which includes a complete new High Definition infrastructure as well as new production galleries and edit suites. The upgrade was triggered by the decision to begin making the company’s popular drama series “Hollyoaks” in High Definition for transmission on 4HD – Channel 4’s new HD service which is a simulcast of the UK broadcaster’s core schedule and is initially available on the Sky satellite platform.

Among the boards ordered were 32 video distribution amplifiers, with 16 of the HDDA105C and HDDA111C High Definition DAs used for studio floor distribution and general distribution where equipment has insufficient outputs, along with another 16 VDA110M analogue video DAs for distribution of tri-level syncs and Black and Burst. Q-Down123 down converters are being used for in-house SD monitoring, distribution and DVD production, while the Up-and-down-A up/down/cross converter was selected for general purpose format conversion. Lime Pictures is using 16 of the FTX HD and FRX HD fibre optic transmitter and receiver to link the production galleries with the central technical facilities, where distances are too great for HD cable connections.

For the audio, ten of the configurable TANDEM HD-21 embedders/de-embedders are being used to embed audio into the production gallery camera outputs prior to optical transmission to the central technical area, where the signals are recorded directly on to a Storage Area Network. Analogue audio is distributed to the studio floor using the AADA416FM.

Graham Deaves at Lime Pictures explained his choice of interface supplier. “We have been using Crystal Vision ‘glue’ products for many years and have found them to be very reliable and cost-effective.”

The boards are being housed in 4U frames because being able to hold up to 24 boards each makes them ideal for the number of modules that were required in the various areas. Control and status monitoring comes from the Statesman PC software.

Scheduled to start its HD transmissions in June, “Hollyoaks” has been one of Lime Pictures’ flagship programmes since its launch in 1995. Lime Pictures is one of the UK’s largest independent producers with a ten-acre site in Childwall, Liverpool and over 500 staff, and has produced a number of popular dramas including “Brookside” and “Grange Hill”. The company was formed in 1982 by Phil Redmond and was originally known as Mersey Television, before All3Media’s acquisition in 2005 and the name change to Lime Pictures in 2006. Lime Pictures has been making programmes in HD for some time, and is currently also working on a drama series for the BBC called “Apparitions”, a second series of “Living on the Edge” for MTV and “Hollyoaks” special episodes for E4.

Based at Whittlesford near Cambridge in the UK, Crystal Vision provides digital keyers and a full range of digital and analogue interface equipment including converters, decoders, encoders, distribution amplifiers and audio embedders to the professional broadcasting industry worldwide.