NASHVILLE—For more than a decade, TNDV: Television has provided live production support for the CMA Awards, working directly with media outlets onsite to support live coverage. That consecutive string continued for the 53rd Annual CMA Awards, which were presented Nov. 13, 2019, at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena.
TNDV’s technical responsibilities are focused less on the main event and more on supplying the equipment, infrastructure and crew to support surrounding production activities. This includes the ever-popular “Red Carpet” event, previously held outdoors.
This year, the Country Music Association (CMA) opted to move the event indoors at the nearby Music City Center, to avoid weather-related distractions that have marred years past. The transition threw us a curve ball heading into the event—we were now tasked with managing signal transport between two buildings across different city blocks, without any feasible way to run cable.
We explored dark fiber as a viable transport option, and discovered a fiber interconnect between the two buildings. We calculated our fiber strand requirements and reasoned we would need 10 to get the job done. While technically possible, the expense for each strand far exceeded the production budget. We were given clearance for a single strand, and turned to MultiDyne’s FiberSaver.
The FiberSaver optical multiplexer can combine up to 18 HD-SDI feeds or optical signals of any wavelength onto a single strand. This architecture offered the solution for our “Red Carpet” event requirements: The ability to transmit and receive multiple signals between the two venues, while keeping the CMA on budget.
FiberSaver accommodated multiple video feeds (nine transmits, nine receives) available to media outlets before, during and after the event. Media outlets could choose from generic step and repeat feeds, limo arrivals, press room feeds and ABC’s network feed, and do so from any location between the two buildings. Traditional fiber hardware would require a strand of fiber per video feed in each direction, but FiberSaver carried all video feeds bidirectionally. The TNDV crew also leveraged Fiber-Saver to transport a bidirectional IP data feed, which allowed us to remotely control several robotic cameras.
AN EASY FIT
Setup was quick and straightforward. The FiberSaver offers a compact footprint and fits on tabletops inside each video village. We added each FiberSaver to a road case, prepared our SMPTE single-mode fiber interconnects and leveraged a custom-built BNC patch panel to manage inputs and outputs as they transitioned from fiber and copper. These simple connections allow the FiberSaver to work its magic and transport a clean multiplex between the two units. There is no need to recompress signals, as everything remains in the digital domain. FiberSaver provided a consistent digital signal for all 18 feeds, with no packet data loss or degradation.
We rely on MultiDyne for many of our live production needs, and use its SMPTE HUT transceivers and other fiber conversion gear. The FiberSaver’s level of reliability for the CMA Awards gives us the confidence we need to support optical multiplexing for today’s largest live productions and broadcast events.
Nic Dugger is the executive vice president of mobile production for TNDV: Television. He can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on MultiDyne, visit www.multidyne.com.
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