DALLAS—AXS TV is a U.S. entertainment television service which specializes in coverage of live music and similar events. The company was launched in July 2012 under the stewardship of entrepreneur Mark Cuban.
Jeff Carman In addition to providing live video, we also deliver behind-the-scenes interviews, cover fan question and answer sessions and other such opportunities that allow artists and fans to truly share the experience of a live event.
We keep our AXS TV HD 2X outside broadcast van very busy in covering these events, with one recent assignment taking us to “The Big Easy” where we provided video coverage of the annual world-famous, week-long New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.
All in all, we provided some 25 hours of live coverage of the event, which this year featured such artists as The Dave Matthews Band, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue and Billy Joel.
The festival venue was a large horse racing track and our part of coverage required connectivity with a “game day” set that was used for interviewing artists, celebrities and New Orleans citizens in order to provide some insight into the festival’s “vibe” and what it means to the city of New Orleans and its inhabitants.
The cameras that we chose for the interview portion of the coverage were three Sonys—HDC-1500 and HSC-300 triax models. Of course, when you’re working from a venue that’s this large, one of the big questions that always arises is what’s going to be the best way to interconnect the cameras with our on-location production vehicle.
LOTS AND LOTS OF COPPER!
Due to the size of the venue and location of the truck, we knew that this was going to involve some very long cable runs— actually some very, very long cable runs.
I calculated that we would need approximately 6,000 feet of triax cable to get all of the signals where we wanted them. In order to make sure that we had sufficient time to get everything in place and in working order, this large quantity of triax would have to be shipped some 10 days in advance of the event, with it basically lying on the ground until we were ready to start coverage on day one of the festival.
We were also well aware that this quantity of triax cable needed for the job would tip the scales at about 800 pounds—not exactly an inconsequential load when you figure in shipping and the manpower required to handle it.
That’s when I started to consider the use of fiber-optic connectivity. I estimated that we could get away with only about 2,000 feet of TAC-12 fiber cable to do the same job as the triax. The weight of 2,000 feet of TAC-12 is only about 25 pounds, so it was obvious that going with fiber would save us a lot of money in shipping costs and would be much faster to deploy once it arrived on site. This difference in logistics alone would be really huge.
The only missing piece of the equation was the fiber interface system that we’d need, and as I had my first experience with Telecast fiber gear some 13 years ago, it didn’t take me long to decide that Miranda’s Telecast Cobra 2DT fiber camera interface system was the best choice for this particular application. This fiber equipment allows as many as eight cameras to be multiplexed onto a pair of fibers, and while I was only going to be working with three cameras this time, it was nice to know I had some really serious headroom if it were needed.
UNITS PROVIDE REALLY TRANSPARENT SIGNAL PATHS
The Miranda Telecast Cobra units worked perfectly during the all of the festival event, transmitting everything we needed—high-definition digital video, return video feeds to the cameras, genlock signals, audio feeds, intercom traffic, IFB audio, and even the camera control data and tally signals—without any loss in signal quality.
In my experience I really haven’t found any other system that can do that, especially with the clean signals that the Telecast gear provides.
We did evaluate several other options, but all of the roads kept leading back to the Telecast Cobra 2DT system. It’s the only device I know of that will let you take all of the signals you need to operate a triax camera and just push them down a fiber-optic path both seamlessly and easily.
Jeff Carman is a technical producer at AXS TV. He may be contacted firstname.lastname@example.org.
For additional information, contact Miranda Telecast Fiber Solutions at 530- 265-1000 or visitwww.miranda.com.
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