GAINESVILLE, FLA.—Survey many of today’s largest collegiate athletics programs and you’ll uncover an important video production trend—migration to centralized control facilities with video connectivity to multiple, and often distant, sports venues via fiber-optic technology.
Our new centralized production facility takes this effort a step further by providing an important hands-on education component for radio/television students in the College of Journalism and Communications. This emphasis on education is a point of pride for our school, and sets us apart from other university sports media programs.
Based on a suite of state-of-the-art fiberoptic transport products from Telecast Fiber Systems, a Belden brand, the University of Florida’s new audio/visual capabilities were developed in partnership with the school’s University Athletic Association and are located within the WUFT television production facility. The heart of our operation is a new, centralized control room that’s designed to supply HD video feeds to big screens at six major sports venues located around the campus.
Ben Hill Griffin Stadium is one of several sports venues at the University of Florida that are interconnected with Telecast Fiber Systems products. TWO-AND-A-HALF MILE CABLE RUN
Dark fiber links were installed between this new control room and campus venues for football, basketball, volleyball, and gymnastics, and baseball, soccer, softball, and lacrosse, with the latter being more than 14,000 feet away. Permanent broadcasting hubs located in the football and basketball arenas are provided to supply live feeds for big board presentations. We have portable flypack systems that can be moved from location to location for other sports pickups.
The new control room is located a floor above WUFT’s existing HD control room, and the two facilities share resources including routers and automation equipment. As the new facility mirrors the downstairs operation, broadcasting students in the WUFT studio can receive hands-on training by shadowing the live production taking place in the upstairs facility. They can perform off-line switching, cut to monitor walls, and practice their pacing during the live broadcast, or can access video replays after a game’s completion to switch an entire game for practice.
VIDEO, AUDIO AND MORE
We have five Telecast Fiber Systems CopperHead camera-mounted transceivers paired with Sony 700 HD camcorders for live camera feeds, along with Adder II audio multiplexers for audio and intercom functions. A Python multichannel HD-SDI transport system enables us to supplement the big board productions with network feeds from outside broadcasters’ trucks. We also rely on Rattler mini HD-SDI transmitters/ receivers to provide temporary digital video links for on-the-fly for such applications as press conferences or impromptu feeds from tailgaters in the parking lot.
The Telecast Fiber Systems products make this entire remote pickup operation possible. The CopperHeads provide us with full telemetry and control for manipulating remote cameras that are sometimes more than 2.5 miles feet from the control room.
During my seven years in working with fiber-based systems, I’ve learned to rely on Telecast Fiber Systems as they always work as advertised and offer the flexibility to accommodate any type of fiber feed we’ve needed. Our partnership with Telecast provides our sports fans with the dazzling, HD big screen shows they’ve come to expect, and also allows us to offer a truly valuable educational experience for students interested in live sports production careers.
Brad Noblitt is director of engineering for the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications and WUFT. He may be contacted email@example.com.
For additional information, contact Telecast at 508-754-4858 or visitwww.telecast-fiber.com.