‘Thunder Over Louisville’ Soars With Utah Scientific

LOUISVILLE, KY.—For 28 years, “Thunder Over Louisville” has marked the opening of Kentucky Derby season, delighting Louisville citizens with an air show and nightfall pyrotechnics. As the local Fox affiliate, WDRB-TV has provided the live broadcast of “Thunder” for three past years, including the first all HD broadcast in 2007.

For our 2016 “Thunder Over Louisville” coverage, we decided to up the ante. With F&F Productions, we expanded our HD coverage from 12 cameras to 22. These included a gimbal-mounted camera on a drone, a roving/non-tethered HD camera, and a camera shot from atop the Humana Corporation skyscraper in downtown Louisville. We also deployed LiveU cellular bonding transmitters at two local airports for live footage from GoPro cameras mounted in the aircraft participating in the air show.

A production on this scale presented numerous challenges, which we overcame with signal routing gear from Utah Scientific.

Fiber from the entire “Thunder Over Louisville” production was streamed through Utah Scientific routers.FITTING OUR NEEDS
Utah Scientific designs solutions that reflect clients’ exact requirements, so we knew they would come back with a plan to meet our needs. The result: a bidirectional fiber unit based on Utah Scientific gear that established a fiber link between the WDRB production truck and the WDRB studio about three miles away.

Over one single-mode fiber, we gave the onsite production team extra show elements, like weather graphics, traffic updates, and the airport feeds. Over the same bidirectional link, the truck sent program feed to the studio for delivery to air. The link also provided an Ethernet connection to the truck for access to any content on the WDRB network.

Still, we achieved pristine HD signal quality with the UTAH-100/XFD. With fiber the longer the fiber run, the more signal attenuation and signal degradation you can expect. But even with a 10db pad on the output of the UTAH-100/XFD system, we still had a solid signal at the studio and plenty of headroom, even after going through a 10-mile run.

With such a complex production, we relied heavily on Utah Scientific systems. The stream of the entire show traveled through Utah Scientific equipment, beginning with the UTAH-100/XFD that transmitted the main feed to our UTAH-400 Series 2 router in the studio. After receiving the feed, the UTAH-400 Series 2 routed it to a Utah Scientific MC-4000 digital master control processor for playout to air.

We know we can count on Utah Scientific to provide equipment with bulletproof reliability for even the most complex productions, and fantastic customer service in the rare event that problems do arise.

Gary Schroder is chief engineer for WDRB-TV FOX41 in Louisville. He can be contacted atgschroder@wdrb.com.

For more information, please visitwww.utahscientific.comor call 800-453-8782.