Broadcast Sports RF technology delivers wireless 3-D coverage of X Games

Wireless camera and audio systems specialist Broadcast Sports (BSI) faced a new challenge for this year’s Summer X Games 16 in Los Angeles: wireless transmission of 3-D signals.

This year’s event, the sixth consecutive X Games for BSI, included wireless 3-D handheld and onboard cameras at the Los Angeles Coliseum events, which was a particularly difficult challenge because each 3-D element required twice as much spectrum for transmission.

With BSI’s custom equipment and ability to use a wider range of spectrum, 3-D solutions were available that otherwise would have impacted the elements required for the HD production. Size and power consumption for 3-D also was a challenge, particularly when ensuring portability. To address this, BSI developed a miniature HD transmitter that provided a smaller, lighter, lower-power option capable of delivering broadcast-quality performance.

ESPN brought PACE and BSI together to develop 3-D mobile systems for the event. With PACE’s expertise in 3-D cameras and BSI’s ability to deliver seamless RF solutions, the event set the bar for the emerging wireless 3-D market.

Another challenging aspect of X Games coverage was wireless HD camera and mic transmission from every rally car at the Los Angeles Coliseum event. Every car carried an HD onboard camera, and two reporters equipped with wireless microphones and IFBs also rode along during the side-by-side racing to provide color commentary from the inside of the cars during the race.

For the event, BSI relied on MIC1500 wireless mics operating in the coordinated, clean spectrum between 1435MHz and 1525MHz, which took the guesswork out of finding and maintaining channels to deliver high-power, broadcast-quality audio. All MIC1500 equipment operates at 250mWs and offers integrated talkback functionality with no transmission latency, so audio from the microphones can be fed back into the talent IFB. Paired with Broadcast Sports’ high-power UHF IFB systems and RF-over-fiber receive infrastructure, on-air talent was free to move around the action with no limitations.

The heart of BSI’s services was its intelligent diversity receivers and RF-over-fiber systems, which were integrated at all venues. With this technology, wide area coverage was achievable with a small footprint at the venues. Reception and control was centralized in the mobile units.