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Danmon Systems Group collaborates for climate change conference

The 15th annual meeting of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change was held in Copenhagen at the Bella Center 7-18 December 2009. Known as the Conferences of the Parties (COP), the convention provided a forum for discussion and assessment of progress in dealing with worldwide climate change. Attendees included U.S. President Barack Obama, senior politicians and officials from 192 countries, and representatives from many major organizations.

To provide the COP15 TV/radio media infrastructure and management, the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs awarded the host broadcaster contract to a three-way partnership of Danish broadcaster TV 2|DANMARK, the Danmon Systems Group (DSG) and local SNG specialist East Productions.

The host broadcaster was required to support live TV and radio production and feeds throughout the conference, which included construction and maintenance of an international broadcasting center. A media city with 160 work spaces for broadcasters was designed, each of which received live video and audio from two plenary halls and five press briefing rooms. Other facilities provided recording of the proceedings, format conversion, a full TV studio, many stand-up positions, wireless cameras, radio cabins, editing facilities and satellite uplinks/downlinks. A rental shop offered equipment, service and support.

TV 2 provided project management, with production and support staff, booking and rentals; DSG built the international broadcast center, including extensive digital and analog infrastructure; and East Productions delivered OB production and uplink trucks and production staff.

System design commenced in September, with prebuild in October. On-site work began in November, with installation and final commissioning in December. For the communications core of the installation in the Bella Center, an extensive fiber backbone and an estimated 180km of A/V cable were installed, feeding approximately 4400 individual outputs.

The 180km of A/V cable was wired into the master control room racks. The project included wiring and interconnecting nearly 250 custom termination panels for 160 journalist cubicles. An additional 90 patch panels were also required as SNG interconnects.


Besides production facilities, cameras, video servers and VTRs, the infrastructure included a Miranda NVISION router. This was chosen for its scalability (16 ×; 4 up to 1152 × 1152), inherent resilience and compact form factor.

The Miranda routers were operated via VSM Control's Virtual Studio Manager (VSM). VSM is a versatile system that can be operated via on-screen GUI or soft-configurable hardware panels. Individual panels can be configured as a single destination, multiple destination, X/Y or any combination of these. An optional incremental encoder can be assigned to control specific parameters.

For security purposes, special buttons are configurable — such as take, enable or lock — to guarantee safe operation and routing to critical destinations. All VSM panels provide various interfaces. An Ethernet interface is used to connect to the VSM network, and two local GPIs and GPOs are also provided. VSM LBP panels can be used as stand-alone or fall-back panels to directly control a router without any additional control system. For simple applications in stand-alone use, the panel can be provided with vsmSnap software to control router crosspoints without a server system. All network parameters and firmware updates are loaded using vsmDiscover software via the VSM network.

Integral components consisted of more than 100 modules from the Miranda Densité series in dual- and triple-height frames, including fiber I/O converters, digital video and audio distribution amplifiers, and analog video and audio DAs.

Additional equipment included sync generators and monitoring equipment from DK Technologies, Alpermann & Velte GPS time code generators, Clear-Com Eclipse Digital Matrix intercoms and a Snell Alchemist Ph.C HD standards converter. Alchemist was made available as a rentable resource for broadcasters needing to convert 625/50 European signals to 525/60 or 1080i/59.94 for North America, Japan and Korea, as well as to other international standards.

Cobham's SOLO digital video transmitter was used for wireless camera links. Chosen for its small size and low power consumption, the transmitter employs MPEG encoding and COFDM modulation. This proved sufficiently durable in the mobile environment of the conference hall and covered distances of more than 750m.

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Picture monitoring in the master control room was accomplished with two Miranda Kaleido multiviewers taking SD feeds. The multiviewers allowed easy off-line layout configuration with a choice of window resolutions, sizes, positions and ratios (4:3 and 16:9).

A Harris NEXIO NV4000 configured with 16 I/O channels and more than 1500 hours of capacity was chosen as the transmission server. This consisted for four modules, each supporting four channels of I/O and supplied with a GigE port, FTP server and access to shared storage via 2Gb/s Fibre Channel. There also was a large assortment of Sony and Panasonic DVRs, including DVCAM, Betacam, DigiBeta and P2.

In addition to the master control room, racks to interconnect with a total of 90 SNG and OB trucks also were assembled.

Sixteen camera positions were established on a stand-up bridge for TV reporters, with the main media hall as a backdrop. Each camera position was connected via A/V cable to the master control room. DSG also installed live video and audio feeds to the master control room from the plenary halls.

From a technical perspective, the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen was a great success. DSG completed the broadcast installation within schedule and was part of the 24/7 standby support team throughout the 12-day event. Everything was dismantled within two days of the summit's end, leaving the Bella Conference Center ready for its next function.

Peter Thomsen is project director at Danmon Systems Group.

Design team

Danmon Systems Group
East Productions

Technology at work

Alpermann & Velte GPS time code generators

Clear-Com Eclipse Digital Matrix intercom

Cobham SOLO digital video transmitter

Harris NEXIO NV4000 video server

Densité interface modules
NVISION routing

P2 recorders

Digital Betacam

Snell Alchemist Ph.C HD standards converter

VSM Control Virtual Studio Manager control system