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South African Broadcasting (SABC) has prepared for the 2010 World Cup by outfitting four OB trucks with Riedel intercom equipment: Two of the new OB trucks were finished last summer and used to broadcast the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup; a third truck was finished in time to complete the FIFA World Cup Official Draw in December; and the fourth vehicle was delivered last month.

All four OB vans are equipped identically. Weighing 30 tons, they each feature 15 HD cameras (wired for 24) and three super-slow-motion HD cameras.
All trucks feature one Artist 32 and one Artist 128 mainframe. In total, 32 Artist 1000 series rack-mount and desktop control panels are installed in each of the HD OB vans. The Riedel Artist can be expanded up to 1024 x 1024 ports in a nonblocking matrix. Both mainframes are equipped with redundant power supplies and CPU cards to provide maximum reliability.

“Integration of various technologies was one of our major demands while designing the truck,” said Nic Bonthuys, general manager of SABC TV outside broadcasts. “It's important that everything works together as smoothly as possible. Riedel’s Artist intercom solution provides us with the reliability we need but also glues such important parts as intercom, commentator audio and audio routing together into one integrated network.”

MADI client cards integrate the Lawo mc²56 console into the intercom system, and Artist’s digital, broadcast-quality audio facilitates commentator audio directly via the control panels.

Riedel fiber modules provide a fiber connection for the Artist intercom systems in all four trucks. The fiber modules are used to connect Artist intercom matrices, even over greater distances, so the trucks can form one integrated, digital intercom matrix.

Artist Connect Solo and Duo integrate POTS and ISDN telephones into the communications matrix. In addition, control panels can be remotely controlled through ISDNs connections with Connect Duo interfaces, expanding the flexibility even further.

Responsible for the installation is systems integrator Sony UK, in cooperation with the South African service provider and Riedel distributor Inala Technologies.

Riedel is also the lead communications supplier to Host Broadcast Services. Its equipment is installed in each of the 10 OB facilities, which will provide the host feeds.

Adrian Pennington is a journalist specialising in film and TV production. His work has appeared in The Guardian, RTS Television, Variety, British Cinematographer, Premiere and The Hollywood Reporter. Adrian has edited several publications, co-written a book on stereoscopic 3D and is copywriter of marketing materials for the industry. Follow him @pennington1