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HD Wimbledon coverage gets Crystal Vision treatment

SIS LIVE, Europe’s largest provider of outside broadcast and uplink facilities, used 135 Q-Down183-A downconverters from Crystal Vision for its coverage of the Wimbledon tennis championships, with the entire event being covered in HD for the first time this year.

The production company provided all of the HD technical facilities to host broadcaster BBC Sport for its coverage of Wimbledon, used to cover matches on nine courts at the Grand Slam tennis tournament in London between June 22 and July 5. SIS LIVE supplied four OB units and eight outgoing circuits from the site, which were relayed to the BBC Television Centre for the domestic and interactive operations, as well as the international circuits.

SIS LIVE already owned 99 Q-Downs and purchased another 36 Crystal Vision downconverters just prior to the tournament due to the large number of discrete feeds involved. The Q-Downs were located in the On Site Central Apparatus Room (OSCAR) at Wimbledon — SIS LIVE’s primary distribution point — as well as in the OB 12 Outside Broadcast vehicle where the Centre Court mixer was located. The Q-Downs were fed a mixture of HD 1080i and SD 625 signals, with the downconverted feeds used either for recording or direct broadcast. The Q-Downs were also used to provide equalization and reclocking of the HD signals.

Well-known for its short processing delay of just 16 lines, the Q-Down183-A provides eight reclocked loop-throughs of an HD or SD input, along with three SD outputs individually selectable between analogue (as composite, Y/C, YUV and RGB) and digital. SIS LIVE selected the Q-Down-A version because of its embedded audio handling, which makes it ideal as a main signal path downconverter. In addition, the Q-Down-A’s variable delay of up to one frame allowed SIS LIVE to delay
the other feeds by 50 lines to match the downconverter delay from the Sony HD cameras.

Other Crystal Vision equipment used by SIS for its Wimbledon coverage included the LKEY HD linear keyer to provide score keying on the outside courts.

SIS acquired the company formerly known as BBC Outside Broadcasts in 2008 and combined it with satellite link provider SIS Link to create SIS LIVE, which has the largest satellite uplink fleet in Europe and is the largest outside broadcast provider in the UK. SIS LIVE covers 100,000 hours of live events worldwide each year, including Formula One, the Wimbledon Championships, UEFA Champions League football and European Tour Golf. Its technology also delivers roughly 80 percent of live news feeds across the UK.