Oscars available live in analog, SD, HD and online

From a technical standpoint, broadcasting a major live event for millions around the world simultaneously in SD and HD television as well as on the Web is no easy task. Yet somehow it always comes together for the benefit of everyone involved, including video equipment manufacturers and service providers.

After helping televise the 76th Annual Academy Awards last year, mobile company NEP Supershooters, based in Pittsburgh, Penn., had three production units on site in Los Angeles once again for ABC’s live SD/HD broadcast of the Oscars Sunday.

NEP’s all-digital HD trucks parked outside the Kodak Theatre were equipped with Grass Valley Kalypso HD switchers, Profile HD servers and more than 40 Grass Valley LDK 6000 mk II WorldCam HD cameras.

On board NEP’s SS20 HD production truck, a single crew produced the SD broadcast in the 4:3 aspect ratio and the HD version in 16:9 widescreen. All of the HD material was acquired in native 720p resolution, ABC’s preferred format.

Feeding the large-screen monitors on stage at the Kodak Theatre, A/V services company ProQue Industries handled all of the random-access playback with six Grass Valley PVS 2000 Profile servers. This included the on-air bumpers, key signals, presenter titles, virtual sponsor billboards, and dozens of film clips.

For those following the live video Webcast component of Oscar.com, the official website of the Academy Awards ceremony, the American division of BT Broadcast Services (BTBS) was called in for the second year to enable online participants to view the coverage on-demand.

During the live Oscar telecast, the BTBS crew encoded the online pressroom interviews, the backstage interviews with the winners of each Oscar category, as well as the red carpet interviews and the Governors Ball. Prior to the Awards, BTBS also digitized all of the movie trailers for the nominated films as well.

BTBS supplied signal acquisition from back stage at the Kodak Theatre to BTBS’ Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. Media Centers for monitoring purposes. The signal was then digitally encoded in the Microsoft Windows Media 9 format at the Washington, D.C. location for delivery to the Akamai network for distribution on Oscar.com.

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