Wireless HD brings viewers up close and personal

This season Major League Baseball is allowing video cameras on the field during games, and that includes high-definition wireless cameras.

While the use of high-definition technology in the production of sporting events has grown significantly over the past 18 months, some pieces of technology that see normal service in the production of standard-definition sporting events have gone missing on the high-definition side.

Wireless HD cameras are a good case in point. A COFDM HD wireless camera system made its debut at NAB2005 but didn’t see use until winter when it began showing up during the production of NFL playoff games with subsequent use during the production of the 2006 Winter Olympics, Super Bowl XL and the West Asian Games in Doha, Qatar.

This year’s MLB season, which already has seen slugger Barry Bonds move past Babe Ruth on his controversial march toward the home run record, is being covered up close and personal in high definition thanks to the decision to let cameras on the field and new wireless HD systems.

USA Today reported last month that an untethered ESPN camera operator would run to the side of Bonds as he ran towards home plate if he tied or broke Ruth’s record during a game with the Philadelphia Phillies. What would make that possible in HD is the RF Central RFX-CMT-HD wireless COFDM high-definition camera transmitter.

The RFX-CMT-HD, which clips onto a camera’s battery adaptor plate between the camera and the battery, first garnered industry attention during the production of last season’s NFC playoff games. It supports user-selectable 6MHz, 7MHz and 8MHz channel operation in the 1GHz to 6Hz bands with a maximum RF output power of 200mW.

The RFX-CMT-HD and similar HD camera transmitters from other vendors are featured in the ENG NAB2006 recap in the June edition of Broadcast Engineering.