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Communications, video links reach new heights at Air Race World Series

Producing the Red Bull Air Race World Series, which wrapped up Nov. 4 in Perth, Australia, required sophisticated wireless video links and extensive wired and wireless communications.

For the fourth consecutive year, Riedel Communications provided the communications solutions, integrating both wireless and wired digital intercom systems as well as supplying wireless video links for the race planes’ onboard cameras. This year, 13 pilots took to the skies in 10 races held around the world from April 6 to Nov. 4.

All audio signal distribution throughout the races was engineered with an Artist 128 network consisting of three nodes connected via dual redundant fiber ring. The three frames were located in the air race control tower, the TV compound and the organization compound. The Artist 1000 panels provided broadcast quality audio and individual listen level control for each talk key. Four PMX-2008s, designed for panel distribution and audio signal transport, minimized setup time by relying on eight BNCs to connect to the matrix panels using a fibber link. More than four miles of fiber served as the race’s A/V backbone.

The Matrix intercom system was integrated with Riedel’s Digital Trunked Radio installation (TETRA), and more than 450 Motorola MTH800s were used to assist in the production of the races. Additional walkie-talkie radio systems were connected to the wired communication systems through 20 Riedel RiFace universal radio interfaces.

Views of the Red Bull Air Races came directly from the cockpits with 28 wireless video links. Onboard cameras captured live footage from the pilot’s perspective. A specially engineered six-channel diversity receiver combining technologies from various manufacturers ensured secure signal transmission of audio and video during the most extreme flight maneuvers. Four ground cameras were also used, as well as two Cineplex HD cameras in helicopters.

Riedel also provided the IT infrastructure for the races, including Internet access, VoIP telephone, network infrastructure with servers and firewalls and a media center for journalists.

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