News Production & Post

OBS opens doors to Olympics International Broadcast Centre

7 March 2012

There are 600 more hours of coverage planned for London 2012 (5600) by host broadcaster Olympic Broadcasting Services (OBS) with all contributions going via the International Broadcast Centre built to OBS’ specification, writes Adrian Pennington The IBC opens in June to serve as the primary base of operations for OBS and the Olympics Rights Holding Broadcasters (RHBs). At 275m long, 104m wide and 21m tall, the building is roughly the same size as two football fields end to end. It consists of more than 42,000 sq. metres of functional space on two levels and will house a variety of technical and administrative facilities for both OBS and the RHBs including edit suites, control rooms, studios and offices. Additionally, more than 12,000 sq. metres will be utilised as functional space for all other requirements. Located as close to the competition facility as possible, the broadcast compound serves as the transmission hub of the venue. All TV and radio signals (multilateral and unilateral) for the Games will pass through the IBC Host Broadcast facilities under the direction of OBS. All transmissions from the venues go through the broadcast compound before being transmitted to the IBC and ultimately to their final destination. The broadcast compound houses the Technical Operations Centre (TOC). The signals related to the multilateral transmission and the unilateral coverage are transported from the TOC to the IBC via a network of fibre optic, radio frequency (RF), microwave and satellite transmission facilities referred to as the Contribution Network. The circuits of the Contribution Network are received at the Contribution Centre in the IBC. The signals are then controlled, processed and distributed by way of the Distribution Centre. Here the signals are synchronised and processed to provide both SD-SDI and HD-SDI video signals. Audio signals will be delayed as required to match the video and embed the audio into the SDI stream for those RHBs requesting digital distribution. All international signals will be recorded and archived in the OBS central facilities VTR room. All signals to be distributed outside OBS will then pass through the Transmission Centre. The Broadcast Distribution Network transmits the ITVR and the unilateral audio, video, commentator and coordination circuits from OBS to international gateways for worldwide delivery to the RHBs home countries. The Transmission Centre also sends any necessary return video circuits to venues or other sites. For the benefit of the New Media operations of broadcasters, or other applications, OBS will provide international signals from all of the venues in four different compressions (16-20 Mbps, 6-10 Mbps, 1.5- 2.5 Mbps, 2500-500 Kbps). This has been provided for broadcasters who may wish to carry the Games´ competitions on internet or mobile phone and so on. The dress rehearsal for each venue takes place one or two days before the start of the competition. Parking for OB vans will be made available five to eight days prior the start of the competition for all venues with the exception of the Olympic Stadium, available 10 days before. OBS will provide live coverage of each of the 26 sports of the 2012 London Olympic Games. As with previous Games there will also be some additional coverage of the non-live elements of selected sports which will be provided by ENG crews. Those sports include sailing, select coverage of the non-live courses; Shooting, coverage of the qualification rounds; Archery, select coverage of the ranking round; Tennis, coverage of select matches from non-live sports and Beach Volleyball, select coverage of the second court. OBS will provide a special highlights feed to RHBs containing this various ENG footage. When necessary, OBS will have two highlights feeds per day (afternoon, evening) of ENG material.


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