Formula One Racing could be broadcast for the first time in HD next year, writes Adrian Pennington. SIS Live, which provides production facilities to the BBC for its race coverage, is building a new HD-ready flyaway unit for just that possibility.
Currently SIS Live deploys a truck for European GP and uses an SD flyaway and hired in equipment for the long haul races.
The new unit, which will be housed in three large 3.2m long x 2.3m wide x 2.2m high containers for airfreighting, will debut at this year’s GP in Spa on August 27 and be used for all GP next season.
It features an Evertz router, Sony MVS-8000 vision mixer and Lawo mixing desk, two EVS XT+ and two EVS XS video production servers, a 50TB FCP server and four FCP edit clients; three IP Director logging stations and EVS XFile near line archive software. Reidel is providing the intercoms.
Acquisition is by three Sony XDCAM HD422 PDW-F800 fitted with Gigawave HD radio links. One set of RF receivers will be placed in the commentary box, another in the paddock to provide full coverage over the presentation part of the circuit.
In a marked change from current practice, production will be file-based with all copper cabling replaced by fibre.
““The main reason to switch to an all flyaway facility is to reduce the cost of freighting 9.5 tonnes of equipment,” said Ian Haynes, Engineering Manager, Formula One, SIS Live. “A modular system means we are rigging the same kit at every venue so it will save manhours and it made sense to refresh the kit with HD ready systems should we need it.”
SIS Live has three years to run on its contract with the BBC. While host broadcaster, Formula One Management (FOM) has yet to make the highly anticipated decision about taking the sport into HD, last weekend at the Montreal GP, it demonstrated both HD and stereo 3D broadcasts. A Lotus car carried a 3D camera rig in practice sessions at the circuit.