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Gravity Media aces Australia’s ‘Summer of Tennis’ coverage

Company is creating and managing 1080i, 1080P and UHD coverage across multiple courts during the Australian Open

Gravity Media has revealed the technology it has employed during the first Grand Slam of the tennis year.

This is Gravity Media’s ninth year as the broadcast and technology solutions partner for Tennis Australia for the Australian Open in Melbourne, and its 19th year as the host broadcast technical provider for the entire event.

The company has also delivered the global coverage of the United Cup played in Brisbane, Perth and Sydney, as well as the broadcast and technology solutions for coverage of the Adelaide International in the lead-up to the Grand Slam event.

Gravity Media at the Australian Open: Technical Overview

Across the entire precinct, Gravity Media has employed 165 cameras including Sony HDC 3500/4300 channels along with various robotics solutions using Sony P43, Hitachi DKH 200 and Panasonic robotic cameras with Mark Roberts PTZF heads. The entire precinct is covered with receive sites allowing 16 roving RF cameras to work anywhere within the venue plus two remote RF robotic cameras delivering broader views of Melbourne, said the company.

The production facilities are housed at Tennis Australia’s headquarters, connected via 500 metres of fibre to the central apparatus room. The production facilities consist of seven production galleries using Kahuna Maverick panels and six audio control rooms using Calrec Artemis audio consoles. Gravity Media is also utilising 10 x ViBox vision mixer systems to provide coverage on the ten outside courts.

To achieve system connectivity, Gravity Media is using an IP-based large “fly away” system with a level of baseband systems to provide a system that is effectively a 3900 x 3500 video router, it said. An integrated audio solution between Audio Live and Calrec cores deliver the ability to route over 2500 audio signals within the facility.

All slo-motion replays plus archiving and media management is achieved using 25 x EVS servers, 52 x EVS IPDs, 16 x XT Access, 3 x X Files plus 4 x DB Servers. During any day’s play, Gravity Media is delivering 25 to 45 streams to the 900 Tb of storage on site which allows all the action to be accessed by the host and unilateral broadcasters.

Gravity Media and the Summer of Tennis

The United Cup – held in Brisbane, Perth and Sydney – saw Gravity Media provide outside broadcast production trucks in each city and facilities accessing 28 cameras and multiple EVS replay and edit suit facilities, along with the Xeebra replay system for use by teams and players in the United Cup.

Across the event, additional bespoke Gravity Media “fly away” production systems were implemented in Sydney to draw together coverage from multiple cities to create a completely integrated and produced world feed for delivery across multiple broadcast and subscription platforms in international markets.

The Adelaide International accessed one of Gravity Media’s high-definition production trucks and the company’s specialised fly away production solutions coupled with 27 cameras across multiple courts to deliver coverage feeds for Tennis Australia and its domestic and international broadcast partners.

Speaking about the company’s work throughout the summer, Kevin Moorhouse, advisor, Gravity Media said: “Our role and the requirements for Tennis Australia have evolved dramatically over the past 19 years and this year’s event is the biggest and most complex operation we have undertaken.

“We are creating and managing 1080i, 1080P and ultra high definition coverage across multiple courts and the entire precinct, and ensuring the delivery of these multiple signals to the host broadcast along with unilateral feed requirements for Tennis Australia’s broadcast partners,” added Moorhouse.

“It is a complex procedure and undertaking. It is a testament to our crew on this job, all of whom are extremely talented and hardworking, that once again Gravity Media is able to deliver such a high quality and stable solution for our client Tennis Australia. I thank our crew. I also thank Tennis Australia for once again entrusting us with the delivery of the broadcast and technology undertakings for the Australian Open.”