While Panorama HD is providing the bulk of the broadcast facilities for the Sochi Olympics, Moscow-based systems integrator OKNO-TV has also been heavily involved in the run-up to the games.
“We were included in the Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee expert group a few years ago and participated in the consultations involving the various stadia, and we developed the concept of a temporary infrastructure at the Competition Venues and International Broadcast Centre,” explains Andrei Kretov, OKNO-TV’s head of Sport Broadcasting and Infrastructure Department. “Since then, my colleague Oleg Anakovskiy, OKNO-TV’s head of Special Projects Department, who had previously worked for over two years in the Sochi Organizing Committee as head of Broadcast System Division, and I have been involved with Panorama in its Media Office project and its virtual graphics development plans.”
Part of that preparation centred on technical software test events in 2012 that took place in the Krasnaya Polyana and Imiritinskaya Dolina areas. These locations are designated to host all Olympic and Paralympic Competitions, and include the Fisht Arena – the venue for the Opening and Closing ceremonies. In effect, the set up provided a useful dress rehearsal for the real thing in February.
“We provided a temporary deployment of infrastructure for sports production services,” states Kretov. “LED screens and sound systems were installed, all the connections to the television compound were provided, and the intercom system and base stations configured. In addition, a cable television network serving more than 30 locations around the area was installed at the ski jump venue, Russkie Gorki. Also, we were providing intercom and sound system at the Aizberg Ice Arena.”
He continues, “These tests helped to identify potential problem areas – especially where extremes of weather are concerned. There were particularly heavy rain storms during the tests, and although that affected the progress of some work, the technology stood up and there were no disruptions to the test broadcasts.”
Since those trials, OKNO-TV has been working with Russian Rights Holder Broadcaster, VGTRK, to provide equipment for its use at IBC in Sochi.
“We were responsible for modernising equipment for VGTRK in readiness for the events. Much of this equipment will be placed in the technology office of the broadcaster within the IBC. In addition to this updating project, we have been working to deliver communications equipment based on Net Insight on its Nimbra platform for networking to form a unilateral indemnity programme for broadcasts from Sochi.”
A number of broadcasters utilised the Nimbra platform at the 2012 London Olympics for transport solutions that deliver the required realtime, low latency content with 100% QoS.
“Three network Communication Nodes are planned, two of them are at the facilities in the IBC in Sochi, one at the broadcaster’s headquarters in Moscow. Indemnity scheme provides 100% redundancy. The configuration provides eight HD-SDI feeds from the IBC to the studio centre and three return feeds, with compression at jpeg2000.”
In addition, a new intercom system based on Riedel Artist 128 MTX is being supplied by OKNO-TV especially for the Games.
Kretov explains that another of OKNO-TV’s clients, Russia’s Channel One, has been charged with the responsibility of televising the opening ceremony and plans to offer the coverage in 4K. There no plans for 3D transmissions from the Winter Olympics.