Telecast Fiber Systems' CopperHead 3200 camera-mounted fiber optic transceivers helped make the first HD broadcasts of The X Factor possible.
Working in tandem with Telecast Fiber's Python II bi-directional transmit/receive systems, the CopperHead 3200 units have enabled The X Factor producers to leverage the portability and low cost of fibre for on-location shooting at a variety of outside broadcast locations.
In early October, the show entered its live studio phase after several weeks of on-location, remote production at various audition, boot camp, and judge's house sites around the UK and the rest of the world. To facilitate the remote HD productions as cost effectively and effortlessly as possible, show producers talkbackTHAMES and Simon Cowell's SyCo Tv enlisted the services of broadcast equipment rental company HotCam, which supplied the production with fibereoptic-based flypack production packages that included 15 Sony XDCam PDW F800 camcorders, each equipped with a CopperHead 3200 HD transceiver. In addition, HotCam provided portable vision mixing and lighting packages that could be delivered in flight cases and easily installed to provide temporary video villages in venues including Wembley Arena, Manchester Central, and the Cardiff International Arena.
"For a production of this type, which requires a real 'documentary' feel, we've always resisted deploying mobile broadcast trucks," said X Factor Executive Producer, Andrew Llinares. "The portable solution that HotCam provided is not only cost-effective, but also extremely versatile — and the Telecast equipment has enabled us to leverage all of the advantages of fibre for shooting on location in a variety of outside venues."
The CopperHead 3200 systems provided a robust fibre optic link between the camcorders and the temporary video village positions, transporting HD camera feeds as well as two-way signals such as camera control, data, tally/call, and intercom over a single fibre connection. In addition, HotCam provided two eight-channel and four 16-channel Python II systems to transport bi-directional video signals to the monitor stacks.
"The X Factor is a prime example of our clients who are shooting in large venues that require massive cable runs — and they've discovered they just can't get the job done with heavy copper cable," said Trevor Hotz, CEO of HotCam. "With the Telecast gear, these productions can carry all of the signals they need over a single lightweight fibre cable. That's why we chose the CopperHead 3200 and Python II systems as the basis for a fast-turnaround, tapeless broadcast operation that can be rapidly rigged and de-rigged. It's really ideal for productions such as The X Factor that are constantly on the go, moving around the country to shoot at various location venues such as theaters, stadiums, and studios."