Live broadcast in Nuremberg using wireless cameras
The Nuremberg “Christkindlesmarkt” starts with the traditional opening ceremony delivered by the “Christkind” (Infant Jesus) from the gallery of the “Frauenkirche” (Church of Our Lady). Around 20,000 visitors gathered at the main market square watched the traditional opening on December 1, which was broadcast live by the Bavarian Broadcasting channel during their “Abendschau” program starting at 5:30 p.m. The BR production vehicles as well as an AKK-TV OB truck were in position at the neighboring fruit market. Directly adjacent to these was the HDwireless RF1, the mobile RF production unit used for broadcasting the wireless live video. Three members of the HDwireless production team were working on location. The company from Mechernich near Cologne carried out the wireless camera transmission across the entire Christkindlesmarkt using three camera systems, two radio displays and by providing the radio operation required for the production. This meant that two independent BR teams of presenters were able to report live and on the move during the broadcast from various locations at the market. HDwireless had set up several antennae at the main market in order to provide the wireless network. On the one hand, antennas were in place in order to receive the image and sound signals transmitted by the wireless camera systems and, on the other hand, transmitting antennas provided the program signal for the radio displays. Consequently, the hosting presenters were able to follow the progress of the live broadcast at the square at all times. The entire video and high-frequency connection was created by the on-site team through means of a real-time fiber optic network that they had installed themselves. This included components of the HDwireless RFiber signal conversion technology. The entire RF signal traffic for image, sound, camera control and production communication was received, transmitted and controlled by the HDwireless RF1 production vehicle. At the end of the one-hour “Abendschau”, the stable 100% network coverage in the broadcasting area around the main market affirmed the effectiveness of the RF planning and calculation for all radio frequencies used.
Networked Wireless Camera Transmission on Behalf of ARD
This year, the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate hosted the official celebration of German Unity Day in Mainz. ARD and SWR provided radio and television coverage of the event. Celebrations and events took place all over downtown, all of which were broadcast on television. HDwireless was commissioned by Südwestrundfunk (Southwest Broadcasting) to carry out comprehensive wireless camera transmission from various locations during the program.
The HDwireless RF1 production vehicle was used to achieve this, with all wireless camera signals being merged centrally. HDwireless built an RF transmission network in order to be able to cover the many places where live coverage was carried out. This was done in close consultation with the SWR Technical Director, Helmut Kremer. Several wireless camera systems were used to transmit live images of the official program, which was centered around Mainz Cathedral, as well as other celebrations that took place downtown. This transmission was carried out either using a Steadicam or handheld camera. Patrick Nussbaum, CEO of HDwireless, had the following to say: “Precise knowledge of the requirements and wishes of the editors was of utmost importance during this production. Reliable and latency-free wireless networking was required for the many venues in Mainz. In order to achieve this, we installed an IP-based ASI network and combined this with our HDwireless RFiber fiber-optic technology.”
The company also provided the radio communication for the mobile camera teams and the OB truck director. This meant that the HDwireless RF1 production vehicle, which is equipped with a 12-meter-high antenna mast, was able to handle all on-site radio communication requirements.
Premiere for HDwireless RF Production Vehicle in Munich
HDwireless RF1 acts as the interface between wireless camera systems and OB trucks for broadcast productions. All signals coming from the entire radio system are received in the truck and then transferred to the broadcaster following signal conversion and decoding. Recently, the video technology in the production vehicle has been developed further to encompass the universal 3G-SDI standard and so that it is suitable for 4k settings. The RF structure has also been expanded by multiple RF distribution units and “RF over fiber” solutions. This means that up to 16 wireless camera systems, including camera control, can be processed in parallel by means of the signal and process structure. Using this state-of-the-art equipment, the successful first use of the newly equipped RF production vehicle took place in Munich on September 16, 2017, for the MDR production Dirndl! Fertig! Los!
On set were a HDwireless ULC steadicam, three handheld cameras and a remote camera positioned far away on the tower of St. Paul’s Church, which is located several kilometers away. All wireless camera systems for the live production from Circus Krone with the presenter Florian Silbereisen were equipped with Grass Valley LDX camera heads and RF transmitters. Every part of the Circus Krone arena and its interior surfaces were covered by a central antenna structure. A relay radio station, which was located on the roof of the Bayerischer Rundfunk (Bavarian Broadcasting Company) building, was required for the camera on the church tower due to the large distance. As well as transmitting the camera signals, HDwireless was responsible for team communication, which was also put into effect by means of the transmitting and receiving systems of RF1. Patrick Nußbaum, CEO of HDwireless, had the following to say about the event: “RF1 fully meets our expectations. The production vehicle is an excellent all-in-one solution for high-frequency radio transmissions of all sizes. We are delighted to have received positive feedback about RF1 and our solutions from our customers.”
Numerous wireless camera systems broadcasting live images from vehicles
The IAA in Frankfurt is the leading trade fair in the automotive industry. Manufacturers present their vehicle studies, prototypes and new models during numerous press conferences and special events. The live broadcast on LED screens or directly on the internet is an important part of these events. Broadcasting technology featuring professional cameras, switchers, periphery and OB trucks is often used. Live images from moving vehicles are often a key aspect of these presentations. The wireless camera specialist HDwireless from Mechernich near Cologne is specialized in exactly this field. This year, it installed a total of 15 onboard cameras and imaging systems in vehicles with very different requirements for a number of IAA exhibitors. Almost invisible HD cameras showed the interior of an autonomously driving prototype during a press conference. Vehicles driving along a test track were fitted with wireless cameras, which broadcast subjective camera perspectives.
Live images of driving and braking maneuvers from test cars in the outdoor arena were broadcast live to viewers on a large LED screen. Tanguy Heintz, Project Manager at HDwireless explained: “Although the applications are different, the implementation follows a standard procedure: All HDwireless onboard cameras transmitted live HD images to their receiving stations using high-frequency radio signals. Our customers attach utmost importance to reliable and stable signal qualities, which can only be ensured by using suitable transmission technology, carrying out detailed planning and employing a frequency network coordinated with the BNetzA.” As part of frequency planning and coordination, HDwireless selects frequencies for projects, applies for them and gets the respective license from the authorities, e.g. for temporary use at trade fair arenas. Tanguy Heintz went on to state: “It’s not uncommon for us to be able to measure several hundred active frequencies (simultaneously) between 450 MHz and 7 GHz in exhibition halls. This demonstrates the complex requirements with regard to the operational reliability of live image transmission for trade fair projects featuring discerning national and international target groups”.
Wireless camera transmission for a SWR production
The Imperia statue is the landmark at the entrance to the Lake Constance harbor. To reach this prominent site, visitors walk along the pier, which stretches for roughly one hundred meters out into the lake. It was precisely here that HDwireless set up their tents in preparation for the Lake Constance Festival on August 12. This location is not only ideal for the statue, but also for the RF antennae. Patrick Nussbaum, HDwireless CEO and project manager for this event explained his broadcasting concept as follows: “We can cover all camera positions from this site for wireless camera transmission on behalf of host broadcaster SWR. During the live broadcast, lasting for almost four hours, the camera locations and their RF transmitters are constantly changing. The presenters interview visitors both down at the harbor and on the promenade. They also go out by boat to neighboring harbors or switch to ferries and ships while out on the lake in order to present items or host quiz games.
Patrick Nussbaum explained HDwireless technology in the following way: “In spite of the vast transmission areal by and on Lake Constance, we are able to achieve perfect coverage of the entire area from only one point of reception by using our GPS antenna trackers. The tracker can constantly adjust the antennae using the GPS transmitter from the camera, thereby ensuring a stable and uninterrupted broadcast”. The antenna tracker is a tried- and -tested in-house development and now forms an integral part of HDwireless projects. The RF signals received are monitored using the technology installed on the pier and then transmitted to the broadcasting vans via a glass-fiber network. The RF transmission technology thus enabled the cameras to be ideally located out on the lake to film the Lake Constance Festival firework finale against the harbor backdrop in front of this university city.
Sophisticated Wireless Camera Technology to Enable Internet Streaming
On telekomcup.de, users can now stream the TELEKOM CUP 2017 live on their smartphone or PC on July 15, 2017, and watch the matches exactly as they would on their TV screen. But that’s not all: viewers are also able to switch between the various camera angles in the stadium and sometimes watch unusual and unique perspectives that are not available when watching the game live on TV. There is also the possibility of selecting angles from different stands or even the mascot’s point of view. In the stadium, the life-size mascots make their way around the field and wear wireless body cameras. This creates nine different live images simultaneously that can be viewed on the Internet at any time during the event. The HDwireless team from Mechernich uses wireless camera technology to transmit live images from the Borussia-Park in Mönchengladbach. Mascots wear mini HD cameras and other transmission technology. This enables them to move freely around the entire stadium.
The cameras are either hidden away in the palms of their hands or in the head of promotional costumes. The image signals are sent via RF technology from the mascots to the receiving stations inside the stadium and are then processed in the HDwireless RF1 production vehicle. Project manager Patrick Nußbaum controls the incoming and outgoing signals, which are then transferred as conventional video signals to the Internet streaming team in the nearby production vehicle. “Our client commissioned us to design and implement this live transmission. The highlight is a camera placed inside the mobile column of the TELEKOM CUP trophy, where it transmits live images without any cables. The entire ultra-lightweight device, including its battery power supply, was installed inside the slim, meter-high column.” Another separate wireless camera was also used for the presentation ceremony. For those interested in these interactive online events, this unique view of the victorious Bayern Munich team is at your fingertips.
Production vehicle features new specification for RF outdoor broadcasting
HDwireless is bringing the technology of the RF1 high-frequency vehicle right up to date. As part of this process, the vehicle has been revised by the renowned system integrator BFE from Mainz over the course of the last four weeks. This has involved the precise analysis of future tasks and developments in professional broadcasting and high-frequency wireless camera transmission. The production vehicle for high-frequency outdoor broadcasting was first put into operation in 2015. Following two years of successful use, the RF1 technology was then developed further, made available in the universal 3G-SDI standard and made 4k-ready. In order to meet the high-quality requirements, the monitoring features were equipped with UHD Sony displays and the RF structure was adapted to include multiple RF splitter units and an internal glass-fiber structure. Up to 16 wireless camera systems including camera control can be processed in parallel via the signal and process structure. In terms of receiving technology, the production vehicle features a 12-meter antenna mast that can be put into operation in just a few minutes. This technology is based on static antennas and the new HDwireless GPS antenna tracker system, which significantly increases the RF range of the antennas. The vehicle is designed as an interface between RF wireless image transmission and the broadcaster’s broadcast van. It is also highly flexible and features the shortest possible set-up times in order to accommodate quick changes of location, e.g. for productions with changing broadcast locations, such as at multi-day sports events. With the RF1 production vehicle, HDwireless is the only company in the German-speaking world to offer this kind of technology. Patrick Nussbaum, CEO of HDwireless expressed his satisfaction upon the handover of the ready-to-use vehicle: “This development makes our RF production vehicle a benchmark in the world of RF wireless image transmission and has already been booked up for the next few weeks, during which time it will be in constant demand”.
HDwireless realizes widespread transmission for TV broadcast
The bicycle race “Polish Street Championships of the Elite” took place in Gdyna on June 25, 2017. Start and finish were located immediately by the harbor of the city on the Baltic Sea. The race went 260 km through the region and back to the harbor. Polish TV requested multi camera live coverage of the start and the final 80 km of the race. As commissioned by Mega-TV HDwireless – being the supplier for wireless camera technology and service contractor for project planning and execution – provided the RF-transmission concept. Patrick Nussbaum CEO HDwireless comments: “Aside from the route specifications, the operation of three motor-bikes with camera crews on the road, additionally, a camera helicopter would produce interesting aerial footage.” For the set-up this meant to deploy a further relay helicopter, and the use of a rather high and powerful antenna system, lastly for reasons of the topography of the backcountry, and an antenna lift with a hub of 50m above sea level within the harbor of Gdynia. Also, the transmission period and its flight time suited the airborne RF-relay stations inside the helicopters. Two HDwireless GPS antenna trackers optimized the radio technology. Patrick Nussbaum comments: “We had developed this tracker at the beginning of the year, and we’ve already had the opportunity to successfully test it with pilot projects at the Wings for Life World Run in Switzerland, and in Dortmund, celebrating the BVB-Soccer Cup parade. Here, in Gdynia the system is tremendously important to supply the best possible RF-signals.” Both GPS antenna trackers were equipped with high sensitive twofold diversity antennas. Their exact alignment with the corresponding helicopters supplied effective signal reception. Patrick Nussbaum resumes: “Introducing GPS antenna trackers results in outstanding increases of RF ranges which for the customer means ultimate efficiency of technical set-up.”
HDwireless transmits 24 sources per LED-Displays
For this year’s VELUX EHF4 Champions League Finals in the Lanxess Arena on June 3 & 4 Elements Entertainment GmbH again produced the entertainment program. This company hired Production Resource Group AG for the technical realization, which in turn chose HDwireless from Mechernich for the substantial wireless video transmission. HDwireless has specialized in wireless camera transmission from large venues, sports arenas and vast open areals for sports events such as marathons, bicycle races, or even Formula 1. CEO Patrick Nussbaum comments: “As a rule it is our job to transmit camera signals by RF via defined distances. At the receiving end we hand over video signals after conversion to the OB truck of the broadcasting company. With the project at hand it was exactly the other way around: We transmitted the video signals from Pandora’s Box servers to mobile screens.” For the spectacular choreography inside the Lanxess-Arena 24 movable LED Display screens received their allotted signals timely synchronized via radio, which made the cable free production possible. Patrick Nussbaum sums up: “This project with its creative concept demonstrated the possibilities of professional RF-wireless video technology, especially for major events.”
More information and pictures:
Production Resource Group AG
Pictures: PRG-Detlev Klockow
HDwireless in Dortmund first time ever with GPS antenna tracker
The Borussia Dortmund Corso Truck drives past tens of thousands of onlookers standing by the roadside, merrily cheering their soccer club for winning the German Football Association Cup. WDR TV transmits the spectacular parade live for several hours showing pictures of the club’s truck straight from its course. This is a treat the TV audience and the outside crowds take for granted when watching from the LED screen on Friedensplatz. Looking at this from the purely technical side it is a truly complex job for a wireless camera transmission that WDR TV assigned to the Broadcast Service Provider HDwireless. CEO Patrick Nussbaum clarifies: “The route of the Corso Truck is 10 km long, and it leads through the narrow inner city streets of Dortmund. With the RF antennas of our HDwireless city-net we cover the entire stretch of the parade. This makes uninterrupted transmission of the live event possible regardless of the position of the truck on route.” For this purpose the provider from Mechernich conceived and installed a radio network consisting of a system of transmitters and receivers in several locations, towers and steeples of the city. The flat roof of City Hall on Friedensplatz is the center of this invisible network. Here, on a large tripod sits a new gadget, developed by HDwireless that had its successful premiere in May on the occasion of the “Wings for Life World Run 2017” in Switzerland. The GPS antenna tracker directs its receiving antennas towards the GPS coordinates of the transmitter, and it is therefore able to follow mobile transmitters. As for the operation in Dortmund it means an exactly positioned alignment with the BVB Corso truck, which continually transmits video signals of two wireless camera systems from the place of action. HDwireless decodes the receiving RF signals with its own receivers and submits them as standard video signals to WDR TV’s OB vehicle at city hall. Patrick Nussbaum recaps: “The GPS antenna tracker enormously increases quality and stability of the receiving signals. We plan to realize future projects this way, which previously had not been possible without the helicopter downlink. For our customers the use of the GPS tracker technology, of course, means tremendous cost savings when using wireless camera transmissions in vast areas.”