NEP Switzerland has doubled its 4K production resources in readiness for broadcast production work on the 2017/2018 season of the Swiss Raiffeisen Super League (RSL).

NEP Switzerland beefs up 4K/UHD production capacities

NEP Switzerland has doubled its 4K production resources in readiness for broadcast production work on the 2017/2018 season of the Swiss Raiffeisen Super League (RSL).

The TV service provider produces 144 matches of the RSL for Teleclub Sport and 180 matches of the Challenge League (in HD).

Contracted to produce the Premier Swiss Football League’s games in 4K/Ultra HD (UHD), NEP Switzerland has commissioned the 4K/UHD UHD 42 OB vehicle — constructed by German systems integrator Broadcast Solutions — as part of its Streamline series, with two production areas supporting up to 10 cameras.

UHD 42 made its debut in July at the RSL season opener, a match between BSC Young Boys Bern and FC Basel that took place at the Stade de Suisse in Berne. Along with the UHD 41 OB — which was commissioned last year and is also being fielded for the RSL — NEP Switzerland now operates two large-scale 4K/UHD OB vans, and produces more than 140 league games in 4K during the season.

“While still an exception for other broadcasters, productions in 4K/UHD are normal for us. With the experience gained as a team during last season’s 4K productions, our state-of-the-art 4K OB vehicles and our cutting-edge infrastructure, we capture the atmosphere of the games in perfect picture quality and reliably deliver it to all the viewers — every match day,” said Reto Osterwalder, managing director, NEP Switzerland.

On site in Bern, NEP Switzerland is using the UHD 42 to produce the game as well as to manage a pitch-side studio for the Teleclub analysts and experts. The production involves a total of nine cameras — seven on-field cameras as well as two flash and studio cameras for the Teleclub studio. Another static camera will be added for the commentary position.

While production of the Bern game remains UHD 42’s main production responsibility, additional footage from and connections to a second game, taking place in parallel, can also be handled in UHD 42 and integrated into the outgoing feeds.

NEP Switzerland uses Grass Valley products such as the LDX 86N native 4K camera models with Canon lenses.

In addition, UHD 42 has a Grass Valley Karrera K-frame 8M/E video switcher, with a 48-fader Lawo mc256 mixing console and Lawo Nova73 Compact router at the heart of its audio operation. Four EVS XT 4K video servers are available for replays, action highlights and clips.

New for the 2017/2018 RSL season is the use of the Vizrt Arena virtual 3D graphics system to overlay match facts, analyses, team strips and details of the tactical line-ups. Although UHD 42 OB has two production rooms, the RSL games are produced exclusively from the main production room.

While other 4K/UHD TV productions use Square Division (where the full image is divided into four quadrants), UHD 42 OB uses the Two-Sample Interleave (2SI) format (four 3G/HD/SDI). This offers advantages in handling additional HD signals produced during all matches. Intercom signals are transported with the HD feeds, as many of the UHD feed channels are already required for the broadcast’s trilingual commentary production.

During the July coverage of the Berne game, UHD 42 sent two UHD feeds and four HD feeds into the network, and received a UHD feed and two HD feeds from the other games. A Nimbra fibre-optic stagebox developed by Swisscom Broadcast was used to connect to the fibre-optic network.

For this, the 2SI signals were converted into Square Division format and sent to the stagebox via four conventional BNC cables per UHD feed. After converting the signal into JPEG 2000 format (4x400Mbit), the stageboxes injected the signals into the fibre network. The Swisscom stageboxes are in the stadium together with NEP’s OB vans — ensuring consistent cable lengths on the BNC side and offering enormous advantages in infrastructure costs. This set-up is used for all matches and in all RSL stadiums.

All Swiss RSL matches are linked to the Starnet fibre network operated by Swiss network provider, Swisscom, using two 10GigE fibre connections, which link them to the Teleclub network and the production centre in Volketswil, Zurich.

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