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SVT scores new feat in remote production at FIS Alpine World Ski Championships

With technology partners Net Insight and Grass Valley, Swedish broadcaster Sveriges Television (SVT) was able to cover the FIS event remotely from its headquarters in Stockholm with minimum crew travelling to the ski slopes

Swedish broadcaster Sveriges Television (SVT), working alongside Net Insight, partnered with Grass Valley, a Belden Brand, to undertake remote IP production for the broadcast of the 2019 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships —held in Åre, Sweden, from February 4-17. 

The intricate production set-up, which Grass Valley described as a “significant undertaking that has broken new ground in remote production”, encompassed a large number of cameras deployed and high volume of remote signals — video, audio and data — transmitted from a live location to SVT’s headquarters in Stockholm, more than 600km away.

”The accomplishment demonstrates how far the team has come in executing remote productions, especially looking back at our remote set-up in 2012 for the Summer Olympic Games in London,” said Adde Grandberg, director of technology, CTO, SVT. 

“To achieve this feat for the Alpine World Ski Championships, we knew from the beginning that we’d need more bandwidth, an adaptable workflow and very tight collaboration with Net Insight and Grass Valley — with no compromise to our ability to deliver high-quality, synchronised images to our rights holders.”

A total of 80 Grass Valley’s LDX 86 Series cameras were placed along the ski course to deliver uncompressed HD signals over two 100Gbps fibre circuits from Telia, to three control rooms at SVT’s Stockholm facility.

Each circuit uses Net Insight’s Nimbra transport solutions, including the Terabit capacity platform, the Nimbra 1060.

Central to this workflow is Grass Valley’s DirectIP capability, which enables its XCU/base stations to be situated in the central equipment room in Stockholm, while the cameras are in the snowy hills of Åre.

Designed to simplify interconnections, DirectIP allows all the camera signals to connect directly into the XCU, and also enables the shaders to match the cameras.

Grandberg said: “The stunning pictures they deliver, with minimal latency, made Grass Valley’s cameras the brand of choice for us and this project.

“These, coupled with its DirectIP capability, were instrumental in enabling us to create a robust and reliable workflow that can cope with the conditions of a live ski event. 

“Together, we’ve set a new benchmark for live remote production at a major sporting event.”

The remote production workflow was set up to support a team of around 150 camera operators and technicians on location in Åre, with the rest of the production workflow and staff in Stockholm. In addition, a Grass Valley Kayenne video production centre switcher panel was installed at Åre, giving the director access to the K-frame video production engine back at the studio. This configuration was completed with a multi-format Sirius 850 router that was purchased specifically for this event.

Mark Hilton, vice-president, live production, Grass Valley, concluded: “Our customers are continuously raising the bar and rewriting the rules for what’s possible with live production.

“Remote production is the next-step change, opening up new ways of working by allowing a production team back at base to have all the resources they need to deliver high-quality captivating content.” 

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