Stagebox high-definition broadcast production technology gains extra reach with high-capacity wireless links
L2Tek has announced success in recent broadcast-over-wireless interoperability trials that combined the ground-breaking Stagebox high-definition camera-mounted IP-based broadcast production technology with high-reliability gigabit-capacity ‘CableFree’ wireless equipment.
The main advantage of this combination of technology is that it removes the often-difficult element of physically obtaining high-bandwidth Ethernet IP over the ‘last mile’ to a camera location in an outside broadcast application. Wireless links can therefore save a significant amount of cost and time when compared to leasing lines or digging trenches for cables. The wireless links can be provisioned in minutes on either temporary or permanent structures and on platforms, tripods or even moving vehicles. The interoperable CableFree wireless equipment effectively extends the ‘reach’ of Stagebox and adds a new capability for broadcasters worldwide.
The CableFree family includes high-performance, rugged and reliable solutions that are based on a range of wireless technologies with capacities up to 1.5Gbps full duplex. Three in particular are ideal for broadcast applications: laser-based Free Space Optics is ideal where there is clear line-of-sight up to distances of approximately 2km; radio equipment based on OFDM (orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing) MIMO (multiple-input and multiple-output) technologies are ideal for distances up to 15km and can also operate in point-to-multipoint topologies, mobile platforms and near or non-Line-of-Sight environments, where there are significant disruptions in the transmission path, such as buildings; and microwave-based equipment, which can handle much longer distances of up to 100km or more.
The CableFree family of products, available from Wireless Excellence Ltd, have been deployed in 65 countries since 1997 for many wireless data transmission applications, including the broadcast of high-profile sporting events as well as use in telecoms, corporate, education and government based applications.
“Combining highly robust wireless technology adds a significant capability to StageBox for ‘last-mile’ transmission, saving both cost and time at large outside broadcast operations at major sporting events or other large social and cultural occasions”, said Mark Scott-South, Managing Director at L2Tek. “In addition, these trials with CableFree technology are a further important step in the development of an ecosystem for Stagebox compatible products, now comprising a number of hardware and software developers of broadcast equipment including Bluebell Opticom, Suitcase TV, ARG, Shotoku Broadcast Systems and Quadrus”.
More information about Stagebox
L2Tek is a licensee of the cost-saving Stagebox camera-mounted Internet-Protocol (IP) connectivity device, which was developed by BBC Research and Development. Stagebox is a compact unit that takes HD video and audio from a camera or other SDI source, together with Genlock, timecode, tally, talkback and camera control information, and transmits it over a time-synchronised network using standard IP protocols.
The cost of production and post-production work is dramatically reduced using Stagebox, as the technology uses low-cost Cat6 wiring, switches and routers, rather than using relatively expensive SDI networks. In addition, significant improvements can be made to workflow efficiency to the extent that Stagebox can even be used to realise virtual outside broadcast (OB) productions using multiple cameras controlled remotely from anywhere with an Internet connection. As an example, earlier this year, the BBC used Stagebox for its broadcasts from the Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts. It meant that the BBC was able to edit and produce the broadcast video and audio from the various stages at Glastonbury remotely from BBC offices, and therefore compared to previous years could deploy a much smaller team on site.
In a Stagebox-enabled production environment, high-quality 100Mbps AVCi programme content is made instantaneously available across a local or wide area network, integrating seamlessly into the post-production workflow in a format that allows direct editing or storage without loss of quality through transcoding.