Delivering the EPL to the world

With the sale of transmission rights for the English Premier League to 31 countries including the domestic audience in the UK set to top £7Bn over the next few years and the fee for each EPL match to, on average, be over £10m in the UK alone, the EPL have identified a need to secure the delivery of the TV signal to all broadcasters.

Working through IMG and Premier League Productions, Media IP Networks is attending 4 to 6 matches each month working with Sky or BT Sport to produce the International signals. These signals are combined and refined in IMG’s studios in London to be presented to the global audience.

Each match requires a strong and commanding on-location presence and close communication with IMG and the host broadcaster to ensure timely and stable lineup and transmission.

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Saturation Olympics with BBC Sport

The Rio Olympics is getting the full saturation coverage treatment from BBC Sport this month.

With a full team of Production and Technical experts in Rio servicing the main highlights and live “blue ribbon” events from BBC studios and OBs in Rio, BBC Sport in Quay House, Mediacity are packing in all the rest of the Olympics’ events with 8 new ‘produced’ HD channels on the Red Button and 23, yes 23! simultaneous IPTV streams linked from the BBC Sport website platform.

Media IP Networks’ Rupert Kelly is orchestrating this with colleagues from The Farm and BBC Sport combining Technical Resource Management skills with stamina and professionalism to deliver, so far, a flawless service to the BBC’s global audience.

The BBC’s resources for delivering this epic coverage are distributed between London, Evesham and Manchester with all the detailed non-BBC1 and non-BBC2 production and technical tasks taking place in the Manchester facility.

As the games progresses the schedule, ironically, becomes simpler as the busy group stages for sports such as the hockey, handball and basketball move into the quieter knockout stages. That’s for next week. For today we are in the midst of the busiest day so far with absolutely every resource in use, we have no margin for failure this evening.

And Media IP Networks are on the case.

 

 

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Enter the Dragon at The Space Project

For the 2nd year the BBC’s Dragons Den series is being fully recorded at Stage 4 of Manchester’s innovative and efficient ‘Space Project’ close to Piccadilly and the city centre.

In a radical upgrade, the Production management have eschewed the laborious multiple single camera recorder format and taken the full blooded as-live outside broadcast option – with a twist.

Media IP Networks has been engaged to ensure all the HD camera, GoPro, 5.1 audio technology and mechanical functionality of the OB vehicle are guaranteed to the client, the BBC. Also we have integrated the truck’s IP infrastructure into the studios’ for monitoring, VoIP and Internet connectivity.

The large ‘cruiser class’ OB Unit 2 from Bedford-based facilities contractor Puls8 will be on station at the studios for the whole recording run of 6 weeks providing full audio and visual recording support to local Avid Airstream disk recorders.

In addition all the 12 cameras are being simultaneously recorded in Dock 10’s Salford facility on the other side of the City over a Reidel Mediornet fibre optic loop.

Although this incurrs the additional expense of a dark fibre between the sites this is more than offset by the time saved in ingest at the large edit facility – all the material is ingested and reviewed continuously as-live with no need to dismount and transport HDDs or play tapes or cards.

Despite no failures of the innovative and efficient fibre connectivity all feeds are also recorded locally in the OB vehicle for safety. Dragons Den’s original content is too fragile to lose a second. Re-recordings for lost content are not an option.

Additionally the excellent lighting and vision crew have lit and matched all the sources – 9x x Sony HD1500 line cameras and 8x GoPro cameras. This too has rendered a large part of the previous workflow, specifically the single camera ‘grade’ totally unnecessary, potentially creating a significant saving.

Just  before the arrival here at Space, the OB unit had a major upgrade to the Lawo VSM vision and audio matrix controller. This provided Media IP Networks with an opportunity to build from scratch a full featured and robust distribution system using all the OB trucks resources and introduce some of the new tricks in the latest Lawo software.

 

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Broadcast Technical management for ITV’s Rugby World Cup

   

The 8th Rugby World Cup is in England this year with Media IP Networks present for some or all of the tournament at 4 of the 12 venues across England.

Rupert Kelly will be Venue Technical Manager for the hosts and domestic broadcaster, ITV Sport, with responsibility for the origination and delivery of the TV signal from the OB at the stadium through to the IBC.

Starting with the Japan v SA match in Brighton, Rupert moves up to Leeds for a string of games before moving back south for the big England v Australia game at Twickenham. Then to hometown Manchester for the final stint at the Etihad for the last England match of the group stages.

 

It will be unsettling to see the tall, netless posts on City Football’s hallowed pitch . .

 

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Canoeing and beach sports in Azerbaijan

Baku was the host for the inaugural summer European Games. Media IP Networks was contracted by International Sports Broadcasting (ISB) of Madrid to provide Venue Broadcast Technical Management services to 3 venues covering the Canoeing, athletics and the beach volley ball, soccer and basketball and waterpolo.

The canoeing event was held 200Km away from Baku up in the Azerbaijan mountains bordering Georgia and Russia on an artificial lake created between two soviet-era dams next to vibrant Mingachevir. Working closely with a Finnish crew (MediaPro) and a Romainian Production team, Rovik Podgor as Broadcast Venue Manager and Rupert Kelly for Media IP Networks as Venue Technical Manager rigged and delivered each and every race to Alexey Frolov’s Technical Operations Centre to be passed on to the IBC and thence the global audience.

Directly after the close of the canoeing medal ceremony and the return to Baku, Rupert Kelly was reassigned to the main athletic stadium for the changeover rig from the opening ceremony to the athletics. With the full TV rig in and checked, Rupert Kelly was reassigned to the Beach venues as relief to Charlie Cruz, the Venue Manager.

XXX of ZZZ competes in the Women’s beach volleyball preliminary match during day four of the Baku 2015 European Games at Beach Arena on June 16, 2015 in Baku, Azerbaijan.

A busy and very successful games for both Media IP Networks, ISB and Media Pro Finland.

 

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Automation technology refresh for ITV North.

After 5 years of continuous service the automated transmission system for the 12 northern regions of ITV1 and all of ITV2, ITV3 and ITV4 have been upgraded by Media IP Networks using Snell’s (now SAM) Morpheus product line. An emphasis has been placed on deployment of native ICE content engines and processors to replace 3rd party GVG K2s and Maestro mixers.

The new system now runs alongside the old with simultaneous transmission of content on both systems until the remaining issues with additional services like Audio Description, multiple audios, EPG notes etc are eliminated. At that time the old system will be decommissioned by Ericsson, the contracted network services provider. Content and commercials are replicated from the southern centre in Chiswick Park and run independently to provide resilience and local branding. Disaster recovery of the south for the north and vice versa is also provided by the expansive and scaleable real-time services running over high performance and resilient IP networks.

Media IP Networks worked under the guidance of Citrus Networks Ltd, based in London and working with SAM in the Ericsson facility in Chiswick Park.

The system has now been handed over to senior engineers in Ericsson in Leeds and they anticipate a migration to the new system in time for the live Rugby World Cup later this year across all ITV1 regions and ITV4. The commercials around live rugby are considered amongst the most lucrative for ITV, there is no margin for error in their delivery through the new Morpheus system in NTC.

 

“Have you ever had a dream, Neo, that you were so sure was real? What if you were unable to wake from that dream? How would you know the difference between the dream world and the real world?”

and

“This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill – the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill – you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes.”

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Glasgow’s Commonwealth Games

Media IP Networks was closely involved in the delivery of the transmission feeds from the Glasgow Commonwealth Games specifically the large open city centre-based cycling and running events from Glasgow Green.

Although the venue is spread across the city and out into the surrounding countryside the 32 contribution feeds for the sportive cycling and marathon from the motorbike and static cameras were all rendered to the OB control centre close to the start and finish.

From here Media IP Networks oversaw the delivery to the IBC for International distribution and to other local broadcasters from the event’s Technical Operations Centre.

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City Football embraces HDTV for Fanshows and IPTV

Man City’s big plans for the new Academy Centre and its 17 new pitches and Elite training facility just across the new footbridge to the north of their home at the Etihad stadium have grown further still with the integration of their broadcast-standard TV facilities across the diverse departments in the new City Football enterprise.

Media IP Networks is involved in the review of the ambitious needs for the TV production teams working on the pre and post-match live fan show, the new digital platforms to fully embrace original live HD streaming media within the existing IPTV internet channel and in the Etihad and the ‘tactical’ video coverage of performance for the team managers form the 1st team down. This has brought us into consultation with the IT department to support the new fibre infrastructure running the IP networks and Man City’s own project managers with reference to budgets, buildings and procurement.

The principle achievement within this project for Media IP Networks so far has been the reconciliation of the needs and budgets of these three large TV productions within City Football – the matchday fanshow, the IPTV live streams and, to a lesser extent, the review coverage for the sports managers.

Since the revised and budget has now been agreed and a bid from Timeline Television accepted as the contracted integrators and operators, our involvement will now move to the delivery of the merged designs and trials of the IP networks and the new RF and CCTV cameras.

Media IP Networks will also be involved with Barcelona’s own MediaPro in the rebuild and relocation of the edit facilities to the new City Football Academy premises early in 2015.

And more ambitions ideas involve the link up with the other clubs in City Football, notably Melbourne, New York, Yokohama and AbuDahbi to create a 24hr City Football channel with original programming from across the world under the same brand.

 

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Researching a transparent media network for MediacityUK

mediacityAlthough a keystone in the developers’ plans since the first draft back in 2007, a transparent, open, high speed and stable internetwork between producers, facilities and broadcasters in MediacityUK has been elusive up to now.

Market research by MediaIP Networks is underway to clarify business requirements and define sustainable services for a campus-wide media network. The results of this research will in turn enable Media IP Networks to confidently build partnerships with service providers already established in MediacityUK such as Metronet, BT Dock10 and Geo to deliver an integrated network infrastructure.

network_topologyCurrently the reseach suggests that there is a significant demand for 1Gbps to offices and 10 Gbps to facilities for the storage, processing or replication of extremely media large files, principally in high definition but also in 4K. Similarly early responders have expressed interest in the network to ‘stream’ media in realtime for presentation or editing between facilities and to preview theatres.

Interestingly, several network technologies, old and new, are appearing consistently:

  • FTP for file transfer in the guise of Signiant, Digidelivery et al
  • VLAN over VPNs for easy access to MS Windows shares and LAN apps
  • Traffic Shaping to protect VoIP or remote control protocols.
  • Internet access at minimum of 100Mbps to remote, off-campus facilites.
  • Multilevel firewalls to protect sensitive data whilst still permitting client and remote user access

Further notes and interesting results from this research will posted here as appropriate.

Please visit us again and please add your own comments, suggestions and of course, any feedback!

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BT Sport going live for Chelsea’s assault on Fortress KC

BT Sport HD are to broadcast live the forthcoming match between recently-promoted Hull CiBT-Outsidety and an ascendant Chelsea. As holders of the contract to provide Match Management services to the Premier League at Hull City’s stadium, Media IP Networks will ensure BT’s contractors – Sunset + Vine and Arena Broadcast – can cover  the whole match in glorious high definition.

premleagueSimilarly Media IP Networks has been working closely with Premier League Productions and the hosts, Hull City FC to plan how international broadcasters from Denmark (Viasat and SBS) China (PCCW), France (Canal+), Japan (NHK), Qatar (AlJazeera/beIN) will add their commentary and reports to BT’s coverage for their own audiences.

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