Live From the US Open: Aerial Video Systems Handles RF With Ease
Although shocking upsets have become the norm at this year’s US Open, in an office nestled within Arthur Ashe Stadium, the two weeks of competition have been smooth sailing for Aerial Video Systems (AVS).
“We’re doing the wireless handheld RF cameras for CBS, and then they’re supplying those to ESPN and Tennis Channel,” says AVS founder/President Randy Hermes of the company’s on-site presence at the USTA Billie Jean King Tennis Center. “Then we’re doing the wireless announcer microphones and the IFBs and all the RFPLs.”
Currently in its fourth year serving the CBS broadcast, AVS also has a separate contract with Sky Sports, providing two wireless cameras, wireless mics, IFBs, and RFPLs for the British broadcaster. With the exception of an additional camera for Sky Sports this year, AVS is providing a complement similar to years past with a few slight adjustments.
“The coverage changes a little bit [every year] as the complex changes,” he explains. “They add courts, or they move things around. The antenna placements change as the place matures and morphs into whatever it’s going to be.”
One challenge to contend with this year, however, is FanVision: a portable device that fans can rent on-site, allowing them to access up to 10 channels of video and audio. Powering FanVision are five 100-W transmit sites, which eat into the available RF spectrum.
“It makes challenges for frequency coordination and frequency usage,” says Hermes. “Other than that, [the on-site team is] pretty dialed in.”
Next Up for AVS
With the US Open drawing to a close, AVS will shift gears to the NFL. The company will provide a wireless Steadicam, wireless handheld, and Partenavia P68 Observer aircraft with Cineflex camera for ESPN’s Monday Night Football slate.
AVS will deploy two RF cameras and aircraft for NFL Network’s Thursday Night Football coverage, as well as an RF Steadicam for the studio show and main game and, new this season, a large-format film-style wireless camera for NFL Films.
On NBC, AVS sends one RF Steadicam for Sunday Night Football, and, for FS1, AVS has supplied the wireless Steadicam for the new network’s studio coverage.
However, football isn’t the only entertainment AVS has up its sleeve. The company recently finished So You Think You Can Dance and America’s Got Talent before embarking on its tenth season of Dancing With the Stars. AVS continues to provide four studio pedestal wireless cameras for The Price Is Right, saving contestants from tripping over wires in their excitement to play Plinko or check out their Brand New Car.