Riedel, Germany’s RTL Celebrate Six Years of Formula One
Formula One host broadcaster RTL has, for the past six years, leveraged the Riedel RiLink Global Fiber Service to provide bidirectional links between the race circuits and the broadcast station in Cologne, Germany. In addition, Riedel’s Artist and MediorNet platforms are used for communications and signal acquisition and distribution at the various race venues around the world.
RiLink’s bidirectional links between the race circuits and Cologne allow not only the transport of 3G/HD/SD-SDI broadcast signals, but also return video feeds, full-duplex communications, VoIP telephony, and IP data. Furthermore, RiLink provides higher bandwidth connections than regular satellite links, which directly translates into better video quality. RiLink’s latency is also significantly shorter and its transmission is completely independent of weather conditions. Various redundancy layers within the network provide maximum reliability and quality of service for this real-time network. RiLink leverages Riedel’s well-established hardware and manufacturing capabilities along with proven expertise in software to provide custom solutions over Riedel’s globally available MPLS network, which RTL also uses for enterprise services such as exchange server connections, intranet, and intercom.
“When it comes to broadcasting a first-class event such as Formula One, a strong and reliable partnership is an absolute must,” said Fritz Behringer, technical operations manager at Cologne Broadcasting Center GmbH, a part of RTL Media Group. “We have been working with Riedel’s RiLink for many years. As soon as the fiber cable is connected to our production unit, all systems wake up, connect to their hosts instantaneously, and start sending files or messages. Riedel is connecting the two worlds for us: broadcast and IT.”
RTL transfers the international program video signal and additional signals from its electronic newsgathering teams on location at each of the race venues to its playout center in Cologne. During off-peak hours when there is no signal transmission, RTL uses the additional capacity for other purposes such as file transfers to its archive in Cologne, which can be carried out automatically in managed workflows. While real-time transport of HD video uses compression in order to reduce bandwidth, these off-peak transfers happen uncompressed in their original quality. Sending uncompressed video is always the preferred choice in cases that involve glossy, high-quality postproduction or when sending video material to archive.
Riedel’s Artist intercom systems allow RTL’s on-site crew to collaborate seamlessly with the home team using remote resources.
“Especially in surroundings like F1, RF-based communication is a challenge on its own. The combination of network connectivity, networked intercom and RF systems, and a strong support team gives us the headroom to react fast enough on all contingencies and makes our productions so smooth,” Behringer said. “The systems also connect the drivers on the track with their pit crews and off-site engineers, providing drivers with up-to-date tactical advice and on-track support.”
Riedel has been supplying communication systems to motor sports events for more than 25 years. Due to its experience and holistic approach, Riedel today serves all Formula One races worldwide, providing reliable communications solutions for many broadcasters such as RTL, for numerous Formula One teams, and for FIA, the governing body for world motor sports.