JVC Private Mesh Video Network Doubles WRTV’s Video Delivery at Indianapolis Motor Speedway
WRTV, the ABC affiliate in Indianapolis (DMA #27) that produces 40 hours of news each week, arranged a high-profile test of the JVC Private MESH Video Network during the big race in late May at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. According to Jeff Walker, chief engineer for WRTV, the system was able to double the HD video delivery during the race that traditional microwave equipment would have allowed.
The test was designed to prove the system could deliver multi-camera coverage within the IMS grounds using a licensed microwave channel in a very hostile frequency environment. “I put the JVC system in very difficult situations, and it performed beyond our expectations,” Walker says.
Designed for single and multi-camera location shoots, the JVC Private MESH Video Network combines JVC Professional Video’s (a division of JVCKENWOOD USA) advanced encoding technology in select ProHD and 4KCAM cameras with the Silvus Bi-Directional Radio System to transmit high-quality HD video with extremely high streaming reliability. The network provides a secure encoded video stream while avoiding bandwidth congestion issues that typical IP streaming solutions can encounter when using public Wi-Fi or broadband networks.
The IMS features a 10-story, pagoda-styled structure centered on the start-finish line. WRTV placed a fixed relay antenna on the top of the pagoda to deliver maximum coverage for the 2.5-mile oval racetrack. On the ground, two roaming JVC ProHD cameras, one JVC GY-HM650 and one GY-HM890, were each equipped with a Silvus transceiver attached to the camera.
Several WRTV reporters and anchors were on site during the event, most providing live shots via fiber from designated areas within the IMS. The station’s coverage also included many live shots from the JVC cameras on the MESH network from locations around the IMS including Pit Lane, garages, campgrounds, and the Snake Pit live music pavilions.
For the race, which attracted approximately 350,000 spectators this year, Walker did not consider a bonded-cellular backpack system, because bandwidth would be too limited for transferring data with so many users. He also did not want to use unlicensed frequencies because of the uncertainty of availability.
Instead, WRTV used the JVC Private MESH Video Network to transmit within the station’s licensed microwave spectrum. Walker said the system can include two JVC camera feeds in the same bandwidth as one traditional signal, doubling the camera capacity for each of WRTV’s two channels. Beyond the transmission of HD video and audio, the system also provides camera control, return video for live monitoring, and two-way intercom, so shooters do not have to rely on cell phones in a very crowded and unreliable environment.
“Now, twice as many live shots are available to the director at any time, and you have two-way communication, so you don’t need a separate system,” Walker explains. “The huge benefit is that the encoding is done in the camera itself, and the camera-back transceiver provides me with all of the extra features. You don’t get that convenience with traditional microwave transmitters.”