PyeongChang 2018

Live From PyeongChang: Canada’s CBC Uses Dual At-Home Model for Dual-Language Production

New approach to audio mapping and at-venue cabling represent minor tweaks to proven methodology

With Canadian broadcaster CBC, at the Olympics, you always get a 2-for-1 package.

With both English- and French-speaking audiences to serve back home, CBC’s facilities at the IBC in PyeongChang are a stop in the complex transmission and signal routing of feeds to fully staffed control rooms in Montreal and Toronto. Using technology from Nevion that the network invested in prior to the 2016 Rio Olympics, CBC has all but perfected the at-home production model that it has been using since 2004.

At the PyeongChang IBC, Technical Producer Sylvain Archambault (left) and Master Broadcast Technical Engineer Mathieu Rochon, are supporting the technical efforts of Radio-Canada/CBC.

Multilateral feeds provided by OBS are received in the IBC, and commentary in each language is layered on top by CBC, which then sends the feed to the respective control room in Montreal or Toronto. On high-profile events like ice hockey and curling, for which CBC has its own cameras, those feeds barely touch the IBC, using it only as a conduit over a 1-Gb link to Canada, where it is decoded in JPEG2000 for broadcast.

There have been a couple of tweaks and changes to the approach since the Rio Games. First, out at the venues, CBC is using much more fiber and, when using copper cable, deploys a very disposable, cheap fiber that it can slice, terminate, and throw away onsite — basically, one-time–use cabling.

“In Rio, we were trying to use copper cable as much as possible if the distance was permitting, but it was a pain to go measure and ensure the cabling is right for the distance,” says Mathieu Rochon, master broadcast technical engineer, Radio-Canada/CBC. “So, at these Games, we are mostly fiber.”

Also different this year is the handling of all audio remapping at the IBC. This is primarily due to the increased requirements of the digital and streaming team, which needs to create an alternate downmix to allow for the option to drop out commentators in events where CBC is using the OBS-supplied announcers and not its own.

Staffs are sizable, with approximately 300 staffers onsite here, 300 in Montreal, and 400 in Toronto.

All in all, CBC is keeping the early bird, the night owl, and everyone else entertained with all of the Olympic action they could hope for, broadcasting 21 hours of programming of Olympic content per day.

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