NEP UK Relies on Grass Valley IP Infrastructure for UHD HDR Productions of Wimbledon

NEP UK supported the first UHD HDR live production of the 2018 Wimbledon Tennis Championship with IP infrastructure from Grass Valley, a Belden Brand. NEP’s latest SMPTE ST 2110 trucks, Venus and Ceres, were deployed to support the newly formed host broadcaster, Wimbledon Broadcast Services (WBS).

WBS provided multi-camera coverage of all 18 courts for the first time, including a net-cam on both Center Court and No.1 Court, as well as other enhancements throughout the tournament. Venus and Ceres managed HD, HDR, and UHD content — providing world feeds to 20 onsite broadcasters and supporting 21 of its own production galleries. The two trucks, linked via a portable IP flyaway system, formed the world’s largest SMPTE ST 2110 Outside Broadcast (OB) installation and were able to handle over 118 camera signals, which would have normally involved miles of cabling. However, thanks to the Grass Valley IP infrastructure, this was vastly reduced.

Grass Valley IP infrastructure is built around its IQ UCP 25GbE Gateway cards. IQ UCP provides a modular, re-programmable, processing platform for two-way interfacing between the IP equipment and existing baseband technology to support clients using Serial Digital Interface (SDI) feeds. This provides added flexibility, enabling NEP to easily adapt the system for different events without the need to replace or re-wire racks of equipment. Each truck has around 70 Grass Valley IQ UCP cards and the flyaways have a total of 200.

The trucks also house Grass Valley’s IPEDGE-SVR turnkey IP routing control system with Orbit control and monitoring software, Grass Valley Kayenne and Kahuna vision mixers along with IP Multiviewers. These seamlessly integrate with Arista COTS network switches, AXON Digital Design master control systems, Calrec audio mixing capability, and comms facilities from TELEX Communications.

“Providing our customers with a solution that can be seamlessly tailored to meet their specific requirements, regardless of how large or complex these may be, is critical,” explains Rob Newton, CTO of NEP UK and Ireland. “This lies in offering all the benefits of a fixed IP studio set-up, but in any location, and Grass Valley has delivered on this, facilitating the modular approach we wanted to take. As the Wimbledon 2018 project illustrates, we came together with Grass Valley to create a highly customizable live production capability that delivered high-quality action with unmatched images.”

“OB companies and broadcast service providers need flexibility to support increasingly complex and large live productions as they strive to deliver richer and better content to give viewers a more immersive experience,” adds Tim Banks, vice president of sales, EMEA, Grass Valley. “NEP UK’s approach to delivering an agile, flexible and highly configurable OB operation is the way of the future, and we are very proud that our IP solutions have enabled them to bring their vision to life.”

The trucks were also deployed to cover the Royal Wedding on 19 May 2018, which attracted 1.9 billion viewers around the globe.

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