Grass Valley, Net Insight Help Sweden’s SVT Conduct Remote IP Production of 2019 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships

Sweden’s national public broadcaster Sveriges Televison (SVT) and media solutions provider Net Insight have partnered with Grass Valley, a Belden Brand, to undertake remote IP production for the broadcast of the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships – being held in Åre, Sweden, from February 4-17. The production setup for the competition boasts the largest number of cameras deployed and the highest volume of remote signals – video, audio, and data – transmitted to date from a live location to SVT’s headquarters in Stockholm, over 600 km away.

Five years in the making, this significant undertaking has broken new ground in remote production. Eighty LDX 86 Series cameras from Grass Valley, located along the ski course in Åre are delivering uncompressed HD signals over two 100 Gbps fiber circuits from Telia, to three control rooms at SVT’s Stockholm facility. Each circuit uses Nimbra transport solutions from Net Insight, including the recently launched terabit capacity platform, the Nimbra 1060. Grass Valley’s unique DirectIP capability is central to this workflow, enabling the XCU base stations to be situated in the central equipment room in Stockholm, while the cameras are in the snowy hills of Åre. DirectIP hugely simplifies the interconnections that need to be made, allowing all the camera signals to connect straight into the XCU. This also enables the shaders to match the cameras, without any delay, with fewer people traveling and in a comfortable environment in Stockholm.

“This accomplishment demonstrates how far we’ve come in executing remote productions, especially looking back at our remote setup in 2012 for the London Summer Games,” says Adde Grandberg, director of technology, CTO, at SVT. “To achieve this feat for the Alpine World Ski Championships, we knew from the beginning that we’d need more bandwidth, an adaptable workflow and very tight collaboration with Net Insight and Grass Valley – with no compromise to our ability to deliver high quality, synchronized images to our rights holders. The stunning pictures they deliver, with minimal latency, made Grass Valley’s cameras the brand of choice for us and this project. These, coupled with its DirectIP capability, were instrumental in enabling us to create a robust and reliable workflow that can cope with the unique conditions of a live ski event. Together we’ve set a new benchmark for live remote production at a major sporting event.”

The remote production workflow is set up to support a team of around 150 camera operators and technicians on location in Åre, with the rest of the production workflow and staff in Stockholm. The DirectIP configuration on the Grass Valley cameras enables highly efficient handling of uncompressed HD signal distribution. A Grass Valley Kayenne video production center switcher panel based in Åre gives the director access to a Grass Valley K-Frame X video production engine back at the studio. This sits alongside a multi-format Sirius 850 router that was purchased specifically for this event.

“When SVT first approached us about this project, the capacity to support so many cameras and reliably transport uncompressed HD signals over IP across such a large distance was unprecedented. We were working with Grass Valley at the time on this very undertaking, so this synchronicity significantly helped us bring this Alpine Ski undertaking to fruition for SVT,” adds Larissa Görner, strategic product manager at Net Insight. “SVT has been using our Nimbra platform as part of its network infrastructure for years, strengthened by its tight integration with Grass Valley cameras, which makes signal transport seamless. The image quality that Grass Valley cameras deliver is also second to none, so fans at home get an unmatched viewing experience that is both rich and immersive.”

“Our customers are continuously raising the bar and rewriting the rules for what’s possible with live production. Remote production is the next step change, opening up new ways of working by allowing a production team back at base to have all the resources they need to deliver high quality, captivating content,” says Mark Hilton, vice president, live production at Grass Valley. “We are very proud to have partnered with SVT and Net Insight to help them push the boundaries of remote production and make history. This project illustrates how our DirectIP capability can make a big difference to how broadcasters and media service providers can approach large, complex production requirements.”