Cellular bonding now and going forward


Ronen Artman
by Ronen Artman
Issue 81 - September 2013
The worship TV market in the U.S. is big business, with an output that rivals many international broadcasters, both in terms of quantity, production values, audience size and commercial success.

John Hagee Ministries leads a 17,000-strong congregation and broadcasts to the USA on 160 TV stations, 50 radio stations, and eight networks. Controversial, challenging and forthright, the programming is distributed from as far afield as Africa, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Asia. The Ministry runs its own online network; Global Evangelism Television, which can be watched live and on demand by global subscribers using connected devices and televisions.

Programming in the US is produced by the organization itself; however, on a recent mission to the UK, Top Telly was commissioned to produce and record an event at the Lighthouse Theatre in South London.

We approach every job whether its for sports television or corporate production in the same way. We are fastidious about detailed planning and the technical aspects of the job and we use talented, experienced professionals that thrive under pressure. We work on very demanding O.B. projects so good quality, robust equipment is vital. Begins Hugh Pollard, Top Tellys MD.

For the Hagee shoot, the team had a particular dilemma to address. The multi-cam element of the shoot was not unusual: Five HD cameras were rigged to shoot every angle, each feeding into a Blackmagic Design ATEM 1 vision mixer. HD outputs were recorded in ProRes HQ on a Hyperdeck Pro and, as a back up, on to a secondary capture device.

The big issue on this project, continues Pollard, was that JHM wanted to turn-around the material as fast as possible, without using expensive satellite uplinks. Files needed to be transferred back to the US for editing and transmitting the very next day! Sending hundreds of gigabytes of Pro-Res data via broadband would be too time-consuming. We needed to find an alternative.
The solution was to capture the stream from the vision mixer in a more compressed HD codec, as opposed to an intermediate edit format.

I had experience of recording XDCAM HD onto SxS recorders whilst working for The BBC earlier this year. This format integrates well with the cameras we are using, as it utilises the same media for recording. There are various decks available out there but the one product that stands out is the Vitec FS-T2001 unit we now use them very regularly on Outside Broadcasts for the BBC and the recorder is highly thought of. Pollard relates.

The FS-T2001 is a 50Mb/s HD-SDI recorder with dual SxS slots and a built-in 250GB. Its connectors include Fire-wire, Gigabit Ethernet, HDMI and USB: its ready to fit in with virtually every studio and OB workflows. Unlike traditional VTRs it is highly portable Ive carried one on to a plane in my hand luggage. said Pollard, and it is well suited to rigging and de-rigging quickly.

The system worked really well, delivering terrific looking video files, that were transferred and uploaded at a rate that impressed the client. Importantly, it created Sony-compliant XDCAM files with full file structures which were uploaded via a high speed network pipeline to the States, where they could be ingested instantly onto the playback and edit servers the Top Telly MD remarks.

As a long-term broadcast professional, Pollard was impressed by the FS-T2001. However, he points to a few ways in which it could be further improved. Its currently the best out there, and Ive used it on key events like the Six Nations and The Ryder Cup, but enhancing features such as external timecode support and further functionality whilst you are in record would really complete an already excellent product. Pollard closes.


Tags: iss081 | liveu | cellular bonding | backpack | news | eng | going forward | Ronen Artman
Contributing Author Ronen Artman

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