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Broadcast RF Report Ahead Of The Grand National

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Broadcast RF has published an anticipatory report into this year's coverage of the Grand National at Aintree.
Publicity says the Grand National is the "most watched horse race in the world". It is seen all over the world.
The Channel 4 set up is broadly similar to the BBC, the fundamental requirement to cover the races and provide background stories is much the same. Channel 4 are expanding the scale of the "background" and therefore sending the radio cameras to more diverse locations, always an interesting technical challenge!
The main challenge for radio camera coverage is the sheer size of the venue; the far side of the course is over 1km from the Grandstands and this, combined with the diverse areas mentioned above means we have had to engineer a receive antenna infrastructure to cope with this.
We have made extensive use of fibre optic cables, both a new permanent installation and a temporary rig, to bring the received signals back to a central control point to feed the receiver/decoders for the 13 radio cameras we are providing.
These consist of 2 Steadicams, 2 Tracking vehicles (equipped with gyro stabilised cameras), 5 roving Reporter cameras, 1 "Camcat" Wirecam, 1 helicopter camera and a roving Super Slow Motion camera.
This last camera requires a special remote control system to allow the VT (EVS) operator to "recall" the slow motion recorded packages, over the RF link, that the camera operator has captured. We have developed, in house, a Broadcast RF bespoke remote control system to provide the recall control in addition to the usual camera "paint" functions.
The use of the various frequency bands available to Broadcasters for radio cameras has to be carefully managed. This spectrum is always in short supply, particularly as we have just lost the use of half of our most popular (2.5GHz) band to 4G cellphone operators. This has meant us using alternative additional frequency bands to provide all the facilities, increasing the complexity and size of the receiver infrastructure even more.
On the day of the big race we expect all the National and Local TV News providers to turn up, all intending to use their usual radio cameras. This has to be taken into account during the planning stage of our operation in order to avoid any mutual interference problems.
A full report of The Grand National 2013 is soon to follow…

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