This year’s Eurovision Song Contest, which took place at the Baku Crystal Hall Arena, Baku, Azerbaijan, saw German Broadcast production company Brainpool TV - on behalf of Ictimai TV - utilise an extensive installation from Riedel Communications.
Broadcast to more than 100 million viewers across the globe, this year’s event presented an additional challenge, with the venue’s construction starting having only started in September 2011. This meant that the technological infrastructure for the contest was set up alongside the construction work, with the organizers specifying a media network infrastructure from Riedel to distribute the event's video, audio and communications signals.
At the core of the installation was Riedel’s MediorNet, a fibre-based real-time network that transported the majority of the event's signals. 40 HD and SD video signals were distributed within the arena, including the broadcast feed and the signals for the on-site video walls and monitors. Designed to allow the transport of different signal types over a single infrastructure, MediorNet was able to reduce the amount of effort required to prepare for the event.
As it has done in the past, Riedel also provided the communications infrastructure for the event, utilising a system combining Artist Digital Matrix Intercom with digital trunked radios (TETRA) and professional analog radios. A total of 13 Artist 128 and Artist 64 mainframes were used, as well as 82 Artist control panels including panels from the Artist 1100, 1000 and 2000 series. Nearly 900 Artist ports were available via the intercom matrix.
Furthermore, the comapny equipped 25 commentator booths at the Eurovision Song Contest, with the Artist CCP-1116 Commentary Control Panels allowing for two commentators to independently use the same commentator unit, while an additional freely assignable intercom control panel was designed to provide optimum flexibility. The connection to the matrix and the transport of the audio signals were handled by a AES3/EBU link over CAT5 cable. The connection between the commentators and their respective broadcast studios was achieved with Riedel Connect Trio interfaces, providing the required regional ISDN codecs for individual countries.
The communications infrastructure was completed with more than 600 analogue and digital trunked (TETRA) professional mobile radios. The 350 TETRA radios and the ten analogue professional radio groups were integrated into the Artist system via Riedel RiFace interfaces, which are aimed at enabling direct communication between Artist control panels, dedicated groups and individual digital radios.
Rental provider Cape Cross used a Riedel RockNet digital audio network installation to distribute the live audio signals at the show. Four interface cards for digital Yamaha mixing consoles, 12 analogue input and 17 analogue output modules, as well as RockNet fibre converters distributed the audio signals between the splitterworld, FOH and the PA.
Meanwhile, Riedel was also responsible for the accreditation and access control services of the show for the first time in its history. DECA Card Engineering, a Riedel subsidiary, provided the turnstiles, scanners and RFID reader systems used in Baku, as well as practical know-how on site. Riedel also took care of ticketing for the contest.
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