Behind the Scenes of Super Hi Vision and the London Olympics 2012

The first meeting of the reformed UK section In the Summer of 2012 could  only have one focus – the London Olympics 2012  and  so a  randomly selected group of dozen members  drawn from the South and East of the UK and from many areas of the industry  met at BBC Broadcasting House in central London on 2 August.

The group were welcomed by John Zubrzycki (Principal Technologist BBC R&D) to a small exhibition of the technology of Olympics TV broadcasting – from the Olympics in London 1948 ( the first Olympics Broadcasts to the public at large )  though pioneering broadcasts of Colour and HD TV. 
In the Radio Theatre we experienced SHV – including a 30 minute edited recording of the Olympic opening ceremony - you felt that you were there – totally immersive tele-presence not only by the detail of the video but the pervasiveness of the 22.2 channel sound. Afterwards we all commented on how much the HD TV viewer at home had missed. We the saw a number of events from the Aquatic centre - and again the ability to concentrate on which any of the 8 swimmers   and the overall ambience made it a very different experience. 

It was then over to BBC Television Centre in West London to meet The NHK /BBC Team at their Production Centre .  We were told about the 4 year BBC/ NHK collaboration on Super Hi Vision before moving onto the production set up covering the Olympics. At the Olympic Park in East London NHK have their 3 camera Truck – the cameras connect over the normal fibre optic camera cables which OBS the Host broadcaster has installed. The 22.2 channels sound field is created in a SIS live truck and the uncompressed 24 Gbit/sec Video and audio are sent on multiple  wavelengths on dual path dark fibre to BBC Television Centre in West London.

 We then moved to the audio mixing area and the main production space with editing stations – using HD as a proxy and the rendering engines which conformed the edit overnight, and graphics system.  The play out servers – 16 P2 players running in parallel were at the far end of the room with the sets of 8 AVC coders – each compressing an HD size frame to support the SHV with the resultant 280 Mbit/s Transport streams  then encapsulated in IP (In a very noisy machine room) before being sent via BBC network to the viewing theatre in Broadcasting House and via the UK  Academic Network (JANET) to the National Media Museum in Bradford in the North of England and the BBC Studios in Glasgow, Scotland. 
Other academic networks Geant2, Internet2, Sinet4, and GEMnet2 (coordinated by NTT) are used for the links to the viewing theatres in Washington DC and to three locations in Japan.  
The performance of all of these IP Links  being monitored in real time from the play out centre.

We saw a variety of clips in a “Domestic” environment - on an 85 inch LCD 8K display – with the 22.2 sound from an array of Loudspeaker around the room.

After a very vigorous question and  answer session with John Zubrzycki  (BBC R&D) and Yoshiaki Shishikui and Takayuki Ito from NHK we moved to the BBC Media Village built of the site on the 1908 Olympics -  where members were able to, over refreshments,  discuss finer points of SHV with the BBC and NHK  team   After they had to return to operational  duties we were joined by other members of the UK board of Managers and the BBC Head of Technology  HD & 3D and continued to share experiences from all parts of our broad industry – a tradition UK Section is keen to establish. 

This first event of the UK Section was organised by Peter Weitzel, whose company Weitzel.tv sponsored the transportation and refreshments.

Further information from John Z blog at BBC R&D

And a look by Norman Green of the Televising of the 1948 London Olympics

and the BBC News report on the Standardisation of 8K SHV

NHK Science and Technology labaoratiries won the IBC2012 International Honour for Excellence