Beijing Olympic Broadcasting Reports IBC Integration Going Well

By Ken Kerschbaumer
Sotiris Salamouris, Beijing Olympic Broadcasting (BOB) head of engineering and technical operations, reports that the IBC is in good shape with one month to go before the Olympic flame in Beijing is lit. “I would say the IBC installation is in good shape,” says Sotiris Salamouris, BOB head of engineering and technical operations. “For the Olympics and other big events there are always problems here and there.”

Meeting the needs of the world’s broadcasters will be an extra-large challenge this year for BOB because of the leap to all HD. Why? Because BOB will provide three versions of the HD-produced content: an HD version, a 4:3 SD version, and also a 16:9 SD feed. BOB is also providing both a stereo and 5.1 Surround Sound version of coverage, an Olympic first. “For us that means we have all parallel systems,” says Salamouris.

All the live signals from the venues will be carried back to the IBC where Salamouris and his team will check for quality and proper synchronization of audio and video signals. Then the signals move out to distribution where the individual broadcasters can make their own editorial decisions. An EVS system will access stations that can be booked by broadcasters will also be on hand.

“That is in addition to any service or systems they may have brought in for their own use,” adds Salamouris.

BOB’s 55 OB vans and flypacks includes a mix of state-of-the-art Chinese OB HD vans and others that are currently in route from around the world with providers like SFP and Alfacam shipping multiple units overseas. Seven independent audio trucks and 16 audio flight packs will also be used and more than 750 HD circuits will be used to get signals from those production trucks to the IBC during the Games, nearly double the amount of circuits used in Athens four years ago.

“This is a huge project and there are many things that can be tough but we’re in good shape, finger’s crossed,” says Salamouris.