IBC2013 Q&A: Lee Norton, Product Sales Director, BSI

Long a renter of RF systems, BSI (Broadcast Sports Inc.) recently took a hard left turn and began selling gear for the first time. At IBC this year, the company rolled out its Real Freedom product line and also showed off its Ref Cam system, which has already been used in coverage of rugby, cricket, and Nik Wallenda’s death-defying Grand Canyon walk.

SVG sat down with Lee Norton, product sales director, BSI, to discuss the company’s latest products, its decision to start selling gear, and where the company is headed in the future.

BSI has always been known primarily as a rental house. So why does it make sense for the company to begin selling gear with the new Real Freedom product line?
BSI’s business model is centered around our turnkey rental service, a key part of which is our ongoing focus on innovation. For the past 30 years, we have designed, developed, and deployed new technologies to enhance the productions of our clients. With Real Freedom, we designed a system that satisfies the demanding needs of our field teams with 1080p/60 and 10-bit 4:2:2 sampling but has an intuitive, user-friendly interface that does not require advanced technical expertise to operate. We knew we had a unique product in our hands, and it made sense from a strategic growth standpoint to make this product available to the broadcast industry at large.

What benefits does the Real Freedom line offer sports-content producers that other RF systems do not?
Real Freedom is the only system on the market offering 1080p/60 with 10-bit 4:2:2 sampling throughout all resolutions and frame rates. The system uses DVB-T2 modulation, which provides increased bitrate and more-robust operation in the challenging environments typical of major sports events today. For content producers, this means the best possible video quality whenever and wherever they need it.

In addition, the simplified system architecture and intuitive user interface makes deployment of Real Freedom a breeze. Our systems can be set up and on-air faster than any other product on the market.

How has development of the Ref Cam progressed since it was introduced earlier this year?
BSI’s Ref Cam System has evolved in a number of ways since we first deployed it at a rugby match in March. We’ve worked to make the system more comfortable for the wearer and are also developing a chest-mounted version. The mini transmitter we use with the system allows dual video inputs, which we used to deploy two wearable cameras simultaneously during Nik Wallenda’s breathtaking high-wire crossing of the Grand Canyon in July. One of the cameras pointed straight ahead, and the other pointed down at Wallenda’s feet, and the resulting shots made for a truly compelling broadcast. Later this month will see our Umpire Cam variant being used to cover International T20 cricket in India.