ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball Swings for the Fences With NCP, Nevion
When ESPN decided to improve and expand its live, HD coverage of the national game of the week on Sunday Night Baseball, it needed to greatly enlarge its on-site production team — and find somewhere to put them. So services provider New Century Productions (NCP) built a second production truck and deployed Nevion Flashlink fiber transport and multiplexing equipment to link the two mobile-production units.
“The A unit was already full so [ESPN] wanted us to build a new B unit that has expanding sides [and] could seat more people,” says Mike Mundt, director of engineering for NCP. “So we talked to them about particulars: how many people they were looking for, where they wanted them, how they wanted them arranged, how many monitors they [needed] to look at.”
Accounting for individual intercoms, routers, and at least one (often more than one) monitor per person, the upgrade would require more than 250 video links between the two trucks.
“Every one of those had to be driven from the routing switcher on the A unit, so that meant [more than] 250 hi-def feeds coming over from the A unit to the B unit,” Mundt explains. “That’s an enormous amount of cable. It was too much to think about. We immediately began looking at a solution that would take multiple feeds across on a single cable.”
That search yielded multiplexed fiber as the solution and Nevion as the provider. Nevion’s Flashlink video-transport solutions can convert almost 300 electrical HD-SDI circuits to optical and then multiplex them down to just a few fibers for transport through Flashlink 18-channel CWDM transmitters. Instead of 250-plus separate pieces of coax connecting the trucks, the setup requires only two fiber cables.
Overall, NCP deployed several products from the Nevion Flashlink family: CWDM1-18 optical CWDM multiplexers/demultiplexers; FC-3G-EO-28 compact 28-channel electrical-to-optical converters, with options for 14 dual hot-pluggable SFP receivers; FC-3G-OE-28 converters for high-density optical-to-electrical conversion; FR-2RU-10-2-EF 2RU frames, each with capacity for 10 Flashlink modules and two power supplies; SFP-3G-EO-2-13T optical video transmitters; and SFP-3G-OE-2 receivers.
“Nevion presented an affordable, compact solution for linking the two trucks over CWDM fiber,” says Mundt. “The Flashlink products are small, lightweight, scalable, and consume very little power, which are all critical in a mobile-production environment.”