Bexel Fibers Up Times Square for New Years Eve
Bexel, a unit of the Vitec Group’s Services Division and a provider of broadcast services and solutions, was once again on-site supporting live coverage of the New Year’s Eve celebration in Times Square as it was broadcast around the world. Bexel’s team of engineers coordinated the complex wireless operations and established a fiber infrastructure for all feeds going to and from the production truck handling the coverage. For over a decade, Bexel has provided equipment and services to support national and international broadcasts of the Times Square celebration.
As the 2012 event entailed five zones of RF coverage—four outdoor locations, spanning from the main outside stage at 43rd Street up to 46th Street at the Nivea Stage, as well as inside Times Square Studios, including the green rooms and production hallways—Bexel deployed its RF Over Fiber Antenna System. Designed to enhance the show’s wireless capabilities, the system was scalable to any size building or location and offered a single point of interface for wireless equipment to the production truck. Comprehensive coverage requirements for the host network extended from 47th Street and Broadway to 43rd Street and Broadway.
Full duplex, Bexel’s RF Over Fiber System offers the capabilities of both transmit and receive carriers over RF fiber—accommodating wireless microphones, IFB, and wireless intercoms in one system. It also consolidates the required RF equipment, which can save on the use of very limited and coveted RF spectrum. In addition to Bexel-ASG’s RF Over Fiber Antenna System, other RF equipment provided by Bexel included 12 channels of wireless PL using six Telex BTR800s, 24 belt packs, four Lectrosonics IFB transmitters and six wireless microphones. Bexel also staffed the event with six on-site engineers for audio and wireless setup and support.
“Seamless coverage of all zones through the RF Over Fiber System is a tremendous challenge due to the sheer quantity of wireless devices in use, the shrinking UHF spectrum and the density of people at the event,” says Jim Dugan, senior project engineer, Bexel. “Fortunately our expertise and solutions [allowed] us to provide another memorable New Year’s Eve to those watching on television.”
Bexel also provided the fiber infrastructure for all feeds going to and from the production truck in Times Square. Installed during overnights by local union workers prior to the event, there are about three miles of fiber set up around Times Square.
“These fiber solutions [were] the backbone of the show,” says Perry Sanderson, technical sales specialist/fiber, Bexel. “Bexel fiber essentially [touched] all feeds that [were] broadcast around the world.”
Bexel provided a custom rack built with fiber optic systems to accommodate signal transport to various locations around Times Square, including Duffy Square and Nivea Stage. This infrastructure then carried these signals from surrounding events and the classic ball drop and distributed to domestic and international broadcasters.