The Glasgow Diaries



Content+Technology's entire series of columns on host broadcast preparations for the 2014 Commonwealth Games. Written by David Bowers, head of engineering and technical operations for SVGTV, holder of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games Host Broadcast contract.

Transcript of The Glasgow Diaries

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FORMER MAGNA GROUP CEO and Nine Network Australia executive David Bowers has just landed in Glasgow for his new role as head of engineering and technical operations for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games Host Broadcaster contract.

HE JOINS THE TEAM AT SVGTV – the joint venture between Australia’s Global Television and UK-based Sunset+ Vine, which was appointed as the Glasgow 2014 Host Broadcaster in July of last year. In the fi rst of a series of reports for Content + Technology, Bowers outlines the massive project’s mission, critical path and his fi rst day on the ground in Glasgow.

Destination Glasgow > Glasgow International Airport, 1130 GMT, February 1, 2013, direct from Sydney via Dubai thanks to Emirates.

Stepping off the plane, it’s a bracing 3 degrees C. The crisp Scottish air is an instant wake-up call after 24 hours in a metal tube and very diff erent to the ‘balmy’ summer weather I have left behind in Sydney.

This is my second trip to Glasgow since the London Olympics and the available daylight hours have reduced signifi cantly as we move into the Northern Hemisphere winter and begin phase two of one of Scotland’s largest-ever projects.

My role is to oversee the planning, design, engineering and installation for the Host Broadcaster sport venues and International Broadcast Centre (IBC) requirements for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Delivery of Host Broadcaster services is based on a 121-week project schedule spanning June, 2012 through September, 2014 in fi ve main stages: Start-up, Planning, Operational, Games-time and Pack-up.

Not surprisingly, given the magnitude of the task, phase one began as soon as the Host Broadcaster commenced on the project in July of last year. Led by project director Andrew Quinn, our small team is growing steadily as we move along the critical path.

Andrew has been involved with the Host Broadcaster contract since the bid’s inception and brings a wealth of experience from previous international events, including Delhi 2010 and Melbourne 2006.

My Australian winter wardrobe is no defence against the Glasgow winter temperatures and fi rst item on the agenda is to purchase a thick coat. Andrew directs me where to go: having arrived from Sydney with his in family late December, he’s had time to acclimatise, get the lay of the land, sample the local hospitality and celebrate Hogmanay*.

From the shops it’s a brisk 500 metre walk to the project offi ce, which is located in the centre of town and close to the Organising Committee’s administration offi ce and all the major amenities (i.e., pubs). A winter’s day in no way chills the vibrant energy or – especially after Sydney’s scorching summer – extraordinarily green urban environment as I look to the south over Glasgow Green.

The colour is a fi tting backdrop for the extensive development underway, not just towards Glasgow 2014 but the city’s growing importance as a cultural centre and ‘happening’ place for the

The Glasgow Diaries: Chapter 1By David Bowers

thousands of people who work, play and live here.

In addition to the anticipated halo eff ect of a successful Games, the Host Broadcaster will create another positive legacy: at least 120 graduates from Scotland will work with us during the Games, deepening the local pool of capable television technical people and creating a stronger future employment path for them.

It’s a series of quick, hello-how-was-your-fl ights and then I’m at my desk, setting up my laptop and getting ready to work.

Far from an unceremonious welcome, I’ve met the dozen-strong team already and the last 26 hours aside am fully up to speed thanks to daily Skype calls and constant emails between Sydney and Glasgow. I’d also had a quick tour in November to survey the local venues, get to know my new colleagues and also meet many of the key Glasgow 2014 Organising Committee functional area managers – important, especially as the Host Broadcaster contract is the largest the Organisers will award.

Everyone is in good spirits after Christmas and New Year’s Eve celebrations and eager to get on with it. We are currently beginning project phase two – the venue overlay planning stage, which involves fi ne-tuning the compound layouts and establishing access, power and security requirements: normal big event matters that are essential to get right from the start.

Dating back to the 15th century, Glasgow Green is the city’s oldest park. Chilling Out – Andrew Quinn and David Bowers on the wintery streets of Glasgow.

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Snell at the Centre of HKJC’s HD Operations SNELL HAS ANNOUNCED that the Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC), one of the world’s largest horse racing organisations, has chosen Snell Kahuna 360 multi-format SD/HD production switchers as part of a major, multi-phase upgrade of its broadcasting centre to support HD operations. The HKJC, which produces a total of 9,600 hours of TV programming every year, selected the Kahuna 360 switchers to replace an array of aging vision mixers.

After an evaluation and procurement process, Kahuna 360 scored highest in technology and price/performance, as well as its ability to provide multi-format inputs and outputs for both SD and HD. Another critical factor in the HKJC’s selection of Kahuna 360 was its resilience and ability to auto-fallback with no visible interruption in service — a major consideration for live racing coverage that is watched by millions of viewers. Also, the system’s ease of use and eff ortlessness customisation are important in the HKJC’s compact production environment.

“With such a busy programming and production schedule, reliable and state-of-the-art production switchers are a critical element in the HKJC broadcast environment. Kahuna 360 is truly an all-in-one solution, with the scalability we need to evolve our operation into the future,” said Mrs. Oonagh Chan, head of broadcasting services for the Hong Kong Jockey Club. “As a longtime user of Snell switching, conversion, and playout equipment, we are keen to acquire solutions that off er high quality and reliability as well

as value — and we know we can depend on Snell’s fi rst-rate support organisation.”

In phase one of the switcher upgrade, two Kahuna 360 4 M/E mainframes were integrated with HKJC’s existing multi-viewer and TSL tally control systems. Since each Kahuna 360 mainframe can support two or more control panels, four separate programs are produced simultaneously.

One mainframe serves as the fi eld program mixer to produce a clean TV feed from over 40 HD cameras plus playout sources during the live race coverage. The other Kahuna 360 is the master program mixer, combining the clean feed output with playout and bilingual data superimpositions to deliver the program feed in both Chinese and English for the ATV Home Channel.


ABU Seeks New Head of SportTHE ASIA-PACIFIC BROADCASTING UNION (ABU) is on the hunt for a new Director for its Sports Department.

“Sport is dear to the hearts of most of our members,” says ABU Secretary-General Dr Javad Mottaghi. “The ABU plays a crucial role in representing the interests of our members and the new Director ABU Sports will need to bring important qualities to the job.”

The successful candidate will take over one of the ABU’s key departments, coordinating sports issues for the Union’s more than 230 members across the Asia-Pacifi c, especially arranging broadcasting rights and coverage of major regional and global events such as the Olympics, the Football World Cup and the Asian Games.

The new Director ABU Sports will be responsible for all of the ABU’s activities related to sports, including acquisition of media rights and sports coverage, working under the Secretary-General at the ABU

Secretariat in Kuala Lumpur. They will run the day-to-day activities of the department, manage its staff and assist the Secretary-General in developing the strategy of the Union in the world of sports.

Dr Mottaghi says he is looking for someone with a minimum 15 years experience in sports programming and sports coverage and at least fi ve years in sports management.

“They will also need experience in negotiating fi nancial deals and sporting rights, especially at the international level,” he says. “And, of course, they must have a thorough knowledge of, and a genuine interest in, a wide range of sports and major sporting events.”

There is more information on the job and how to apply on the ABU website. Applications close on 31 March 2013.


Host Broadcaster staff , along with a number of consultants, are working on production and technical details for the broadcast infrastructure and coverage, as well as spectrum planning for both traditional two-way radio communications and microwave for the specialty RF cameras to be deployed at various venues.

Meanwhile, another group is working on transport logistics, security and the like. There will be hundreds of millions of Pounds of broadcast gear deployed, and 1000+ broadcast professionals working from the IBC and venues during the Games, which will run from 23 July – 3 August, 2014. We need to protect not just property but people, and ensure they can do their jobs safely and without any issues.

As Host Broadcaster, over 11 days of competition, including the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, we’ll provide high defi nition coverage from 19 venues encompassing 26 diff erent sporting disciplines. In addition, 22 Para Sport medal events will take place – more than any Commonwealth Games to date.

The Host Broadcaster is also responsible for the IBC, which is the hub for all Games broadcasting activity, handling incoming television pictures and sound from the venues and distributing that footage to international television and radio rights holders’ home countries. The IBC will also manage outgoing worldwide transmissions from rights holding broadcasters working at the IBC and Games venues.

Liaison with rights holding broadcasters is a key focus in the coming months ahead of the fi rst world broadcasters’ meeting. We are identifying their needs with a view to locking down commitments by August. Many of the larger broadcasters are well advanced in planning and others are just beginning. Each will nominate how many square meters of IBC space is needed, how they would like to customise their space and what broadcast services are required to facilitate their coverage of the Games.

Discussions with rights holding broadcasters reinforce the overall project goals which the Organising Committee have set and which guide every aspect of the Host Broadcaster project.

Aside from the obvious KPIs to play a lead role in delivering a successful Commonwealth Games and to meet all key dates, milestones and deliverables on time and within budget, the Organising Committee have charged us to help deliver their mission, vision and values.

That includes increasing the participation of rights holder broadcasters to maximise the reach of the ‘People’s Games’ and to also showcase our collaborative business model as a template for future Games.

At the end of a busy fi rst day sleep is far from my mind, and we are all abuzz with the job ahead, so Andrew, Caroline Ramsay (head of broadcast venue management), Ian Hirst (head of production) and I head off to the nearby Molly Malone’s Bar to continue our discussions over a wee pint.

* Hogmanay is the Scots word for the last day of the year and is synonymous with the celebration of the New Year (Gregorian calendar) in the Scottish manner.

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Another stream of cold, gritty water fi nds its way to the gap between my trouser leg and ankle and trickles down into my boot.

IT’S JUST FULLY LIGHT, and I’m surveying what will be Glasgow’s fi rst international-standard mountain bike course alongside a dozen Glasgow 2014 venue representatives, contractors and overlay planners.

The fi rst events to be held on the new mountain bike course are planned for the middle of the year, and we quickly realise bikes would have served us a lot better than feet this morning on our soggy trek across Cathkin Braes.

We’re just 15 minutes south of the Athlete’s Village and I do my best to ignore the bog-like conditions underfoot and concentrate on the panoramic view back to the city.

We are well into the advanced planning and construction stages of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games Host Broadcaster contract and it’s already possible to picture how the precinct will look at Games time, which is now just 16 months away.

Among my goals this morning is to begin identifying landing areas for the helicopters ahead of a meeting with the Civil Aviation Authority next week. With the mountain bike course a short way out of town, the logic of placing a helipad here is obvious.

The helicopters will assist us in capturing footage from events such as the marathon and road-cycling, and essential for covering the outside venues and providing scenic shots of Glasgow itself, giving viewers additional perspective of the city and the energy and excitement of the events.

At Games time we will also have multi-functional aircraft that will be used as diversity receivers and repeater platforms for the motorbike-mounted cameras as well as aerial cameras to enhance the coverage.

Feeling human again after a change of footwear at our offi ce, I catch up with Chris Farmer, our Host Broadcaster audio/commentary system control (CSC) manager, who has arrived in Glasgow for discussions regarding telecommunications requirements for the Games.

The Glasgow Diaries: Chapter 2By David Bowers

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Commentary services is the only multilateral area in which a system is designed, installed and then handed over to individual rights holders at the venues, so they can get their own live reporting back to their home studios. Chris has worked on numerous Summer and Winter Olympic Games, World Cups, Asian Games and the 2006 Melbourne and 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games and knows exactly what the broadcasters will need.

The commentary switching centre at the IBC (the commentary master control for all venues) will have hundreds of digital broadcast circuits and each needs to be totally robust. Every venue will also have at least one English commentary position to enhance the Host Broadcaster’s coverage and ensure we capture everything.

Chris brings with him the latest news from Sydney, where the design and pre-build for the commentary control rooms (CCRs) and Broadcast Technical Operations Centre (BTOC) systems for each venue are progressing rapidly.

Chris and Mark Ahern, broadcast infrastructure/CDT (master control area) manager, another veteran of such major sports broadcasting events, have been working on the technical designs to ensure that the Host Broadcaster coverage in Glasgow is the best yet. Plans are being laid-out on the fl oor of Global Television’s temporary warehouse, on the southern fringe of Sydney’s CBD, which is now available following the commission of the company’s newest high defi nition outside broadcast ‘super truck’, HD9.

The intention is to keep all the CCRs and BTOC facilities operationally similar for ease of training, operation and equipment redundancy, as reliability is of course mission critical. Even though the competition schedule is only a bit over two weeks long the system has to look and feel like a permanent installation.

Although we are still evaluating some aspects of the technology we know we’ll be predominantly fi bre and IP-based with server technology for the video archive. We also have around 30 racks for broadcasting equipment to build for the IBC to cater for rights holders and general broadcast facilities.

A signifi cant portion of the technical IBC elements is specialised equipment which needs to be pre-built before being broken down and installed with the IBC. Among other advantages, this process avoids the need to store and construct delicate equipment on site: the systems can be transported to the venues pre-tested and ready to install.

As the Games telecommunications and satellite uplink providers will reside alongside us in the IBC, provisions are being made for them, too. And yes, we are well aware that satellite dishes have diff erent look angles in the Northern Hemisphere!

Also on the list for myself and Chris for the next 10 days is to submit frequency and spectrum plans for the radio mics, satellite links and two-way radio communications and establish suitable city-wide repeater sites to enable radio communication for the road cycling and marathon events.

With 501 Days 22 Hours, 13 Minutes & 51 Seconds to go (courtesy of the offi cial Glasgow 2014 website we are well on track.

David Bowers is head of engineering and technical operations for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games Host Broadcaster contract.


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I follow the muffled chiming of my mobile phone and find it beneath a pile of compound drawings – just as it goes to voice mail.

THe MISSed CAll IS fROM one of our Sydney-based broadcast engineers, checking in before Australia heads off for the ANZAC Day long weekend. The rest of the team is also preparing for yet another trip to Glasgow for the next stage of review with Ian Hirst and Caroline Ramsay, my colleagues looking after production and venue operations.

Even before the Sydney contingent arrives our steadily expanding Host Broadcaster team has outgrown the project office and we are in the midst of expanding to our adjoining premises at 227 Ingram Street.

Our task list is growing exponentially so we are keeping strictly to the timeline our project management software mandates.

What may look like chaos to the casual observer is well under control, really!

Phone exhumed, I return my attention to the latest release drawings, formally called R2, which are the third such release on the critical path:

R0 Base layouts and overall outdoor elements required for design.

R1 Indoor elements. Sport details. Positions for cameras and commentators. Mixed zones. Display boards. Utility locations and access.

R2 Detailed elements for broadcast components, roads and access. Major cable routes. Seating and stand locations. All press and broadcast position details.

R3 Refine elements and add broadcast lighting overlay.

R4 Final drawings release.

The hectic pace within our office mirrors that across Glasgow. Early last Sunday morning a telecommunications crew were laying fibre optic cable in front of my building.

The extent of activity is also apparent from the air, and on precious clear days I have been fortunate enough to fly over the city and vicinity to finalise the flight plans for the event weeks, which I have just submitted to the Organising Committee.

These need to be set far in advance given the extensive activity that will be taking place in the skies – both visible and invisible.

In addition to helicopters capturing aerial footage of the city and events such as the marathon, at Games time we will also have an aircraft that will act as a repeater platform for the motorbike-mounted cameras as well as a repeater back-up for the helicopters if they fly out of the ground-receive zone.

Accordingly, establishing the sites for cameras and clear radio frequency (RF) coverage for communications and video transmission is critical. With local RF experts I have spent the past two months surveying promising locations, though it’s been a little deceptive as many of Glasgow’s trees are only just getting their leaves. By summer they’ll provide market umbrella-like shading – something that will impact both aerial pictures and signal reception.

The extensive local understanding of RF-related topics has been invaluable: knowing the premium locations as well as areas to avoid due to mobile phone signal congestion, radar interference, and the spots where police high power data links operate.

From an initial list of preferred and backup sites, we finalised the RF surveys this week in conjunction with the venue technical managers and the Glasgow 2014 Organising Committee.

One of the most central RF coverage points will be the City of Glasgow College site that overlooks Glasgow Green with a spectacular view of the River Clyde and into the distance where much of the marathon course will run.

Meanwhile, many of the venues are rapidly taking shape and will soon be ready for us to begin readying them for broadcast activities.

Among them is The Hydro, Scotland’s largest purpose-built indoor arena, scheduled to officially open in early September. A striking, 12,000-seat circular auditorium on the river bank, it will be used for gymnastics during the Games.

Next door is the Scottish Exhibition and Convention Centre (SECC), which will serve as the hub of the International Broadcasting Centre. The Host Broadcaster project team has established a precinct in the exhibition car

The Glasgow Diaries: Chapter 3By David Bowers

Survey for microwave link from Glasgow University to the SECC (Main IBC). Kelvingrove lawn bowls green in the foreground, the Hydro (background left) and Clyde Auditorium

Home for weightlifting during the Games, Clyde Auditorium – also known as the Armadilo!

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Glasgow Games gymnastics venue, the Hydro.

BBC Lines Up live Streams from GlasgowBBC AudIenCeS THROuGHOuT Scotland and the UK will be kept in the picture with live streams from the Commonwealth Games venues.

Delivering the Royal Television Society’s Campbell Swinton Lecture in Glasgow recently, BBC Scotland Director Ken MacQuarrie said the broadcaster will be taking up the baton from the coverage of 2012’s Olympic Games in London.

He said, “In many ways, the Games came of age in a digital world, defined to large extent by the BBC’s approach to coverage. We will adopt a similar approach to the Commonwealth Games, during which 15 separate streams will be beamed from 17 locations around Scotland.

“In this endeavour, we will work closely with colleagues in Salford

and London and with BBC teams and other broadcasters across the

Commonwealth to ensure that the programming of, and around, the

Games will be second to none.”

He told the audience 2014 is a particularly important year for the

broadcaster. He said, “It is the year in which we will commemorate the

outbreak of the Great War, we will cover the Commonwealth Games in

Glasgow and, of course, we will report on every twist and turn of the

debate surrounding the [Scottish] Independence referendum.”

park that will eventually evolve into the broadcast hub for the event.

We are about to embark on the first round of site visits for outside broadcast (OB) supplier and specialty camera systems. Over a two-week period we will walk through each of the venues with our nominated suppliers to cover off all aspects of our needs. To name just a few: parking, power, camera locations, cable paths, security, access, and accreditation procedures.

The International Swimming Centre in Tollcross is one example of a specialised venue where the Host Broadcaster will subcontract overhead, poolside track-mounted, and underwater cameras to specialist providers.

Camera mounting and mechanical requirements however need to be scoped out well in advance, hence our site visit today.

The changes since my first visit five months ago are dramatic.

On the way home I drop by the excellent Maggie May for a wee pint and discuss the day’s activities with my colleagues. This all-in, big early effort is great to be part of – a career highlight for me, and still 14 months to go!

David Bowers is head of engineering and technical operations for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games Host Broadcaster contract.

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“ Just there. The new access way can join up to the right of that row of cars.”

HOST BROADCAST PROJECT DIRECTOR Andrew Quinn and I are standing outside the Scottish Exhibition and Convention Centre (SECC), our architect Cris Van Haren virtually beside us thanks to my iPad and Skype, as we progress plans for the International Broadcast Centre (IBC) design and build.

It’s a fi ne day and taking in the wider vista reinforces why the IBC will be located here.

Perched on the picturesque River Clyde, with large-scale exhibition halls, several adjacent hotels and next to the Clyde Auditorium and the new SSE Hydro, the precinct will host gymnastics, boxing, judo, netball, wrestling, weightlifting and powerlifting, as well as become home to the IBC and the Main Press Centre.

The SECC site also off ers more than enough room to construct the IBC’s administrative, technical and working areas – which will span 2,800 sqm or more – with the Main Press Centre just a short walk away and easily connected to the IBC via fi bre.

Although Cris and Andrew have combined

experience on fi ve Olympic and Commonwealth Games, this is the fi rst time any of us has situated an IBC in a completely temporary facility!

For maximum cost and space effi ciency, the IBC will be a combination of modular portable buildings – similar to what many Australian schools use for temporary classrooms – with a large tent serving as the main entrance foyer.

This is not your run-of-the-mill function marquee, of course: at 25 x 20 metres it will house security, reception and lounge areas; the broadcast rights holders’ services booking centre; entrances to operational and technical areas; and an 88-seat cafe.

Andrew and I disconnect Cris (in the nicest possible way!) and walk back to the point at which the reception tent will end and modular areas begin. The actual barrier will be a glass wall, off ering a view of the IBC control rooms, monitors and switching centre, and all the activity therein.

We are already working on plant including heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC)

systems, the latter being especially critical to the technical areas, which even in the unpredictable Scottish summer weather will need to be several degrees cooler than the rest of the complex.

Housing the data centre and equipment racks, these areas will also be subject to additional security: of up to 200 people rostered to work at the IBC at any one time, only around 30 will have access to the restricted technical areas.

We know to the metre how much room the broadcast rights holders appointed to date will need, so have allocated all their requested production areas and can anticipate shift numbers, allowing us to estimate how many people will be in the complex at any point in

The Glasgow Diaries: Chapter 4By David Bowers

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Page 9: The Glasgow Diaries

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time. This in turn means we can now fi nalise fi re, safety and evacuation plans, too.

We’ve also got a handle on the likely demand for terrestrial and satellite communications links. We’ve planned for all the outgoing circuits to accommodate simultaneous use by every rights holder – i.e., if they all decided to do live reports back to their home studios at once we could cope.

Just to the right of the IBC entrance will be the satellite ‘farm’, where dozens of uplink dishes will play their part in the transition path.

While we can distribute signals to satellite directly from Glasgow, we can also redistribute them out of London via the BT Tower. This gives us both extra capacity and redundancy in case we need it.

Meanwhile the vast amount of material that will come from the venues and events into the IBC will be logged and stored on hard disc drive for

easy retrieval.

For example, if Australia scores a goal in the hockey, that footage will come in to the IBC in real time, be tagged, time-stamped and archived, and within 10 seconds of the actual event any rights holder – whether in Glasgow or their home countries/offi ces – can retrieve it for use in their own reports.

We are working with a third-party software provider to build the system and databases, using a combination of existing technologies. It will mean, for instance, that a producer working at Australian rights holder Network Ten’s Sydney station will be able to browse low-res images via a secure VPN, select what they want and make a call to have the broadcast quality footage transmitted. Because they can look for content that is relevant to them on the day, this will not only save a lot of time, but mean rights holders won’t need to send as many people to Glasgow to deliver their Games coverage.

Our testing so far has been very positive, and we plan to reveal the system design at the next broadcasters’ meeting in mid-July, at which time the rights holders will be able to sign off on their individual broadcaster plans, needs, budgets and fi ner details.

It’s the next major milestone on our critical path to Glasgow 2014, and auspiciously timed nearly a year to the day from the Opening Ceremony.

David Bowers is head of engineering and technical operations for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games Host Broadcaster contract.

ROBOTIC CAMERAS and control systems from Camera Corps were chosen as key elements in coverage of the 2013 Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships. Q-Ball remotely controlled pan/tilt/zoom/focus cameras, MiniShot remote pan/tilt heads with Hitachi DKH-100 cameras, long-range optical and electro-optical video/audio links, joystick control panels and RCP remote camera control panels were installed for the duration of the event.

“Our involvement with the Lawn Tennis Championships has increased steadily year on year since we fi rst provided MiniShot robotic pan/tilt heads and cameras in comcam roles in 2003,” comments Equipment Manager, Neil Ashworth. “The cameras and supporting equipment have become much more compact over the past decade. Q-Ball heads will be used this year to televise the commentators. MiniShots will be installed in the players’ lounge to cover the action between games.

“Venue-wide images will be sourced from HotShot heads mounted on and above the canopy. The entire production is in digital high-defi nition so we have installed a combination of single-mode optical and Simply SMPTE dual-mode electro-optical long-range links between the cameras and the control

areas. Nick Bonner and Ben Elms from our Brooklands headquarters were at Wimbledon for initial rigging, Nick remaining there for the duration.”

The Wimbledon tennis tournament is the world’s oldest of its kind. Held at the All England Club in southwest London since 1877, it is one of the four Grand Slam tennis tournaments and the only event of its type still played on grass. The tournament takes place over two weeks in late June and early July, culminating with singles fi nals. Each year, fi ve major events are contested, as well as four junior events and four invitational events.


Camera Corps Robotic Cameras at Wimbledon

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It’s the quietest day in our project offi ce for more than a month, quiet being a relative term of course.

WE’VE JUST COMPLETED a milestone on our critical path following the second meeting of rights-holder broadcasters (RHBs) – a follow up to their initial visit last November.

The extent to which plans have evolved since that fi rst meeting is gratifying to us on the Host Broadcaster team and, fortunately, our world broadcaster clients seem to agree, as all appointed so far have signed off on their individual arrangements. They include the ABU, BBC TV and Radio, Australia’s Network TEN (with Australian sub-licensees ABC Radio), Sky Network Television New Zealand, Supersport, and Taj TV.

A full-on week started with a half-day presentation by the Organising Committee to outline the sporting schedule and timeslots and how the events would fl ow, as well as transport and accommodation; how people will move between venues; the processes for secured items to enter venues; and, naturally, catering: any army marches on its stomach!

In the afternoon it was the Host Broadcaster’s opportunity to detail the facilities we’ll be providing and to review the services rate card: essential for RHBs’ budgeting and important to prevent any surprises down the track.

SVGTV director Keith Andrews opened with an overview of what the Host Broadcaster will provide and handed over to project director Andrew Quinn, who took the RHBs through the detail. With TV and radio representatives attending we covered a lot of ground as, successively, production, broadcast venue managers, engineers, and telecommunications experts presented their respective components.

I was particularly glad to welcome back my Sydney-based colleagues from Global Television: Terry Manley, Christopher Farmer, and Mark Ahern from engineering; broadcast venue manager Caroline Ramsay; and head of production Ian Hirst. Despite daily Skype and phone calls, and

literally tens of thousands of emails since their previous visit in February, nothing compares to working side by side, especially in a period of such concentrated activity.

The following two days in Glasgow were devoted to workshops with each broadcaster group and the Organising Committee, and walking the RHBs through their individual scenarios.

Representatives from Australian RHB Network TEN travelled from Sochi to attend our world broadcasters’ meeting and lap up some of the magical Glasgow weather. Perfect northern summer days were a great backdrop to showcase potential sites for live crosses and athlete interviews, including the magnifi cent Loch Lomond, which, while not actually a Games venue, could feature in after-Games events. We are working closely with TEN to ensure we meet their needs and deliver them a fi rst-class result, and they indicated they were impressed with the level of preparedness 12 months out.

Understandably, the BBC has the most signifi cant space and facilities requirements, and with a bureau right across the River Clyde from the International Broadcast Centre (IBC) we are fi nalising the best way to interconnect them, as they will have many more people at their own premises than at the IBC or venues. The BBC’s extensive plans for multi-platform coverage are exciting and we’re well advanced on a framework that will give them the fl exibility they need.

One of the elements we were keen to demonstrate at the broadcasters’ meeting was the outdoor ‘stand-up’ position in the Scottish Exhibition and Convention Centre (SECC) precinct adjacent to the IBC. The triangular forecourt buttressed by the SSE Hydro, Clyde Auditorium, and Crowne Plaza Hotel provides a 270-degree panorama of the city and main Games precinct. It will be a spectacular backdrop for RHBs to bring Glasgow colour and movement to their audiences at home.

The SSE Hydro is nearly fi nished and will open at the end of September with concerts booked for the fi rst week of October. It will be a spectacular venue for the Games and set to become a new city icon.

We were also excited to explain our plans to base three remote-controlled cameras at the press centre to capture multiple daily media conferences. Rather than build a stand-alone control room at the MPC, these cameras will be connected to the IBC by approximately 800 metres of fi bre (just a little too far for conventional cable).

Following our workshops the RHBs had an option to tour the venues. While most had a walkthrough in November at the fi rst world broadcasters’ meet-

ing, the venues are so much further along now it’s increasingly possible to visualise what they will be like when full of athletes and spectators.

Having sat in on the review meetings with RHBs to capture the fi ner detail and include any late changes to the build plans, the Global Television engineering team headed home.

They are now completing the bill of materials and starting construction on the ‘fl y away’ portion of the broadcast telecommunications operation centres (BTOC) and commentary control rooms (CCRs) for the IBC and venues.

As each venue requires one of these systems, there are approximately 30 CCR and BTOC systems to build. Although there are ‘only’ 17 sporting events some will have up to fi ve fi elds of play (e.g. Athletics), each of which will require its own coverage.

The CCR systems will be 10 rack-units in height in standard fl ight-case size packaging, while the BTOCs will be full-height equipment racks. Interconnecting the BTOCs and CCRs will be single mode fi bre to keep weight down and because it off ers bandwidth fl exibility to scale each system as needed.

The build will take place between September and December in Sydney with guidance from Global’s engineering manager, Jim Tinker, who is taking the experience Global gained on the Delhi Games and expanding it for Glasgow. The systems will be progressively shipped to Glasgow for installation in the new year. Daily progress calls will keep our respective teams in sync.

As I mentioned at the start, quiet is a relative term. Though our project offi ce is hosting fewer visiting clients and team members, the pace of activity is – if anything – even faster as we now have a clear mandate from RHBs.

The energy outside our offi ce is building, too: Glasgow’s streets are alive with entertainment, open-air markets and live concerts – a carnival atmosphere made even better by the extraordinary summer heat wave we’re enjoying.

It’s offi cially one year to go, and these festivals are in some ways a ‘practice run’ for the main event next year.

David Bowers is head of engineering and technical operations for SVGTV, which holds the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games Host Broadcast contract.

The Glasgow Diaries: Chapter 5By David Bowers

Page 11: The Glasgow Diaries







AS pArt of the Host Broadcaster Training Initiative (HBTI), with the Organising Committee and leading Scottish universities and colleges, we are creating real-life work experience opportunities for up to 200 media students. A young person entering the broadcasting industry simply couldn’t have a better start than time at the coal-face of such a major event.

Already the sense of anticipation from students is clear, and they have not been shy in sharing their views on what they’d like to see from the Games coverage and how they can contribute – even though roles haven’t even been advertised yet.

It has been an eye-opener to see the diverse means by which these digital natives prefer to get their news and information, and what they expect from content providers.

Their enthusiastic input has been refreshing to those of us who’ve been round the traps before as we look to make the most of every channel.

We’re aiming to match young people with jobs that suit their aspirations and skill sets. And towards that goal, industry partnership organisation Creative Loop is connecting us with key educational institutions to identify students with the potential and passion to make the most of these opportunities.

Placements will span the gamut of Host Broadcaster activity – from production to technical/engineering – and be situated across a range of Games venues including the International Broadcast Centre (IBC) and Main Press Centre (MPC).

While the roles will be junior they will be closely supervised by senior Host Broadcaster team mem-bers, giving students fantastic experience of how a major live television event is put together.

It will be a real-world introduction to the TV business and will help trainees make their way into the industry once they complete their studies.

Logging is one area where students will gain experience. It’s used widely throughout the TV industry and is a backbone operational skill that trainees may yet be aware of. The ability to quickly and accurately grab and tag material, add key words, and archive footage to make it readily available to production teams, is highly sought after. Experience in this area could open the door to skilled, well-paid jobs once students enter the workforce.

Meanwhile trainees who show interest and ability in EVS replay will see material they handle transmitted internationally as part of the Host Broadcaster feed.

There will also be openings for vision mixers, camera and sound assistants, and junior director and producer assistants.

The MPC will offer particularly cutting-edge experience as we’re basing three remote-controlled cameras there to capture multiple daily media conferences.

A senior producer/trainer and students based at the MPC will direct these press briefings from an island.

And rather than build a stand-alone control room at the MPC, these cameras will be connected by fibre to the IBC, where they’ll be manned and remotely switched by a senior camera operator assisted by three students.

I’ll be speaking to students about sports broadcasting over the coming weeks. And in the interest of sharing the love, I volunteer Chris Farmer, our Host Broadcaster audio/commentary system control manager, to give a similar talk in the new year.

Our goal as Host Broadcaster is to make the best possible pictures and sound we can, so our Rights Holder Broadcasters (RHBs) around the world can knit them into their own coverage for their home

audiences. To that end, giving our RHBs maximum flexibility is key, and witnessing our young colleagues’ media habits has reinforced how important it is to accommodate multi-platform viewing. This is why our advanced content archives at the IBC will be mirrored in high and low resolution, allowing RHBs to remotely access and prepare content for play-out in either format.

I’m looking forward to working with the students who take part in our program. Having digital natives alongside us reinforces how consumers – particularly younger people – actually use new communications channels and what they expect from them, and will help us bring the Games to the broadest possible audience.

David Bowers is head of engineering and technical operations for SVGTV, which holds the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games Host Broadcast contract.

Life is meant to be a continual learning experience, and sometimes sharing knowledge enhances your own in unexpected ways. This

happy truth has come back to me several times in recent weeks as we develop the Host Broadcaster legacy program.

the Glasgow diaries: Chapter 6By David Bowers

uk regulator Prepares for Glasgow Spectrum demand

uk reGuLAtor ofcoM hAS puBLiShed its final plans for ensuring that the spectrum demands for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games are met. Nearly 3000 accredited media will descend on Glasgow between 23 July – 3 August 2014 for the Games, bringing with them an unprecedented need for spectrum.

Demand will be fuelled by the increasing use of

wireless technologies by broadcasters.

To meet the extra demand during Games time, Ofcom has developed a plan to secure additional capacity. This will be achieved in three main ways:

+ By borrowing spectrum on a short-term basis from public sector bodies, such as the

Ministry of Defence;

+ Ensuring that civil spectrum is used efficiently by making unused frequencies available.

+ Using spectrum that is available without the need for a licence.


The Merchant City precinct of Glasgow, which will host outdoor concerts during the Games.

Page 12: The Glasgow Diaries







ON THE DRIVE TO OUR PROJECT OFFICE I’m struck by the stark outline of bare tree trunks lining Glasgow Green, where the Marathon and Cycling races will take place.

How little people realise those trees will soon erupt magnificent green canopies, making for fabulous television pictures along with radio frequency challenges!

Accordingly, high on my new year to-do list will be accompanying the team surveying the Marathon, Triathlon, Road Race and Mountain Bike courses to go over our RF coverage plans – nothing can be left to chance.

I’m back in Glasgow after a two-week break in Prague and, before that, a month in Sydney overseeing the final off-site build that my Global Television engineering colleagues have been progressing over the past nine months.

Project director Andrew Quinn and I have been a relay team, he minding the fort over Christmas and me taking over from today.

It’s a good time to do so as our 12-strong group of Aussie-based design engineers, wire benders and logistical support staff has now broken for the traditional Aussie summer holidays.

They’ve been working continuously on the design and pre-build of the ‘fly away’ portion of the broadcast telecommunications operation centres (BTOC) and commentary control rooms (CCRs) for the International Broadcast Centre (IBC) and competition venues.

Each of the 22 venues requires at least one (and some up to five) of these systems, so there are 28 in all to build, encompassing some 135 equipment racks.

Our system is completely HD digital video and AES-standard audio, from content acquisition to transmission. This will ensure faultless pictures and sound for our rights-holder broadcasters (RHBs) while also providing maximum flexibility for them to repurpose content for their individual needs.

Following lengthy scoping, planning and design, installation in Global’s warehouse on the southern fringe of Sydney’s CBD began last August. It has been something of a logistical challenge as the equipment is spread across 150 racks ranging from 10 to 45 rack units in height.

When the team returns from leave they will do the final wiring, testing and adjustments before breaking down the kit and documenting it for export.

The packing process will take around a month and the equipment will then be loaded into three, forty-foot containers for the sea journey from Sydney to Glasgow in February.

Once re-assembled, these units will form the backbone of the broadcast network that will deliver the XX Commonwealth Games.

To interconnect the equipment upon arrival, we have so far installed 180 km of cable and terminated 18,000 connectors in the venues and IBC – and those figures are increasing daily. In addition, we are holding at least 23 kilometres of stock in reserve to complete the inter-connect to the RHBs.

Not surprisingly, our Host Broadcaster project office is also expanding (again!) as we welcome our newest colleagues and enter the 22-week Operational phase on our critical path.

Our team will further treble in size by June when we become fully functional at the purpose-built IBC at the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre, four weeks before the Opening Ceremony.

It is now just shy of a year since I took up my role in Glasgow. The break – my first since starting – has been a chance to not only recharge after a non-stop 11 months but also reflect on how much the Host Broadcaster team achieved last year.

We are right where we should be on the critical path, even given inevitable surprises along the way – a credit to the diverse group of professionals working on the Games’ biggest contract, and one of Scotland’s largest-ever projects.

Everywhere you go in Glasgow, a sense of expectation and excitement is building. Not even the short winter days can dampen it.

I turn the key to the door of my flat, drop my bags and boot up my computer in anticipation of a full day ahead.

David Bowers is head of engineering and technical operations for SVGTV, which holds the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games Host Broadcast contract.

Returning to Glasgow for my final winter before the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Stepping out of the airport terminal to hail a cab, the sky is grey and wet but so predictable for this time of year that I both love and take it as a promise of brilliant Scottish summer weather come Games time in July.

The Glasgow Diaries: Chapter 7By David Bowers

Page 13: The Glasgow Diaries







THESE PADS WILL FORM the foundations of the IBC, which will offer just under 3000 sqm of space for rights holder broadcasters (RHBs) and the Host Broadcaster technical team.

In addition to providing working space for more than 500 broadcast professionals from all over the world, who will report on the Games and bring stories back to their home countries, as many as 200 members of the Host Broadcast team will also be rostered to work at the IBC at any one time during the Games period.

Today’s excitement centres around the 100-tonne crane which arrived on-site yesterday, and 62 modular cabins starting to roll in on 40-foot semi-trailers. Watching the activity I can’t help but think of an old John Wayne movie where they circle the wagons to fend off the enemy, though in our case of course the invading armies will be friendly.

The modular IBC concept was part of the SVGTV original bid and it has proven very successful in design and implementation. I can see the concept being used for future large scale events.

The scalability of the IBC building has also allowed the engineering team to accommodate late requests and fine tune any cable management, power and mechanical services, which in turn allow us to cater for all the RHBs’ needs.

The former car park is morphing into a mini-city in its own right and completely independent of the surrounding sporting venues that have emerged over the past two years.

This means Games spectators, officials, athletes and broadcast professionals alike can go about their activities securely and with minimal disruption to traffic flows.

We are all set for communications fibre, utilities and our 11KV power feeders to be laid, having last month completed ground radar surveys to map out and verify ground loads and to scope out trenches for service conduits.

The 2-megawatt power transformer is due today, and so the Host Broadcast team look something

like a Village People cover band, dressed in our five-point safety kit: hard hats, gloves, safety glasses, high-vis vests and steel-cap boots!

Next to install are the heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems, the chillers being especially critical for our technical areas, and the electrical overlay followed by lighting and fire alarm systems. Then our fibre roll-out and we are good to go.

IBC manager Joost Davidson has been overseeing the works and design for the past six months and within three weeks this independent facility will be up and running, ready to greet the sea-containers of equipment designed and pre-built at Global Television in Sydney.

Once installed here, the IBC with its studios, control rooms, monitors, switching centre and ancillary facilities will spring to life.

Just to the right of the IBC entrance space has been cleared for the satellite ‘farm’, where dozens of uplink dishes will form part of the transition path. While we can distribute signals to satellite directly from Glasgow, we can also redistribute them out of London, providing both extra capacity and redundancy in the event it’s needed.

Next door are the Clyde Auditorium and new SSE Hydro, which between them will host Gymnastics, Boxing, Judo, Netball, Wrestling, Weightlifting and Powerlifting and rounding out a very busy precinct.

The design team arrived from Sydney on March 17th for final review. We are at the Revision 4, or final drawings release stage, which means we have met the last design milestone on our critical path.

Concurrent with the build phase we’ll go into testing and finally the operational phase.

21 weeks to go!

David Bowers is head of engineering and technical operations for SVGTV, which holds the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games Host Broadcast contract.

March, 2014: Well, I blinked and another month has slipped past.

Our Host Broadcaster team’s current focus is the International Broadcasting Centre (IBC) build, with construction well underway.

From the edge of the Scottish Exhibition and Convention Centre (SECC) car park I can see how quickly 248 mounting pads are being installed across a huge section of it; just as quickly that portion will revert to its permanent state once the Games conclude.

The Glasgow Diaries: Chapter 8By David Bowers

The mounting pads that will form the foundations of the Glasgow International Broadcasting Centre.

Setting down, powering up!

Glasgow IBC manager Joost Davidson.

Page 14: The Glasgow Diaries







WE HAVE JUST PASSED THE 100-DAYS-to-Opening Ceremony milestone and accordingly are at ‘R4’, the fourth and final release of drawinvgs and associated documentation.

Two years worth of drafting and planning encompassing venue overlay drawings, timelines, sport schedules, access routes, cable containment paths and compound layouts for cabins and Outside Broadcast vans – and that’s just for starters – are about to be made available to the engineering managers and supervisors of our venues, venue technical managers (VTMs)

broadcast telecommunication operation centres (BTOCs) and commentary control rooms (CCRs), as they will be responsible for the broadcast delivery in their respective areas during the Games.

At the same time we will let these managers and supervisors know about the procedures and electronic documentation that will allow them to access our online information portal.

R4 release also takes us officially into the build stage of our 121-week project schedule.

Just arrived (blessedly on time!) and in place at

A glorious Glaswegian spring has sprung – at last! On my stroll to our project office this morning it seems even the weather has been swept up in pre-Games spirit,

with both city and skies turning on their best.

The Glasgow Diaries: Chapter 9By David Bowers

the International Broadcasting Centre (IBC) are our three massive sea-container shipments from Sydney containing the ‘fly away’ portion of the IBC and venue BTOCs and CCRs.

We’ve been able to track their eight-week sea voyage through the marvellous vesselfinder website.

In all there are some 150 racks of equipment covering the IBC, venue telecommunications cabins and commentary control areas.

SVGTV’s IBC engineering project manager, Jim Tinker, and IBC engineering manager, Terry Manley, have been overseeing the IBC, BTOC and CCR design and construction for the last 18 months, taking learnings from the Melbourne 2006 and Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games and building on that experience for Glasgow.

Jim and Terry, along with the rest of the Australia-based engineering team, are due here at the end of April to breathe life into the cables and equipment, supervising their installation and commissioning.

As the IBC-housed systems are progressively put in place we are beginning phased in situ testing of the equipment that will be the backbone of the IBC studios, control rooms, monitors, switching centre and ancillary facilities.

Our fibre contractor meanwhile has just completed the first round of cable lead-in work and this week we conducted our first successful test connection to the outside world.

We’re using single mode fibre for BTOC and CCR inter-connections to both keep weight down and also provide bandwidth flexibility to scale individual systems as required.

Fox Sports Introduces Antelope Pico for A-League FinalA-LEAGUE FANS were able to see last Sunday’s grand final like never before with the Fox Sports innovations team introducing a special mini “ultra motion” camera to the coverage.

The innovations team responsible for bringing FoxKopter, Zings stumps, and ref and corner post cam to the Australian sports broadcast landscape, teamed with Gearhouse Australia

to import a specialty mini-ultra motion camera called an Antelope Pico. The camera has been used for a UEFA Champions League match between Manchester City and Bayern Munich and in Bundesliga action in Germany.

While Fox Sports producers have access to ultra slow motion cameras they are usually much larger. The small size of the Pico, which was

Page 15: The Glasgow Diaries







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We have standardised our optical fibre termination to LC-style connectors for uniformity and to allow diverse patching if we have any issues.

Having our own fibre infrastructure at the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre, which traverses five venues, also gives us maximum flexibility to accommodate multiple simultaneous events and venue changes.

Overnight venue transitions – such as those taking place between Boxing and Netball in the SSE Hydro - would not be possible without our ability to re-route our own fibre circuits, including dedicated circuits for rights holder broadcasters (RHBs), within the required timeframe.

Communications and data handling flexibility will also allow our RHBs to cover the Games in the way that best suits their objectives.

Australia’s Ten Network for instance has announced 24-hour-a-day coverage across their two broadcast channels, TEN and ONE, all up more than 260 hours of television.

They will also offer eight dedicated digital channels on their TENplay website, so Aussie viewers can watch their favourite events and athletes anywhere, at any time.

Broadcast lighting is a key element of exceptional television pictures and venue lighting consultant David Lewis has just arrived to commission the broadcast lighting overlay for Hampden Park, the Athletics venue.

Among his other priorities is the Tollcross International Swimming Centre, which highlights some of the lighting design considerations that need to be accommodated.

The facility has been refurbished and expanded with temporary seating for the Games. This means the type, location and layout of the lighting had to be enhanced, too.

The existing lighting angles produced reflections from the central row and the far side of the additional seating opposite the main cameras, which can bounce directly into lenses and cause flaring, similar to a star filter, as this diagram illustrates:

A further consideration is the low roofline, which makes positioning lighting grids a challenge.

The designs accordingly take into account ceiling height and pitch as well as water reflection from the main and warm-up pools: a veritable orchestra of light positions and angles that will result in clean, clear pictures from anywhere in camera range.

Although it’s full-on for our ever-expanding project team the Easter long weekend provides a little time to plan a welcome day for the Aussie engineers’ arrival next month.

Not only will it be a good Sunday excursion for our ever-expanding project team but it will also give them a taste of the extent to which Glasgow is preparing to welcome the world in July.

Our plan is to take a cruise from Spiers Wharf up the Forth and Clyde Canal to the historic Stables Pub at Glasgow Bridge, Kirkintilloch.

Built in 1812 to serve the boat crews using the Forth and Clyde Canal, this little piece of Glaswegian heritage is as welcoming today as it would have been 200 years ago, with visitors and locals soon to converge on Glasgow for the XX Commonwealth Games.

David Bowers is head of engineering and technical operations for SVGTV, which holds the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games Host Broadcast contract.

mounted on a pole cam behind the goal, allows vision of angles never before seen in Australian football coverage. Some of the footage can be seen in the video above.

Todd Procter, Head of Innovations and Outside Broadcast Special Events, said the team ran this camera around 350 frames per second (14x faster than a normal broadcast camera), capturing all the goal mouth action and replaying key moments.

“I can’t wait … this will produce some really magnificent moments in broadcast television,” Procter said before the game.


Page 16: The Glasgow Diaries







I SPOT MY COLLEAGUE Peter Mills’ bike on the end, chain mine to his and head through security to our project office.

At nearly 3,000 sqm the cavernous IBC space echoes – particularly at this early hour of the day – though it will soon hum 24/7 with more than 1,000 broadcasting professionals working from it over the two-week Games period. The IBC’s soft opening was last week, and from July 9th we move to 24-hour operation.

The IBC will be the hub for all Commonwealth Games broadcasting activity, handing incoming high definition television pictures and sound from 19 different venues and distributing that footage to international TV and radio rights holders’ home countries. The IBC also manages outgoing worldwide transmissions from rights holder broadcasters (RHBs) working at the IBC and Games venues.

Walking along the main IBC corridor I say g’day to representatives of several RHBs whom I’ve gotten to know well over the past several months as we’ve worked to accommodate their needs.

While the journalists and newsgathering crews who will cover the Games won’t arrive until a few days before the Opening Ceremony, their advance team members are already on site as we progressively hand over commentary systems, and work and studio areas, so broadcasters can deliver their own reports to their home countries.

In addition to the 37 Host Broadcaster-delivered feeds from various events and venues, individual RHBs have specific circuit requirements. So first on my schedule this morning is Global

Television’s Jim Tinker, who is managing systems integration for rights holders, to check Australian RHB Network Ten’s rate card circuit bookings and testing schedule. To enhance Ten’s entitlements as an RHB they have separately contracted Global Television to provide an IBC within the IBC, 11 unilateral camera feeds, and a portable studio.

As was the case in Sochi, Ten’s production is effectively being split in two to give them the most flexible, cost effective result. Image gathering, hosting and comment captured in Glasgow will be sent directly to Ten’s studio in Melbourne, where they will add graphics, overlay, replays and finishing. As a result, Ten will have complete control over what their viewers see without the need to have a full production crew in Glasgow.

To transmit content for the 260+ hours of broadcast coverage Ten has announced across their two broadcast channels, TEN and ONE, and eight dedicated digital channels on their website and app, we have four return video feeds from Melbourne to Glasgow; 20 transmission paths from Glasgow to Melbourne; and four receive paths from Melbourne to Glasgow. 12 of the 20 transmission paths will service the eight channels on All material capture will be high definition.

Ten’s technical director (sport) Phil Seale and I also inspect the broadcaster’s studio, which will be located in the front arrivals area of the Scottish Exhibition Conference Centre – home to five sporting venues, the Main Press Centre (MPC) and the IBC.

Three weeks to the Opening Ceremony.

I cycle up to the International Broadcasting Centre (IBC) at 7.30am to find the recently-

installed bike rack outside already full. At 64 our Host Broadcaster team is three times the size it was in January and clearly taking the ‘Green Games’ spirit to heart.

The Glasgow Diaries: Chapter 10By David Bowers

Content will be sent via fibre to the IBC-based production crew who will be directly connect back to Australia via a combination of fibre/satellite and dedicated internet services: a very efficient use of time and resources.

Many other RHBs have extensive coverage plans, with online channels a focus. The BBC (understandably as the home-country broadcaster) has the most extensive space and facilities requirements, including the need for fibre connection to their bureau directly across the River Clyde. BBC Sport has announced more than 1,300 hours of live action via as many as 17 digital video streams available from any device. It will be the BBC’s most comprehensive Commonwealth Games coverage to date.

To enable smooth transmission of images and data, our venue cable crews are now installing fibre cable and racked equipment for the broadcast compound technical operation centres (BTOCs) and commentary control rooms (CCRs) inside the venues, ready to test the telco circuits back to the IBC – all in preparation for the incoming broadcast operational crews, rights holders and outside broadcast providers.

I walk over to the MPC, just across the Scottish Exhibition Conference Centre plaza, to meet Martin Anderson, head of the Host Broadcaster Training Initiative (HBTI), who is walking a small group of trainees through the MPC set-up.

They are a few of the 250 students from Scottish universities and colleges undertaking real-life work experience in positions across the Host

Continued Page 26

Page 17: The Glasgow Diaries







Comm Games Comms from Riedel

RIEDEL COMMUNICATIONS, the provider of real-time video, audio, data, and communications networks, has supplied all radio communications equipment and services for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.

“The ability to communicate effectively at Games venues and throughout Glasgow and other parts of Scotland is an essential element to delivering a successful Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games,” said Brian Nourse, chief information officer, Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. “We have benefited from Riedel’s extensive experience of being involved in many previous major sporting events to ensure a robust communications solution is delivered for our event,”

Riedel Communications has designed a radio communications solution for use across Glasgow and at the 14 venues hosting 17 different sporting competitions. The company is providing all radio handsets and radio communication accessories — including more than 6000 radios — used in the lead-up to and during the Games, along with a terrestrial trunked radio (TETRA) digital network and a Motorola MOTOTRBO digital radio repeater system. Both the TETRA and MOTOTRBO systems

are dedicated, fully monitored, and serviced solutions.

TETRA combines the advantages of analog trunked radio with those of digital mobile radio to provide optimal frequency usage, high transmission quality for speech and data, maximum security against eavesdropping, as well as flexible networking and connection management. Beyond that, the digital trunked radio system supports full duplex communication, GPS-positioning, and connection to the public telephone network. The system offers the option of operating different virtual channels, and it can leverage IP connectivity to support wide-area operation.

With this communications infrastructure, Riedel will ensure outdoor street-level coverage at all official venues, throughout the city of Glasgow, and along the official cycling road race and marathon routes, as well as indoor coverage at Glasgow 2014 competition venues. Riedel

is also supplying the radio communications solution for the Scottish leg of the Queen’s Baton Relay, ensuring radio communications run smoothly as the baton makes its way through Scotland to Glasgow for the Games.

“We are delighted to be the Official Radio Communications Partner of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games,” said Christian Bockskopf, head of marketing for Riedel Communications. “We’ve worked closely with the organisers to develop a radio communications solution that satisfies both the technical and operational requirements of all the key players during this world-class event.”


Broadcaster’s areas of responsibility. Under Martin’s direction we’ve tried hard to match young people with jobs that reflect their interests, skill sets and ambitions in diverse roles across technical, engineering and production at the venues, IBC and MPC.

Closely supervised by senior Host Broadcaster managers, the students will gain the experience that only a live television environment can provide and which should give them a significant head start as they embark on careers in our industry.

Those stationed at the MPC for example will have the opportunity to assist in live coverage of press conferences and interviews, be it camera/audio assist or back-of-house in the production control area.

In early afternoon I return to the IBC for an occupational health and safety briefing. Given there will be some 1,400 crew working across the Host Broadcaster areas of responsibility there is a lot to cover.

To deliver approximately 1,200 hours of live content, and more than 1,650 hours of video archive material, over 11 days of competition (originating from 19 venues and encompassing 26 televised fields of play) as well as the Opening and Closing Ceremonies we are deploying: 24 production control units; 16 outside broadcast vans; eight flyaway kits; 251 cameras; 26 super slow motion camera units; two ultra slow motion camera units; specialty POV cameras on athletics, swimming and

diving; two helicopter-, two motorbike- and two lead vehicle-mounted cameras for outside race coverage; four beauty cameras located around Glasgow city; more than 70 EVS replay machines; 19 logging stations; virtual graphics on swimming, athletics and lawn bowls; 64 commentators.

Coverage will also span the primary Games Channel and a six-channel, multi-channel service. The former is a single, fully-produced channel delivering the best of the day’s sport including highlights and pre-produced packages highlighting athlete interviews and city cultural events. The multis are six channels of long form sport channels including RHB-requested overnight replays of sport which might not have been able to be scheduled during the day. This service has been booked by pay-for-view broadcasters and internet channel delivery.

My final (scheduled!) meeting of the day is with project director Andrew Quinn and our Incident Management Team to review our Business Continuity Management Plan – the protocols by which we will handle any incident that has the potential to disrupt Host Broadcaster services.

While we don’t anticipate anything untoward happening we have detailed procedures for every area of our activities that consider every conceivable scenario, whether natural or man-made: weather emergencies, accidents, fire, equipment failure, and – an unfortunate necessity in this day and age – an act of terrorism.

We run through high-level and detailed plans and communications channels with the heads of:

production services (Ian Hirst); broadcast venue operations (Caroline Ramsay); the IBC (Joost Davidson); satellite link bookings for our RHBs (Joanne Brentnall); support services and logistics UK (Lesley McCrae); broadcast information (Patricia Gregory); engineering and technical operations (yours truly); and our business analyst (Louise Innes).

The aim is to maintain uninterrupted services, protect property and, especially, people, and provide clear and timely information to the Organising Committee should an incident occur.

With collective experience from three consecutive Commonwealth Games and other major interna-tional events to draw on, our Host Broadcaster team is prepared as is humanly possible.

Though now after 9pm it is still fully light – the near-endless summer days a reward for the long winter nights preceding. Having left my bike at work I stroll through the buzzing Merchant Square precinct, venue for numerous outdoor concerts and other events during the Games. Crowds mill outside bars and pubs, the din of laughter and ice-cubes rattling in glasses fills the warm evening air.

I duck into O’Neill’s for a quick pint with the Host Broadcast engineering team before heading home for a few hours’ sleep – soon to become a luxury, and my adrenaline reserves are already kicking in.

Let the Games begin!

David Bowers is head of engineering and technical operations for SVGTV, which holds the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games Host Broadcast contract.

Continued from Page 26

Page 18: The Glasgow Diaries

The playing field for broadcasters, technology providers and sporting bodies just got a whole lot bigger.

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