Outside Broadcasts (OBs) are used for events such as concerts, sports, news and other events that do not take place in a permanent studio and therefore require a mobile broadcast TV studio or control room. Modern outside broadcast productions use specially designed vehicles called OB vans to control and transmit all audio and video signals from an outside event to the audience. In this context, “outside” does not necessarily mean that the events are being held outdoors, and can instead be defined as a TV production outside of the traditional studio environment.
Over the last few decades, the requirements for OB productions have changed dramatically. This, in turn, has had a direct influence on the OB vans, which function as mini studios on wheels. OB vans are equipped with a full range of TV production hardware and can accommodate an entire team of personnel. As OB vans are usually used for live TV productions, it is essential that sound, visuals, special effects, graphics and commentary can be recorded, processed and distributed accordingly.
These days, outside broadcast productions are based on IP technology and therefore require fiber optic cabling rather than coaxial cables. A structured solution for outside broadcasting is therefore key to successfully implementing a future-proof fiber optic solution. Since the available space in these outside broadcast vehicles is very limited, a high-density solution is preferable, such as IANOS® high-density modular cabling solutions.
OB vans now tend to be parked further away from venues, which means the distance over which signals are transmitted is getting longer. While traditional copper cables reach their limits at around 100 metres, fiber optic cables can carry the signals much further.
Fiber optic cables also use less space than copper cables and are not as bulky, which allows the use of more active equipment or other electrical devices.
An OB van is usually divided into different sectors:
- rear cabling area
- vision area
- production area
- audio area
When faced with constantly changing technologies, it is important to have a cabling infrastructure that can handle any digital signal and bandwidth. A plug-and-play installation is important for rapidly deploying temporary fiber optic networks, while the cables need to be of tactical design and suitable for use in harsh environments.
HUBER+SUHNER offers outstanding ruggedised cabling systems – the MASTERLINE portfolio along with the ODC/Q-ODC connector portfolio – which can be used to provide a rugged plug-and-play solution in the rear cabling area.
Live TV productions usually have multiple cameras and microphones in place that need to be switched in seconds. This can be a challenge with some of the equipment in the production area, and Polatis all-optical switch solutions offer a fast and reliable solution to overcome these challenges. Along with IANOS® high-density fiber management systems, the OB van can be equipped with fiber optics systems in readiness to meet future requirements. Fiber transport systems, such as those in the Cube Optics portfolio, allow an increase in bandwidth over a limited amount of fibers.
Central equipment room