VANCOUVER, BC, JANUARY 29, 2010 – The Vancouver Winter Olympic Games may still be a few weeks away, but Bexel, a unit of the Vitec Group’s Services Division, and a pre-eminent worldwide provider of broadcast services and solutions has been busy providing fiber optic support for the XXI Winter Olympic games since last fall.
“Our involvement in the Olympics began back in October when we started manufacturing cable assemblies in our Dallas facility,” says Scott Nardelli, Bexel chief business development officer. “We pre-terminated many of the cables in advance and shipped them to Vancouver for installation at the various venues.”
Due to installation requirements, some cables must be terminated on-site after installation which is where Bexel’s experienced technicians are most valuable to its clients. “We are able to provide the equipment and skills to fusion splice or repair just about any connector including SMPTE Hybrid connectors in the harshest environments regardless of the weather conditions or location,” adds Nardelli. “Terminating in a controlled environment is one thing, but working with a fiber optic strand about the size of a human hair in sub freezing temperatures on the side of a mountain is where our experience and techniques pay dividends.”
With over 8,000+ terminations/fusion splices, 340+ cables totaling about 48 miles and 135 Optical Distribution Frames (patch panels) located throughout most of the Olympic facilities, Bexel has had a crew of six people on location working full time since November. Bexel’s more than 15 years of experience in broadcast optical solutions provide cost effective and efficient solutions to the challenges broadcasters face in mega-events like the Olympics.
In addition to terminating the fiber at the IBC, Cyprus and Whistler Mountain venues, Bexel is also providing fiber optic transmission equipment that will allow for a reliable camera signal to be sent from the camera positions on Whistler mountain to the production trucks located at the base of the mountain more than 3 miles away.
Bexel is using two different pieces of equipment to make sure the HD images captured on the mountain reach the production unit. Both are similar in function but vary in their application. SMPTE camera’s already generate an optical signal but require SMPTE cable to properly power and operate the camera. The equipment provided by Bexel eliminates the need for SMPTE cable by allowing the camera to power locally while still passing the optical signal to the CCU. Although it seems simple enough, safety mechanisms in the CCU prevent the camera from powering up unless it’s senses a connection to the CCU. This device simulates the connection allowing the camera to operate normally. The second device performs the same functions with one big difference; it actually converts the RF signal produced by the LDK 8000 triax backed camera to an optical signal for transmission to the CCU. Likewise at the CCU the signal is converted back to RF.
“Single mode fiber is an important part of the overall solution and the best choice to accommodate the long distances commonly found in alpine sports,” adds Andy Berry, Bexel project manager. The transmission equipment Bexel is providing will give the client the flexibility to use single mode fiber to send and receive signals from the camera while seamlessly interfacing with the existing SMPTE format found on the camera and CCU base station or conventional triax. While SMPTE still has a roll in alpine events, it is somewhat limited by the long distances required. In addition, SMPTE cable also known as SMPTE Hybrid, has both copper conductors and optical fibers and is less economical as you typically need one cable for each camera. By converting to fiber only and powering the camera locally, users can service 12-24 or more cameras on a single cable that is lighter, less costly, can be repaired more easily and is able to handle the extreme environment.
In addition to providing technical services prior to the start of the Olympics, Bexel’s technicians will be on-hand during the games for emergency restoration and repair of any optical cable at any venue. Bexel’s technicians have the experience to determine the best method for restoration and maintain spare stock and equipment on site to expedite the repair
As the world’s broadcasters converge on Vancouver and Whistler, Bexel’s optical technicians and engineers will continue to support all of the Olympic venues and help to ensure its clients coverage is worthy of a gold medal.
Bexel is the pre-eminent worldwide provider of broadcast services including video and audio equipment rentals, fiber services, new audio sales, used equipment sales, and repairs/maintenance. Bexel provides brilliantly designed and flawlessly executed systems and solutions to all customers – including producers of the biggest and most important televised events in the world. For more information, visit www.bexel.com.
The Vitec Group – capture the moment
The Vitec Group plc provides vital products and services that support the capture of exceptional images through world-class customer experience and a visionary approach to the future. It is a leading supplier to the broadcast and media, photographic and live events industries in more than 100 countries worldwide, and is rapidly extending its reach by taking proven technologies into government, security and defence. Vitec's many industry-leading product brands have established a formidable reputation for innovation, technical excellence, and superior service and support.
The group has over 1700 employees worldwide, and revenues in 2008 of £338 million. It is formed of three divisions to support specific industry sectors: VideoCom, including manual and robotic camera supports, location lighting, camera and equipment bags, portable power solutions, prompting products, wireless camera links and voice communication systems; Imaging and Staging, supporting the photography, videography and live events markets; and Services, for professional video and audio rental equipment and engineering support for major event productions.