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TV Production Case Study - Coronation Street, ITV



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TV Production Case Study - Coronation Street, ITV

THE SET The relocation of the famous ITV Coronation Street lot, from Manchester's Quay Street Studios to the 7.7 acre studio and production facility on the Trafford side of MediaCityUK, has brought with it a significant streamlining of signal flexibility, with BroaMan and Optocore fibre distribution devices playing a major role in the new automation system.

Set in a fictional town in the north of England, what has become the world's longest-running television soap opera is a British institution', having first been broadcast back in December 1960.

A unique, fully integrated transport solution was conceived by the show's Technical Manager, Stan Robinson, in conjunction with project engineers Phil Cooper and Nigel Fowler from system integrators TSL. The design was based on meeting all Coronation Street workflow and system requirements.

Earlier, AVC Electronics, who had worked on the previous Coronation Street HD upgrade at the old studios, had been appointed broadcast consultants for the project, and their lead consultant Raz Khan had carried out technical evaluation and system configuration of all equipment to meet these requirements. Installation, testing and commissioning was then undertaken by TSL, the successful bidders, after the BroaMan and Optocore solution had been adopted.

SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS Simultaneous transport of video, audio, intercom and data over fiber

Full production flexibility

Connection of multiple studios and MCRs with one routing system

Compatibility with different audio consoles

Mobile stageboxes with automatic routing - video, audio, intercom and data follow stagebox automatically

Simplified control and maintenance

The key benefit of this stagebox system is reduction of set-up times. With the exception of the cameras, all other crew equipment can be connected with local cables to a stagebox; so by plugging in one fibre cable they can start using it.

Phil Cooper, Project Engineer, TSL SOLUTION BroaMan and Optocore architecture forms the beating heart of the new broadcast network which has been constructed around ten BroaMan Route66 interfaces and two WDM frames. These combine to create one centralised router, feeding the ForA 96 x 128 matrix distribution unit, and forming part of the identification, CWDM and control to the Optocore router.

In addition to video, ITV can also route data and audio automatically since the stageboxes are a multi-faculty resource, which make connectivity available on set, whether in the studios, out on the lot or on location. This includes: Audio sources (boom mics) and monitoring returns; SDI monitoring and sources (from portable cameras or recorder playback); 4wire talkback circuits for boom operators and assistant directors; Router control panels to control SDI monitoring.

There are five production control areas - comprising galleries and OB vans, each with a corresponding stagebox, incorporating Optocore DD2FR-FX and BroaMan Repeat48WDM rack devices. Having specified a Studer Vista 1 and D21m I/O interface in the two main galleries TSL deployed ten Optocore DD2FR-FX devices to transport native MADI over the fibre network.

Instead of having dedicated BroaMan sockets dotted around the site TSL also noted that by using hybrid camera fibre cables they could have every BroaMan point active through the site - simply by patching into the SMPTE 311M network. There are 100 camera points supplying two patch systems - one in the main building and one out on the lot, enabling patching to either Camera Base Stations or the BroaMan Router.

The path is configured from the 15 connection points available from the BroaMan system, with distribution to the portable stageboxes via the same SMPTE fibre infrastructure as the camera. Each gallery or van has a corresponding stagebox which can be connected to the core routing system (via a wallbox) or taken on location and connected (point to point) to a van - again, using standard camera floor cables.

Wherever the mobile stagebox is connected, the router will recognise the location and automatically patch the signal between stagebox and control room.

This elegant solution is a far cry from the traditional routine of connecting many long individual cables to the nearest studio wallbox and then patching every mic signal, audio return, talkback, video and control signal to the relevant gallery or van.

KEY ADVANTAGES Low latency fiber optic solution for all type of signals - video, audio and Ethernet

Fully automatic routing solution with plug and play stageboxes - quick and simple setup

15 connection points for 5 mobile stageboxes

Each stagebox equipped with 3 Video IN, 5 Video OUT, 2 fiber MADI ports, 4 LAN ports

Each stagebox connected via single duplex SMPTE fiber - no extra studio cables needed

Native protocol transport for Studer - gain and phantom control

Easy to use Opocore Control Software for level monitoring


DD2FR-FX 6 STAGEBOX GAL A Interface for audio console - MADI, WORD CLOCK

REPEAT48 WDM STAGEBOX GAL A Intercom connection via LAN


REPEAT48 WDM STAGEBOX GAL B Interface for audio console - MADI, WORD CLOCK

DD2FR-FX 8 STAGEBOX GAL C Intercom connection via LAN


DD2FR-FX 9 STAGEBOX VAN A Interface for audio console - MADI, WORD CLOCK

REPEAT48 WDM STAGEBOX VAN A Intercom connection via LAN


REPEAT48 WDM STAGEBOX VAN B Interface for audio console - MADI, WORD CLOCK

DD2FR-FX 1 GAL A Intercom connection via LAN

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