It’s 10.26pm on the 16th December 2012 and nearly 17,000 people sit expectantly and excitedly in the Excel Centre, London. At the end of a momentous year for sport, the winner of the coveted Sport’s Personality of the Year prize is about to be announced.
Having been involved with nearly all the major sports events of 2012 it is quite apt that SIS LIVE is also present, working to deliver live HD TV coverage of the ceremony for BBC Sport, plus additional programming for BBC’s Red Button services.
OB 1, one of SIS LIVE’s dual production outside broadcast units, is at the centre of operations alongside Mastersound, it’s specialist sound vehicle. An experienced crew has been working to prepare for and deliver the event coverage, using 19 cameras in total including 7 RF cameras, 2 jimmy jibs and 3 steadicams. The bulk of the cabled cameras used are taken from SIS LIVE’s large stock of market-leading Sony HDC-2500s. Another Sony 1500 is mounted on an Osprey pedestal with an HD RF transmitter fixed to it to get its pictures back to OB 1. Return mixer for the viewfinder and a feed for the autoscript monitor are created using 2 x SD RF circuits coming back to the camera. This ingenious technique allows the camera to move freely and speedily around the arena, unfettered by cable but with all the facilities you’d expect of a cabled camera, producing crystal clear HD images of the show.
An 8m Furio tracking camera in front of the stage and a 120m tracking camera at the rear of the arena, are also employed to capture moving shots inside the venue. These innovative systems are designed to be operated remotely using a joystick and foot pedals, making them perfect for live stage productions where long smooth tracking shots are required. The VT team are also charged with ingesting and playing out the huge number of recorded inserts and montages about each of the nominees.
SIS LIVE is also providing the main HD Fibre Circuit from the Excel Centre to BBC TVC via BT Tower. Its Link 21 uplink truck is distributing BBC News, Red Button and BBC1 HD (Reserve) feeds to Television Centre via a terrestrial HD dual terrestrial link to Crystal Palace. Link 21 is the largest TV satellite uplink truck in the UK and has enormous circuit capacity. The size of its 2.4m satellite antenna also makes the vehicle suitable for broadcast quality downlinking as well as uplinking and gives it the ability to act as the hub communication vehicle for this event, managing multiple outgoing broadcast circuits as well as reception of feeds contributing to the programme. A live feed of Andy Murray being interviewed at his training base in Miami is downlinked, standards converted and inserted into the show, and a live interview with Sir Chris Hoy taken in via fibre from Perth in Australia. SIS LIVE are providing the satellite space for the transmission from Miami and have organised the fibre circuit from BT Tower to the Excel Centre for the Perth feed.
At the Excel Centre there are about 15 remote operating positions and production offices spread right around the venue, all requiring Riedel talkbacks and a total of 32 monitors. Most of this connectivity was achieved through fibre technology, using our unique fibre trailer as a distribution hub parked next to OB 1. This truck accepts 72 video inputs and distributes these feeds via fibre systems around the different locations including the interlinking between OB 1 and Link 21. These systems have been installed by SIS LIVE’s OB Fibre Systems Department.
SIS LIVE is also organising the SPOTY Radio Co-ordination with 16 channels on 150 Motorola radios and a 6 Channel Repeater system. These channels cover BBC TV Production, Excel logistics and the Lighting, Scenic and Hospitality services.
SIS LIVE’s OB 7 vehicle and crew broadcast either side of the main event, using 2 cameras to capture celebrities and sports personalities as they arrive and walk the red carpet. The SIS LIVE crew also deliver an hour-long programme before and another after the awards, broadcasting from the nearby ICC Auditorium. Here, Radio 5 Live and BBC Red Button are collaborating to produce a sofa-based talk show hosted by John Inverdale, where sporting celebrities were invited to drop by for a chat.
The event, now in it’s 58th year, has grown to comprise eight awards and this year saw over 1.6million votes cast in total and over 14 million viewers tune in. Gary Linekar, Sue Barker and Clare Balding shared presenter duties, eventually crowning Bradley Wiggins as Sport Personality of the Year, with Jessica Ennis and Andy Murray occupying runner up positions. Usain Bolt received Overseas Personality of the Year, Sebastian Coe was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award and Team of the Year was shared by Team GB and Paralympic GB.