"You can run along the sidelines during Monday Night Football," he says. "You can have people running in the rafters or watching people buy beer. You can have all perspectives without doing cable drops."
Are there limitations to where HD wireless can go? Hermes doesn’t think so, although sometimes, when HD wireless could be used, producers chose not to go that route. A week of shows on ABC’s Good Morning America illustrates the point. AVS was given the assignment of enabling the show to broadcast live from a train and from various stops along the way. The company placed four live wireless cameras in the moving train, two mounted in helicopters; a camera unit could leap off at a stop or be placed on a tripod, then leap back onto a moving train, or drive ahead and await the train at the next station. Engineers also relayed the train signal back to New York using a helicopter as a relay point.
But it was all in standard definition, not HD. "With HD, we would have had the same robustness," says Hermes. He didn’t know why ABC chose not to go HD, but he saw no technical reason why it couldn’t have gone out in HD.
WIRELESS HD ON A BUDGET
It may not have the national cachet of Monday Night Football, but Cougar football games and other sports from Washington State University soon will broadcast in both HD and SD to the school’s fans, and the school will be using wireless exactly the same as the big boys—only their wireless system costs $6,000.
According to Scott Vik, director of sports video at WSU, the school owns a CAM-WAVE/CW-5HD HD wireless transmission system from IDX. The unit delivers full-uncompressed 720p/1080i HD video and uses MIMO technology transmitting over the 5.0-5.8 GHz public spectrum. WSU put together a unit equipped with Sony HD cameras and the CAM-WAVE system to feed the stadium’s Jumbotron screen with live play-by-play video during games. Ambient audio recorded by the camera—crowd noise, etc.—is included in the digital stream, decoded at the receive site and becomes part of the audio mix.
Play coverage from those wireless field cameras even has been the source video for Pac-10 refs to review questionable plays when local games aren’t being broadcast. The school plans to broadcast a variety of live and live-on-tape sports over local TV stations, using the same video system used in the football stadium.
The wireless system also was used by Sunrise Entertainment in Nashville’s $130 million Schermerhorn Symphony Center. Sunrise developed a remote rail-mounted flying camera rig in the ceiling of the new facility. For a live PBS concert called Gershwin at One Symphony Place, Sunrise CEO Robert Swope used CAM-WAVE to connect a Sony HD camera wirelessly to a control room more than 100 feet away and transmitted uncompressed 1080i HD-SDI video with virtually no latency for live airing.