Linkin Park Live Via Satellite in Ultra HD: TopVision and Sony are Breaking New Ground Again
TopVision has been at the forefront of live production of sports events and live shows for more than two decades. The Berlin-based company was already playing a pioneering role when HD and stereo 3D were first introduced. On 19 November, managing director Achim Jendges and his team set another benchmark with the first live 4K broadcast of a concert by nu metal band Linkin Park.
A total of eleven Sony PMW-F55 live camera production units were used for the major production and a PXW-FS7 captured the images for the "making of". After extensive tests and due to the production's high quality requirements, TopVision had previously been the first European broadcast service provider to invest in the new PWS-4400 server technology from Sony. In total, this enabled twelve UHD signals to be transmitted to the OB truck, recorded as individual XAVC files and then transferred to external hard drives in real time. The live signals were mixed with a multi-format video switcher from Sony's MVS-X series.
All of the 4K live images were sent via fibre-optic cables straight to TopVision's Ü2 OB truck, which is optimised for HD/UHD production. Here, the director created the live signal with a resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels and a frame rate of 50 frames per second (2160p50) and the graphics were added. The final mixed programme output was sent to SES Astra's broadcasting centre in Unterföhring, Germany via four fibre-optic cables with a total bandwidth of 12 gigabits. The concert was broadcast on a free-to-air Astra demonstration channel.
Trendsetter in the live production of shows and sports events
For all the milestones in the recent history of live broadcasting, TopVision had acquired the leading equipment from Sony long before it became an industry standard: "The production went smoothly without any technical issues and the result exceeded our expectations. The intensive and meticulous testing in advance has paid off for us", says Achim Jendges, Managing Director of TopVision Telekommunikation GmbH & Co. KG. "Our decades of experience with the broadcasting specialists from Sony has paid off here: we worked together to fine-tune the 4K workflow and to perfectly align the technologies with each other for a broad spectrum of applications in the future".
"No other technical service provider in Europe can draw on the same length and depth of experience with modern Sony broadcast technology as TopVision. We are very pleased that the company has sent a message to the industry with its renewed investment in 4K and is working hard with us to offer sports and music fans a unique, brilliant viewing experience in 4K at home", says Ralf Zuleger, Key Account Manager at Sony Professional, who advised TopVision on selecting and adapting the equipment.
Andreas Berghaus, who is responsible for live productions at Sony Professional, was also enthusiastic: "Ultimately, the task at concerts is to transmit emotions and blow viewers away — with exceptional pictures in the best possible quality. This was achieved with impressive success for this production. Both the intensity of the close-ups as well as the multitude of details from the adjustable camera settings were perfect for a high-resolution production. That really made the hairs on the back of your neck stand up." Other benefits of Ultra HD images are the "advanced opportunities for post-production and the high quality for archiving", continued the product specialist.