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Winning promotion to the Barclays Premier League in 2011, Swansea City Associated Football Club (AFC) marked their return to England’s top flight with some scintillating performances on the pitch. They were also the first Welsh team to play in the league since its formation in 1992.

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Ahead of the new 20130-14 season, Liberty Stadiums media department used the summer break to upgrade Swansea's audiovisual capabilities. To do this, they used Blackmagic Design equipment supplied by Jigsaw24.

“Up until that point we’d been taking a single HD-SDI feed from our OB compound, usually from one of the broadcasters covering the match, and piped that over fiber to my office in the West stand,” reveals Mark Williams, head of the media department at the Liberty Stadium.

“With an increased demand throughout the club for access to a live match day feed, we had to rethink our approach for managing everything. I spoke with the Sky production team, who advised they could supply us with as many feeds as we could handle, which is when I began to explore how I would manage and distribute all of those feeds.”

“I wanted to centralise everything in our existing AV control room so we created an optical fiber bridge between the OB compound using two ATEM Studio Converters from Blackmagic Design as a rack mounted SDI to fiber converter. That was a lot easier as far as space and power requirements were concerned,” explains Williams.

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“With an increased demand throughout the club for access to a live match day feed, we had to rethink our approach for managing everything. I spoke with the Sky production team, who advised they could supply us with as many feeds as we could handle, which is when I began to explore how I would manage and distribute all of those feeds.”

OB Compound with Fiber Connection to the AV Control Room

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“I wanted to centralise everything in our existing AV control room so we created an optical fiber bridge between the OB compound using two ATEM Studio Converters from Blackmagic Design as a rack mounted SDI to fiber converter. That was a lot easier as far as space and power requirements were concerned,” explains Williams.

Multiple 16 x 16 Blackmagic Design Micro VideoHubs are used to route video signals and other sources, including an HD feed from the stadium’s Sky receiver, between the AV room and various locations, including the Swans’ media suite, the press commentary positions and the club’s analysis team.

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“We have various SDI runs between the our control room and other parts of the stadium,” he explains. “You have the main camera gantry in the west stand along with two additional cable runs down to the camera positions located in the players’ tunnel and our press conference suite, as well as over 130 press seats including 54 commentary positions.”

Press Seats in the Stadium and Interview Position in the Tunnel

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“Blackmagic’s Micro Videohub means that we have greater flexibility on match days. We can switch between signals and determine where they need to be at the touch of a button. All we do is reroute for example the ‘Camera 1’ signal from the gantry if it is being used by the club’s analysis team or we switch to the broadcast feed for press, so that they have access to all of the close up action, if it is being used as a commentary position instead.”

In the media suite, Williams has installed an ATEM Television Studio production switcher alongside the second Micro VideoHub. “Not only am I able to monitor all of those various feeds using the ATEM’s multiviewer, but I can also capture interviews filmed in the tunnel without having to leave my desk.”

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“We have one iMac set up to overlay lower thirds and keyed graphics such as timers, scores and titles on a clean feed, presuming of course the match day broadcaster isn’t already providing a mixed feed.”

“Any matchday content we might product on the day is captured using two Mac Pro editing stations equipped with DeckLink boards, including the DeckLink Mini Recorder.”

Press Conferenc at Liberty Stadium

In addition, we recently added a Blackmagic H.264 Pro Recorder to the analysis set up, allowing the match to be captured in HD but still remain in a manageable file size so that it can be copied to the any of the coaching staff's laptops straight after the final whistle."

“It is always good when a new system has a continuity to its interface and operation across all its various components and now, every part of our HD-SDI set up at the Liberty Stadium has that Blackmagic familiarity of use.”

OB Compount infron of Liberty Stadium

“The quality of our video feeds to the various systems has greatly improved how we are able to work behind the scenes,” explains Williams. “Now, the real difference won’t be seen by our supporters until we begin work on the next phase of the stadium expansion. This will include a giant fan screen in the stadium with the potential for introducing live match day content,” he concludes.

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