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The company responsible for most of the TV production was Hilversum-based UNITED, which captured images from three key locations: the royal palace on the Dam, Museum Square and the royal barge as it toured the canals of the capital. Five OB trucks were used to broadcast the festivities, along with just under 100 cameras, ten uplink trucks and 350 employees. “This production differed from others primarily in its sheer importance,” recalls Bolke Burnaby Lautier, Manager Operations Sports and Events with UNITED. “With literally millions of viewers following the event live all over the world on TV, any technical failure could have proved catastrophic.”
Crucial to a positive outcome was the quality of communications between the individual live locations. In all the outside broadcast vehicles deployed, UNITED chose to rely upon intercom systems from RTS.
Parked in front of the royal palace was the flagship of the UNITED OB fleet, the HD-capable OB 14. The nerve centre of communications on board is an ADAM (Advanced Digital Audio Matrix) from RTS with a 144 x 144 port configuration, linked to 31 keypanels (KP-32 CLD or KP-12 CLD) with color displays. Six 2W/4W Digital Hybrid Interfaces from RTS as well as RTS TW BP-325 two-channel belt packs completed the impressive array of communications equipment on board. In UNITED’s other outside broadcast vehicles it was much the same story: intercom equipment from RTS provided flawless communications at all times.
UNITED deployed two OB vans to cover the festivities in Museum Square: linked by trunking, OB 12 and OB 15, which are also HD-capable, were responsible inter alia for sound and vision of the concert in the evening by star violinist André Rieu. Here, an RTS ADAM digital matrix saw service in OB 12 and an RTS Cronus matrix in OB 15 with 23 keypanels, eight 2W/4W interfaces and 20 belt packs – in all cases from RTS – serving as peripherals. A further Cronus matrix provided the backbone of the intercom solution in OB 8, which was assigned to cover the voyage of Willem-Alexander and his wife Maxima through the city’s canals on the royal barge. The individual locations were linked via satellite uplink.
The planning of the entire production included a wide variety of back-up solutions to deal with any eventuality, and the intercom system, too, exhibited a high degree of redundancy – not that any of this proved necessary. UNITED’s experience of communications solutions from RTS over the years has been uniformly positive. “The reliability and the high quality of RTS systems have always amazed us,” emphasizes Bolke Burnaby Lautier. “Another enormous advantage of RTS systems during major events such as these is that they allow the use of intelligent trunking to connect the outside broadcast vehicles with one another. That alone indicates the enormous flexibility of the equipment.”
The trickiest factor in the entire production, in fact, was the extremely tight schedule: UNITED had only a day and a half before the start of the festivities in which to set up and trunk the five OB trucks. Despite this, after a successful overnight test run, UNITED delivered a flawless performance on the big day – thanks to a perfectly trained team and the efficiency and reliability of RTS equipment.
In terms of security during the festivities, the organizers also relied on equipment from Bosch. So as to shield the large crowds and the royal couple around the castle on the Dam and alongside the route of the celebrations, equipment from Bosch Security Systems was employed in Amsterdam. With 75 Bosch AutoDome cameras, which were positioned six meters above ground level, Bosch partner Connection Systems reinforced the police’s own monitoring network. In addition, the cameras were connected to 35 UPS boxes that would have maintained operations in the event of a power blackout.