Fibre optic link for Outside Broadcast cameras

Case Study

The electronics team have considerable experience from working in the broadcast television industry, designing equipment that has been used by the majority of the world’s national broadcasters including amongst others the BBC and ITV in the UK, PBS in the USA. For example they have worked on digital video effects machines, one of the first digital serial video signal routers and the ETSI codec used to link television studios with digitally compressed video, audio and data.

Because broadcast signals pass through multiple processes and links between the cameras and the viewer’s television sets any degradation accumulates so the team are used to working to very accurate colourimetry.

When shooting a drama on location or a live broadcast from a concert hall, race track or Grand Prix a host of signals have to be passed to and from the camera. These include high quality program video and audio, viewfinder video and headphone audio for the cameraman to monitor, remote control of camera functions and a three way intercom between the camera man and both engineering and production staff.

Our first design was the earliest aftermarket camera link to use digital modulation of the light on the fibre, previous systems had used analogue modulation. Now all similar systems use digital modulation.

This was a power efficient design to maximise battery life when powered from industry standard rechargeable batteries. It included safety interlocks to protect operators when high voltages are supplied via the cable.

A ground breaking product followed by many others in the same field, including a number of patents.