South African SuperSport Outside Broadcast (OB), formerly known as M-Net Outside Broadcast, installed a new Calrec Artemis digital audio console in its new OB truck, OB1HD. The move comes as SuperSport upgrades its fleet from SD to HD to meet the growing demand for HD content. This installation marks the last truck in the fleet to migrate to HD.

“From our first installation in 2006, we have worked with Calrec and have standardised our South African fleet on it. Calrec consoles meet our technical requirements for reliability and fibre connectivity in a compact footprint, and are easy for our operators to learn and use because the layout is similar from one desk to another,” says Johan van Tonder, technical operations manager at SuperSport Outside Broadcast. “Fibre connectivity has given us greater versatility and has drastically cut down on rigging times, both of which save money.’

SuperSport installed a 64-fader Artemis Beam console with four 32 x 32 analog and four 32 x 32 AES Hydra2 boxes in the scanner. Hydra2 is Calrec’s scalable audio networking system. SuperSport also has three MADI interface units in the OB and carries four 24 x 8 analog Hydra2 boxes, which are used as stage boxes whenever extra I/O connectivity is required. The Artemis Beam console supplies ample I/O to handle SuperSport’s unique requirement to broadcast in three different languages, which calls for sending a minimum of four program feeds from a venue.

The size of the desk has been especially beneficial for SuperSport because of the limited space inside the truck. The frame houses all the sophisticated functions needed for live sports television yet still fits within the confines of an OB truck. Fibre connectivity has also been especially useful because, as OB trucks get pushed farther away from fields of play, fibre is the only way to transmit the signals.

“With Calrec, support has never been a problem, and advice has always been readily available. We have always felt we are a valued customer and that they care about this relationship,” van Tonder says. “We have never had to take a unit offline due to a Calrec failure. When there have been technical glitches, Calrec has dispatched replacements straight away so that we could avoid downtime. The consoles we installed in 2006 are still running smoothly.”

OB1HD, which mainly covers sports content, rolled out in May 2014. The unit’s first assignment was to cover a Premier Soccer League match between SuperSport United and Polokwane City.

“SuperSport covers some of the biggest sporting events in Africa and the world, and it is a major source of sports content for people across the African continent,” says Anthony Harrison, Middle East and Africa sales manager at Calrec. “This is the third 64-fader Artemis console for SuperSport, bringing their total to six Calrec consoles across the fleet.”