Big Picture supplies Australia Day Live
Tuesday, 9 April 2019
ausday3Panasonic HD Camera on top of South West Pylon of Sydney Harbour Bridge connected via Microwave Link
Australia - Australia Day is celebrated and every year on 26 January when the nation celebrates in spectacular style. The flagship event is Australia Day Live held at Sydney Opera House and in 2019 it was bigger and better than ever. Australia’s musical stars, including Kate Cebrano, Jon Stevens and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, took to the stage in a concert, featuring dazzling firework displays and a maritime extravaganza.
Australia Day Live in Sydney is produced by the NSW Government through the Australia Day Council of NSW and is supported by Big Picture. Big Picture is a part of the NEP Worldwide Network.
This year, Big Picture supplied a turnkey technical solution of outside broadcast facilities, LED screens, event communications and network backbone which included a significant amount of Riedel equipment with 68 Riedel Artist Panels across OB trucks, production and event control locations, 25 Riedel MicroNs for uncompressed video and audio signal distribution and 22 managed switches interfaced across the event site at the Sydney Opera House and Circular Quay with over 10km of fiber.
This was the first year that Big Picture supplied the entire broadcast facilities, LED screens, event communication and network backbone as the end to end solution. The full broadcast technical supply and management included two HD Broadcast Trucks – NEP Australia HD-10 and Big Picture HD-1.
“In previous years there were various suppliers to do different elements but this year we supplied the bulk of the technical solutions in those areas,” commented Josh Moffat, special projects & business development at Big Picture. “It’s a challenging job as everything is so spread out. Usually we do an OB or iMag setup for a concert where everything is in one area and everything directly connects to the OB truck or flyaway system in one central location.”
The geography of the event was expansive and running single cables to every camera, given that half of them are on the other side of Circular Quay with some on top of apartment buildings and one on Garden Island, was not practical. The Big Picture team worked hard to come up with a technical solution that would facilitate the set-up in an economical and streamlined manner whilst being reliable with built-in redundancy.
“Australia Day Live is a challenging project for many reasons,” commented Craig Borg of Five Peas, production manager broadcast and Opera House Concert. “Mainly it’s the lack of bump in time we have on all sites, restrictions around site access and working hours, densely populated public / tourist areas, lack of rehearsal time and in some cases no opportunity to rehearse some maritime and aerial elements of the show.”
“It’s a lot of signals to move around a large distance,” added Josh. “The first thing we looked at was what we had to move, signal wise, between various locations. We already had a large inventory of Riedel MicroN fiber nodes so the natural solution, and the most elegant one, was to deploy them around the site for uncompressed video and audio transport between all stages and the screen barge located in the harbour. In all there was 820GB of network capacity on the Mediornet system.”
Remote CCUs were placed around the site with video trunked via the MicroN Network and comms routed via remote Artist Frames, IP Tally interfaces and Camera Control over the network resulted in no noticeable difference between cameras connected directly to the truck and remote over the MicroN network in picture quality or control for technical staff or the camera operators.
Twenty-two Ubiquiti Unifi Switches were used for all network data, lighting control and Dante audio transport with a mixture of 1GB and 10GB links between areas based on bandwidth.
The large Riedel Artist intercom system deployed for communication resulted in no limitations to how the crew could interact or talk to each other. The Riedel Artist Frames were a mixture of 128 and 64 port, and were linked via a redundant fibre ring to facilitate all event and broadcast communications.
Josh described the Riedel Bolero system as very handy, especially as the crew sometimes had to talk on up to six different communications channels at once. A total of 24 Riedel Bolero Beltpacks were used.
There were also 51 analogue UHF, analogue VHF and a mixture of Zeon and Orion digital radio channels interfaced into a matrix system including three UHF Bases on the Sydney Harbour Bridge Pylon interfaced via IP.
A total of 23 HD cameras were deployed across the Sydney Opera House Forecourt, Circular Quay, Campbell’s Cove, Quay West Apartments, Sydney Harbour Bridge Pylon and Garden Island. These included ten Panasonic HK-HC5000, seven Panasonic HK-UC4000 4K, two Panasonic AJ-PX5000G 3G P2 ENG camera and four Sony HSC-300 HD cameras located on HMAS Choules. Added to that were a wide range of Fujinon lenses.
The screens were exclusively from ROE and included 188m² of ROE MC-7H LED in ACASS touring frames on a barge in the middle of circular quay, 33m² of ROE CB-5 in T4 Touring Frames for SOH IMAG Screens and one 15m² ROE MC-7H LED Screen in ACASS Frames on HMAS Choules.
“Given the technical complexity and scale of the project, in addition to broadcasting live to a national audience, we needed to ensure the technical solution not only met the needs of the project but was a truly integrated solution,” continued Craig. “Big Picture were able to provide this to us in many ways. They maintain a substantial inventory of quality equipment and now being part of the NEP network were able upscale in line with the needs of the project.”
(Jim Evans)

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