ORANGE, Calif. — The student-run Chapman Sports Broadcast Network (CSBN) at Chapman University is getting an upgrade.
The university recently purchased a specially designed fiber transport system for CSBN to better support the channel’s live broadcasts for local TV, radio and online streaming services. Chapman University is a private four-year university and home to Dodge College of Film and Media Arts.
The solution from Joseph Electronics replaces multiple flight packs and allows the university to consolidate production into one central control room in order to make better use of existing equipment, the school said.
“We were looking for a ‘magic transport box’ that we could connect and forget, and that's just what we got,” said David Goedhart, PEG engineering operations manager at Chapman University.
The Joseph Electronics-designed transport system is housed in a mobile case that allows crews to connect to multiple fiber points around campus, including the university's football stadium, aquatics center and gymnasium. A typical broadcast includes eight cameras, two replay channels, four graphics channels, 64 audio channels and three on-camera talent positions. Through the mobile system, crews can transport signals over 3,000 feet between the venues and the television control room at the Dodge College of Film and Media Arts.
The system can support eight cameras, four video returns and four additional fiber connections all over a single existing fiber pair. It also offers the university the ability to add new layers of complexity to an already advanced production system.
JE's design overcomes challenges inherent in the Chapman University deployment. For example, because crews are piggybacking on existing fiber runs, the fiber cables connecting the system go through seven different connection points. JE also implemented wave-shifting technology to accommodate some existing fiber gear that did not have a CWDM option.
The new JE system also takes the place of multiple flight pack cases that formerly housed the school’s production system — including the control room portion — and had to be transported to the venue and assembled on location for every production. The JE design moved the control room portion of the workflow into the existing Dodge College facility and put all on-location fiber-transport gear into a system that fits in a single case.
By taking control room functions out of the flight pack and merging them into an existing production environment, CSBN can now produce live sporting events out of the same control room as the school's newscasts, narrative television shows, and talk shows — thereby producing significantly more content through equipment the university already owns.
Maintenance will also be considerably easier, Goedhart said, since the control room equipment is always available; the old system required the engineering team to physically pull it from storage.