Job in Focus #1 – Interactive Sports: Fox Footy Australian Rules Grand Final

In September 2004, Fox Footy asked Astralinks to transmit coverage of the AFL Grand Final from the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

Fox Footy’s coverage would provide an alternative, multi-feed choice from that of the host broadcasters’ and would test the production and multi-channel capabilities of the Astralinks SNG. From our truck ASTRA 3, the client brought in 10 feeds simultaneously from the Host Broadcaster. The client made use of Astralinks’ mini-production suite including an eight-input vision mixer and router to produce 3 separate viewer channels, all out of the one Astralinks SNG truck.

Astralinks also provided full production monitoring for the event including all necessary comms and four Digi-Betacam VTRs which were used for occasional replays. The event was transmitted to Sydney on 3 channels (15 mbps per channel) on one carrier via the truck’s fully-redundant 3 + 3 multiplexing system. This complex event used all components of the Astralinks SNG to their fullest potential.

Jobs in Focus #2 – Breaking News: The Beaconsfield Mine Collapse

April 25, 2006 saw the collapse of the Beaconsfield Mine in Tasmania after a minor earthquake. Fourteen miners were able to escape immediately, one died and two miners, Brant Webb and Todd Russell, were trapped more than a kilometer below the surface in a vehicle they were working in at the time of the collapse. It took 14 days of intensive rescue efforts to free the miners safely. The event transfixed Australia and the Australian networks produced blanket news coverage of the rescue efforts.

Very soon after the mine collapse, Network Ten asked Astralinks to go to Tasmania to transmit their live coverage of the unfolding news story. Astralinks dispatched one of our trucks on the overnight ferry from Melbourne to Tasmania and deployed the satellite dish outside the main entrance to the mine.   The Astralinks truck immediately became a base for all of Network Ten’s crew coverage of the story, providing constant live crosses and tape feeds back to Network Ten Sydney on domestic Ku satellite capacity. The generous space in the truck allowed room for edit packs, working spaces for journalists and a welcome haven from the cold and rain of Tasmania’s winter.

The truck more than lived up to its requirements technically. Network Ten’s coverage of the major news story was aided by the extensive on-board routing and distribution capabilities of the SNG and Astra 3 could easily handle the splitting of shared pool feeds to the rest of the television news contingent. The SNG’s on-board generator ran 24 hours per day to allow the crew to edit, review tapes and recharge batteries. The generator needed refueling only once during the 9 day deployment.