NEP is a global outsourced production partner supporting content producers of live sports, entertainment, music and corporate events. NEP UK has provided host and domestic coverage to the BBC for the Wimbledon Tennis Championships since 2014.
With the COVID-19 pandemic, sports coverage has been challenging, and broadcasters and facilities providers have had to devise ways that allow commentators to work while complying with social distancing regulations. To cover Wimbledon 2021, NEP used equipment from Glensound‘s AoIP range, which is based on Audinate’s Dante technology. Commentators were each set up with a single-commentator Inferno unit.
“The Wimbledon commentary booths are quite confined spaces but we’ve been able to accommodate commentators in different locations, each with their own Inferno unit,” explained Neville Hooper, deputy head of sound at NEP. “That would have been complicated with an analog system because of all the cabling, but Inferno is scalable and multiple units can be connected on a Dante-compatible network. This makes for easier and quicker rigging, based on Power over Ethernet and CAT5 connections, as well as making social distancing easy to achieve.”
NEP and Glensound have had a long-standing relationship involving several of the manufacturer’s analog and digital commentary products, the partners said. In addition to the Inferno units, other equipment used at the All England Club included the Paradiso, which can accommodate up to three commentators and has both Dante and the AES67 interoperability protocol, as well as the DARK88 breakout box for producing analog outputs from the Dante network.
“On-site complexity is massively reduced from the days of copper cables and XLR connectors. With Inferno we are using fiber networking and switching, which vastly improves connectivity,” added Hooper.