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The Right side of the transmission chain – acquisition

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The right side of the Transmission Chain is at the event itself.  Transmission chain is a term used to describe the route that a signal takes from an event venue to the device on which you are watching an event. As a camera operator the right side of the transmission chain for me is at the event itself.


For the IFSC World Cup in Villars this year I was both a camera operator and a belayer. Belaying at a world cup event is an interesting experience because it’s rare to clip and unclip from so many climbers in such a short amount of time. Climbers have a limited time to get up the route. They have six minutes. This means that every 12 minutes or so you’re belaying a new climber as they progress up the wall. It’s a great task for introverts. You observe what the person is doing. When they need rope you’re ready to give it. If they’re struggling you make sure to amortise their fall. When they make it to the top or come back down you help them untie the rope and then you start again.

Camera operating

Aside from this task I was camera operator during the semi-final and final of the climbing competition.  This means that whilst most people were standing in the crowd watching the competition I was on a podium in the middle of the crowd filming the climbers as they progress up the wall.

From here you see the crowd and you see the climbers from a privileged point of view. You can see the climbers and what they are doing comfortably. You’re also more attentive. You’re following their every move, watching as they clip and progress. You see them progress and you hear the commentator and hear the crowd cheering.

When you’re on the “wrong” side of the transmission you’re hearing the international sound and you’re seeing what the vision mixer is seeing but you’re not seeing the event in context. The image below illustrates this.

In television broadcasting you usually have the cameras, an OB van and an SNG truck or fibre connections. These go from the venue to the Network Operating centre. The signal is encoded either for web streaming and sent to the content distribution network or it is sent on to national broadcasters. On that side of the transmission chain you are in an air conditioned office as a passive observer ready to react if there is an issue and waiting for the event to end.

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