Broadcast Solutions, one of Europe’s largest media systems integration groups, has designed and implemented a new media network based on fibre for the Staatstheater in Darmstadt, Germany. The new network provides a common transport backbone for large numbers of signals connecting a diverse range of systems.
The Staatstheater Darmstadt traces its history back to 1711, but the current building opened in 1972 and is currently completing a full modernisation programme. It includes a large theatre for opera and ballet, a smaller theatre for drama, and a small space (Kammerspiele) for intimate plays and workshops.
As part of the modernisation programme, Broadcast Solutions was consulted and developed a communications and signal distribution platform using a network of fibre optics, with connection points and other hardware from Barnfind. The network is capable of carrying large numbers of signals including 12G 4k Ultra HD, and latency across the network is measured in picoseconds, vital when video content has to be matched to live music.
“The aim of replacing the cabling was to make the Staatstheater as flexible and future-proof as possible,” said Bernd Klein, technical director of the Staatstheater. “Working with Broadcast Solutions, we installed fibre optic cables and converters, and we are extremely flexible in terms of data rates. Even more important, because all the fibre lines are data agnostic, we are well prepared for any future developments.”
In the project Broadcast Solutions installed more than 50 BarnMini electrical/optical converters. Other Barnfind frames and stage boxes provide complete flexibility in operation with more than 100 SFPs for specific conversions and distributions.
Underlining the importance of low latency, an important use for video is in providing links between the stage and the orchestra pit for opera and ballet. A camera trained on the conductor is presented on multiple monitors in the stage wings and auditorium, so that singers can look in any direction and still see the conductor’s beat. Conversely, cameras on the stage show the conductor action taking place upstage which may not be readily visible from the podium. Without virtually zero latency the musical continuity would be lost.
Some productions use video elements, projected in 4k onto the back of the stage. 12G-SDI signals and control data are distributed via the fibre optic network. In the central control room, a Blackmagic Design ATEM Constellation production switcher provides signal management. The switcher, along with an Apantac multiviewer and 8k capable 55” monitor from Konvision, was installed by Broadcast Solutions as part of the project.
“By implementing a complete fibre network for signal distribution, the Darmstadt Staatstheater is ideally positioned for future developments,” said Martin Schwörl, managing director of Broadcast Solutions Products and Service. “It was important that we implemented a completely flexible and future-proof solution, and we are very pleased that the Staatstheater has walked this path with us.”