Newsgathering at TV Globo in Brazil

José Manuel Mariño, Engineering Director - News and Sports, explains about the newsgathering facilities at Brazil's TV Globo:


Can you describe how the demand for news footage has increased at TV Globo in recent years.

José Manuel Mariño
JMM: TV Globo has 5 O&O free-to-air TV stations, and 117 affiliate stations. On top of that, since 2006 we operate a 24x7 news channel – Globo News - that is delivered to all major pay-TV operators in Brazil. More recently, we have created a news portal – G1 – that is made available under our infrastructure. In order to feed all of these channels, the demand for news content has increased substantially over the years.

How has newsgathering technology changed at TV Globo over the past few years?

JMM: In the field, we have seen a constant need for mobility and agility. Our clients have increasingly been demanding from us more systems for live contribution. We have SNG vehicles, Ku-band flyaway systems, MW vehicles, hybrid microwave+SNG vehicles, portable microwave links mounted in motorcycles, portable microwave links mounted in cases, for live news from boats, rooftops, etc…, news choppers equipped with gyro-stabilized cameras. We have also implemented positions throughout the city equipped with fibre optics links, like injection points, so as to allow us to go live from such places without having to tie an SNG or microwave resource.

We started our migration to a file-based workflow in 2004, when we acquired XD-CAM gear as the network’s acquisition format. Indeed, we were one of their first users. In 2005 we introduced our first news production video server, which was installed at Globo News. Having learned a lot of important lessons from this first implementation, we introduced a sports production server in 2009, an archive video server in 2010. The network/local news server was implemented in 2011.

We also have a store&forward infrastructure composed of a reporter kit (small handy camcorder, recording in memory, and a laptop with editing and compression software) and a receiving server. This infrastructure is used by our international correspondents based in the USA, Japan, UK, France, Portugal, Argentina, Israel and Italy. They produce, edit and send their stories everyday with this tool, using IP connectivity (3G/4G, wifi, wired internet) as their contribution network. We have also implemented an infrastructure to view, approve and download news stories produced by our network of affiliate stations. This runs over an MPLS type of structure. More recently, we implemented a Gigabit network between our 5 O&O stations, where we can run both files and video as IP traffic.

Does Globo design its own in-house newsgathering systems or do you mainly rely on outside companies?

JMM: We design internally all of our news production tools. We use standard off-the-shelf IT technology. We do not rely on outside companies.

How much does Globo rely on SNG?

JMM: For news, we use it extensively. In our 5 O&O stations, we have a total of 13 Ku-band SNG systems, and the number keeps increasing. We will add more next year. We have leased a total of 15Mhz of bandwidth on a 24x7 basis. We like to use Ku because of the small size of the antennas. Our aim is always to implement more compact SNG vehicles, and Ku-band has been great in achieving such goal.

What effect has the 3G cellular technology had on Globo’s newsgathering?

JMM: We have been using systems based around 3G since 2009. Currently we use a total of 7 of these kits in Brazil, built around multiple SIM cards where the bandwidth of each card is aggregated so as to be able to get enough bandwidth for a live transmission. The systems work well, provided that there is decent 3G coverage, which unfortunately is not always the case in our cities, where we face problems of dead coverage areas and congested sites. We hope that this will improve in the near future, which will help us use more of these systems.

What type of developments is Globo currently looking at for further enhancing its newsgathering capabilities?

JMM: We are looking at further developments in compression in the ENG camcorders, equipped with built-in 3G/4G modems, making it possible to send the captured material directly from the camcorder to the TV Station using 3G/4G networks. This will speed up the delivery of material to our servers and help cut deadlines.

The FIFA World Cup is 18 months away; how is Globo preparing for this event with regards to video transmission equipment?

JMM: We are constantly investing in resources which can bring us more speed, quality and reliability. In ENG, there is no definitive tool, a tool that serves all purposes. You have to try, experiment and learn. There is a tool that is right for every situation, and you have to be ready to use it. Training the workforce and the client is a must.
  • Log In
  • Help