One Video Signal's Journey

This is the path a video signal will take when an open team jumps: The camera feeds the signal to a microwave transmitter on the camera flyer's belly. Five antennae mounted on top of the main hanger two miles below pick up the signal. A diversity receiver samples the five antennae at a rate of 15,000 times a second, picks the best signal, and feeds it to the judging panel VCR, where it is recorded for a (later) second viewing. The VCR sends the feed to the OmniSkore processor, where it passes through a time-base corrector. The TBC splits the signal in two; one goes out to the judges' monitors for judging, the other continues a much longer journey. It is passed to a graphics overlay card in the processor, where the computer is listening to the judges' button pushes. The computer overlays graphics on the video signal that include the team name, team number, a running count-down clock, points scored, and a graphic of the next formation or inter move. The signal is then passed on to the DZ-TV control room, which collects video feeds from four sources, all plugged into a digital video mixer: the two judging panels, the live OtterCam feed, and another computer that supplies digital photos of the teams. The DZ-TV controller selects which feed to send to out DZ-TV with the mixer. That signal then goes to another recording VCR (the tapes are played later during down-time), which in turn feeds a monitor and a video splitter. The splitter sends one feed to the 60-inch TV in the main hangar, one feed to a low-power UHF television transmitter (you can watch it anywhere on the DZ with a television!), and a final feed to a desktop PC. But it's not done yet - that signal, still live and coming from that camera guy in freefall, is captured by a video card in the PC, digitized, reduced to a size of 240 by 180 pixels, saved as a jpg file, and shot up our web site for the "DZ TV WebCam" at the rate of one frame per second. So some Joe or Jane, anywhere in the world, can watch it happen live, on the 'net, at home.

By the time you see it on the Internet, that video signal has been microwaved, run through 3 computers, a digital video mixer, 3 VCRs, at least 9 in-line cables, and a capture card.

You know what? We don't charge anywhere near enough for all this. Send us all your money! ;-)

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