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Outside broadcasting (OB) is the electronic field production (EFP) of television or radio programmes (typically to cover television news and sports television events) from a mobile remote broadcast television studio. Professional video camera and microphone signals come into the production truck for processing, recording and possibly transmission.
Some outside broadcasts use a mobile production control room (PCR) inside a production truck.
This section needs expansion with: additional information on early broadcasts, and history beyond 1953. You can help by adding to it. (November 2019)
Outside radio broadcasts have been taking place since the early 1920s and television ones since the late 1920s. The first large-scale outside broadcast was the televising of the Coronation of George VI and Elizabeth in May 1937, done by the BBC's first Outside Broadcast truck, MCR 1 (short for Mobile Control Room).
After the Second World War, the first notable outside broadcast was of the 1948 Summer Olympics. The Coronation of Elizabeth II followed in 1953, with 21 cameras being used to cover the event.
Tests in 8K resolution outside broadcasts began to take place during the 2010s, including tests by NHK and BT Sport. The first public 8K outside broadcast in the UK took place in February 2020.
There has been an increasing rise in the use of flyaway or flypack Portable Production Units, which allow for an increased level of customisation and can be rigged in a larger variety of venues.
In the past many outside broadcasting applications have relied on using satellite uplinks to broadcast live audio and video back to the studio. While this has its advantages such as the ability to set up anywhere covered by the respective geostationary satellite, satellite uplinking is relatively expensive and the round trip latency is in the range of 240 to 280 milliseconds.
As more venues install fiber optic cable, this is increasingly used. For news gathering, contribution over public internet is also now used. Modern applications such as hardware and software IP codecs have allowed the use of public 3G/4G networks to broadcast video and audio. The latency of 3G is around 100–500 ms, while 4G is less than 100 ms.
An ABS-CBN OB van transmitting a satellite feed
Camera operator working on an outside broadcast of a football match at Wembley Stadium
An Ikegami camera of ORF at a football match
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Outside broadcasting.|
- Recreation of a full 1970s BBC Outside Broadcast production
- Technical planning stage of a 1970s Outside Broadcast production
- Demonstration of the 'lining up' process for EMI 2001 OB camera from the 1970s
- Discussion and demonstration of the microphone and communications set up for a sports OB
- BBC Outside Broadcast crew reflect on their careers in OB production
- TV Outside Broadcast History Website