When we’re not providing our online mastering services here at Sage Audio headquarters, we like keep informed about everything awesome that’s going on in the world. Well, as you’ve probably heard by now, the most awesome thing to happen recently was Felix Baumgartner’s skydive from the edge of space!
But as we were watching this amazing feat, we got to wondering: just how exactly are we watching this amazing feat? Think about it: this gentleman is floating in a balloon some 24 miles above the earth, yet we get to see his every move in real time and hear just about every communication he has with his team on the ground.
Turns out, all of this communication was brought to us by a special system devised by Riedel Communication specifically for this record-breaking jump. As you might imagine, the setup is pretty complex.
The Audio Communication System
Riedel combined all of the audio communication involved in the skydive into one communications infrastructure via what the company calls the Riedel Artist Digital Matrix system. This system is a fiber based communications solution that “offers highly flexible, reliable and decentralized communications in broadcast quality audio.”
Additionally, a special digital radio network was set up onsite that included over 100 radio receivers and ten channels, and all of this was integrated into the Artist Digital Matrix system.
The Video Communication System
A total of nine HD video cameras with special telemetry control were placed on-board the capsule that carried Baumgarnter up the 128,000 feet before his jump. The video control system on-board the capsule functioned like a comprehensive digital video router, and offered remote control of the entire video system. Three high definition downlinks were dynamically assigned to selected cameras.
On the ground, all video signals were distributed and routed with technology the company calls MediorNet, which brings together HD video, audio, communications and data signals and also provides integrated signal processing.
Bringing it All Together
Finally, the company says that “24 Riedel MediorNet nodes were installed in a redundant topology to provide maximum reliability.” In other words, if there had been a loss of connection, the signals would have still been transmitted because of these redundant nodes.
If all of that wasn’t enough, the MediorNet also served as a backbone for the on-site internet at mission control, and provided Ethernet capability all around the compound.
Well, now we know what kind of audio system it takes to ensure communication up to 24 miles.
But enough of all this audio nerd talk, we do it everyday at our online mastering studio here in Nashville. Let’s just take in the fact that this fellow dropped more than 128,000 feet through the air, at one point free falling at well over 800 mph. Pretty impressive. Nearly as impressive as us actually getting to watch him step out of the capsule and begin his dive – all from the safety of being on the ground.