British technology and facilities companies are taking their expertise to Beijing to help provide broadcasters with unilateral coverage of the Olympics, which starts Friday 8 August.

Host broadcaster Beijing Olympic Broadcasting Co (BOB) will produce the international venue coverage which is relayed back to all rights-holders.

But systems integrators and outside broadcast facilities from the UK have also been contracted to work in the Chinese capital, providing both the BBC and other broadcasters with their own bespoke sound and pictures.

Gearhouse Broadcast is performing a number of roles, including aiding Siemens in the design and build of a dedicated multiplatform production facility within the International Broadcast Centre (IBC) for the BBC.

Its project solutions division has also built a four-camera studio and an editing and switching facility for al-Jazeera Sports, along with an HD broadcast facility in the IBC for South African satellite channel Supersport.

One of its biggest contracts is with Germany's ARD and ZDF, for whom it is providing, among other things, cameras at Olympic arenas to allow focused coverage of German athletes, a presentation studio at the main stadium and production facilities at the National Sports Stadium.

The company has bought more than 200 new Sony broadcast monitors for the games and will provide engineers and operators at all of its installations.

Staines-based NEP Visions is also getting in on the action. It is sending two international event “fly packs” to Beijing for American broadcaster NBC's unilateral coverage of athletics, gymnastics and the opening and closing ceremonies.

The kits include Thomson Grass Valley Kalypso switchers, Thomson HD digital video routers, Calrec Omega sound desks, Sony HDC1500 cameras, Canon HD lenses and more than 500 -monitors.

“Normally we would hire large mobile units for the production of this kind of coverage,” explained Bob Dixon, NBC director of sound design and communication at the Olympics.

“These are not available to us in Beijing, so even our largest venues will be produced with very significant fly-pack systems specially designed and put together for the Olympics. Everything that normally comes installed and pre-wired will have to be designed and assembled.”

The BBC is supplementing the host coverage with its own unilateral cameras and presentation positions, covering sports where there is a key British interest. SIS Outside Broadcasts will provide the OB facilities.