CGTN rides the rails with ‘5G Express’ train-based studio for Winter Olympics

CGTN has rolled out a very unique mobile broadcast studio for coverage of the 2022 Winter Olympics, a studio onboard a high-speed passenger train.

Live streaming daily throughout the Olympics, “The Olympic Express” includes interviews and event previews.

The train, which can travel at speeds upwards of 200 miles per hour, operates on the railway line connecting Beijing with Zhangjiakou, the Olympic co-host city where many mountain sports will occur.

For the games, 40 pairs of trains will operate on the fully autonomous line, whisking travelers from Beijing to Zhangjiakou in 47 minutes.

Along with a special wintery livery, the train includes the latest in 5G connectivity, 8K and 4K production tools and even a dash of AI – with final output in ultra-high-definition (UHD).

CGTN notes 400 5G base stations were installed on the railway to ensure a stable signal transmission, with China Media Group pooling resources with the railway and mobile partners to accomplish the broadcast.


The train-based studio is controlled via a NewTek TriCaster with three fixed cameras and adopts a fully IP workflow. 

“The make-shift studio mainly serves to provide live interviews. In addition, it is capable of providing virtual production and multi-party connection services for TV programs and mobile apps,” notes CGTN.

According to China Railway, the production configuration was the first to remedy technical problems related to data transmission and the Doppler effect, the loss of signal in tunnels and the rapid switching between base stations. 

Along with the train-based virtual production, CGTN is using a variety of virtual storytelling tools for its coverage of the Beijing Olympics.