U.S. Open coverage relies on NEP ND3 truck
The U.S. Open golf championship is underway at the Winged Foot Golf Course in Mamaroneck, N.Y. and while the deep rough and Tiger vs. Phil will be all the talk on the course, off the course it will be NEP’s new remote unit that will turn heads.
The unit, known as ND3, will be at the center of the NBC Sports HD
production that will bring 134 technicians and approximately 22
production personnel to the famed course.EP s new 53-foot dual-trailer remote unit that will turn heads.
The unit, known as ND3, will be at the center of the NBC Sports HD production that will bring 134 technicians and approximately 22 production personnel to the famed course.
This is the largest and newest MU facility in the country, says Mike Meehan, NBC Sports VP of operations. It can do all of NBC s golf events on its own with the exception of the Players Championship and the Open where we like it with an additional unit.
Among the features in the truck are the ability to house 14 EVS operators who will slice and dice replays and help build the show. Transmission to 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York is via two HD satellite paths and one SD fiber path.
The truck is normally outfitted with 24 Sony HD cameras and Canon lenses but Meehan says 8 standard-definition cameras are on hand for RF feeds. High-def RG technology has not quite reached the point that an HD solution is feasible, says Meehan. So we ll be doing 16×9 upconverts to HD.
With the use of two trailers ND3 gives NBC staffers and freelancers more room than ever to get comfortable during the long days of golf telecasts. In the A truck, for example, the main production team (the TD, producer, assistant TDs, etc.) will be housed in a 24×12 room separate from another 24×12 room that will house the graphics staff. The B unit includes an audio room with enough depth for Surround Sound and a tape room.
Double the fun
It s only recently that mobile production builders have begun building mobile units with two trailers. As broadcasts have moved to HD the early generation HD gear added more bulk and weight to the production and, in order to get the trucks on the road and under weight restrictions a second truck was deployed to carry gear.
We realized that as long as we needed a second truck to help keep within weight requirements why not make it integral to the show?, says George Hoover, NEP Broadcasting SVP, engineering. It gives everyone more room and allows us to have twice as much air conditioning which is always the bane of the mobile truck because everyone leaves the door open.
The truck has a number of features that will allow NBC Sports to flip it from golf to NFL football for the upcoming season of Sunday Night Football. For example, Panasonic LCD panels handle the monitoring needs. The LCD panels, coupled with an Evertz MVP multi-image display and monitoring system, can cut up the LCD monitors for viewing multiple signals as needed.
Evertz MVP a requirement
The Evertz system is a requirement in this truck, says Hoover. Tape operators working on an NFL game typically have two cameras assigned to them and they seldom switch inputs. But in golf they ll need to be able to see up to 50 camera locations at once so they can cut the show properly. Each tape position in the truck has two Panasonic LCD panels stacked in front of it and, with the help of the Evertz unit, the screen can accommodate the feeds.
The tape area has 11 EVS XT2 servers (10 with six channels) plus a DNF Controls ShotBox for replay needs. A couple of Sony SRW decks are also on hand for recording and playback. Golf is really aided by TV, says Hoover. In golf the recordist will cut from shot to shot on the EVS units as much of the broadcast is played back from the servers.
The decision to rely on LCD panels is still one that not all mobile production companies are comfortable with but Hoover says they re the only way to let someone view 50 screens at once while also addressing weight, heat, and wiring issues. For mission-critical monitoring or editing and lip sync, however, CRT monitors are on hand.
The main production area is centered around a Sony MVX8000A with four mix effects, an eight-channel DVEous unit, and a four-channel EVS with a DNF Controls ShotBox. The main production area is also LCD based to ensure the director has a reasonably good-sized HD monitor. A 20-inch CRT monitor will only have an HD image that is 9 inches high if it s letterboxed, says Hoover. The LCD panels also ensure the director has images of all the cameras on the course within his field of view when sitting 60 inches from the screens. He can see 48 cameras without turning his head.
As for graphics, the graphics area is based around Avid Deko 3000 character generator and a Thunder still store for playback and compositing. It will operate in SD mode for the golf season but then make the move to HD for football.
Bigger, better audio
In the audio area Hoover says the back wall is no longer located six inches behind the mixer. The result is rear-channel audio monitors have enough distance to let the mixer more accurately mix a 5.1 channel mix.
A Calrec Alpha console with 72 double-layer faders is at the center of the room. With so many channels of playback from EVS servers you definitely need more faders for the stereo and 5.1 mix, says Hoover. Right now Calrec is the hot digital console in the remote marketplace and Calrec has a long history of an extremely intuitive user interface.
That s important, adds Hoover, when different mixers work on the truck and need to be able to walk in and get up to speed in 30 minutes or less. You can sit down at the board and get audio going through it in a couple of minutes, says Hoover.
Outboard processing gear from Dolby, Rane, NVision digital audio delays and a large audio router from Grass Valley are also on hand. The Concerto pulls in signals regardless of flavor and dumps them into a time-division multiplex matrix which lets us get send the signals wherever we want, explains Hoover. We can take a digital feed off of tape and get it on an analog Fostex deck without conversion equipment and patching.