BSkyB Selects Calrec’s Apollo Console for 3D Truck

Calrec Audio’s Apollo digital console has been chosen to outfit BSkyB’s highly anticipated 3D production truck. The world’s first custom-designed 3D truck will be operated by U.K. outside broadcast outfit Telegenic, and will hit the roads later this spring, as Sky rolls out Europe’s first 3D TV channel.

Built by A Smith Great Bentley Ltd., Sky’s 3D truck is a triple expanding HD truck with more than 180 square feet of interior space to accommodate up to 24 cameras or 12 stereo camera rigs for full 3D programming. The 48-fader Apollo console has over 1,000 freely assignable channel processing paths, giving the Sky truck full 5.1 digital audio alongside its 3D image capabilities.

“We specified the Apollo not only because we needed cutting edge technology, but operationally it is a natural progression from the Alpha console,” says Keith Lane, Sky Sports’ operations manager. “This is important as it is an easy transition for operators to move from the Alpha platform to the Apollo. In addition, the configurable nature of the control surface gives us scope to develop our techniques as our operations grow.”

The Apollo has up to 78 minutes of assignable delay, an integral asset to Sky’s 3D production capabilities. Processing 3D video adds a significant amount of delay into the chain. Each stereo camera rig is either a side-by-side or beam splitter-mirror rig, and the production team will use a Stereo Image Processer (SIP) controller to set the depth of image.

Sky is also looking at using more discrete embedded audio, using all 16 of the SDI channels. This enables the broadcaster to utilize multichannel audio more effectively.

With a commitment to launching Sky 3D to its commercial customers in April, and then to all residential Sky+HD customers later in the year, the Sky 3D truck will be used weekly on Sky Sports outside broadcasts as well as on other genres of Sky programming. It has been designed to work on all genres across Sky’s output, producing both 3D and 2D programming. Sky has already been trial testing using Telegenic’s T5 unit, which houses a Calrec S2 console.