Mobile TV Group’s Garvin: ‘No Doubt’ Triple-Feed Truck Works
Less than a year after Mobile TV Group’s proposed 33HDX made headlines as the first triple-feed mobile-production system, GM Philip Garvin is calling the endeavor a success.
“I think there’s no doubt that we’ve shown that the triple feed can work,” he says. “We’ve done a few [productions], and it’s worked well in general terms. It tends to be a lot of equipment, which can create a little bit more noise than we would like to have, and so we’re going to have to work on the noise level of the equipment. In a technology sense, being able to feed three production rooms has worked extremely well. It takes two trailers, but it’s technologically very feasible.”
The triple-feed system, first announced in January, consists of three production areas, three integrated audio rooms, and two networked replay areas housed in two trailers: the 53-ft. expando 33HDX and straight truck VMU33. The intention behind the innovative project was to provide a cost-effective way to produce three distinct shows from one mobile unit: for example, a home and away broadcast and a Spanish feed. Thus far, 33HDX has covered all three shows for the Los Angeles Dodgers and Angels.
For Garvin, the key to the triple-feed system lies is the switcher. In a dual-feed truck, the visiting broadcast might have to take an M/E from the home broadcast’s 4M/E shared switcher.
“With the [Grass Valley Kayenne switcher with] K-Frame, you can have up to 9M/E, and so you can leave 4M/E on the home show, so the home show has given up absolutely nothing,” says Garvin. “Then, you can put an M/E or two for the Spanish feed — or the smallest feed — and you can give the visitor 3M/E. That’s what really is at the heart of making the triple feed work.”
MADI also plays a huge role. “You have a principal mixer for the home show, and then you have two other mixers, and they can all be fed off with MADI,” says Garvin. “You can carry 32 or 64 lines on one cable, and the router can patch around MADI between all the mixers.”
After baseball season, 33HDX will return to Mobile TV Group’s Denver headquarters for additional soundproofing, before covering Los Angeles Clippers games, along with any additional broadcast with a Spanish feed.
Says Garvin, “We have absolutely proven that you can have a home show, a small Spanish show, and a substantial visitor-feed show all in two trailers completely interlinked and extremely cost-effectively.”