Lyon Video Upgrades for Longhorn Network With Lyon 3 and 4
It turns out everything is not always bigger in Texas.
When Lyon Video first partnered with ESPN to supply a pair of mobile units for the Longhorn Network in summer 2011, the network was looking for a custom fit for the new business venture. One of the primary customizable features was a smaller body frame to ensure that the trucks could fit in the rather tight parking spaces on the University of Texas Austin campus.
“We sent someone down there, and we learned that there wasn’t much space, not so much for the technology but the bodies,” says Chad Snyder, account manager at Lyon Video. “We worked with them for the first six months [of the network] to see how it was going to go. Then we custom-designed the trailer to work within the designated confines and maximize that footprint because of the amount of people they had working in the vehicle.”
Now more than two years into the partnership, Lyon Video has upgraded its Longhorn Network line to Lyon 3 and 4, a pair of nearly identical 43-ft. expando units launched in early 2013.
Built around Grass Valley Kalypso 4M/E switchers, the trucks are capable of connecting up to 11 Grass Valley cameras with FUJINON lenses — although Longhorn Network productions typically push only five to seven cameras.
Key to Lyon 3 and 4 are its dual fiber and copper infrastructure, which was necessary to meet the differing needs at the numerous campus venues the trucks broadcast from.
“We really designed a fiber infrastructure that coincides with and is part of the truck infrastructure,” says Snyder. “We’ve done fiber infrastructure before but not on [this] scale. [Texas] has some venues that work on copper, so they needed to be able to do both and do them without the network or the operators’ really feeling the difference. It’s just whatever cables you put out for the day.”
Inside 3 and 4, Lyon was one of the first to install a Calrec Artemis Beam console with Bluefin2 HDSP technology for audio. The trucks also boast a clean, advanced internal-communications system that puts announcer pickups right in the booth. The A1 has control from the operator control panel and can designate the amount of IFB in the announcer headset.
Lyon 3 and 4 work more than just the University of Texas circuit. ESPN has called on the pair to assist on broadcasts of the 2103 NBA Conference Finals and NBA Finals (where they were matched up with NEP trucks in support) and the Home Run Derby at the 2013 MLB All-Star Game at Citi Field in New York.
These trucks have replaced Lyon 1 and 2 at Longhorn Network. Lyon 1, a 38-ft. expando, is still in Lyon’s fleet. Lyon 2, however, was disabled, and some of its components were used to build 3 and 4.
This year, Lyon Video also upgraded the switchers in Lyon 11 and 12 to the Grass Valley Kayenne for 3G operation.