CSP Rolls Out High-End Partner for HD4

Every great superhero needs a suitable sidekick, and that’s just what CSP Mobile Productions rolled out for its newest mobile unit, HD4. After launching HD4 in December 2013 and deploying the truck as a standalone unit during 2014, CSP launched a dedicated B unit to travel with the truck at the request of Fox Sports for its FS1 college-football package.

“We were talking with Fox, especially at NAB, and then they came to us at the end of June and asked us to put together a B unit to go along with that truck for a multiyear college-football contract,” says CSP Mobile Productions President Len Chase. “We got the official go-ahead the last week of June, so we were given approximately nine weeks to turn this thing around.”

CSP was able to secure the trailer for a mobile unit that Raycom Sports had recently retired, allowing the mobile-facilities provider to meet the extremely tight build-out window. CSP brought the former Raycom truck into its shop, broke it down to the bare walls, and started from scratch. CSP completed the bulk of the interior, while Little Bay Broadcast served as the systems integrator on the rebuilt unit.

“The pieces fell into place,” says Chase. “If we hadn’t found [the Raycom truck], we would not have made the deadline, because just to build a box is usually a 120- to 150-day proposition and that was our entire allotted time for this project. Even with the [Raycom truck], we were still working around each other to get it done: as [Little Bay] was cabling, we were building walls and racks.”

A 51-ft. straight truck, the B unit is fully integrated with the A unit via fiber. It houses as many as 10 workstations and is wired for up to three Vizrt CG systems, two 1st-and-10–line systems, two scorebugs, and four EVS replay servers. Other key components in the B unit include a new Cobalt multiviewer and a standalone Utah Scientific 144×144 router tied to the A-truck router.

“As far as the engineers are concerned, it is just an extension of the A-unit router, says Chase, “but the B unit can also do all of its own switching if necessary.”

The B unit made its official debut on Aug. 28 at Husky Stadium in Seattle, working the University of Washington-Rutgers University Fox Sports 1 football game.

The B unit is just the latest chapter in the busiest building era in CSP’s history. The HD4 A unit marked the company’s fourth new mobile unit in just three years. HD4, which is built around a Grass Valley Kayenne K-Frame production switcher (4.5M/E) and is fully 1080p-capable, worked ESPN college basketball throughout early 2014 followed by Arena Football League (a Tupelo Honey production for either CBS Sports Network or ESPN), mixed martial arts (also Tupelo Honey for NBCSN), Major League Lacrosse (CBS Sports Network), and Major League Soccer (Salt Lake Real and Chicago Fire) throughout the summer and fall.

Despite the busy schedule throughout 2013, CSP was able to bring HD4 into its shop several times to prepare for the addition of a B unit. In addition to expanding its RTS intercom infrastructure to accommodate the additional dozen intercoms in the B unit, CSP expanded the A unit’s router to allow the two units to seamlessly exchange feeds.

“Every time HD4 came in, we worked on it a little so it could work with the B unit,” says Chase. “We now have the capability of passing 98 signals between the A an B units all on fiber. We had to expand the router capability in the A unit to make that happen. And all the tally information and everything else can be shared back and forth between the A and B units, so that it has the same flow as if you were sitting in the A unit.”

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