Crosscreek’s New B1 Hits the Road To Cover SEC Basketball Tournaments
Before March descended into full-time Madness, the college-conference basketball tournaments kept production-truck schedules plenty full. Crosscreek Television Productions unveiled its B1 B unit to accompany Voyager 9 in covering the SEC Women’s and Men’s Basketball Tournaments earlier this month.
The women’s tournament was held at Verizon Arena in North Little Rock, AR, March 4-8, with the first three rounds appearing on SEC Network, the semifinals on ESPNU, and the championship game on ESPN. The following week, the men’s tournament took over Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, TN, March 11-15. Once again, SEC Network broadcast the first three rounds, with ESPN taking over for the semifinals and championship.
SEC Network and ESPN operated out of Voyager 9 and B1 for a week prior to both tournaments. Crosscreek’s six-person staff covered the 13 games at each location and also supplied additional Sony 1500 cameras and EVS equipment for the onsite studio show, which was produced onsite.
For the men’s tournament, two above-the-rim cameras, two I-Movix Slam Cams, one RF camera, and one Sony 3300 SSMO camera were added to the camera complement to enhance coverage.
While Voyager 9 handled live game and studio production for both tournaments, B1 played a major role in the production workflow, having officially rolled out on March 2, just in time for the tipoff of the women’s tournament on March 4. For both the women’s and men’s tournaments, it housed additional infrastructure for EVS, Vizrt, Duet, and Avid editing.
“While it was not built specifically for the tournaments, we knew it needed to be able to support events of that size when we started our design process,” explains Jonathan Cline, engineering manager, Crosscreek. “The vision for B1 was to create unique spaces for operators to work in that were open and inviting. Most B units can often feel like an afterthought, and we wanted to change that way of thinking.”
Crosscreek created separate spaces in B1 for submix, replay, and graphics. Each area features single, double, and triple HD-SDI monitors that allow the area to be configured according to the various shows and operators; RTS KP panels; router panels; and audio monitoring.
“The truck is outfitted with audio, video, and data tie lines in each area so we can easily accommodate graphics, replay, non-linear edit suites, or whatever a particular client may need,” says Cline, who oversaw construction of the truck in Crosscreek’s Alabaster, AL, office and helped to tie it into Voyager 9 onsite.
A large production/flex space was outfitted with five LG 40-in. 4K monitors, each with its own user-configurable 12-channel multiviewer with UMDs and tally; three 22-in. VGA monitors; RTS KP panels; router panels; and audio monitoring.
Utah Scientific sent Crosscreek a demo Utah-100/UDS 144 router, which was used to drive all the video monitoring throughout the truck. “Utah had the router to us in three or four days of our phone call, which was fantastic with our short turnaround time,” recalls Cline. “The router was simple to install, and the usability of the interface was self-explanatory. We could not be more happy with the router and the way it performed in the field.”
Voyager 9, which hit the road in 2009, received an upgrade to its LSM (from four-channel to six-channel); added Joseph Electronics’ DFT-12JR signal-transport boxes, which allow 12 channels of HD transport in groups of two-over-one or two single-mode fibers; and added two AJA Video Systems FS1-X frame synchronizers to better support MADI and frame-rate conversion.
With the SEC Tournaments in the rear-view mirror — and SEC Women’s and Men’s Champions South Carolina and Kentucky, respectively, on to the Big Dance — Crosscreek’s schedule will be every bit as full.
“Once we get back from doing the SEC basketball tournaments, we get ready to cover the SEC Women’s Gymnastics Championship and the second round of the Women’s NCAA Basketball Tournament,” says Cline. “It will be a busy March, just the we way we like it.”