NEP’s SS24 Unit Debuts With IP Router at NBA All-Star Weekend
NEP’s refurbished SS24 production unit made its big-time debut on Turner Sports coverage of the NBA All-Star Game last Sunday night. “Our integration facility did a great job with getting the trucks ready to go,” says Jason Honkus, director of engineering, U.S. Mobile Units, NEP. “It was a successful launch with zero issues.”
SS24 rolled in to Toronto on Feb. 5, so the team had nearly a week to make final tweaks before it was used to produce the Rising Stars game, which was played at the Air Canada Center on Feb. 12, and was used for the big game on Feb. 14. It is now heading out to Los Angeles, where it will be used for the Academy Awards preshow on Feb. 28. Its future schedule includes CBS NFL and golf coverage.
“An Evertz IP router is at the core of the truck, along with EVS XT3 10-Gbps replay servers, Sony 2000 series cameras, alongside Sony HDC-4300 cameras for super-mo,” adds Honkus. “There is also a whole new control-room monitor wall that is 1080p, and we have the full-blown Grass Valley Kayenne Elite production switcher and a Calrec console with Hydra.”
The new unit is also the first in the industry to rely on an Evertz IP router that makes use of the ASPEN format for encapsulating uncompressed Ultra HD/3G/HD/SD over MPEG-2 transport streams. When combined with existing SMPTE standards — SMPTE ST 302 (audio over TS), SMPTE ST 2038 (ancillary data over TS), the SMPTE 2022 family of IP standards — ASPEN provides broadcasters with a flexible method of transporting video, audio, and data over scalable IP networks. Ultra-low latency with independent video, audio, and ancillary data flows also makes ASPEN ideal for use in production environments and work flows.
“We will be upgrading SSCBS to ASPEN so that the two routers can talk to each other,” says Honkus. “Everyone is trying to get the Evertz routers upgraded to ASPEN so they can talk the same IP language.”
Overall, 23 NEP engineers were involved with the NBA All-Star Game.
“Kudos to NEP because SS24 looks like a brand-new truck and everything functioned as it should,” says Chris Brown, senior director, technical operations, Turner Sports. “They had the Evertz team onsite early in the week, and the NEP engineers had a little bit of a learning curve. But they have done this show for a while and have a really firm handle on the show. And, from a router-programming standpoint, that has helped with the new integration.”