TNDV Chooses Cobalt Digital for Signal Conversion in New Full-Size Production Truck
Nashville-based mobile production specialist TNDV: Television has installed seven frames of Cobalt Digital signal conversion and distribution gear in Exclamation, TNDV’s first fully native 1080p and 4K-ready Class A broadcast and production truck. The Cobalt equipment maximizes space inside the new truck while ensuring flexible, efficient signal handling for the largest live productions.
“We needed to pack as much capability and versatility as possible into the space so we could accommodate the large shows for which this truck is intended. Every show has surprise technical requirements — not just a couple of ‘oh, by the way’ requests, but 20 or 30 surprise critical needs that pop up almost hourly on a show site,” said Nic Dugger, owner and president, TNDV. “It’s clear that Cobalt engineers put careful consideration into fitting a great deal of capability into a small space. By having this selection of tools, we can be much more flexible and respond to requests that clients might not have anticipated.”
TNDV’s Cobalt system includes four Cobalt openGear® 9903-UDX-ADDA 3G/HD/SD-SDI universal format converter cards with CVBS/YPbPr video I/O, up/down/crossconversion, frame sync, and AES and analog audio embedding/de-embedding. The cards offer unprecedented multi-input support, flexibility, and ease of use, with easy integration of SDI and analog video and discrete audio. Frame sync provides glitch-free audio upon frame sync events, with user-configurable video/audio offsets.
TNDV also installed two Cobalt 9933-EMDE-ADDA 3G/HD/SD-SDI AES and analog audio embedder/de-embedder cards. Each card provides full 16-channel embedding/de-embedding between AES, eight channels of analog audio, and all four groups of embedded audio.
Exclamation, the eighth truck in the TNDV fleet, is a 53-foot double-expando production truck that covers multicamera live events — productions that often require more than 100 inputs. Even though any given show is designated at a specific resolution — 1080p, 1080i, or 720p, for example — inevitably incoming and outgoing signals must be converted to accommodate multiple flavors of feeds for multiple destinations. The Cobalt system provides maximum versatility so that TNDV can be ready for any possible scenario.
“We treat these hardware tools as a Swiss Army Knife. We never know exactly what we’re going to need them for, but invariably, we always find a way to use them. Frequently, we use them all,” Dugger said. “That’s what happened on Exclamation’s very first show. We used every piece of conversion hardware we had on the truck and actually had to bring in some extras. With Cobalt, we know we’ll have the flexibility to handle unusual client requests on the fly.”
The Cobalt gear also makes audio processing much more convenient. Instead of having to run separate cables for video and audio feeds, TNDV can handle both on the same cable without any loss of quality. The ability to send and receive audio on a single cable and embed/de-embed inside the truck means TNDV can process audio more efficiently and deliver it to its destination more quickly.
“Mobile production companies are challenged to make the most of every bit of space, even in the largest of trucks. That’s just the sort of application that motivated Cobalt to build the industry’s densest DA platform,” said Bob McAlpine, executive vice president of sales and marketing at Cobalt Digital. “I’m so pleased that TNDV once again chose to work with Cobalt, this time including our gear in its newest and largest production truck. As a part of TNDV’s new offering, our high-density, card-based solution will play a critical role in helping TNDV cover bigger live events with more efficiency.”