F&F Productions Readies 4K HDR GTX-18 for Launch This Weekend
The two-unit truck handles native 4K UHD from acquisition through distribution
F&F Productions is getting into 4K HDR production. Its new GTX-18 truck, comprising a double-expandable A unit and a B unit, will make its debut this weekend in Anaheim, producing the Jon Jones/Daniel Cormier UFC PPFV fight offered to AT&T Entertainment/DirecTV viewers in UHD.
“We’ve had a number of customers who asked us about building a 1080p/HDR unit,” says F&F Productions President/CEO George Orgera. “After rallying our team, we decided to build a 4K HDR mobile unit instead.”
It was important, he explains, that the signal remain in native 4K UHD resolution throughout acquisition and distribution and that clients are pleased with the choices made, including Sony HDC-4300 cameras that are fully unlocked, 4K UHD lenses, and true 4K monitor walls throughout the unit.
“There is a lot of uniqueness about GTX-18,” notes Marc Orgera, VP/GM , F&F Productions, “but the one thing we are hearing from our clients that matters the most is, it offers a complete 4K experience throughout. They are happy to have a one-stop mobile unit that can produce 4K HDR, 1080p HDR, 1080p, 1080i, 720p out of one unit.”
The core of the new mobile is a Grass Valley K-Frame Kayenne Elite production switcher with 192 inputs/96 outputs and 9M/E with six downstream keyers per M/E programmable clean feed. A 4K monitor wall with 18 31-in. custom Boland 4K monitors are aboard to give the production team high-quality images. “When our clients are working on a 4K show,” notes Marc Orgera, “we thought it best that they see the same picture quality inside the mobile unit that is going out for transmission. We didn’t want to say no to offering them the true signal.”
Routing is baseband, via an Evertz 560-input/1,134-output router and an Evertz EMR audio router (192×192 AES/48×96 stereo analog). “It’s baseband because of some heat issues that still exist,” says George Orgera, adding that VP, Engineering, Bill McKechney “still has some concerns, though our future mobile unit will be all IP-based.”
The camera and lens complement comprises 14 Sony HDC-4300 and two Sony HDCP-43 cameras that are fully unlocked, four Sony super-slo-mo systems, and 17 Fujinon UHD lenses with eight of the new Fujinon 107×8.4 long lenses and nine handheld/wide-angle lenses. The video area houses a Sony 30-in. BVMX 300-2 4K monitor and Tektronic 4K vectorscopes.
The replay area boasts four 12-channel EVS HD XT4K systems with super-slo-mo, two EVS HD XFile3 archive stations, an EVS Sports Net3 hub, an IPDirector, eight KiPro UHD recorders with 1-TB drives, a Panasonic DVCPRO deck, and a Sony HDCAM deck. There are also four Blackmagic Design 4K video assist recorders with dual SD card and USB thumb drive.
The audio area features a Calrec Artemis Beam V8 digital console with Bluefin2 (64 faders), Genelec 5.1-surround-sound monitoring, Yamaha SPX2000 multi-effects processor, Rane audio delays, dbx 166 XL compressors, two dbx 1046 quad compressors, and more.
“It’s pretty exciting to have some of the most respected engineering teams from the networks walk through the mobile unit and compliment that it is the most capable 4K/HDR unit on the road,” says McKechney. “It makes me very proud of our engineering team.”
Following the UFC event in Anaheim, GTX-18 will handle the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, NC, for CBS/DirecTV and then Telemundo’s Premious Tu Mundo (Your World Awards) in Miami.