High Rock Mobile Televisions’ High Rock 1 Hits the Road for Carr-Hughes Productions and More
The 40-ft. dual expando provides big-truck capability in a smaller footprint
As a long-time packager and producer of the world’s biggest sports events, Carr-Hughes Productions was no stranger to working with mobile-production vendors. A few years ago, Carr-Hughes made the decision to become a mobile-production vendor itself, and High Rock Mobile Television was born. Its first production truck, High Rock 1, hit the road for the first time earlier this summer.
“We looked at is as an opportunity,” says producer/director Jim Carr. “With the kind of money that we were spending every year in the rental market, we could take that money and put towards our own vehicle that was built for our programs [and] also would be available for others to rent. I think it’s a very complete package for a truck of this size. It’s got all the equipment that a lot of the bigger trucks would have — just in a smaller footprint, which we think will help us out in locations like New York City and in same-day set/shoot shows. We can set this thing up pretty quickly.”
High Rock 1 is 40-ft. dual expando constructed on a Gerling & Associates Super Stallion Dual-Stage Expansion Class trailer and integrated by Bennett Systems. Both Gerling & Associates and Bennett Systems are based in Sunbury, OH; Carr-Hughes Productions/High Rock Mobile TV, which recently joined SVG as a mobile/integrator sponsor, is located in Saratoga Springs, NY.
The truck features a 4M/E Grass Valley Kayenne K-Frame switcher, 254×456 SD/HD/3G Utah Scientific 400 Series router, two-channel ChyronHego Mosaic CG, three EVS XT3 replay servers (two 12-channel, one four-channel), and a Calrec Artemis Light digital audio console. In addition, the truck includes a variety of terminal gear from Evertz, Tektronix, Image Video, and Cobalt Digital.
Wired for up to 12 cameras, High Rock 1 comes equipped with seven Sony HDC-17000L’s, an HDC-4300 super-slow-motion camera, and a range of Canon HD lenses. The truck also comes equipped with several microphone options from Sennheiser, Audio-Technica, and Sony. Additional equipment can be rented separately or combined with the High Rock 1 rental.
“We configured the truck to work with anywhere from six to 12 cameras pretty easily,” explains Carr. “Then, we integrated 32 frame syncs, which really helps us when we do events like horse races, where we take a lot of split feeds in from the race-track coverage. We may have eight to 10 cameras that we’re doing [from the truck], but then we’re adding anywhere from 15 to 20 cameras from a venue.”
In addition to horseracing coverage, High Rock 1 has found success with track-and-field events — notably, NBC Sports’ coverage of the famed 5th Avenue Mile on Sept. 10. According to High Rock Mobile Television, High Rock 1 was designed for all levels of production and with similar specs as traditional 53-ft. production truck, just in a smaller footprint.
With a wide variety of events comes a wide variety of freelancers, and High Rock Mobile Television wanted to ensure that the equipment found in High Rock 1 would be familiar to personnel used to operating out of a 53-ft. truck. Selecting gear like the Grass Valley switcher, EVS XT3 servers, and Sony cameras will also come in handy if High Rock 1 works a larger event and needs to integrate with the facilities of a larger unit.
Currently, High Rock 1 is based in Upstate New York — conveniently, a few hours from cities like New York, Boston, Albany, and Montreal — but the team behind the truck sees the possibility for travel outside the Northeast U.S., depending on what productions make sense for the truck. For now, executives at Carr-Hughes Productions — now considered a sister company to High Rock Mobile TV — are excited to have at their disposal a truck designed for their needs.
“A big headache for us when we’d go in and do a series of shows was having a different truck every week: a different set of engineers, a different layout, different equipment. It really made it difficult sometimes to have consistency,” says Carr. “One thing we’re looking forward to is having a consistency with this truck: to be able to know this is how we had the router set up, this is how the monitor wall was set up. I think it’ll make our labor and our setup days go a lot easier. That’s a big thing for us.”