NEP’s Latest Truck, M15, Is Hard at Work for Root Sports NW and Mariners Home Games
The all-IP unit is first U.S. NEP truck to rely on Lawo IP routing
NEP US has rolled out its fourth IP truck, and M15 is already on the road for Root Sports NW, supporting the network’s coverage of Seattle Mariners home games.
“It’s a single unit, and the first single unit we have done in a while, but it has a floor plan and design roadmap that we will use for single units going forward,” says NEP U.S. President Glen Levine. “There was a lot of R&D for lightweight material and air-conditioning to make sure it could cool some of the heat next-generation devices generate. The integration team did a fabulous job at being innovative and also meeting the timelines.”
Throughout its interior, M15 offers personalized workstations at all operating positions with USB ports, individualized climate control, and custom lighting. It uses NEP’s latest horizontal control-room design, and the production room features an extremely flexible monitor wall fed by multiviewers with 32-in. monitors.
M15’s equipment features a Lawo/Arista IP router with integrated multiviewers, a first for an NEP unit in the U.S.
“It’s a big change, but NEP in Australia and the Netherlands has had great success with it, and we have a great working relationship with Lawo,” Levine notes. “The IP technology allows us to have more resources in a smaller footprint, and it allows us to be 1080p-, HDR-, and 4K-ready. It also makes it easier to integrate the truck into compounds.”
Also, on board are 10 Grass Valley 86N cameras, including four high-frame-rate Grass Valley LDX 86N XtremeSpeed cameras for 6X super-slo-mo. Seven Fujinon 107X lenses, three Fujinon 24X lenses, and two Fujinon 14X lenses are also on board.
“Production teams are always looking to add value to the production, and high-speed cameras do that,” says Levine. “It’s something needed by both regional and national production teams.”
The front bench features a Grass Valley Kayenne X-Frame switcher with 128 inputs and 64 outputs, and an audio area is based on a Calrec Artemis Beam digital console. The truck also has a 240-port Adam intercom and a ChyronHego Mosaic, HyperX, and Paint Live telestrator. Four EVS XT3 replay servers, with a total of 44 channels, and a six-channel SpotBox are also on board.
“The goal is always to stay current and state-of-the-art,” says Levine, adding that “the XT3 servers have been working well in that region.”
The challenge in cooling engineering environments that are increasingly data centers on wheels is an on-going challenge for everyone in the industry. NEP took steps to investigate efficient ways to move air around the unit, deploying computer simulations to show how the flow changes based on where ducts and equipment are located.
The challenge, says Levine, is that you can add more cooling but that adds weight and requires equipment be removed to make sure the truck stays within weight limits. And then, if you take the equipment out, you don’t need the extra cooling power because there is less equipment generating heat. Of course, in an era when production teams want more firepower, not less, taking out equipment and production tools isn’t an option.
“M15 is an extremely powerful truck, and regional shows are now at similar levels to the national shows,” says Levine. “It will do baseball nine months of the year, but it will be used for other shows.”