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12.01.2004
Originally featured on BroadcastEngineering.com
HD production trucks move toward a uniform design
HD production trucks
move toward a
uniform design
The demand for HDTV coverage of live TV events has created an incentive for mobile production companies to put more multiformat production trucks on the road. Traditionally, the mobile production market uses two distinct truck designs: those geared toward entertainment events and those specialized for sports events. Equipment and format requirements have differed for these two types of vehicles. Now, new technologies are driving toward one flexible design to allow coverage of a wide variety of events.

Game Creek Video and New Century Productions have begun using a new design. Their adoption of HDTV has given rise to a design concept where routers can address everything from monitors to external connector panels. The ability to save and recall settings systemwide allows them to quickly configure the production environment and minimize setup time. Diversified Systems assisted in engineering and integrating these trucks.

New Century required two production units. NCP VII was designed to handle the largest shows in television, while NCP IV was built for weekly network sports productions. ESPN, CBS and FOX are the primary clients for these mobile units.

Two new trucks built for Game Creek are identical, although the requirements for their intended network destinations — ESPN and YES Network — had quite different production requirements. Designing a flexible infrastructure allowed Game Creek to keep costs under control by using a single design and duplicating the installation.

A key decision in the construction of all these trucks was adoption of SD monitoring for the majority of the sources. The trucks use HD monitors only in critical viewing areas. The teams installed downconverting distribution amplifiers on all sources and tied control of the HD program router to an SD composite router for monitoring. This provided a transparent monitoring solution for the production crew while significantly lowering the cost of monitoring.

Evertz provided distribution, up/downconversion, crossconverters and frame syncs, all controlled by their network control panels. Many different technologies were applied to achieve the level of flexibility required by the end users.

These next-generation trucks can be seen at major sporting and entertainment events throughout the country.

Design team
Diversified Systems:
Duane Yoslov, VP, op.
Nequin Scott and Adam Salkin, lead engs.
Mike McKee and Marcus Mahan, implementation
Game Creek Video:
Pat Sullivan, president
Paul Bonar, dir. of eng.
Jason Taubman, eng. in charge
New Century Productions/WFMZ:
Mike Werteen, VP of marketing
Mike Mundt, sr. VP of eng.
Jack Pakkala, eng. in charge
Equipment List
Game Creek Video Trucks:
PESA: 128x128 HD router, 256x256 SD composite router
NVISION 144x144 AES audio router
Thomson Grass Valley Kalypso 4M/E HD switcher
Calrec Alpha 100 audio console
Sony HDCAMs
Canon lenses

New Century Productions Trucks:
Utah Scientific: 128x128 HD router, 256x384 SD composite router, 208x176 AES audio router, 256x256 analog audio router
Thomson Grass Valley Kalypso 4M/E HD switcher
Yamaha PM1D audio console
Calrec Alpha 100 audio console
Ikegami HD cameras
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