Cobalt Digital Is a Winner for Lucas Oil

CORONA, CALIF.—Lucas Oil Production Studios, a division of Lucas Oil, produces and edits original, HD motorsports programming for major networks and for the MAVTV television network and Lucas Oil Racing TV, both of which are owned and operated by Lucas Oil Products.

Cobalt video distribution amplifiers and audio embedders were installed in Lucas Oil Production Studios’ newest Alpha truck.

With the growth of its racing series and related production work, Lucas Oil Production Studios has built its fleet to four productions trucks, all equipped with Cobalt Digital gear. With the creation of the newest truck, Lucas Oil Alpha, the company wanted to ensure that all the truck’s equipment met exacting specifications for the rugged world of motorsports video production.


To do so, the Alpha truck has installed a series of Cobalt Digital products. Lucas Oil Alpha is a 53-foot-truck with a 40-foot-expando section, and it’s wired for eight cameras and eight channels of replay. Cobalt equipment in the truck includes the 9910DA-AV analog video distribution amplifier, 9003 3G HD-SDI video distribution amplifier, and 9253 AES distribution amplifier and 9323 HDSDI audio embedder. All of the units are installed in openGear frames.

Cobalt just fit seamlessly into our openGear environment. We were interested in incorporating Dolby E in our new truck, as well as our uplink truck, and Cobalt was the only solution I found that was able to integrate the metadata easily. 


The reliability and durability of equipment are primary concerns, as Lucas Oil Production Studios takes its production trucks into harsh environments. Gear must be able to withstand 120-degree temperatures out in the desert for off-road truck racing or a chilly 16 degrees for a midget sprint car race in Oklahoma. The studios’ engineers consider infrastructure such as distribution amplifiers, audio embedders, and other signal processing gear to be the “backbone” of their production trucks. Despite travel over rough roads and use in extreme environments, the cards must work the first time every time the team arrives on site and gets to work.

So far, we’ve abused it, taking it down some of the roughest roads you can imagine and put it into some of the toughest conditions we’ve ever seen—and the Cobalt gear has worked flawlessly. Durability was the main reason we selected Cobalt cards in the first place, and reliability was a close second. We know that once we plug them in, they’ll work. 

Although Cobalt is known for offering a five-year warranty on its products, Lucas Oil Productions has never had the chance to take advantage of it. In 12 years, not a single Cobalt product has broken or failed for the company. Installation has been easy too, with Cobalt walking the studios’ engineers through any issues or questions.

Lucas Oil Alpha hit the road in March 2017 for its first shoot, and the Cobalt cards have performed without a hitch ever since. Alpha soon will be joined by Lucas Oil Bravo, a new sister truck that features the very same DA infrastructure. We had such success with the first one, why not just copy it and repeat? We’re not joking. Cobalt builds a quality product—cards that get the job done—and they’ve truly been the backbone of our fleet over the past few years.

Justin Conenna is an audio engineer for Lucas Oil Production Studios. He can be contacted at 

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