Turner Transforms SD Truck Into All-HD Unit

Turner Studios, the broadcast production division of Turner Entertainment Group, recently transformed its TS#1, formerly an SD truck, into an all-HD unit. The newly refurbished unit was launched in late February, and will primarily cover Turner-related sporting events. Gear from Canon, FOR-A, and Ikegami make up a significant portion of the TS#1’s HD equipment list.
“The main driver behind the launch of TS#1 is the launch of TNT-HD on May 17,” said Craig Heyl, senior vice president, Turner Studios. “But the HD transition was a necessity for us. The equipment on the trucks was at a point where we had to go [SD] digital or digital HD, and based on our designs, it was more cost-effective for us to go ahead and make the jump to HD.” TNT-HD will be Turner’s first all-high definition channel.
The design and build-out of the TS#1 was undertaken completely by Turner Studios. Some of the gear staffers outfitted it with include Canon Digi Super 100XS, Digi Super 86XS, and HJ21x7.8 lenses, FOR-A DCC-700 MU and DCC-700H MU HDTV color correctors, and Ikegami HDK-79E camera heads, SE-79D system expanders, and the CCU-790A. The CCU-790A is a new product from Ikegami, which allows users to get both fiber and triax out of the same CCU. According to Teri Zastrow, director of sales and marketing for Ikegami, it is especially useful to truck operators because it helps them make efficient use of a small amount of space while providing them with the flexibility of using either fiber or triax.
Gordon Tubbs, assistant director of Canon broadcast and communications, said a key reason Turner went with Canon for its lenses was their excellent image stabilization. “You wouldn’t think a big stadium moves,” he said. “But when you’re on that telephoto, as the people start clapping and jumping up and down, you’ll actually see the picture move.”
Both Tubbs and Zastrow see the TS#1 build-out as an example of how HD has become a reality in the production industry: “In the past year, we’ve really seen a big shift toward HD production, and Turner is a big part of it,” said Tubbs. “People have been talking about it, TV stations have been implementing the infrastructure they need to transmit it, and we’re finally now really seeing heavy HD production.”
“We’ve seen that mobile production companies especially have been building more and more HD trucks,” said Zastrow. “We have a longstanding history with Turner, and are quite pleased that they have gone from Ikegami SD to HD cameras when they made the transition.”
Turner Studios is a preferred vendor at Philips Arena in Atlanta, so the truck will be shooting a lot of games there. Heyl said it will take on work outside of Turner projects, when time permits.
Not that Turner needs it. “TNT is the home of the NBA on Thursday nights,” said Heyl. “That’s going to be a signature programming production for TNT, and it’s basically built-in internal business for us.”
Turner also plans to eventually upgrade another SD truck, the TS#2, to high definition as well.