CEI to build new HD production center NASCAR Media Group

NASCAR Media Group has selected systems integration and engineering firm Communications Engineering (CEI), based in Newington, VA, to design and build integrated systems for a new HD production facility located inside the $100 million NASCAR Plaza building in downtown Charlotte, NC. CEI will be responsible for all aspects of the project, including final design, equipment procurement, systems integration, installation, testing, training and overall project management as well as ongoing technical support.

The massive project, which includes a full HD broadcast facility as well as public entertainment space, is similar in scope to the Newseum in Washington, D.C., which CEI designed and installed the production for in 2007-2008.

The production center is part of the new NASCAR Plaza, located adjacent to the NASCAR Hall of Fame building now under construction. In addition to the multimedia production capabilities, the facility will include a 24/7 news center to service media and news organizations by providing a broad range of content services covering all aspects of stock car auto racing. There will also be a significant amount of available office and retail space.

The new facility will feature control rooms, studio, editing suites, audio sweetening room, archiving, digital master antenna TV system and many other areas covering six floors and 100,000sq ft of two adjoining buildings. The new facility will also use the latest wideband 3Gb/s HD processing and distribution technologies, including 3Gb/s HD and AES routers from Evertz, a Miranda data router and Evertz signal conversion gear. CEI engineers have begun to put together equipment and pretest racks in their facility in Newington. CEI will also provide several conference rooms and custom A/V systems.

Production facilities will include the use of Apple Final Cut Pro workstations for editing, as well as AJA Video Kona cards and Telestream Episode software. Crews will begin installing equipment sometime in the spring of 2010, in time for the official opening of the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

The HD production facility will cover four floors of an office tower and two floors of the adjacent building, which will contain a new studio and control room. The facility will feature a video production control room with a multiviewer and HD switcher; an audio control room; HD studio cameras; broadcast equipment room; voice-over booth; 24 edit suites; audio sweetening rooms, a central editing server; 200TB digital asset management system; HD camera shading; HD playback; satellite control monitoring; duplication and archiving areas; and audio, video and port control routers.

The production department’s color correction and editing suite within the new NASCAR Media Group HD center will include a Quantel Pablo system. The Pablo will initially be involved in the finishing and color correction of the more than 900 post-production projects completed by NASCAR Media Group on a yearly basis. Pablo will be equipped with a Neo control panel as well as Quantel’s Stereoscopic 3D toolset.