When it comes to the mobile production market, keeping up with technology and being ready to address the future is an ongoing technical and economic challenge. Today, it is clear that for the sports entertainment world, customer demand is for HD. Dome Productions has been steadily and progressively adding to its complement of HD production vehicles. With the commissioning of Thunder, its fifth HD truck, Dome put its considerable knowledge gained through many years of experience to good use in a design, which became the foundation for the construction and implementation that AZCAR provided.
Selecting the proper mix of equipment to yield the greatest functionality goes hand in hand with keeping the vehicle’s gross weight under control. Striking the right balance can be a difficult and sometimes compromising task. To achieve the right mix, Thunder made extensive use of fiber optics to not only carry multiple signals on a single cable but also to reduce the weight.
Traditionally, Dome’s internal engineering group had designed and integrated everything in-house; however, timelines being what they were and internal resources already stretched, it was time to take a slightly different approach. Dome Productions has been at the forefront of HD mobile production vehicle advancement in Canada. AZCAR is a leader in HD broadcast system integration and production and was chosen for this project because it could dovetail with Dome’s internal resources and bring complementary management, experience and engineering expertise to the project.
With a 3-D eye to the future, Dome invested in the technologies that could take it to 1080p60, the format necessary for live stereoscopic 3-D productions when its clients see the need. This included the installation of an Evertz EQX 3Gb/s router (288 x 180 HD/SD SDI video with 128 x 128 AES audio) and a cable infrastructure that was capable of handling the bandwidth and return loss characteristics of a 4.25GHz signal parameter. Ten switchable Sony HDC-1500R cameras in both hard and soft configurations allow for addressing the flexibility that sports and entertainment venue operations require. Sixteen channels provided by an EVS XT LSM server complement Sony HDCAM and Sony SR high-bandwidth digital video recorders. Sound is managed with numerous Dolby E and surround encoder/decoder products, with surround mixing on a Calrec Sigma mixing deck with Bluefin, a 320-channel processor system capable of 8 x 5.1 surround, stereo or mono audio groups.
The Grass Valley Kalypso HD 4M/E production switcher, Abekas Dveous/MX dual-channel DVE and Chyron HyperX2 SD/HD graphics CG make up video production. A complement of audio support equipment includes the RTS Adam intercom, Wohler AMP2 audio monitors, Ward Beck AMS8-1AM monitors, Crown CTs-4200 amplifiers and JBL loud speakers.
The 53ft trailer features a 41ft by 5ft expando section that provides ample room for the three-deck production center and the 25ft-long transmission and video support area. Thunder’s first production was for MLB, which aired May 12, 2009.
Post & network production facilities
Submitted by AZCAR
Dome Productions: Mary Ellen Carlyle, sr. VP and general mgr.; Mike Johnson, dir. of eng.; Derrick Whittington, design and technical support
AZCAR: Matthew Brown, proj. mgr.; Patrick Gordon, installation supervisor; Ryan Heidendahl, lead eng.; Ricardo Romero, CAD and documentation; Gord Rickard, fabrication mgr.
Technology at work
Abekas: MX dual twin-channel DVE
Calrec: Sigma audio mixing deck with Bluefin
Canon: XJ86x9.5 and XJ72x9.5 lenses
Chyron: HyperX2 SD/HD CG
Crown: CTs-4200 amplifiers
Dolby: DP570 audio tool, DP563 surround encoder, E 571 encoders and 572 decoders, LM100 loudness monitor
Evertz: EQX26 routing, VIP-X multi-image viewer
EVS: XT2 LSM servers
Grass Valley: Kalypso HD 4M/E switcher
Harris: TVM waveform measurement, X75 frame syncs
RTS: Adam 128 x 128 intercom
Sony: BVM A14 QC displays, HDC-1500R 1080i/720p/24p cameras, HDCAM SRW-5500 and HDW-M2000 VTR
TV Logic: LVM control room displays
Ward Beck: AMS8-1AM monitors
Wohler: AMP2 audio monitors