Arena Television is one of the largest independently owned and operated outside broadcast providers in the United Kingdom, writes the company’s head of engineering, Gareth Wildman. With a huge fleet of 20 outside broadcast vehicles from double-expanders to small rigid HD trucks, we hold contracts with all of UK’s mainstream broadcasters to provide multi-camera coverage of sporting events, music festivals and large studio-based broadcasts.
The newest addition to our Outside Broadcast fleet is OB14: a powerful truck designed to optimise space and maximise accessibility for venues with limited or restricted access. OB14 features a single ‘super-expanding’ side that makes the overall space in the unit comparable to that of a double-expanding side unit. This 16-camera OB is a single-sided expanding articulated truck with a 40-foot trailer.
In developing OB14, we looked at what was available on the market in terms of new technology since this was going to be our newest truck with a brand new build. We didn’t want to go too far ahead of what we were used to by creating a truck that was totally alien to the engineers working on it. However, we did want to push forward, using new technology in order to make sure we remained competitive and provided everything our clients required.
Evertz has provided us with some great solutions for this latest truck; OB14 is outfitted with two EMR video router crates alongside the VIP-X multi-viewers, Magnum control system, and 5601 series master SPGs and automatic changeover, in addition to Evertz’ 500, 7700 & 7800 series digital glue.
We have used the Evertz VIP Multi-Display system in many of our trucks over the past few years, and this project was no exception. VIPX is an integrated and flexible system which minimises cabling, saving router IO and maximising the space available in our truck – as with all of our trucks we were keen to provide as much production space for our clients as possible with this project.
Evertz equipment is compact, enabling us to fit a lot of equipment into a small space. In addition to its integrated X-LINK technology, we selected the EMR router because of its small form factor for the amount of IO, making it ideal for the space. Furthermore, the Magnum control system allows us to easily control the onboard audio and video routing systems.
As well as routing and multi-viewer technology, OB14 also uses two Evertz 5601 master SPG units and automatic changeover. The 5601 series products have a built-in IntelliTrak signal generator option, which is designed to measure lip sync errors within the broadcast chain. We have installed IntelliTrak enabled glue in our OB14 truck for checking lip sync on our outgoing circuits, giving us the confidence and reassurance that all the audio and video is perfect before it leaves the truck without the need to employ additional third party equipment.
Developing this truck with Evertz was a great way to move forward with a trusted supplier, while ensuring our trucks are equipped with some of the newest and most innovative equipment available on the market today. OB14 was deployed three months ago and has already been used in a wide variety of events in the UK which include providing world feed coverage of the Royal Wedding from Horseguards Parade and The Mall, along with numerous sporting events and Lambing Live for BBC.