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Gearhouse Broadcast: Let’s flyaway in style

Live event coverage is becoming an increasingly popular way to deliver fresh and interesting content to viewers. It can be a cost efficient way of broadcasting original content, filling airtime and reaching new audiences. In most cases a full-spec OB truck would be used, but there are more and more occasions where this is simply not viable. These include budget limitations, lack of available space or access on site, or the extensive shipping required to follow an event around the world, such as a motor racing championship.

As well as noticing a greater demand from the live production industry for smaller and more flexible OB solutions that enable them to cover these types of events, transportation is becoming an increasingly important factor. With airfreight costs continuing to rise, customers are looking to make financial savings wherever possible. Keeping the weight down to an absolute minimum has been key to our thinking with our new OBPod flyaway production solution that we’re launching here at IBC2014. We’ve also taken steps to reduce its on-site rigging and breakdown times to bring crew cost savings to clients.

Using the industry-standard AMP air freight container size as a footprint to simplify the shipping admin, we’ve looked at every element that goes into OBPod. This means we can ensure we’re delivering the lightest solution, yet at the same time not compromising on quality. Where our previous flyaway kit had a honeycomb casing, we’ve now opted for a lighter aluminium system.

One of the big savings we’ve made both in terms of weight and rigging time is by switching it to fibre connectivity between PODS and external areas. This means that less cabling is required, speeding up rigging, and also benefitting from not having to freight heavier copper cable around the world. Even the Grass Valley NVISION 8500 Hybrid router was selected for its relatively small footprint, as well as the fact that it offers HD, embedding, de-embedding and MADI I/O with fibre I/O.

As well as reducing weight and simplifying rigging, OBPod is also our first flyaway solution to come with expandable sides, meaning that the edit pod, EVS pod and production gallery can all be enlarged within the TV compound in a similar way to a standard OB truck. This gives the crew a much larger working environment.

As the demand for content makes live productions an attractive proposition to broadcasters, the ability to offer consistent production infrastructure for contracts offers production the ability to focus on programme delivery and not have to worry about the technical facilities. With smart planning, the right materials and equipment and innovative integration it is possible to make considerable time and cost savings with a flyaway production solution.