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Creating a cinematic look for outside broadcasts

Procam Take 2 technical director Dan Studley talks to TVBEurope about the company's new OB truck OB1, and why the technology inside contains is an industry first

Earlier this year Procam Take 2 launched OB1, the UK’s largest cinematic-facing outside broadcast truck. TVBEurope caught up with the company’s technical director Dan Studley to find out more.

How long has the truck been on the road?

OB1’s first job was the iconic return of Liam Gallagher to Knebworth at the beginning of June 2022. Liam performed over two nights and had 16 cameras and a drone capture the event.

How long did it take to kit out the truck with the technology?

The re-fit of the truck took around three months. We did a couple of shoots in an adapted configuration, and once we knew what we needed to work on we took the truck off the road, installed the vision mixers, upgraded the router, rebuilt the video jackfield and added a new door to the production area.

Where do you think it will get most use, film production, sport, live events?

Live music is where the truck has really thrived. We tend to do a live music event every fortnight, either capturing the event for an edit, live to air, or both.

What technology have you installed?
  • Custom built Lens Control Hardware for controlling cine lenses
  • Two vision Mixers; Ross Carbonite Ultra and Black Magic Constellation
  • LUT boxes for LOG to Rec709 conversion
  • EVS Cerebrum control software and panels
  • Riedel Comms with Bolero
  • 3G licenses for all monitoring hardware
Why have you chosen that technology?

The lens control hardware is something that we’ve developed in-house. It offers producers the option of iris control on any camera with a geared lens on up to eight cameras, although we hope to increase this to 20 over the next year. The way we deploy this technology is unique to us and I’m pretty confident that having it installed in an OB truck is an industry first.

People wouldn’t normally expect to have two vision mixers in a truck; however our experience has shown that having this flexibility with cinema cameras offers producers a huge range of assets that they can take to the edit. The most popular is having a painted line cut that matches an HDR line cut which can be taken to edit for quick turnarounds.

LUT boxes are a great rough and ready way to get LOG pictures looking closer to the final product. Without them, the images that are pushed around the truck would be flat and desaturated.

You’ve set the truck up for what you describe as progressive formats, can you explain that a bit more? 

The truck can not only handle all interlaced broadcast standards like 50i and 60i, but also all the progressive cinematic formats like 23.98p, 25p, 30p, 50p and 60p. This is unique to OB1 as the whole TX chain can cope with any format, giving producers and directors full control of their broadcast standard from capture to broadcast.

Do you expect to launch more trucks with the same capabilities as OB1?

We think that this is only the beginning of our OB fleet. We are already seeing that having an additional larger unit would hugely benefit us and our clients, so watch this space…