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Megahertz showcases all-IP OB truck

Built and delivered by Megahertz, Spiritland’s new 18-tonne luxury OB truck will take centre-stage at IBC

Megahertz Ltd will be showcasing Spiritland Productions’ one-of-a-kind, large format, versatile sound and video outside broadcast (OB) truck at its IBC stand 12.F20, between 13-17 September, 2019 (Rai, Amsterdam, Netherlands).

Based on an 8.5m box-body Mercedes Benz Antos rigid chassis with coach building handled by Spectra Specialist Engineering Ltd., Spiritland Productions’ bespoke truck contains an end-to-end IP infrastructure. Audio runs entirely on a Dante Network, which is truly cutting edge for an OB of this specification and size. The truck is Dolby Atmos capable and was designed in collaboration with Dolby in order to provide the best possible monitoring and mix environment for live music.

The Megahertz-built luxury mobile production vehicle, named ‘Spiritland One’, was delivered to the broadcast audio specialist in early June, and went on the road following just one week of successful testing, covering a week of live television and radio broadcasts on BBC4, BBC Radio3 and BBC Radio Wales for the prestigious Cardiff Singer of the World Competition. From there it was put to use as a post production mix facility for a large-scale BBC Radio2 concert, and, at time of writing, it is currently being used for record and live mix of a Burt Bacharach special concert at the Hammersmith Apollo.

“What we most enjoy about working with Megahertz is their precision and attention to detail, as well as their level of knowledge and transparency when it comes to recommendations and guidance on manufacturers. They truly wanted us to make the absolute most of our investment,” said Gareth Iles, co-founding director of Spiritland Productions. “Having a truck working on an end-to-end IP infrastructure is incredibly efficient, not only in terms of reducing the amount of equipment we work with, but also in terms of time saved at the venue which allows us to focus our energies on creating a better sounding product.”

Drawing on the team’s vast experience of large OB, Spiritland Productions requested top of the range equipment for the truck, including an SSL System T broadcast audio production desk and console, Barefoot speakers and the KH range of Neumann monitors. The vehicle carries 128 SSL mic amps as standard, an Optocore stage system that runs both Dante and Riedel Bolero communications network, as well as eight stage MADIs that can be plugged straight into devices for greater streamlining.

“We had 18 tonnes to play with and unusually, for an audio OB truck, the majority of the weight is proportioned to the sound proofing. If we were trying to achieve this with traditional technologies, the facilities would have cost 50% more, and we would have needed a lot more space. IP-based technology is a game changer and in choosing to partner with Megahertz, we are confident the truck will continue to fulfil the technical and ergonomical requirements both now and for our customers of the future.”

Unsurprisingly Spiritland Productions, as experts in their field, delivered a clear brief regarding equipment selection and layout, including the all-IP infrastructure and flexible working positions within the truck. However, taking full advantage of Megahertz’s consultancy, design and build services, the collaboration has achieved an outstanding output for both parties.

“These types of projects, where the production company is thinking holistically about the vehicle’s ergonomics, working environment, green credentials, brand and style, on top of such an advanced technical spec, don’t come around very often,” said Jon Flay, managing director, Megahertz. “We’re honoured to be a key partner in this endeavour with Spiritland Productions.”

With Spiritland Productions heritage set firmly from the infamous Spiritland recording studios in Central London, the aesthetics of the truck were critical.

Spiritland Productions worked with Megahertz and coachbuilder, Spectra Specialist Engineering Ltd., to carefully spec and install high-quality furnishings and luxury materials into the truck, ensuring the output met the expectation and range of the high calibre of guests using the facility both now and in the future. To maximise the functionality of the interior, the layout is designed to include a removable sofa and table in the guest seating area, making the space much more versatile by increasing its size – and offering the ability to add video mixing when necessary.

Spiritland Productions already have a packed 2019, and in its first year on the road the all-IP OB truck is expected to cover some of the UK’s most high-profile festivals and concerts for both live television and radio, as well as major sporting hospitality events in Europe.