OB Team, the outside broadcast arm of Norway's TV2, has taken delivery of two new HD OB vehicles from Sony Broadcast, with all design, systems integration, project management and some nifty ice-adaptations handled by UK-based Broadcast Networks. OB Team initially ordered a small eight-camera vehicle, but with the HD market expanding so quickly the company decided to increase its presence in the market by commissioning two trucks - one fitted with 20 HD cameras and the other with 8 to allow for maximum flexibility.
Broadcast Networks was commissioned to manage the entire project and spent many hours with OB Team designing the system, equipment specification and interior layout of the trucks. Tom Haye, Director of Broadcast Networks, said: "These trucks represent OB Team's first venture into HD, so it was important that we specified the right equipment for their needs. This process took considerable time and input from ourselves and Sony Broadcast's Project Manager, Malcolm Robinson, who has extensive experience in this field."
Haye adds that the weight distribution inside the vehicles was an important factor during the design phase. "In a change from usual practise we moved the audio area to the back of the vehicle and put the technical area at the front. This meant that most of the equipment and cabling was over the front axle, increasing the weight on the driving wheels during icy conditions."
The equipment specification included Sony HD cameras, HDCAM VTRs, HD vision mixer/DVE, HD matrix, HD LCD Monitors, Axon interfacing equipment, EVS HD slo-motion systems, Studer Vista 8 audio system, Dolby processing equipment, Newbury Systems audio monitoring systems and Vitec talkback.
OB Team's technical director Espen Fr_ysa said: "When TV2 bought the rights to cover Premier League football, we recognised that we would need more OB vehicles to cover the additional matches. Our initial conversations with Sony led us to consider going HD because although TV2 doesn't currently broadcast in HD, we expect our trucks to have a lifespan of at least 15 years, so it made perfect sense to futureproof any new vehicles that we were commissioning.
"Broadcast Networks, who were recommended by Sony to handle the project, were absolutely fantastic, especially Tom who put in many hours helping us decide on the right equipment and specification. Instead of simply doing what he thought was best, he asked us what we wanted and worked with that. His suggestions were always really helpful and we're delighted with the new vehicles."
Fr_ysa added that since taking delivery of the trucks at the end of 2006, they have been in constant use covering Premier League football matches and cup finals, as well as a variety of other sporting events including world championship speed skating. One truck was recently used to capture the Norwegian equivalent of the BRITS and in coming weeks the larger vehicle will be used for a live entertainment programme to mark the King of Norway's 70th birthday.
Although both vehicles are primarily providing OB coverage for TV2, they are also available for hire by other broadcasters including Norway's state broadcaster NRK.