Horse racing specialist outside broadcast provider, RaceTech, had its second new HD truck gallop into action over the weekend, just in time for this week’s Aintree Grand National, writes David Fox.
It will receive its third new truck later in the month, in the colours of Racing UK (the association of race course owners) which has given RaceTech a five year contract to cover racing in HD, primarily for its DTH channel. The trucks are also being used to supplement BBC and Channel 4 coverage, for Turf TV’s betting shop service, and for the on-course TV feed. Each OB also has to provide iso feeds to race stewards, who need to be able to access all the angles to see the race was fairly run.
Each truck has four main areas: Engineering/vision control; Integrity (iso) Recording on XDCAM discs; a main large production area; and a small production area. “Although it is configured like a normal OB truck, which concentrates on one output, we do three,” explained Mick Both, director technical operations, RaceTech. “The truck has to be versatile, as does the staff in making it work.”
The trucks are built around Evertz 128×128 routers, plus a 24-input Grass Valley Kayak 1.5M/E vision mixers. For audio it chose Yamaha DM1000 digital consoles (one in each production area), which just do a stereo mix. They use Trilogy Communications’ Commander matrix intercoms.
Each 12m truck has six Grass Valley LDK 4000 Elite race cameras, with 72x Canon lenses, and two portable cameras for presenter services. They are cabled for ten cameras, but can accept three or four radio cameras (using Gigawave links) as well as external inputs via synchronisers.
For the Grand National RaceTech is using two extra race cameras, plus two presenter cameras for the on-course programme, plus two cameras for Racing UK’s programme, as well as considerable integration with the BBC. It will also take a feed from BBC cameras, such as an overhead shot from the helicopter.
RaceTech invested about £7million in the project, which came in on time, something Both hadn’t seen before. Megahertz did the systems integration, and Spectra were the coachbuilders.
There will be a full report on RaceTech’s HD OB trucks, the technology they use and the demands of horse racing coverage in the May issue of TVBEurope.
Horse racing photograph from www.horseracingphoto.co.uk