F&F Productions Serves Up New HD Truck for U.S. Open Tennis

The latest state-of-the-art production truck from F&F Productions, GTX 16, is rolling up the East Coast to get in place for its next event: the U.S. Open Tennis Championships, which begin on Aug. 30. Once there, it will be used by both CBS Sports and ESPN as the core production unit for U.S. Open coverage.

“The market is still demanding new trucks,” says Marc Orgera, VP of sales and marketing for F&F Productions. “In September and October, it can still be hard to find an HD truck, and it seems like we were always one truck short with our four HD trucks. So now we can help out our clients.”

Once finished with the U.S. Open, the truck will transition to handling CBS Sports coverage of SEC college football and the NCAA’s Final Four next April. GTX 15, the truck that used to handle those events, will be used by ESPN for the U.S. Open and also for college-football coverage.

The double-expando GTX 16 was built by Spevco and is wired for 24 cameras and 25 VTRs so it can operate without a B unit. Flat-panel monitor walls throughout a redesigned tape area allow operators to be located on both sides of the center console.

Technically, the truck has the latest bells and whistles, including a Grass Valley Kayenne production switcher with a K2 Summit server. It also has five six-channel EVS XT[2]+ servers, a Calrec Apollo audio console with up to 1,020 channel-processing paths, and 3G Evertz router with 288×576 inputs and outputs. The router makes it suitable for both 3D and 1080p productions.

“We get calls for 1080p for concerts and entertainment shows because they are looking to the Blu-ray market,” Orgera says. “The 12 Ikegami HDK-79E cameras will be upgraded to the new 1080p chip when it becomes available.”

For 3D needs, the unit’s LCD monitors can be taken down and replaced with 3D monitors. Orgera says, “We also have the space for 3D video operators and cameras, as the switcher and router are 3D-compliant.”

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