With HD2, Raycom Doubles Down on Remote Production
Raycom Sports’ first foray into the remote-production world was so fulfilling that the company is coming back for seconds.
In the summer, Raycom unveiled HD2, a 53-ft. expando unit designed to meet sports production’s developing needs and to handle the growing Atlantic Coast Conference sports-rights packages that Raycom had acquired. It is a technological step forward from the original HD1, which debuted in 2011, most notably in that it is 1080p-capable.
“We design these trucks, certainly, to take care of our shows,” says Technical Operations Manager Charles Moye, “but we really look at the other vendor trucks that are working for ESPN and Fox and try to build in as much of that as we can, because that outside business is very important to us.”
The 1080p-capable gear includes the Grass Valley Kayenne 4M/E switcher, the truck’s routing, and the camera paths. The camera arsenal is an upgrade in HD2, with Raycom moving from the Sony HDC-1500 (nine of them in HD1) to the Sony HDC-2550 with Canon lenses.
Raycom Sports also invested in a significant change in its own workflow by turning to two six-channel EVS XT3 systems for replay, a more networked, file-based workflow that will help Raycom acquire outside work for the mobile unit in its off-seasons.
“They built in a lot more transcoding because of the different codecs we run into from client to client,” says Moye, adding that Raycom is also looking at upgrading HD1 — which currently runs its replay workflows off an EVS XT2+ — in the next year. “[It] really streamlines the whole process, and that’s something that we’re going to see more of. Sure it would be nice if everyone could get on the one codec, but it’s just not going to happen.”
HD2 takes a step forward on the audio front with the installation of the Calrec Artemis Light with Bluefin2. The truck is also outfitted with a collection of 12 Sennheiser microphones.
The trailer was built by Gerling and Associates in Ohio and integrated by Diversified Systems in Santa Clara, CA, the same pairing that helped Raycom develop HD1.
“Diversified paired us with the same designers that worked on HD1 with us, and that was a huge benefit because those guys were familiar with HD1 and only had to tweak that design some,” says Moye. “We did the same thing at Gerling with the layout. There are subtle things that you might not even notice when you walk into the truck but, for us, made a big difference.”
HD2’s primary responsibility is to serve the ACC network’s top-flight college football and men’s-basketball telecasts. It got its first reps in August working a few NFL preseason games for local networks. From there, Raycom will look to contract the unit out to other networks, like ESPN, which will use HD2 to produce the Charleston Classic college basketball tournament in late November.
“The feedback that you get from the director and the producer is huge,” notes Moye, stressing the financial importance of the truck’s outside work. “Those are the guys that really determine whether you’re coming back.”