NEP SuperShooters goes green for HBO Boxing

By Ken Kerschbaumer

Long-time NEP client HBO Sports is the first customer to benefit from a new “green” approach to outside broadcast vehicle design, as the new NEP SS17 53-foot truck built for HBO Boxing not only reduces fuel consumption but also power consumption. “NEP SS17 is the first of a planned series of new or replacement mobile units over the next couple of years that will be comprised of four identical trailers, equipped with the same hardware and with the same layout,” says George Hoover, NEP SuperShooters CTO. “This will reduce travel and, therefore, fuel, by having units more strategically located throughout the country.”

The new unit was originally slated to roll out for HBO Boxing in April. But when the match was canceled its debut was at one of the most important boxing events on HBO in years: a live Oscar De La Hoya fight from Primm, NV, that wasn’t on PPV. The 14-camera production had a team of six NEP staffers and manufacturers like Harris and Ikegami on hand to ensure everything went smoothly.

“The use of lightweight composite materials and virtual monitor walls reduces SS17 to a single trailer for most shows, further reducing fuel consumption and emissions,” says Hoover. “This newer single trailer design consumes two-thirds less power and operates with environmentally friendly Freon-free HVAC systems as well.”

When the four trucks are completed it will benefit HBO Sports as well as the environment. “It will be easier for us to have an East Coast show followed by a West Coast show,” says Jason Cohen, HBO Sports director of production.

The new truck mirrors the previous one (SS19) with some subtle differences in layout and replay and major enhancements to routing and infrastructure via GVG Jupiter and a move to an all EVS XT[2] facility with more memory and channels. “We can get highlights on air more quickly and that’s important in boxing,” says Cohen.

Adds John Micale, HBO Boxing VP of sports production, “We went from two six-channel EVS systems to two four-channel systems and the use of EVS Xfile is making a difference.”

With three different producers working on HBO Boxing the new truck also offers flexibility in design and set-up courtesy of flat-panel screens and Harris multiviewers. Two of the three production benches can also move, adding more customization to meet the needs of the crew.

In terms of production equipment the biggest changes were a move to Ikegami KDK79 1080p CMOS-based cameras that will complement Sony HDC-3300 super-slo mo cameras and the Phantom super-slo-mo system on selected shows. Also new is Bluefin technology in the Calrec Sigma console, doubling the audio inputs to 96 and laying the groundwork for Surround Sound.

“It makes us more potent in audio because the audio inputs were maxed out in the old truck,” adds Cohen.

Michael says the truck is a true team effort as NEP’s team interviewed the HBO team, including TD Doug Getz, A1 Randy Flick, lead EVS Operator Mark Nathan, senior video tech Billy Steinberg, and tech manager Colin Deford and Michael Kusama, to make sure it met their needs. “And we would be remiss to not mention EIC John Krauser and maintenance engineer Chris Parris,” adds Micale.

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