With Help from Diversified Systems, BYU Broadcasting Rolls In HD Production Trailer

BYU Broadcasting currently provides content for five television and five radio properties worldwide, utilizing a 25-year-old straight-body mobile production truck. Thanks to help from Diversified Systems, however, that will soon change, as a brand new 51-foot HD mobile production unit is on its way to Provo, Utah, to help BYUB expand its extensive offering, starting with ramping up its sports productions.

For the past 40 years, BYU Broadcasting has produced a range of content from the campus of Brigham Young University. Sporting events, lectures, performances, and documentaries, among other content, is distributed across five different television networks and five different radio properties, including: BYU Television (an HD, 24/7 network), KBYU Television (an HD local PBS affiliate), BYU Television International (an SD multilingual sister station to BYU TV), BYU Radio, BYU Radio Instrumental, BYU Radio International Spanish, BYU Radio International Portuguese, and Classical 89 KBYU-FM. Most important to the athletic department is BYU TV.

Follow BYU Around the World

Launched in 2000, BYU TV is available on 503 cable systems nationwide, in addition to Dish Network and DirecTV. Originating in HD, BYU TV reaches approximately 50 million households and also streams live at www.byu.tv. Programming on the channel includes BYU sporting events, original documentaries, lifestyle and how-to series, BYU devotionals and forums, general conferences of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), and musical and dramatic events from BYU and LDS Church.

Currently, BYU Broadcasting (BYUB) uses a 48-foot straight body mobile production truck that has been in service for nearly 25 years.

“It is an analog, SD truck that has more than outlived its useful life,” explains Brandon Smith, chief technology officer for BYUB.

Happily, a new 51-foot HD mobile unit, integrated by Diversified Systems, is part of a multi-faceted strategy to help BYUB increase the quantity and quality of content it produces.

“BYUB is currently under construction on a new 100,000-square foot media production and distribution facility on the campus of BYU in Provo,” Smith says. “This facility will be connected via fiber to production locations on campus, such as the basketball arena and performance halls, so that events can be produced out of the fixed facility in HD.”

However, with so many channels to fill, BYUB often works on simultaneous productions on and off campus, so a mobile production unit is required in addition to the fixed facility.

“The truck needed to have the full complement of gear for doing any of those events, including slo-mo/replay capability for sports,” Smith says.

A Little Bit of Everything

“Because they produce everything from sporting events to weekly devotionals and performing arts, the truck has to be a very versatile production platform,” explains Duane Yoslov, VP of West Coast operations for Diversified systems.

The BYU Broadcasting team had very specific ideas about what they required on the truck long before Diversified Systems began meeting with the BYUB team.

“We had built a truck for the LDS Church the previous year,” Yoslov says. “That gave them a good idea of what our capabilities were, and informed their technical and workflow preferences for their own truck design. That truck was built to support a motion picture studio and the tabernacle choir, so there was a heavy focus on audio and audio acquisition on that truck. This one is more tailored to sports production.”

Outfitted with six cameras initially, the BYUB truck will be wired for 12. A Sony MVS 8000 production switcher will anchor the truck while a Calrec Omega audio console and EVS servers will also be on board.

“It’s very consistent with the design architecture of the major sports trucks that we’ve built for other companies like New Century Productions, Game Creek, and Mansion Mobile,” Yoslov says.

Working with a university-level budget to create a professional-level production truck can be quite a challenge, but Smith was confident that Diversified Systems would help BYUB meet its high expectations utilizing a limited budget.

In-the-Truck Training

The truck will be staffed by full time professionals as well as 200-300 students that are employed by BYUB.

“In the construction of this trailer, there was a big focus on making the space large enough to get as many people as they can inside,” Yoslov explains. “Experienced producers, technical directors, and EVS operators will be able to work side by side with the students who are just learning the technology.”

Students are trained to operate nearly every piece of equipment on the truck.

“During a typical sports production, it is common to have upwards of 20 students in the truck, with a core group of full-time experts there to fill key positions and ensure that the production is meeting industry standards,” Smith says.

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