Bexel’s Rebuilt BBS1 Designed To Handle Almost Anything

Bexel’s BBS1 53-ft. truck has been redesigned as a fully configurable production environment and can be set up for either 2D or 3D or for any of a wide variety of productions.

“BBS1 started life as an edit truck, and it was a good one,” says Jerry Gepner, CEO of the Vitec Services Division. “It had two linear-edit suites and was at high-profile events like the Super Bowl. But we looked at it last year and decided it need to evolve into the next thing.”

That next thing is a spacious production environment that can be used for mid-level 3D and 2D events or as an additional unit for a larger show. Beck and Associates handled the design and overhaul of the truck.

“They heard our vision and did a great job realizing it with new flooring, cable trays, and the ability to put monitors anywhere in the unit,” says Gepner. “They also beefed up the internal routing and signal distribution.”

A 3G Pesa router makes the unit suitable for 3D broadcasts since it can handle 64×128 video (HD) and 128×128 analog and 128×128 digital audio signals. Other gear includes a GVG Kayak production switcher, two Abekas eight-channel Mira servers, and a Yamaha audio console with Genelec monitoring. A Calrec Artemis will be available in early 2011. A full complement of Sennheiser microphones, Telex/RTS Zeus communications systems, Vinten camera support, and TV Logic 2D control/reference monitors, and a Cisco data infrastructure are also aboard.

Optional items are also available: Sony SRW decks, EVS XT[2] servers, Chyron HyperX3 graphics, AutoScript teleprompters, and more.

“You can put a big flypack in BBS1, and it would be a comfortable production environment,” says Gepner. “And the infrastructure makes it easy.”

The unit’s first event was a 3D production of a NASCAR race for Turner Sports in Daytona on July 3, followed quickly by serving as a display area for the 3D efforts during MLB’s All-Star Game festivities in Anaheim, CA. Four JVC 46-in. 3D passive displays were used for both the production and the 3D demonstration, and new Panasonic displays, when available, will also be an option.

It’s the ability to rent 3D gear that sets the BBS1 apart from other industry options. Bexel also offers rigs from both 3ality and Parallax3.

“There is a market for small to midsize 3D events that shouldn’t require a beautifully, purpose-built 3D truck from companies like NEP or All Mobile Video,” says Gepner.

Four 3ality rigs, two in side-by-side and two in beamsplitter configuration, are available with fiber-optic control and related video systems as well as Panasonic cameras and Fujinon lenses. Two Parallax3 Renegade rigs, both beamsplitters, are also an option, again with Panasonic cameras and Fujinon lenses. The Renegade rigs also have an internal DDR.

“The rigs from 3ality and Parallax3 are both impressive and can be packaged in such a way that TV technical personnel can afford them and use them,” says Gepner. “We want to help grow a new [3D] skill and craft.”

The Parallex3 rigs also allow a more cinematic approach to 3D-content creation. The DDR records the camera signals on a pair of hard-disk drives, and an internal sync generator genlocks the cameras. That means the user can walk away with a the pair of drives and easily postproduce 3D content.

The flexibility of Bexel’s rental model means that producers and their crews can, for example, rent a single 3D camera rig and experiment with it on a production. “There isn’t a huge premium to do that,” Gepner notes.

Later this month, the BBS1 will be in use at the U.S. Open, serving as a home for the ESPN/DirecTV U.S. Open tennis mosaic channel. In that configuration, it will have five mini control rooms.

Gepner is clear on one thing: while BBS1 does have wheels and can move from one venue to the next, Bexel is not aiming to compete with traditional remote-production services and facility providers.

“BBS1 capitalized on the desire to produce 3D, not the lack of 3D trucks,” he says. “If the marketplace demands another 3D truck, then the truck companies will capitalize on it. Our hope is to be an impetus that makes that demand come more quickly.”

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