Metrovision’s New HD-2 Hybrid Production/Uplink Truck Stays Very Busy

Metrovision’s newest mobile unit, HD-2, debuted in April 2010 for coverage of the New York Yankees’ Opening Day. Since then, the 40-ft. hybrid production and satellite-transmission truck has been very busy, traveling the East Coast for MLB International coverage, to Canada for TSN coverage of the NHL Hockey Combines, and back to New Meadowlands Stadium for Jets pre- and post-game shows.

HD-2 is a 40-ft. straight truck, built by Wolf Coach/L-3 Communications and designed in partnership with the YES Network. With seating for 20, it features a 31-ft. expanding side and a Ku satellite dish capable of rotating 360 degrees.

“It is the nation’s largest Ku/mobile unit,” says Metrovision President Jim McGillion. “Most of the other trucks with a satellite dish have it on the back of the unit, so their expanding side can only expand out to the dish portion. They might have 15 ft. of expando. We built our dish on the front of the truck, so that we can expand the whole side.”

As a hybrid production/uplink unit, HD-2 features a 1.8-meter Sat-Lite Ku antenna as well as a Grass Valley HD 4 M/E Kalypso production switcher, two six-channel EVS instant-replay servers, and six to eight Sony 1500 HDC cameras with Fujinon lenses. HD-2 also has a Harris Leitch Platinum 256×256 router, a Centrio 96-input multiviewer, Chyron HyperX3 graphics system, a Calrec Omega audio console with Bluefin, Ericsson/Tandberg MPEG-2 encoders and transmission gear, and an RTS Cronus intercom system.

The interior design supports all production and transmission activities of a 53-ft. unit without feeling like a 40-ft. truck. Says McGillion, “We often get feedback on the roominess from the tape and EVS crew,” where six people can be accommodated.

HD-2’s hybrid functionality was required and tested all summer. First, as the Mets A-game truck for the Mets-Marlins series in Puerto Rico, HD-2 landed in San Juan with eight cameras and a fully redundant HD transmission package, ready to go. HD-2 gave SportsNet New York the flexibility to handle all production requirements with a single truck. Then, it was off to Canada to cover the western spur of the Kraft Celebration Tour.

Through its partnership with the YES Network, HD-2 is also being used for split feeds, pre- and post-game shows, and college sports coverage.

“Partnering with YES Network was a perfect fit,” McGillion says. “They were looking for a cost-effective solution to produce additional programming, and we were at the beginning stages of designing a new truck. They knew what they wanted in a midsized sports-production truck, and we were able to build it to their specs.”

HD-2 will also play a role in production for larger events, such as the upcoming Super Bowl and NCAA’s men’s basketball tournaments.

Metrovision is currently designing its next truck, to be launched in 2011.

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