Grass Valley Designs OB Vans for Australia’s Sky Racing

Sky Racing, a leader in bringing multi-venue, multi-channel race broadcasting to millions of viewers in Australia and around the globe, has contracted with Grass Valley to design and build three new outside broadcast (OB) vans.

The state-of-the-art mobile production vehicles have been specially designed to handle the rough terrain and hot weather conditions of the country’s state of Queensland—the northeastern section of the continent—to help televise some of the more than 83,000 races that Sky Racing covers each year.

The significant deal, which includes system training and a multi-year Service Level Agreement, is the largest OB truck design and systems integration order to date for Grass Valley, and includes a full complement of Grass Valley high-definition (HD) live production equipment and systems all tightly networked that will be installed on each mobile unit.

“Our racing coverage has really expanded in the past year and we are gearing up for even more coverage going forward,” said Tim Cavanagh, OB Manager, Sky Racing. “In order to complete this project correctly and get the OB vans on the road as quickly as possible, it was clear we needed a partner with vast experience in handling a project of this scope. In our minds, Grass Valley was the only vendor that could do it to our specifications and within our tight time constraints.”

Construction of the three OB vans, with an option for a fourth, is now underway in Melbourne. The order was placed in September 2011, and the three trucks are planned to hit the road in Queensland by the beginning of 2012. They will each feature the latest Grass Valley HD live production technologies, including nineteen LDK 4000 HD cameras (with Grass Valley’s latest 3G Triax transmission system), Kayak HD digital production switchers, multiple K2 Dyno Replay Systems, a Concerto Series video router, and a series of products from the GeckoFlex family of signal processing modules. Yamaha digital audio consoles and an Apantac multiviewer system are also being installed.

“We are pleased that Sky Racing has recognized Grass Valley’s extensive expertise in building trucks that can stand up to harsh travelling and daily live production conditions,” said Jeff Rosica, executive vice president of Grass Valley. “This large order is yet another example of the breadth of Grass Valley services and our ability to design customized systems, supply the right equipment, and make sure it all works together seamlessly, as part of a turnkey package. And our local crews can complete these projects almost anywhere in the world.”

“Outfitting the vans with Grass Valley equipment, including the K2 Dyno Replay System, which we will make extensive use of for fast turnaround race replays, also gives us the confidence of knowing the technology is reliable and will work every time,” added Cavanagh. “That’s the most important aspect of live production. To date, our experience with Grass Valley production equipment and systems has been excellent and we expect that to continue into the future.”

Sky Racing, based in Frenchs Forrest (north Sydney), is a long-time Grass Valley customer, having previously purchased a large complement of HD equipment for its live production studios in Sydney. In Q1 2012, Sky Racing will install a large storage area network and collaborative workgroup environment based on the Grass Valley K2 Summit media server system and the new Grass Valley STRATUS Media Workflow Application Framework in its studios. The company also operates five Grass Valley Kalypso HD Video Production Center switchers across its many studio control rooms that are supported by a large (512×512) Grass Valley Trinix NXT router.

The Grass Valley K2 Dyno Replay System consists of the K2 Dyno Replay Controller coupled with the K2 Summit production server. It is designed to help sports producers and other professionals capture live events in crystal-clear HD resolutions and instantly play them out at variable speeds for critical analysis during fast-paced events. It is ideally suited for HD sports production trucks and shared storage production facilities.

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