Mobile TV Group’s Triple-Feed Mobile-Unit System Targets the RSN Level
Building off the success of its dual-feed mobile units, Mobile TV Group is constructing the first triple-feed mobile-production trailers for regional sports. The triple-feed system consists of two trailers — the 53-ft. expando 33HDX and straight truck VMU33 — with three production areas, three integrated audio rooms, and two networked replay areas.
“The value of the triple feed isn’t just reduced cost,” says MTVG GM Philip Garvin. “It also provides the producers and directors of each feed with instant access to the combined capability of two trucks, along with more space and greater versatility. While the dual feed was created in 2003 to contain costs and rapidly deploy high definition, the triple feed is designed to provide superior facilities while maintaining the same price points as dual feeds. We also wanted to accommodate the increasing demand for Spanish feeds and pre/postgame shows.”
The triple-feed system is intended to provide a high-quality solution to producing three distinct productions at a single event. Home shows will run out of the usual 100-display production area, visitors will operate out of a separate trailer using a three-bench production room, and the third feed will occupy what has been the dual room.
For Garvin, technology was key to creating the triple-feed concept. “A triple feed wasn’t really possible until we had a switcher that could have not just two control panels but three or more and had enough mix-effect buses so that everybody would have enough mix-effect power in all the feeds without taking away anything from either the home show or the visitor,” he says. “The equipment was crucial.”
An 8M/E Grass Valley Kayenne switcher provides 4M/E dedicated to the home show, 2M/E or 3M/E for the visitor show, and 1M/E or 2M/E for the third show. Audio will be distributed to three 5.1-surround digital mixers. All video and audio sources and all replay devices will be shared among the three feeds.
“[VMU33] is designed as completely integral to the main truck, and that’s hugely important because everything that’s available to any intercom station, to the switchers, to the audio stations is available everywhere. It’s completely shared between the two trailers,” explains Garvin. “The second trailer is not independent in any way of the main trailer. As a result, it is fully integrated to the main trailer.”
According to Garvin, the triple-feed system will require a shorter setup time than two separate trucks because venue video and audio sources will need to be connected only to the main truck. Distribution to the second trailer will be through dedicated trunk lines.
“There is only one switcher and only one router, so you’re not hooking up two switchers, you’re not hooking up two routers, you’re not hooking up two intercom systems. It’s all one,” he says, “and, therefore, much more versatile for a triple feed.”
33HDX and VMU33 are currently under construction, with rollout planned for May. The triple-feed system will be assigned primarily to serve Mobile TV Group’s contract with Fox Sports West, covering the Los Angeles Clippers, Angels, Dodgers, and Kings and Anaheim Ducks games.
Mobile TV Group expects 2013 to be a year of innovation and advances for regional-sports production. In addition to developing the triple-feed system, the company plans to invest tens of millions of dollars to take its facilities to the next level.
“I think we’re going to be pushing the envelope of innovation for the benefit of regional sports,” says Garvin. “There’s always been a lot of innovation at the national-network level; we’re going to be pushing it for regional sports. And we have some pretty cool stuff up our sleeves.”