Live From the US Open: F&F GTX17 at Center of CBS, ESPN Broadcasts
The US Open tennis championships have a new production unit at the center of coverage from Arthur Ashe Stadium. Making its debut this week, F&F Productions’ GTX17 comprises two trailers, with an A unit providing a slightly expanded production area, enabled by a front bench moved closer to the monitor wall, which features Boland units.
“The smaller Boland monitors have a little better field of view,” says Bill McKechney, VP of engineering, F&F Productions. “And we also put in a roll-around system for the other benches so that the monitors could slide on rails and be locked into place when we pack up the truck.”
CBS and ESPN domestic coverage will be handled in GTX17 while F&F’s GTX16 is on hand for Tennis Channel coverage. NEP’s ESU unit will once again handle all signal distribution and transmission.
The A unit also houses a Grass Valley Kayenne production switcher with K-frame, featuring 9M/E and 28 inputs. Audio is handled via a Calrec Apollo mixing desk that has 72 dual faders and 12 layers. The tape area, meanwhile, has nine EVS XT3 servers, a Grass Valley 6X super-slo-mo camera, and four tape machines. A first for F&F is the use of 14 Sony cameras complementing the company’s arsenal of Ikegami cameras.
New technology in the A unit is seen in monitors from the Chinese manufacturer Ruige in the audio, camera-control, and tape areas.
“On the last day of NAB, I saw this tiny booth with monitors that looked spectacular,” McKechney explains. Sony OLED monitors are also in use in the camera shading and control area.
The B unit, meanwhile, features a new monitor of a much bigger sort. Three 70-in. Sharp 4K units are coupled with For-A multiviewers to give the B unit video monitors that are larger than those found in any other truck.
“They allow the truck to stand alone so it can be married with other trucks,” adds McKechney. “Putting a screen of this size on the road was a little bit of a concern, but they are holding up so far.”
Also in the B unit for the Open are court loggers, Red Bee graphics, an additional three EVS XT3 servers, the court-ID system, and more tape machines.
Once the truck is finished with its US Open duties, it will hit the road for CBS SEC football coverage, for which the B unit will be the main graphics area as well as home to statistics and robotic-camera operations.
“Our B units have 72×144 routers so we can put any signal anywhere,” adds McKechney.
F&F GTX16 is also on hand at the Open, handling the production from Armstrong Stadium (also known as court 2). It received a technology refresh courtesy of Evertz routing with audio embedders and de-embedders as well as EVS XT3 servers. Intercoms in both GTX16 and GTX17 are RTS Adam units.