Mobile TV Group Rolls Out Fourth Side-by-Side Dual Mobile Unit With 36HDX, VMU36
With the launch of its fourth side-by-side-dual mobile unit last month, Mobile TV Group’s vision of the next generation in regional remote sports production is off and running. Based in Minnesota, 36HDX and companion unit VMU36 will be serving Fox Sports North primarily and follow similar units in Miami (33HDX and VMU), Los Angeles (34HDX and VMU), and Atlanta (35HDX and VMU). A fifth pair of trucks, 37HDX and VMU37, is set to hit the pavement in February, and the Denver-based mobile-production–facilities provider won’t stop there.
“I’m hoping all of our home markets will be done with side-by-side duals by 2019,” says founder/GM Philip Garvin. “The advantage is that you have two trucks that are fully integrated. So you have all the space of two trucks but in a single, completely integrated unit. And, when we say completely integrated, we mean everything in one truck is available for the other. So it’s one giant central router controlling it all.”
36HDX/VMU and sibling mobile units feature a complete separation for the home and visitor shows, providing production teams with additional space and resources while maintaining the economically friendly dual-feed model that MTVG helped establish on regional-sports-network telecasts across the country. In addition, when called upon, the two trucks can combine efforts to serve a single large-scale show.
“A producer who was doing a visitor show said, I forgot I was doing a dual,” says Garvin. “That’s the dream: that you are doing a dual and you don’t even realize it. You have way more sources than you would have in a regular dual-feed, but the pricing is still the absolute rock-bottom, dual-feed pricing.”
The Guts of the Trucks
The 53-ft.-expando 36HDX is built around a 7M/E Grass Valley Kayenne K-Frame switcher (96 inputs, 48 outputs, with 32 chroma keyers and an internal image store), Evertz EQX video router (16×536), and Evertz EMR audio router (96 analog, 48 AES pairs , 18 64-channel MADI inputs and 244 analog, 16-channel embedded audio). The A unit also features an 88-monitor production wall, a Calrec Artemis Beam audio console (56 faders, 64 analog inputs, 256 routable inputs via MADI), ChyronHego Mosaic graphics, and an RS ADAM 96-port matrix intercom system (fully integrated with VMU36) with Studio Technology IFB system.
“The K-Frame is obviously really important,” says Garvin. “Up until the K-frame, you couldn’t get past 4.5M/E on a switcher. So that was maybe 3M/E for the home show and 1.5 for the visiting. With the 7M/E on the K-Frame, we can have 4M/E on the home and 3M.E on the visitor, which is pretty substantial.”
In the replay area, 36HDX includes three six-channel EVS replay servers (4-in, 2-out), two four-channel R/O EVS servers (2-in, 2-out), a four-channel EVS SpotBox, and an eight-channel Grass Valley Dyno K2 Summit for replay on the two Grass Valley LDX XtremeSpeed 6X super-slo-mo cameras that the truck travels with.
“In these latest trucks, the replay area is the biggest we’ve ever built,” says Garvin. “It’s nine racks wide, so it’s an enormous room and probably the biggest replay room you’ll ever see. And then the visitor show has its own five-rack-wide replay area. So they don’t share replay areas like they used to.”
On the other side, VMU36 features a three-stripe switcher panel (3M/E from the central switcher are assigned to the visitor show), a Studer Vista 1 audio console (50 mono channels, 38 stereo channels, 16 mono aux, 4 stereo aux), a seven-rack monitor wall with 58 total displays, two EVS operator positions and two SpotBox channels, and ChyronHego HyperX3 graphics.
“The fiber connection and multiplexing allows you to put a tremendous number of paths between the two trucks,” says Garvin. “The other key is that all the electronics are in one truck, and the second truck is really a lot of operator interfaces and control panels connected to the electronics in the main truck. And so you can have a giant router running both trucks.”
Grass Valley 6X Slo-Mo Headlines Camera Complement
The trucks travel with nine Grass Valley LDX digital triax cameras, one Grass Valley LDK 8000 Elite digital triax camera, one Panasonic AG-HPX370 booth camera, and Canon lenses (eight 76X, one 72X, one 10X4.5 wide angle, and four 17X7.6 handheld ENG lenses).
In addition, the unit comes standard with two Grass Valley LDX XtremeSpeed fiber 6X super-slo-mo cameras. MTVG, which has offered high-speed-camera systems on its trucks for years, has embraced the new Grass Valley system, outfitting 10 of its trucks with two cameras apiece.
“The Grass Valley 6X cameras have been great, and then they issued a new software update that made them even greater,” says Garvin. “The resolution and the clarity are stunning. The things that you can see now with these Grass cameras, you certainly couldn’t see before. It’s amazing. And the ability to ramp and operate is extremely user-friendly.”
In addition, another half dozen MTVG trucks are outfitted with Vision Research Phantom ultra-slo-mo systems.
“I feel that at least one, preferably two, super slo-mos on a sports truck should be standard,” says Garvin. “And I think, within two or three years, all standard action cameras should be super-slo-mo[-capable].”