Mobile TV Group’s FLEX Series Hits West Coast With 44 FLEX; 45 FLEX To Be Fully IP
The two-trailer units extend the company’s dual-feed approach
This year, Mobile TV Group rolled out its latest two-trailer, dual-feed mobile unit: 44 FLEX and 44 VMU (visitors mobile unit) companion truck. Although the “FLEX” model is nothing new for MTVG — which has been launching these two-trailer, dual-feed mobile units for five years — 44 FLEX is the first to operate on the West Coast, serving primarily Fox Sports West/Prime Ticket and Fox Sports San Diego.
“44 brings our FLEX series, dual-feed approach to the West Coast for the first time, which we’re very excited about,” says CEO Philip Garvin. “It has all the standard Mobile TV Group regional-sports systems, including four super-slo-mo [cameras]. We now have an extremely powerful truck in the second-largest media market in the country, which is great.”
Inside 44 FLEX: The Latest Iteration of the FLEX Model
The two-trailer 44 FLEX/VMU system, like Denver-based 43 FLEX/VMU launched in May 2017, allows the home and visitor productions to be housed in separate trailers while sharing all sources and equipment, including super-slo-mo cameras.
44 FLEX is built around a 7M/E Grass Valley Kayenne K-Frame X switcher (96 inputs/48 outputs) and 378×802 Evertz 3G router. It rolls with eight LDX82 Premier 720p/1080i triax cameras (additional LDX82 cameras if the VMU is used) and four LDX86 Universe super-slo-mo HD/3G fiber cameras — all with Fujinon lenses.
For replay, the units feature two 12-channel EVS XT3 servers, two 12-channel XT4K’s, and a four-channel EVS XS3 server for SpotBox (two channels per show during dual feeds). There are four SSMOs, 20 HD inputs, and 12 HD outputs when the truck is running in SSMO mode. The two XT4K’s can be split into two operator positions, each with four inputs/two outputs. Up to three EVS replay-operator positions are available in the VMU.
On the audio side, the truck features a 64-fader Calrec Artemis Beam console (256 routable inputs via MADI, 64 analog inputs/64 analog outputs) and a 2,752×2,848 Evertz audio router (embedded audio, 18 MADI, 48 AES, 96×192 analog), and an RTS ADAM-M Matrix intercom system (64 OMNEO ports, 32 MADI channels, 48 analog ports).
“Our goal is to use this FLEX dual-feed model with all this equipment as the standard in all regions, so there is consistency,” says COO Nick Garvin. “When people walk into an MTVG mobile unit, it will feel familiar on our FLEX units all over the country.”
44 FLEX will be working Angels, Ducks, Kings, Clippers, and Padres games for Fox Sports RSNs and will periodically handle visitor shows at Dodger Stadium and other one-off shows in the L.A. area, such as boxing events at Staples Center.
“We are very pleased with 44 Flex,” says Nick Davis, executive producer, Fox Sports West/Prime Ticket/Fox Sports San Diego. “The built-in technical advances have given us more flexibility in designing and executing our game-production plans. We’ve used it for Padres and Angels baseball, Kings hockey, and Clippers basketball shows so far, and it’s been terrific.”
45 FLEX: The Transition to IP Has Arrived
44 FLEX/VMU is largely similar to its recent predecessors, but MTVG’s next truck will take a bold step in the direction of IP. Set to hit the road in the spring, 45 FLEX/VMU will be almost entirely IP-based, housing an IP router, switcher, cameras, and EVS.
“I think, when you walk into 45, it’s going to look and feel and operate just like 44 and our other [recent trucks], but the infrastructure under the hood is going to be all-IP,” says Philip Garvin. “We were determined to do this right, so, when we say all-IP, we really mean it. It’s not just the [router] with a whole bunch of gateways. It will be natively interconnected via SMPTE 2110 to all devices. It’s a full-IP ecosystem. We waited [to go IP] until we could do it right.”