CTV OB 11 adds to UK 4K fleet

CTV’s latest OB truck, the quad expanding OB 11, debuts next month and is the latest truck in the country to be built to a 4K-capable specification. The new unit was commissioned to work on CTV’s recently renewed cricket contract with Sky Sports and, as is becoming increasingly commonplace with any new major truck, has been future-proofed to be 4K-capable as a matter of course.

“It’s a bit of a monster,” explains CTV technical director, Hamish Greig. “It’s got four production areas: main production, a huge VT area, and the other two are flexible and can be used as either edit suites, utility areas, for graphics or whatever. It’s our second ‘over under’, so it’s got higher headroom than our previous ones big trucks and it’s a quad expander: it has one double that comes out from the top of the roof space and the other side is a concertina that folds out in three different steps.”

The unit is 3G throughout. It’s based around a Sony MVS8000x production switcher and features an Imagine Communications (nee Harris Broadcast) Platinum IP3 router, Calrec Apollo audio console, RTS/Telex Omneo IP-based intercom and Axon glue. Coachbuilding was done at Smith’s.

“The Platinum router does embedding, de-embedding, multiviewers and so on. It really reduces the amount of cabling required inside the truck because so much is being done inside the box,” says Greig.

OB 11 supports up to 28 cameras and, as Greig explains, it needs to as Sky’s cricket coverage is fiendishly complex and requires the vehicle to handle a wide range of sources. In the past he’s likened covering a test match to doing an FA Cup Final every day, simply because of the range of facilities the OB truck has to provide, and this has only gotten more complex as the game has embraced more and more video technology.

“There are the main cameras, you have seven or even eight super slo mos, you have studio cameras, hot sport cameras, radio cameras, lots of fibre connectivity… Luckily it can handle pretty much anything you throw at it,” he says

CTV has gained a fair bit of 4K experience already, most recently working on the Peter Gabriel Back to Front gigs at London’s 02 Arena for Done & Dusted. And indeed it is that area where the company sees most of the near-future demand for the format coming from. “We do have a requirement for 4K for some more shows coming at the end of the year. It’s certainly the LE clients that are looking at the 4K aspect,” says Greig.

As well as the 4K-capability, OB 11 also exemplifies one of the other major new trends in top line OB vehicles; that of ensuring they are pleasant places to work in. This is especially relevant when it comes to the cricket coverage too: it’s a long game and a long season, that will see the crews typically working every day of the week throughout the summer.

“When it’s fully crewed you can have 34 people – 40 at a push – working onboard, so we’ve had a team of designers in from ProjectBuilders, our sister company in Belgium, to do the interior design which features lots of soft furnishings, lots of sexy wood,” says Greig. “It’s a wholly new look unit; you don’t want just functionality anymore you want a nice working environment.”

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