Growing business: QTV launches new truck to service new and existing clients

QTV’s operational base, Clydesdale House in Glasgow, Scotland

QTV has launched its latest truck, ENG5, which has been developed to anchor the company’s new three-year contract with Sky Sports for Rugby Super League, providing technical facilities for 91 of the league’s 162 matches across the season.

Comments Gareth Gordon, QTV’s CTO: “ENG4, capable of housing twelve cameras, was built last year to service the SPFL and work specifically to our larger remote gallery. ENG5 is ENG4’s sister with both now deployed to the Rugby Super League.

“Working closely with ES Broadcast Systems Integration,” he continues, “we successfully adapted an existing design utilised across our fleet to maximise the tender space in the rear of the vehicle, while at the same time increasing the usable equipment racks in the operational area.”

Gordon emphasises ENG5’s alignment with QTV’s plans for the future: “ENG5 was built with the same technological ethos as all of our other vehicles: maximise, minimise, innovate. The team at ES have been so receptive to the evolution of our successful ENG truck design, first deployed in 2021 in the Scottish Premiership. It’s fantastic to have a technology partner who is so supportive of our vision. FAL Systems have also been involved in the build of all of our trucks and their fitout has also evolved, maximising shelf space in the tender area.”

QTV’s new ENG5 hard at work at Hull FC

Tight schedule

The build schedule for ENG5 was tight, Gordon notes: “The order went in the week before Christmas and we experienced significant delays due to the festive period. The teams at ES and FAL worked together tirelessly to keep the build progressing and were able to complete two weeks earlier than expected.”

ENG5 hit the road in March this year, just three months since it was commissioned. It was first used at Salford, Manchester on 30 March at the match between the Salford Red Devils versus the Leigh Leopards.

He elaborates on ENG5’s features: “ENG5 is built into a Mercedes Sprinter chassis. It utilises Ross, Sony, RTS, Dante, and TSL within its technology backbone. It has three operational positions in the middle of the truck; two vision control positions for racking up to eight cameras and a sound control position for audio monitoring.”

Gordon emphasises the truck’s sustainability focus: “The focus of the design has sustainability at its heart. We are committed to remote operations and lowering the footprint on site. It allows us to reduce the size of vehicles but also the number of people that are required to travel.”

Getting technical

Gordon goes deeper into the truck’s technical specifications. “Ross Ultrix is the backbone of the truck. I believe the Ultrix FR2 really is peerless in the market for flexibility, functionality and ease of use, keeping all of our processing requirements in a sleek 2RU unit.”

He explains QTV’s use of RTS as the intercom system, highlighting its benefits for remote connectivity. “While the trucks were designed to work to Clydesdale House [QTV’s base in Glasgow, Scotland] they can be easily configured for any remote production facility that can accommodate RTS comms and TSL derived tallies.”

Touching upon the truck’s audio design evolution, Gordon adds: “One of the adaptations required for the build of this truck was the inclusion of an Allen & Heath SQ6 audio mixer. This simple addition to the truck’s capability enables monitoring of all incoming feeds for hand off to remote operations as well as onsite mixes for in-ear monitoring.”

ENG5 is designed to accommodate different methods of remote delivery, Gordon explains. “It has tailboard distribution which allows us to hand off baseband and data to connectivity partners like BT Media and Broadcast, NEP Connect, or Cingularity, all of whom have a presence at QTV’s production facility at Clydesdale House.”

He elaborates: “The truck is also designed to house alternative encoders like Haivision or LiveU. This allows us to offer clients different means of delivery depending on their budget.”

Gallery expansion

Additionally, QTV built a new main production gallery – Gallery 1 – at Clydesdale House last summer. Comments Gordon: “We had our four small remote production galleries for delivering SPFL coverage. We built a bigger gallery with the idea of being more attractive to the industry.

“Our flagship remote production gallery is designed to accommodate up to 12 cameras and we are excited to bring this option for remote working to Scotland. Gallery 1 is a natural evolution for QTV as we aspire to attract new clients and tackle bigger projects.”

Highlighting QTV’s growth trajectory, Gordon notes: “The exponential growth of QTV has seen the business move from a relatively small operation in 2020, working on a 78 x 78 Ross Ultrix FR2 in Ibrox; moving to Clydesdale House in 2022 where we installed a 166 x 166 Ross Ultrix FR5. We very quickly blew through the top of that and we deployed a 288 x 288 FR12 in 2023.”

QTV built a new main production gallery – Gallery 1 – at Clydesdale House in 2023

He further details QTV’s expansion efforts, stating: “For the third year in a row in 2023, ES Broadcast’s systems integration team spent their summer with us in Glasgow expanding our central technical area and fitting out three new gallery spaces in Clydesdale House. Working to a tight schedule, due to the relentless nature of sports broadcasting, the team of engineers and wiremen led by Aidan Rook worked tirelessly to hit our deadlines and deliver a world-class facility.”

Describing Gallery 1’s features, Gordon adds: “Gallery 1 has six working positions for replay, production, vision mixer, director, and technical manager with RTS talkback panels at every position. The monitor stack is made up of 12 48-inch monitors with Ross Ultriscape Multiviewers.”

Going on, he adds: “Keeping in line with our other operations we have installed a Ross Carbonite with a Touch Drive 2ME surface in the gallery. Riedel ViBox replay systems can be found throughout our operations but the gallery is wired to remain agnostic so that we can bring in any replay system preferred by the client.”

In addition, Gordon highlights the significance of the sound gallery, stating: “In addition to the main production gallery is a separate sound gallery which houses a Calrec Brio for all remote audio mixing requirements. The audio gallery was a big step forward for QTV in being able to offer to our clients a complete remote broadcast facility for larger scale productions.”

Reflecting on recent achievements, Gordon notes: “ENG4 and ENG5, alongside Gallery 1, are now working four days a week. It is immensely rewarding to see our vision and ambition being embraced by the industry. Our investment in technical facilities allows QTV to continue to grow and provides opportunities for new avenues of work for the broadcast industry in Scotland.”

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