Riverside Television OB unit to make sports debut with hurling event

Irish facilities company Riverside Television is proving to be the first port of call for many visitors to IBC’s outside broadcast vehicle area, where there is a lot to choose from and hold the attention. The Galway-based operator is showing its first OB unit, which will make its sports debut next week covering that most demanding of Gaelic sports, hurling.

Riverside TV has been running as an EFP (electronic field production) supplier within the Republic of Ireland, working on varied production including sports coverage. The company’s main offering was a flight cased package with five cameras known as BOB (Boxed Outside Broadcast).

Managing director Cyril O’Regan comments that although this set-up has worked for what Riverside TV has been doing, he and his crews had “come to realise all the things they didn’t have, including “really good cabling, audio and communications.” O’Regan decided to add such elements to Riverside TV’s offering, resulting in what he describes as “the first step into full OBs”.

The result is ROB 1 (Riverside Outside Broadcast), a medium sized van that O’Regan acknowledges is half-way between a SNG (satellite news gathering) vehicle and a big scanner. ROB 1 was designed and built by UK coachbuilders Dawson Coachwork, the interior connection infrastructure installed by another British company, AB Cable and Wiring.

O’Regan explains that through clever design and layout the technical and production crews have enough room to work in their specified areas. A staggered desk arrangement for the vision engineer and director means, O’Regan says, they are not “arm to arm”. Behind them is the audio mix position and space for a graphics operator. O’Regan comments that sound supervisor Derek Recks has enough room to work, with the positioning of small Genelec loudspeaker monitors helping to create a barrier between him and the rest of the van.

The five EFP cameras from BOB are a key component of ROB 1 but are now linked to specific control area with specific equipment for the job. This includes a JVC KM-H3000 vision switcher, Roland 32-channel V Mixer M-300 audio desk and Trilogy Communications Messenger matrix-based intercom.

O’Regan comments that the Messenger system handles all the intercom and radio communications for the van. “That’s important to any broadcaster but particularly to a primarily electronic field production company like us,” he says. “When we’re in the field we need to have confidence that our technology is not going to let us down.”

Since going on the road ROB 1 has worked both broadcast and internet streaming projects, including song writing challenge show The Hit for public broadcaster RTE1 and coverage of the Fleadh music event, which was both streamed live to the internet and simulcast by Irish language TV channel TG4.

The hurling will also be streamed live but with footage also recorded to be post-produced for a possible highlights programme to be broadcast later. O’Regan says four cameras will be used, while a freelance EVS operator will work with the Riverside TV crew, using his own rig for replays.

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