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Category Archives: OB Production

Outside Broadcast Production Television On The Road

Outside Broadcast – Television On The Road

If you have ever watched live coverage of a football match, an Olympic event, or a Royal Wedding, then you have watched an outside broadcast production.

Outside broadcasts use the same kind of television cameras, microphones, and vision and sound mixing equipment as a TV studio. The key operating equipment is installed in a specialist truck (a ‘scanner’ in BBC jargon), and a fleet of outside broadcast vehicles carry everything else: from lights and cameras to cables and rostrums.

Creating a live outside broadcast was a complex process involving technical planning, rigging cameras and sound, lining up the cameras, rehearsing and finally the moment of going live itself.

A brief history of outside broadcast

The earliest television transmissions came from studios, where cameras and equipment were safe from unpredictable weather conditions. But broadcasters, including the BBC, soon began to experiment with producing television from external locations.

Sport coverage soon became a key part of the TV schedule. Outside broadcasts, as they became known in Britain, added variety and immediacy to the television schedule. They also decentralised television. Outside broadcast crews could travel to almost any location in the United Kingdom, reducing the sense that television was a metropolitan industry which sent its programming from major cities to regions and provincial capitals.

Outside broadcast technologies allowed a diverse range of light entertainment and sporting events to be transmitted to the nation from almost any corner of Britain. They provided live coverage of some of the nation’s most significant events, from FA Cup Finals to Royal Weddings, from variety shows to live location reports.

North 3 and early colour outside broadcast

By the 1960s, outside broadcasts were a staple of the British television schedule, and they were soon to play a central role in one of the most important technical developments since the beginning of the service: the launch of colour television.

After a series of experiments and tests, the BBC formally launched its colour service on 1 July 1967 at the Wimbledon tennis championships. Further colour outside broadcasts were mounted using the first generation of colour outside broadcasts trucks, developed in-house by the BBC.

Meanwhile a new generation of BBC outside broadcast trucks, known as the Type 2 Colour Mobile Control Room, was developed by Pye TVT Ltd. Equipped with either Pye PC-80 or EMI 2001 cameras, a single Type 2 truck contained all of the equipment needed to run up to six colour camera channels. Separate compartments inside the truck provided room for vision engineers, sound supervisors, and production staff.

Nine Type 2 CMCRs were constructed, and from 1969 until the early 1980s they travelled the length and breadth of the country as the workhorses of the BBC’s colour outside broadcast service. Eventually, as the technology within them became outdated and worn out, the fleet was scrapped and replaced with updated equipment.

Of the original fleet of nine only two of the Type 2 CMCRs survive. One is held by the Science Museum and resides in the museum’s stores at Wroughton Airfield in Wiltshire. The other, CMCR9 (renamed North 3 after it was relocated from London to Manchester) has been restored by retired lighting director and television historian Steve Harris.

As Steve Harris’ website explains, North 3 was found in a badly deteriorated condition: impossible to drive, and stripped of much of its equipment. In the years following his acquisition of North 3, Steve spent countless hours restoring the vehicle to roadworthy condition and reuniting the bare racks and desks with the complex electronic equipment.

Recreating an early colour OB

In conjunction with Steve Harris and his colleagues, the ADAPT project was able to reunite a full team of former BBC television production personnel in order to mount an ambitious reenactment of early outside broadcast.

The aim was to provide an opportunity to document the skills and working practices which went into the production of television events during the 1970s.

North 3 was driven to a hotel near Steve Harris’s base in Flintshire, where the ex-BBC crew assembled. The crew was challenged to rig and light a set in which a darts contest would take place. EMI 2001 and Pye PC 80 cameras would then film the contest – directed from North 3 by the producer, Geoff Wilson.

The project’s digital producer, Amanda Murphy, has written about the hard work required to assemble the veteran team and get North 3 ready for live production.

Thanks to the hard work of the restoration team and veteran crew, the reenactment was a success. The ADAPT team was able to film hours of footage cover the entire outside broadcast production process, from rigging to broadcast. This is as close as we can get to recreating the complicated activity of producing live TV using analogue equipment.

For more information on our Outside Broadcast Production Services click here or contact us

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The original version of this blog was first published in www.adapttvhistory.org.uk

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What State Is Outside Broadcasting In Now?

What State Is Outside Broadcasting In Now?

Who knew from those early days of Outside Broadcasting (OB) for King George VI’s coronation way back in May 1937 that Outside Broadcasting would become such an integral part of everyday broadcasting? The technology may well have shifted dramatically since, with digital replacing analogue and then HD pushing out SD, but the desire for on-the-spot filming has continued to rise exponentially. The need to be in the know at all times, exacerbated by the immediacy of social media and the multitude of ways that information is broadcast and consumed means that while the nature of delivering OB constantly changes; the need for it remains.

New OB technologies will constantly evolve. Whether that is from 3D OB trucks, through to the extent of the 8K OB kit used to capture all the spirit of the London Olympics 2012. Now well over nine years ago, and a world pandemic since has forced it all to shift further. So, how has OB technology changed more recently? The most noticeable feature for many is how everything has got smaller. Equipment such as large racks of VTR decks, have now been superseded by file-based servers which save significantly on space. Equally flat screen monitors enable multi-viewers to be the norm compared to the days of cumbersome CRT monitors. Meanwhile the practicalities of fibre have increased capabilities and limited the volume of cables required for on-site productions. The result of which, combined with the introduction of 4G video uplink and KA band, has also led to the reduction in the cost of kit.

Practically while technology advances the need for OB trucks in some guise remains. Currently there are always occasions where this type of kit is a pre-requisite. Live events are coming back and in many ways some areas, such as sport, meant that actually an element of live production survived through Covid-19. But more compact and efficient technology united with a significant viewing appetite, means that both large-scale national events and other smaller scale events such as music, festivals and events can be captured.

However equally today, remote production is increasingly being used. This is because it helps deliver more content, through multiple streaming channels, across more devices. The challenge for modern broadcasters here is that as IP broadcast technology grows, combating latency while mixing live TV content with local commentary is tricky. To make it effective, so outside sources can hear the programme they are contributing to, requires a mix minus feed. This creates latency. Small latencies are manageable, but remote production with lengthier latencies can start to affect the flow of conversation. Importantly while there may be a skeleton crew in the field, there ultimately remains the need for onsite OB trucks to capture the action at source. So, as the channels of communications grow, the future of OB is going to need to continue to rise to the challenge of meeting these demands.

As an asset management company specialising in broadcast and telecommunications, Hickman Shearer are constantly approached to look at how changing technology practices can best be used to strengthen a business and its assets. The ideal is to re-purpose, re-furbish and re-life something within the business, but if not feasible then the options are to raise awareness and encourage their sale. Such as an upcoming sale we have closing in the very near future on three HD and UHD 4K Outside Broadcast trucks with tenders – ideal as the live events industry recovers or to be re-furbished to work as part of a remote production unit.

For more information on our OB Production Facilities click here or contact us

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The original version of this blog was first published in baproductions.tv

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The Advantages of Outside Broadcasting Production Vehicles

The Advantages of Outside Broadcasting Production Vehicles

The Advantages of Outside Broadcasting Production Vehicles and why you should use these during a video production of any live events such as concerts, sports events, and news.

Outside broadcasting or OB, as it’s more well-known, is usually done using mobile remote broadcasting. There is different equipment involved in this type of production, such as a professional video camera and microphone. All of this equipment have signals that come into the outside broadcasting production vehicles which are then processed, recorded, and also transmitted accordingly.

When there are outdoor events that cannot be recorded in an indoor studio, outside broadcasting is used. An OB mobile production vehicle is a mobile studio. It has cameras, vision control, sound mixer, vision mixer, and any other equipment needed to produce a television or video production and these are all housed inside the vehicle. The equipment used is broadcast quality and can be used for various broadcast programs.

Outside broadcasting is usually used in live events and is not the same as the indoor studio where the director can re-take a shot as the cameras need to roll continuously for the sake of recording everything that is happening in the present. Everything is recorded as it happens, from the video, audio, special effects, graphics, and commentary. Even a small mistake can greatly affect the video production and should be taken into consideration while in production.

What Are the Advantages of Using Mobile Production Vehicles for Outside Broadcasting?

Mobile production vehicles are better than hiring a purpose-built TV studio and will also depend on the production requirements. Here are the advantages of using mobile production vehicles:

  1. It is cheaper than using TV studios and is easy to maintain.
  2. It can cater to larger audiences like concerts, indoor and outdoor sports events.
  3. It can be set-up anywhere, perfect for television news or sports television events.
  4. It can be used and modified according to video production needs.
  5. It only needs a very small parking space and can easily accommodate larger audiences.
  6. A TV channel or station can use a mobile production vehicle to serve its purpose as its presence at any event. It can also be used as an effective marketing tool, giving an edge to the company.
  7. It helps the broadcaster have an advantage of providing accurate and exact details of the news or event that is taking place. This also includes taking photos, live audio and video, interviews by reporters, etc.

Outside broadcasting is the term used for video production done outside an indoor studio. Outside broadcasting can be useful in shooting unique locations and are capable of capturing live events that cannot fit inside or take place within the confinement of a purposely built television studio. These events are usually sporting events, special political conventions, news, or concerts.

If you are in need of mobile production vehicles, Links Broadcast can help you. You can be guaranteed that you are purchasing something that is tested well and with great quality. We have been servicing our clients for more than 20 years and we know how to help you find the gear that you need. We are confident that you can find a partnership with us, try working with us and we will not let you down.

For more information on our OB Production Facilities click here or contact us

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The original version of this blog was first published in baproductions.tv

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Outside Broadcast Production Facilities For Bentley

Outside Broadcast Production Facilities For Bentley

When Bentley Motors announced their latest investment in their site at Crewe and the production of their first electric vehicle, we were delighted to be asked by Connect Live (UK) to provide the outside broadcast production facilities which helped them deliver their message. With Connect Live (UK) delivering the overall production they approached us to provide the facilities and crew to film the on-site staff briefing, which was delivered to several thousand Bentley workers prior to the announcement to the press. As dawn broke over the Crewe plant, our cameras and OB production vehicle, S100, filmed the Bentley executives message and delivered the feed to a large LED screen on site as well as providing the feed for streaming by Connect Live (UK).

For more information on our OB Production Facilities click here or contact us

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Under the hood of OB Production Services Pt 2

Outside Broadcast Providers

Exploring the future of the supertruck and changing OB culture

Supertrucks used to be all the rage in Outside Broadcast Providers sports broadcasting, but are they still today? Although we are still seeing the launch of brand new large, cutting edge outside broadcast providers services trucks to enable live sports coverage, we are also seeing a rise in demand for smaller vans that are being used to facilitate remote broadcasts.

Here we talk to a panel of experts from the outside broadcast providers industry in part two of our series exploring the future for uber OBs and where this industry is going moving forwards.

Modular trend setters

Prior to the pandemic, new supertrucks were big news. Although several large vans have been launched over 2020 and into 2021, Christer Pålsson, president of NEP Central and Southern Europe, says modular systems are setting the trend today.

“Outside of the deliverables for specific contracts, we don’t have any current plans to build more of the really big supertrucks in the next year or two. When it comes to speculative builds, we’ve seen a shift in demand and our solutions need to be more modular.

“With technologies evolving so rapidly at the moment, the typical depreciation cycle of core technology is decreasing, meaning we need to amortise our costs over a shorter period of time,” notes Pålsson.

“The best way we can do this is through increased utilisation,” he states. “By having a modular approach, and ensuring our facilities are all cross compatible, we can combine a number of medium size units to create the ‘super size’ fire power, when required, but we can then split them back out and have them working harder on a week to week basis.”

Arena Television’s deputy director of operations, Daf Rees, has noted the same trend towards modular set ups for outside broadcast providers: “The days of supertrucks aren’t numbered quite yet, but I think there’ll be a shift toward a different configuration of units.”

He continues: “Our goal is to send fewer trucks to site as that has the greatest impact on sustainability, so I think we’ll see more versatile trucks that can carry cable and equipment, as well as serve as the technical hub of the on-site operation. Our trucks will always be super!”

Peter Bates, EMG UK managing director, agrees: “Supertrucks will always have a place in delivering major OB productions, however new builds will reduce to allow smaller, but still powerful units to deliver the increased requirement for remote productions.

“We launched OB12A and its sister unit OB12B last summer,” continues Bates. “This is a scalable setup with its datacentre located at the front of the tender connected by four fibre cables, enabling maximum operational capacity for personnel within the production units.”

Neville Hooper, NEP UK’s deputy head of sound, says that while we will see less uber trucks being built in the immediate future, they still have a place: “It is unlikely that any new large trucks will be built in the short to medium term. Focus has shifted to advancing remote style delivery, which often does not require such a large vehicle. But there are still those jobs which, for a variety of reasons, are not able to be delivered remotely. Jobs such as state events, due to their size and complexity, still require large trucks, along with certain major sporting and entertainment events.”

While Dan Regan, sound guarantee at Timeline TV, comments: “Full size OB trucks still have a part to play in the coverage of large sporting events. These smaller more compact vehicles are enabling the sports that previously might have struggled to justify having a full OB unit onsite, to be covered with the high-end production values a large OB unit could facilitate.”

Meanwhile, Andrea Buonomo, Cinevideo’s executive sales manager, says that OB truck providers have spent recent years preparing for demand for the latest technologies, so the lull in large truck builds now is simply part of the natural cycle. He explains: “I think that outside broadcast providers [have already] moved in time for the next future request about 4K, so this is why [over] the last three years we have seen a lot of new OB’s [being built]. Actually in Italy we have 10 or 12 UHD trucks [at Cinevideo] but [there is] no request for UHD (or very poor demand). Maybe in the future [this demand] will increase.”

Big love for big trucks

As to where the big trucks are needed in sports broadcasting today, and where we will see this changing as we move ahead, Pålsson comments: “For the big premium broadcasts the demand for big trucks will remain, and for a variety of reasons. A lot of clients want to be on site and have their preferred crew alongside them. Often it will be linked to the spec of the production where there is a lot of additional kit, high SLA’s, or other pressures; some clients feel more comfortable in known surroundings and the technical fire power of the big truck makes sense. Sometimes it’s a straightforward financial decision, where often it just doesn’t it doesn’t make commercial sense to remote everyone. For this reason we believe we will continue to see big trucks on the roads for many years to come.”

However, Pålsson adds: “Where we have seen a transition is on some of the big ‘once every four years’ type of productions, who are now looking more closely and remote and centralised workflow solutions. For the high volume work, this is where we have seen the biggest shift in demand across Europe. Many clients now actively request comparative remote solutions at the RFP stage, and once engaged more and more are shifting towards centralised solutions due to all the known benefits it can offer (agile scale, efficiency, reliability, environmentally friendly). This also offers the agility to ability to onboard additional content production tools, that previously may have been technically or financially prohibitive.”

Buonomo notes: “Big trucks are needed in sports broadcasting due to a large quantity of people on site. For example a normal Serie A game involves a crew of up to 35 people (cameramen, EVS, shading, etc,) which means we need to accommodate inside the OB a large number of technicians (three shading, five EVS. one engineering manager, one audio manager, one video mixer technician, plus the people from the client like director, producer, assistant director and so on.) It is also true that the space is never enough, because on a big event the truck will be a meeting place point with clients, producers, and technicians.

“Last but not least, there is a lot of technologies inside an OB for doing these kind of productions,” continues Buonomo. “Also for coverage of an event with 10 to 12 cameras it is necessary [to have a] support truck that needs to move a lot of equipment.”

Supertrucks are still a vital part of the OB arsenal, Bates notes: “Supertrucks with their flexibility, firepower and space will still be required at major sporting events such as finals, ceremonies and major special events. These will still be the tool of choice for single event day productions and are able to deploy and deliver full production facilities or remote surface productions with short lead times from event to event, irrespective of the location’s connectivity capabilities.”

Adds Rees: “Big trucks are still needed where either connectivity isn’t available, or the event itself is of such importance that there is still a strong desire to be on site. What changes, I think, is the number of big trucks on site as one truck might service both on-site and remote production demands, and there may be fewer visiting broadcasters using on-site facilities.”

Remote future or decay?

As to whether our experts believe that the trend towards remote working is here to stay, Regan says: “Since the start of the pandemic, most Timeline TV sporting OBs have made use of some form of remote production. This includes everything from remote graphics operators, to full multi-camera coverage, with only a handful of people onsite. There has been a very quick uptake with these remote technology and Timeline believes these changes are here to stay.”

Regan says remote productions are the future. “With all companies pushing to get to net zero carbon emissions, reducing travel is a key. OBs going forward will be a mix of onsite and remote production, with all roles evaluated to see which can be done remotely to ensure the least amount of travel for both crew and equipment.”

Rees agrees: “Yes, it is [here to stay]. Whether you’re thinking of remote or decentralised workflows, or smaller units operated by multi-skilled operators, there are technical, commercial and work-life benefits to be found in ‘the new way of working’. That’s not to say those benefits are to be found in every production; some will continue to operate in a ‘traditional’ manner as that will be the best fit for that production, but the new way provides us with a great set of tools in the box to leverage benefits and efficiencies in places where they fit.”

However, Buonomo believes remote working has the potential to kill the OB industry. He states: “I think that something will change in the future, but not so early. I believe that the OB on site will be always a good part of this job. If everything goes remote… I think this work is dead.

“It is necessary to safeguard the human side of this work, because we can have all the artificial intelligence we want, but only a human can put passion into what he does (and he needs to be on the field to feel the [emotion of the] game.”

Buonomo adds: “I’m not very convinced about [remote working being here to stay, especially] in a small country where you can reach all locations in short while.”

Changing OB culture

However, despite some scepticism about remote working, the majority of our experts are excited about where the OB industry is right now.

Bates says the last 12 months have pushed technology and ways of working for all, including OB providers, forwards. “This period has driven innovation across the industry,” he notes. “The move to remote and decentralised productions has allowed for production flexibility without compromise to the screen output. There are now so many options that can be used across delivery; no OB is the same and that is exciting!

“The OB culture is changing, and for the next generation of production and engineering talent this will be their normal,” Bates states.

Rees is also enthused about the state of the industry right now. He explains: “It’s an exciting time! The most noticeable change will be the appearance of remote operation hubs, like our CoreTX production facility based in Redhill or our portable CoreTX facility that can be built at a location convenient to the client. The technology within these production centres will utilise on-premise, cloud, remote production location and data centre co-location physical and virtual processing to create the most flexible production workflows we’ve ever been able to offer.

“Our fantastic fleet of OB trucks will continue to be a major part of what we do, and the new technologies and concepts augment our existing services to open up many new ways of working for the benefit of our production partners,” says Rees.

He goes on: “There’s a really interesting mesh of factors going on, between new technology, better connectivity, travel limitations, sustainability goals, better work-life balance and commercial pressures to name a few that’s driving this generational change to question the way we cover events. It’s a self-reflection that’s overdue and I’m convinced will lead to a much more diverse and sustainable industry.”

Hooper notes: “Moving forwards, the next steps will be more contracts delivered in various styles of remote and centralised models, and as contracts are renewed, it is likely their mode of delivery will be revisited. As technology and connectivity improves, there will be more options available. As already suggested, while things have changed, it’s more of a diversification than a complete change of direction, and ‘traditional’ outside broadcast providers are not yet a thing of the past!”

Finally, Pålsson says: “The future for NEP is to remain flexible. Our clients come in all sorts of different shapes and sizes so our solutions need to match. We believe in a modular and likely often hybrid approach, where both on location, remote and centralised workflows will need to co-exist and be interoperable. And while trucks are firmly here to stay, that’s not to say they aren’t going to look different as time goes on.”

Concludes Pålsson: “There will always be a request from some clients to be on site, to be closer to the action. But that doesn’t necessarily mean we need to have all the equipment on site. Advances in virtualisation, growing network capacity and emerging technologies means we can now remote more equipment off site to centralised and even cloud facilities. We can build and deploy lightweight production gallery facilities built for monitoring and control, but we can have all the dedicated hardware located centrally, which on any given day could be working different productions, different clients and even different countries!”

For more information on our Outside Broadcast Production Services click here or contact us

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The original version of this blog was first published in www.svgeurope.org by Heather McLean

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Under the hood of OB Production Services Pt 1

OB Production Services

Exploring the rapid evolution of today’s OB Production Services usage in Europe

OB Production Services have never been more in demand than they are today. The pandemic has created new opportunities for service provision as live sport attempts to recoup time lost to lockdowns, and broadcasters battle between schedules, COVID protocols, and new remote productions.

In this article, the first of two, we talk to a panel of experts from the OB production services industry to find out how OBs are being used across Europe today, what demand is being seen, and where small trucks are stepping into the breach.

Tricky times

On how truck usage has changed over the last year, Christer Pålsson, president of NEP Central and Southern Europe, comments: “The past six to nine months have been some of the busiest in recent memory. Due to the rescheduling of the sporting calendar, we’ve seen a huge peak in demand for OB production services all over Europe.

“However from a regional perspective, we’ve noticed demand coming in waves. So with the Nordics being one of the first [regions] to reopen, we saw a large number of sporting fixtures shift to that region as federations looked to clear the backlog.

“To cater for this our fleet has never been more European, with trucks regularly moving across the continent to cater for the demand,” continues Pålsson. “Of course trucks are easy to move, but people are more challenging, and being a responsible company we’ve done our best minimise cross border travel for people and have tried to crew all our productions using regional crew wherever possible. Brexit of course further complicates this!”

While Peter Bates, EMG UK managing director, comments: “With the worldwide travel restrictions introduced due to the COVID pandemic and especially the varying isolation and quarantine requirements for entry and exit from country to country, it makes complete sense to reduce the amount of travel across borders by sourcing facilities locally.

“At EMG we are very fortunate that we can call upon resources across the whole of central Europe from within our Group sister entities,” continues Bates. “For our customised golf fleet we carefully manage all the different logistical issues to ensure safe passage and timely delivery of onsite facilities together with remoting of many facilities. Within the UK we regionalise crew to limit travel and reduce accommodation requirements where possible.”

From a UK perspective, Neville Hooper, NEP UK deputy head of sound, says: “Because of the dual complexities of both Brexit and the pandemic, there has not really been any call to leave the country for anything other than regular contract work such as Formula F1, or the Women’s Tennis Association Tour. Obviously, this doesn’t include the Euros, but to be fair, this was a project initially planned long before the pandemic hit, and it will be our first major venture into Europe this year.”

Arena Television’s deputy director of operations, Daf Rees, has noticed a marginal truck usage change over the course of the pandemic, but he notes that innovative technology use is enabling more broadcasts to happen safely. He says: “[We’ve seen a] slight change, but we’re also seeing great technology like mixed reality environments evolve, that allow broadcasters to stay at home, but make it look and feel as if the presenters are at the venue, tempering the need to be at the far away venue.”

Meanwhile, Andrea Buonomo, Cinevideo’s executive sales manager, says there has been no change for Cinevideo in Italy. “None at all, in Italy from June 2020 (when we restarted our productions), we returned to covering all our events in person, everywhere.”

Evolving facilities

Production facilitation has definitely evolved over the last 12 months. Bates says: “Several factors have influenced how we facilitate productions since the return to sport in June 2020. These include the availability of connectivity from site, the size of the production teams, and safety and COVID protocols.

“EMG UK’s focus has always been to provide a safe working environment for our clients without compromise to the delivery of their production. We have been able to offer remote production solutions using our ROCs in High Wycombe, Salford and Stratford, as well as providing overspill solutions on site where connectivity has been an issue or our clients have requested it.”

More trucks have been needed on site to allow for social distancing, Timeline TV has found. Dan Regan, sound guarantee at Timeline TV, says: “Currently we’re providing more trucks to aid social distancing and within our Ealing Broadcast Centre, spreading operators across more rooms and providing COVID screens.”

While Rees agrees more OB vans are currently being used, he says remote production is also tipping the requirement the other way. He elaborates: “Yes, to aid social distancing we’ve deployed additional trucks or cabins, or built additional production space within a venue where the number of people on site can’t be safely positioned within one truck. That said, the remote production models our clients favour enables us to remove one of the production trucks from the venue, so the net result – presently – is minimal.

“As the need for social distancing subsides, the truck footprint in the OB compound will shrink because of remote production workflows moving some of the staff elsewhere and allowing equipment to be consolidated into fewer vehicles on-site,” Rees continues.

Pålsson agrees that more trucks are needed overall due to social distancing, but remote productions mean less truck space is needed on location. He explains: “This has been the case. We’ve seen a lot of outboarding of positions, so whether that’s additional primary OB units on site, or as it is quite often the case, the addition of some of our multipurpose production units.

“Of course, however, it all depends on the OB and its particular editorial requirements, but in some instances, working with our clients, we have been able to remote entire departments off site. For example, using our VT replay facility we’ve purpose-built in Manchester, we’ve freed up valuable space in the truck while also being able to avoid having to have crew members having to travel the length of the country,” Pålsson adds.

For Buonomo, as all the biggest productions in Italy have continued to be carried out as before the pandemic on site, there has been little remote production carried out. He states: “One thing that has changed is the add-on coverage for the football, Serie A. Before the pandemic we normally used our second gallery room for the rights-holding broadcaster; now, for the add-on with more than one camera, we need to use a separate truck. For example, on the Serie B, where normally one small truck is used, now we use two trucks (one for the director, shading and audio, and another one for EVS operators,) due to social distancing.”

Big is not always better (he said)

Some of our experts are seeing a new or increased role for smaller OB vans, while others believe it is business as usual. Pålsson comments: “We’ve not seen any real shift in demand in terms of truck size; some clients require big trucks, while others need and want smaller trucks. There has however been a steady increase in demand across remote and centralised production, so in this use case our smaller remote capture trucks are proving very popular.”

Bates says smaller trucks have always been popular. “We have had four vans working on remote production for IMG’s Premier League Productions contract since 2016. Smaller footprint trucks have always played an important role within the EMG UK fleet, enabling us to give our clients choice and flexibility. Now with the increasing popularity for both remote and simplified projects, we are able to deploy them on a larger variety of projects.”

Hooper comments: “It is a question of the type of work that will dictate the size of vehicle required. As was seen recently in the UK, we had two large trucks at the funeral [of Prince Philip] and with the nature of these type of jobs, they wouldn’t be possible in smaller trucks, due to the numbers of cameras, kit, and people involved. In some respects at these times, a larger truck can also be useful, as it allows more social distancing.”

Buonomo says small trucks are not the solution for Italian productions, agreeing with Hooper: “Small trucks are definitely not more popular; with the pandemic situation the request is to have more space inside the trucks, so it means bigger trucks. For example, our Dolphin7.0 in a normal situation can accommodate up to 39 people; now we can accommodate maximum 20 people, with plexiglass walls and so on.”

Rees notes: “Our fleet contains trucks of all shapes and sizes to cater for the wide variety of projects we undertake. Different truck sizes suit different productions, but the large trucks are still popular and provide a great working space.”

Nice things in small trucks

As to the value of small trucks in today’s remote productions, Bates says they are helping to simplify productions: “We have deployed smaller trucks on a large variety of projects from full remote off-site, delivering presentation facilities with an off-site production team, to simplified productions using a Simplylive system on site with a smaller production team.

“With the advancements in technology and the introduction of cloud solutions, smaller trucks not only meet the production requirements of our clients, they also dramatically reduce our carbon footprint; helping us to achieve our own sustainability targets,” notes Bates.

Pålsson comments: “We have a selection of capture vehicles, ranging in size from small flypacks up to large rigid tucks, all dedicated to the remote capture. The benefits of these solutions is they are fast and efficient in terms of deployment. They normally require less people to rig, and they have a smaller footprint on site. They can also get in and out faster, meaning we can do more jobs with them. Also they are often a lot cheaper to build, so we can afford to have more of them on the road at any one time.”

While Rees says: “Smaller trucks have an important part to play in fully remote workflows for certain events, where the truck at the venue simply becomes a signal gateway into the remote facility. They’re an important element in enabling a commercially realistic method of covering lower tier events.”

Hooper agrees: “Small trucks are invaluable, as their smaller footprint brings several benefits, reduced transport costs, for one. Also, reduced set up and strike times enable faster turnarounds between events. They also require fewer personnel to operate in many cases.”

Timeline TV is finding many benefits to using smaller trucks today, to the point that has recently launched a new one. Explains Regan: “Timeline’s fleet of remote working trucks have been used extensively to facilitate remote productions. As such we have launched a brand new ultra-compact OB production services truck, Streamline 2. This new outside broadcast truck boasts many benefits, being a smaller vehicle, it requires less fuel to get to site, less space in the broadcast compound and significantly less power compared to a full-size OB unit.”

Streamline 2 enables remote productions to be delivered where there is limited connectivity and can even work over 4G. Low latency monitoring feeds are delivered back to Timeline’s remote production gallery in its Ealing Broadcast Centre. The truck can provide all the benefits of a full remote production where connectivity is limited. Additionally, all of the broadcast equipment is contained within the truck and is remote controlled from the broadcast centre. “Having the equipment onsite also supports robust disaster recovery options if there were any issues with connectivity,” notes Regan.

The OB truck is equipped as standard with six SMPTE camera channels, one super slo-mo camera channel, two RF cameras and two mini cameras, with additional router and mixer I/O for ad-hoc sources. Cable rig times can also be reduced. The OB truck can facilitate a full presentation position with eight microphones, four IFB’s and reverse vision monitoring, all delivered over two camera SMPTEs. The remote production gallery contains full hardware controllers for all operators, providing the tactile control they are used to when working onsite.

However, it is not the same case across Europe. The Italian perspective is focused on larger vans. Buonomo explains: “In a remote production you can think of a small truck for the equipment, but is also necessary to remember that all the equipment need to be in a good working condition (that means air conditions, spare units, etc). So I don’t believe we can use too small a truck for a big remote production. And also you need to accommodate some people inside.”

For more information on our OB Production Services click here or contact us

The original version of this article was published in www.svgeurope.org

OB Production Services 1 Links Broadcast

OB Production Services 2 Links Broadcast

The original version of this blog was first published in www.svgeurope.org by Heather McLean

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Links Broadcast Euro 2020 OB Production For RAI Italia

Links Broadcast Euro 2020 OB Production for RAI Italia

Links Broadcast were delighted to be selected to provide the unilateral OB Production and transmission facilities for Italian broadcaster, RAI, during their football team’s triumphant progress through the Euro 2021 tournament. Links provided facilities and crew at Wembley for all of the knockout stages in which Italy were involved, and also for the semi-final between England and Denmark.

These facilities included our OB production truck, S100, with its combined satellite uplink, plus production trailer and associated cameras and production facilities. For the later rounds we partnered with Vivid Broadcast to provide additional coverage within the stadium, with the Italian Broadcaster operating from a 2 camera pitch-view studio, as well as a single camera pitch-side and flash position, plus a remote camera commentary position and a pitch-side reporter position.

From Links Broadcast’s location in the visiting broadcaster compound RAI operated a unilateral EVS recording & playout facility plus a separate editing facility housed within our production trailer. In addition to the stadium camera feeds, we managed multiple video and audio feeds from the host broadcaster, fibre circuits from the international broadcast centre in Amsterdam and outgoing and incoming satellite links to and from RAI in Rome.

Rai were extremely happy with everything that was provided by Links Broadcast across the four matches, and they were even more happy after Italy’s success against England in the final!

OB Production Links Broadcast 5

Satellite Uplink Links Broadcast

OB Production Links Broadcast 3

OB Production Links Broadcast 1

OB Production Links Broadcast 4

S100 Uplink Truck Links Broadcast

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4K European Football

4K European Football

April has been a busy few weeks for Links Outside Broadcast Sports.

4K European Football at Man City on the 6th, Arsenal on the 8th and Liverpool on the 14th.

4K European Football Links Broadcast

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4K Satellite Facilities For Champions League & Europa League

4K Satellite Facilities For Champions League & Europa League

Links have pleasure in continuing their working relationships with Eurovision providing 4K satellite facilities for the Champions & Europa League Games – recently covering the Chelsea and Arsenal games respectively.

4K Satellite Facilities Champions League Links Broadcast

4K Satellite Facilities Europa League Links Broadcast

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Links Broadcast visits Downton Abbey

Links Broadcast were delighted to be appointed as the OB and uplink provider for ITV’s This Morning when they visited the real life home of Downton Abbey at Highclere Castle.

The popular day-time program hosted by Philip Schofield & Holly Willoughby situated itself on location at Highclere in preparation for the UK release of the Downton Abbey full length feature film. The characters from the cast, including butler Mr Carson (James Edward Carter OBE), plus some of the regular contributors to the show, joined Philip & Holly on the sofa as well as in the library, saloon, dining room and on the north terrace for the closing sequence.

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