NEP UK has unveiled Venus and Ceres, the latest outside broadcast vehicles in its fleet to be SMPTE ST2110 compliant, joining NEP’s worldwide family of IP-based vehicles in Australia and the US. The vehicles will be used at major events, sports fixtures and other large scale productions.
“We needed to replace two of our older vehicles, which gave us the perfect opportunity to invest in our first future-resistant IP capable trucks,” said Rob Newton, Engineering and Technical Director, NEP UK.
With Venus and Ceres, NEP believes it has created an industry benchmark for OB platform topology, as the Arista switches provide ample data throughput and data linking capacity to realise NEP’s ‘single virtual truck concept’.
The SMPTE ST 2110 standards suite specifies the carriage, synchronisation and description of streams over IP for real-time production, playout, and other professional media applications.
The ST 2110 system infrastructure is identical in both vehicles. Each system is built around Grass Valley (formerly SAM) IQ UCP 25GbE Gateway cards, which provide two-way links between the all-new robust and resilient IP-based equipment and the existing baseband technology that is still needed to accommodate clients using SDI feeds. The trucks can also offer dual level UHD and HDI-SDI simultaneously.
Venus and Ceres are also equipped with PHABRIX’s HDR and IP-enabled test and measurement solutions. This includes three Qx 12G signal generation, analysis and monitoring solutions, to accommodate clients regardless of whether they are using SDI or IP feeds. NEP also invested in four Rx2000 units, with each Rx providing up to 4 channels of 2K/3G/HD/SD-SDI video/audio analysis and monitoring (dual inputs per analyser).
Other equipment installed in each vehicle includes Grass Valley Kayenne Video Production Centers and Kahuna vision mixers, Calrec sound desks, PHABRIX HDR and IP-enabled test and measurement solutions, Telex Talkback system, Arista 7504 IP switches and Axon Cerebrum control systems.
The other major differentiator for these vehicles is the significant reduction in cabling; the system requires far less fibre optic cable compared to the miles of coaxial cable previously required, which proves quicker to integrate and is much lighter. The new equipment requires greater cooling; therefore, the truck design takes into account the ability to provide greater air conditioning and all equipment can be cooled separately in operational areas.
Venus and Ceres can also expand their capacity and facilities exponentially via modular connection with multiple IP flypacks. “This is the first time we’ve been able to effectively make our trucks larger - the only limit is the number of ports available on the switch,” adds Newton. “We can put the truck in any location and connect multiple IP systems, be they our flypacks, our trucks or our media hubs, creating fully scalable and large broadcast system - the kind that you would only previously find in a fixed studio set up.”
Venus recently completed its first job and both trucks will be supporting several major live events over the summer.
Venus and Ceres mark a new direction for UK OB vehicles and a shift in thinking – following the first-generation OB trucks built to support SMPTE ST 2110.
NEP is helping to define a new methodology from which others across the industry will benefit.