NEP’s newest truck aces U.S. Open for NBC

By Ken Kerschbaumer

NEP Broadcasting is twice as nice for NBC as at this past weekend’s U.S. Open golf championship, near Pittsburgh, PA and NEP’s headquarters, the network officially put into use NEP’s newest truck: ND4. The unit, says George Hoover, NEP Broadcasting vice president of engineering, is nearly identical to the ND3 unit that is used on NBC Sunday Night Football telecasts. “We’re very pleased with the way things went this weekend,” says Hoover. “NBC wanted the same basic equipment compliment and a twin of ND3.”

Like the ND3, the two-trailer will give NBC staffers and freelancers more room than ever to get comfortable during the long days of golf telecasts. In the A truck, for example, the main production team will be housed in a 24×12 room separate from another 24×12 room that will house the graphics staff. The B unit includes an audio room with enough depth for Surround Sound and a tape room.

Panasonic LCD panels, coupled with an Evertz MVP multi-image display and monitoring system, can slice-and-dice the LCD monitors as needed.

“The Evertz system is a requirement in this truck,” says Hoover. Tape operators need to be able to see up to 50 camera locations at once so they can cut the show properly. Each tape position in the truck has two Panasonic LCD panels stacked in front of it and, with the help of the Evertz unit, the screen can accommodate the feeds.

The tape area has 11 EVS XT2 servers (10 with six channels) plus a DNF Controls ShotBox for replay needs. A couple of Sony SRW decks are also on hand for recording and playback.

Kalypso front and center

The main production area is centered around a Grass Valley Kalypso production switcher with four mix effects, an eight-channel DVEous unit, and a four-channel EVS with a DNF Controls ShotBox. The main production area is also LCD based to ensure the director has a reasonably good-sized HD monitor.

In the audio area a Calrec Alpha console with 72 double-layer faders is at the center of the room. Outboard processing gear from Dolby, Rane, NVision digital audio delays and a large audio router from Grass Valley are also on hand. “The Concerto pulls in signals regardless of flavor and dumps them into a time-division multiplex matrix which lets us get send the signals wherever we want,” explains Hoover. “We can take a digital feed off of tape and get it on an analog Fostex deck without conversion equipment and patching.”

Total RF’s really big show

NEP wasn’t the only vendor keeping busy at the U.S. Open. Total RF supplied more than 1.3 million feet of fiber as NBC’s RF provider, nearly twice as much as is used on a typical NBC golf telecast.

“The extra announce towers, rain rooms, bunker cams, and servicing the international broadcasters and others is what leads to the additional fiber,” says Steve Gansky, Total RF president.

Living up to its namesake Total RF also provides all the standard-definition RF cameras, wireless mics, RF PLs and IFBs. The fiber infrastructure is used to transmit all of the audio/video and data signals around the course.

“The biggest challenge at an event like this is spectrum,” says Gansky. “Thankfully the USGA hired Louis Libin and he is the maven there, making sure that everybody who walks through the media entrance gets stickers on their gear.”

Total RF readies for emergencies like pulled cables and connectors with crash kits on carts stationed around the course. “With 40,000 people on the course getting around can be tricky, especially if you’re near the group following Tiger Woods,” he adds.