France 3 to roll out HD OB Twins

By Kevin Hilton

French regions-based national broadcaster France 3 is in the process of
putting two new identical HD OB trucks on the road to cover football
matches, tennis tournaments, classical concerts and theatre production.
The first of the two trucks, collectively known as ‘The Benjamins’, is
already operational, working out of France 3’s Marseille broadcast
centre, with the second, to be based in Rennes, due to come into
service by the end of the year.

The medium-sized vehicles are
12-metres long, with four metre expanding sides, each equipped with 12
cameras and a 52-fader Studer Vista 8 digital audio console. The sound
rooms of the trucks have over a tonne of acoustic isolation material
and are designed for 5.1 mixing.

The Vista 8 desks feature SCore
Live digital signal processing, SDI inputs and Dolby E encoders for
preparing 5.1 signals for transmission as two-channel feeds. These are
supported by two Studer Stageboxes, which are equipped with 32
microphone inputs and are usually positioned some distance from the
truck. “We cover a lot of football matches where the Stagebox has to be
carried long distances,” said sound engineer Christian Mouttet, “and we
like the size and weight of the unit and its efficient cooling systems.”

France
3, which is part of the France T l visions group, has over the years
re-equipped its OB fleet with digital audio consoles and is now
standardising on Vistas, with existing trucks featuring Vista 6s. The
broadcaster’s operations managers want sound engineers to be able to
work in all the trucks, so being familiar with a single desk format is
seen as an advantage. At the moment four out of the six France 3 trucks
house Vista series consoles.