SIS LIVE To Support BBC Sport’s HD Coverage of Grand National Horse Race

The Grand National on April 10 will be the first UK horse race televised in high definition. Among the facilities at Aintree in Liverpool providing coverage for BBC Sport will be SIS LIVE’s recently launched OB 1, which has so far worked on football for Match of the Day and last weekend’s Boat Race.

OB 1 is said to the biggest UK OB truck to date, which SIS LIVE says made it the right choice for both the Boat Race, the annual rowing clash between Oxford and Cambridge returning to the BBC after five years on ITV, and the Grand National. Although still in SD, the Boat Race was available through a number of outlets, making the broadcast more complex than the last time the BBC broadcast the event.

“Technology has moved on since 2004, when we last covered the race,” says Paul Davies, executive producer at BBC Sport. “We’re delighted to be able to make the event available across our TV, radio, and online platforms, as well as via mobile phone. Audiences were able to enjoy this key national occasion from wherever they were.” OB 1, a 14.6m-by-5.65m truck, has double-capacity 3G capability, allowing it to be moved to 3D in the future. The vehicle can house up to 24 Sony HDC-1500R multiformat HD cameras, plus wireless units.

Other equipment includes nine EVS hard-disk player-recorders; eight HDCAM SR decks; a 576-input, 1,152-output Evertz EQX matrix featuring embedded audio; Sony MVS-8000G production switcher; and Calrec Audio Alpha and Omega mixing consoles with Bluefin processing.

“OB 1 is an extremely powerful truck,” says Julian Boden, head of engineering at SIS LIVE. “We have packed in as much of the very latest technological equipment as possible and designed the truck with major events, such as Wimbledon and the Open Golf, in mind. It also works seamlessly with our other new-generation vehicles, OB 3 and OB 7.” The BBC is broadcasting all three days of the Aintree Festival on BBCs 1 and 2, Radio 5 Live, BBC Sport online, the Red Button, and BBC HD, culminating with the Grand National itself.

Besides being televised in HD, the world’s most famous horse steeplechase, on which just about everybody has a bet, will feature two high-speed cameras, positioned at the fences, The Chair and Becher’s Brook. A Vortex camera will be used to give a 360-degree view of the race from heights of up to 100 ft.