NASCAR Media Group Taps Grass Valley to Outfit New Production Studio

NASCAR Media Group (NMG) has chosen a full complement of high-definition production equipment from Grass Valley to support the production studio at its new HD production facilities, located inside the NASCAR Plaza building in downtown Charlotte, NC. One of NMG’s new clients, Showtime, will use the equipment for its new program Inside NASCAR, which includes Grass Valley multiformat HD cameras, video servers and production switchers.

NMG has purchased five Grass Valley LDK 8000 Elite WorldCam HD cameras, a K2 media server system with eight playout and four record channels, a Kayenne 3.5 M/E Video Production Center frame with a 4M/E control panel and a Kayak HD 250 digital production switcher for the international control room.

The LDK 8000 Elite WorldCam cameras, with the new Grass Valley Fiber transmission system, offer 1080p/60 acquisition and 3 Gb/s capability at the camera’s base station. This makes them suitable for high quality HD (720p/1080i/1080p) and even 3D productions. The new cameras — three will be used in studio configuration with Grass Valley SuperXpander kits, one portable and one on a jib — became fully operational in March and work in tandem with the Grass Valley servers and switchers to support the newly completed studio.

“In order to be a true, world-class HD production facility and satisfy our clients — which want the highest quality acquisition and production values available — we looked at all of the major vendors and chose Grass Valley,” says Jeff Lowe, Managing Director of Technology and New Media at NASCAR Media Group. “We see 1080p/60 as a standard that will be ubiquitous in the next few years, so we believe this is a very prudent investment, especially as our house standard is 720p, while some clients prefer 1080i. The reliability of Grass Valley technology and our positive experiences with its products was another factor driving our decision.”

NMG’s HD production facility encompasses four floors of an office tower and two floors of the adjacent building, which also contains a new studio and control room. The facility features a video production control room with a multi-viewer and HD switcher, an audio control room, broadcast equipment room, voice-over booth, 24 edit suites, audio sweetening rooms, a central editing server, 200 TB digital asset management system, HD camera shading, HD playback, satellite control monitoring, duplication and archiving areas, and audio/video/ port control routers.

Systems integration and engineering firm Communications Engineering, Inc. (CEI), based in Newington, Va., is responsible for the production center’s design, integration, installation, and project management.