Lyon Video Picks Audio First in Designing HD Truck

When the operations team at Lyon Video sat down to design its latest truck, Lyon 11, the plans quickly morphed from those of just another truck in the fleet to the biggest, most technologically advanced mobile unit in the Lyon Video family. Development of the 53-ft. expando unit, which hit the road for an ESPN/ABC college football production package in September, followed an unconventional timeline: the first piece of equipment chosen for the truck — before a body was even built — was the audio console.

“We were one of the first mobile companies to take delivery of the Calrec Apollo and get it on the road in the U.S.,” says Chad Snyder, account manager at Lyon Video. “The Apollo is the next evolutionary step in Calrec’s line, and the lead time was something like 20 weeks, because, at that point, it was still in design stages. They had to give us the CAD dimensions to make sure that we could fit it in the truck.”

Looking for Wiggle Room
The floor plans for Lyon Video’s trucks generally follow a walk-through model: production personnel can walk from engineering through the whole body of the truck to audio. Fitting the Apollo console across the trailer, rather than parallel with it, made for a tight squeeze.

“We only had four extra inches in the body when we turned it longways,” Snyder says. “The console is around 8 ft. 2 in., and the body we purchased from Gerling and Associates is around 8 ft. 4 in., so we had to build the skin and side walls very thin to accommodate the mixer. It was really neat to go through the process. When the console finally showed up, it was tight, but the dimensions were right on, and it worked out.”

3G and Ready for 3D
Lyon 11 is the second truck in the fleet to feature a Grass Valley 4.5 M/E Kayenne production switcher but the first to use an Evertz EQX router.

“We put in a 3G model so that we could do 1080p through the truck,” Snyder says. “We went with Evertz VIP 32 multiviewers, which let you put up to 32 images on two different display outputs. We made all of our displays 1080p in both the A and the B units, so we can take the outputs of the VIP multiviewer displays, run those out to a booth, and also run 1080p displays over fiber into the B unit.”

Along with the 3G technology comes 3D capability, as the Evertz router can handle single-stream 3D, sending the 1080p 3G signal to multiviewers as separate left-eye/right-eye feeds.

“You can view those together or separately, depending on the display that you have,” Snyder says. “And the Evertz equipment recognizes the four accepted standards for 3D that are currently being displayed, since 3D still doesn’t have a master standard.”

Future-Proofing for Audio
Along with an Evertz EQX video router, Lyon 11 houses an Evertz EMR audio router with a 1344×1344 MADI matrix. Using MADI, Snyder says, Lyon 11 can exchange audio sources with other trucks in the compound, Lyon and otherwise, which offers a quick and easy way to move around multiple audio sources at once.

Lyon 11 carries four EVS XT[2]+ replay servers, purchased in part for their future upgrade path to 3G. The engineering team wanted to feed all of the EVS servers with up to 16 channels of audio, so, as part of the Evertz router, Lyon purchased 64 channels of 16-channel embedding.

“It’s the only way to get that many channels of audio into an EVS, so we’re future-proofed going forward,” Snyder says. “A lot of people are using eight channels of audio today, and that’s all the connectors that are available in the back of an EVS. To get more audio in, you have to embed it into the video signal. In a couple of years, we assume that, with 3G, people are going to be looking at 7.1 surround sound, international feeds, natural sound feeds, etc., so we want to be ready with those additional channels of audio.”

Last but Not Least
The last piece in the Lyon 11 puzzle was the camera complement, and the company chose Grass Valley 1080p cameras with a dual transmission system. Lyon 11 is equipped with 14 Grass Valley LDK 8000 Elite WorldCam cameras, with both triax and 3G-over-fiber base stations.

“We have the ability to do triax up to 1080i/720p, and then, if and when a client wants to go 1080p, we go to the fiber system,” Snyder explains. “This way, we can also accommodate multiple clients, as some want fiber to their cameras, while others use a lot of triax because of the venues they work in. The concept was to be able to accommodate everybody.”

Lyon 11 also features one Grass Valley LDK 8300 3X Super SloMo camera, one LDK 8000 SportCam (2X SloMo), a Chyron Duet HyperX3 graphics engine, and larger 1080p flat-panel displays in both production and tape.

“We were able to get the size of the bezels down,” Snyder says. “We think that enhances the client’s ability to look from screen to screen and be more seamless in both production and tape.”

A Bigger B-Unit
Lyon 11 debuted with a new expanding-side B unit. Lyon B-5 is the company’s first expando B unit and was integrated at the company’s new in-house shop in Columbus, OH. Knowing that a B unit would eventually be built for Lyon 11 helped the company keep costs down, as Lyon was able to purchase most of the gear needed for B-5 while placing orders for Lyon 11.

The infrastructure of both trucks was designed and built to last for at least 10 years, although Snyder expects to change out a few components here and there over the course of the next decade.

“We’ve proven, going back to our first units, that 10 years is probably a good design life for the body and the infrastructure,” he says. “We might change the accessories that go around it, but we know generally that the truck is going to be on the road, with this basic infrastructure, for a minimum of 10 years.”