Dome Productions Expands HD Capacity With Echo

Unlike many U.S. mobile-production providers, Canada-based Dome Productions is jointly owned by two Canadian sports channels, CTV and Rogers Broadcasting. As a partner of the sports networks, Dome is tasked with supporting production of all their television shows, from NHL hockey and MLB baseball to CFL hockey, curling, variety shows, concerts, and unique events. This year, with more productions on its plate than ever, Dome needed to increase its capacity, so the company rolled out its seventh HD mobile unit, Echo, this month.

“Our new truck, Echo, is in part a repeat of the last truck that we built,” says Director of Engineering Mike Johnson. “It’s a truck that stays in line with the complement of mobile units that we’ve been putting on the road.”

Echo, a 53-ft. single-unit trailer built by Gerling and Associates, has a 41-ft. expanding side with an LCD monitor wall featuring an Evertz VIP multiviewer. At the heart of the truck is a Grass Valley Kalypso switcher, Evertz EQX routing system, and Calrec Sigma audio console. The truck comes equipped with a Chyron HyperX3 graphics system, 10 Sony 1500R cameras with OLED viewfinders, and four EVS XT[2]+ replay servers.

“Basically, we built this truck to support our NHL, CFL, and Blue Jays baseball coverage,” Johnson explains. “It will fill in the complement of shows that we cover.”

Echo is capable of some 3G support but does not have a complete 3G path, since the Grass Valley Kalypso switcher is not 3G-capable. Johnson had no special requests for 3G or 3D capability, so those features were not specifically taken into account in the truck’s construction.

“There wasn’t a specific request to put any special features into the truck, other than really taking care of the shows that we cover now,” Johnson says. “Our goal with Echo was to increase our capacity, and that’s exactly what this truck does.”

Besides the seven HD mobile units, the Dome Productions fleet also comprises two SD mobile units, both of which still have enough work to keep them busy.

“We would like to build more HD trucks, and we’re working toward trying to meet that goal,” Johnson says. “But, at this point, we have no firm plans to transition those trucks to HD.”