NEP SS29 Hits the Road for Speed

Speed network’s NASCAR coverage often highlights drivers on the track as they practice and shake down new cars. This weekend, however, there is a twist, as Speed itself shakes down a new vehicle: NEP Supershooter 29, the TV-production unit that Speed will call home for the next 40 weeks.

“Our team is ready to go,” says Coordinating Technical Producer Bruce Shapiro. “We have a great crew, a great bunch of people, and NEP, Calrec, Sennheiser, and other vendors all stepped up.”

The important thing about the new wheels, he says, is that the unit was built specifically to meet the needs of the network. A Grass Valley Kayenne production switcher, three EVS servers, three EVS replay-only units, Grass Valley routing, 16 Sony HDC-1500 cameras, Canon lenses, and a Calrec Artemis audio console are all on board the truck.

One of the layout changes is that the tape operators now sit back to back in a bullpen configuration. “That really should now be the way tape areas are built,” says Shapiro. Without monitors and other barriers, staffers can more easily communicate and share material and opinions.

The Artemis runs on Calrec’s proprietary Bluefin2 high-density signal processor and Hydra2 networking technology, unifying inputs and outputs inside and outside the truck, regardless of the source’s location. Standard Artemis features include a mix of OLED displays, touchscreens, and light-emitting knobs, providing immediate visual feedback and flexibility for the user.

“The Artemis gives us a tremendous amount of flexibility, and we can have different audio packages at different locations and simply plug in fiber,” says Shapiro. “We are no longer dependent on copper.”

The B unit contains office space, edit rooms, and a graphics area with Chyron Duet units, as well as space for technology add-ons from Sportsmedia.

Speed’s coverage took off with Media Day and also includes the ARAC Racing series. Shoulder programming around the big races — such as Trackside, Raceday, and NASCAR Live — is produced week in and week out during the season. When broadcasting races, Speed taps into the ring of cameras and mics placed around the track.

Fox Sports also is in NASCAR ramp-up mode, and Shapiro gives the Fox team a lot of credit for getting set up so quickly following the Super Bowl on Sunday. The Game Creek Fox A, B, C, and D units form the core of Fox’s NASCAR coverage, and they left Dallas Cowboys Stadium at 4 a.m. Monday and were up and running by Wednesday.

“I give them a hell of a lot of credit for that turnaround,” says Shapiro. “They’ve gone from one Super Bowl to another as our season starts out with the big race.”