Dome Productions’ New Mobile Unit Set for Debut

Atlantic, Dome Productions’ newest mobile-production unit, won’t have to go far for its maiden voyage. In fact, it won’t even have to leave the parking lot.

The 53-foot truck will broadcast its first live event on Friday night when it handles TSN’s Canadian Football League broadcast in Toronto from the Rogers Center, which also happens to be Dome Productions’ home office.

“It’s a pretty easy trip for us all to go down and visit,” joked Mike Johnson, director of engineering at Dome Productions.

Atlantic is a part of Dome’s new commitment to 3G and 1080p signal-flow technology. The only portion of the truck that does not support 3G/1080p is the production switcher, which is supplied by Grass Valley (Kayenne, 4 M/E).

The truck sticks with the latest gear provided by some traditional Dome partners, including EVS and Chyron.

EVS’s XT3 servers play a key role in making the truck fully 3G by enabling higher-speed file transfers. The 3G capabilities of the XT3 help Dome connect stereo 3D cameras using a single link. Its loop recording technology and networking capabilities give operators complete media control from ingest to playout, including live editing, slow-motion replays, multichannel playback, and transfer to third-party systems, such as craft editors, automation, archiving, or storage. The XT3 also offers additional camera recording, superior live sports graphics, and the advanced edit-while-recording feature during special sports events.

Atlantic also comes equipped with 10 Sony XL-2400 cameras, 11 Fujinon lenses, a Calrec Artemis audio console, and a Chyron HyperX3 and Lyric Pro for graphics.

A feature on Dome’s latest line of trucks is an uplink for the tractor portion of the rig and a small satellite cabin positioned on the back of the tractor.

“Now, with the main production unit, you can do satellite uplinking as a backup service for the main production and fiber delivery,” says Johnson. “It’s a nice feature to have. We can do that because the facilities and the technology allow us to do that. To service that kind of signal and uplink is a lot lighter and more compact than ever.”

Atlantic is one of two 53-ft. mobile-production trucks launched this year by Dome. Pacific, which debuted in September, was only four days old when it assisted CAMERON PACE Group on Sky Sports’ 3D broadcast of the Ryder Cup.

“We set up for their production, which turned into quite an event logistically,” says Johnson. “They brought in a lot of cameras. The feedback I got was, there were 62 stereo 3D cameras and an additional 40 2D cameras to supplement the production. To say the least, there were a lot of camera feeds coming into the truck.”

According to Dome SVP/GM Mary Ellen Carlyle, business is good, although the current NHL lockout has saddled the company with some financial challenges. Besides the two new A units, the company has built numerous smaller units, or  “side cars,” which can serve as supplementary units for second-screen applications or can work alone on lower-cost Webcasts.

“I think, whether it’s a broadcaster or a Webcaster or a BDU [cable company], they still need content,” says Carlyle. “The only thing that’s really driving live audiences is live sports. Down in the States, you guys are seeing tremendous growth at the colleges and now more high school content. That allows us to jump into that smaller market with our smaller trucks. In Canada, there’s little growth here. In U.S., things have grown quite a bit.”

Carlyle adds that, although a third new A unit hasn’t been fully approved, Dome plans to roll out another truck, which she expects to debut sometime in February or March 2014.