Crosscreek Television: Voyager 11 Expands HD Fleet to Five

Located in the Birmingham, AL, suburb of Alabaster, Crosscreek Television Productions prides itself on serving its niche marketplace. Be it NHRA broadcasts for ESPN or SEC football games, Crosscreek may be a picturesque, mom-and-pop production company, but you’d never know it from its rapidly expanding fleet of HD mobile-production units.

After releasing the brand-new Voyager 10 in December 2011, Crosscreek quickly followed up with Voyager 11. To build it, the company gutted one of its original SD trucks, Voyager 6, and filled it up with completely new gear, adding another unit to its HD fleet, which now goes five deep.

“You’d never know it’s not a new truck until you saw the rivets on the outside,” cracks President/CEO Spruce McRee.

Voyager 11, a 53-ft. expando trailer, is built around a Grass Valley Kalypso 4.5M/E HD switcher and comes with eight Sony HDC 1500L cameras (the truck has capability for 12 cameras), a bevy of FUJINON lenses, and a Calrec Artemis audio console. Graphics engine is Chyron’s HyperX3 Lyric Pro software.

The truck is also wired for 12 tape machines and 40 channels of EVS server.

Crosscreek selected Cobalt Digital to provide, commission, and configure a signal-distribution system for Voyager 11. Cobalt supplied a card-based solution comprising its 9901-UDX 3G/HD/SD up/down/crossconverters with frame syncs, a 9821 downconverter with HD/SD-SDI input, HD/SD-SDI reclocking, SD-SDI and analog video/audio outputs, and distribution amplifiers. The system is controlled by OGCP-9000 control panels.

Technological enhancements and new trucks have become a constant at Crosscreek. Additional facilities and resources are in response to a constant need to support the rapidly growing pool of content in the southern U.S.

“[It] made sense to us [to add two trucks] because we had turned away work, and the opportunity to have another truck in our HD fleet to help our arrangements with ESPN and NHRA was important to us,” says VP of Engineering John Peers.

Over the past couple of years, McRee has seen his company’s profile increase exponentially, and that in turn has paid huge dividends in seeking financing for projects like Voyager 10 and Voyager 11.

“We had to prove ourselves,” he says. “Once [Voyager] 8 rolled out and did its very first show, we’ve had all kinds of compliments about what a great job we did and what a great truck it was. The proof was in the pudding. Once the trucks got out there and started working and doing well, the financial people started seeking us out, and we’ve been very fortunate to get some attractive deals, which you’ve got to do in this business; the margins are just too tight. Being a small company, years ago, we were having to borrow money at 12% interest. Now we’re down in the 4% range. It’s just one of those things that you’ve got to ride out and prove yourself and have a good track records and contracts.”