NBC’s Sunday Night Football Gets New NEP Truck Featuring Improved Flexibility On All Fronts

The NBC Sports production team for Sunday Night Football will have a new place to call home when NEP rolls out ND1, a truck that Ken Goss, SVP, remote operations and production planning, NBC Sports Group, says exemplifies the synergy that the two organizations have developed over more than two decades.

NEP-ND1 Image

ND1 is based on a new workstation-design platform.

“It continues our legacy of working together to push remote-broadcast technology forward,” he says.

One such innovation is a revolutionary workstation-design platform, which enables almost any job function to be performed from almost any workspace in the truck at the push of a button.

“Each unit is about 99% identical to the others so that NBC staff can sit and work in one or the other,” says NEP CTO George Hoover. “And NBC wanted the main audio and submix audio side by side in one trailer. By having the audio guys close together, there is a little less wiring for the control surfaces.”

He says this is the second in a series of “super trucks.” ND1 comprises four 53-ft. double-expanding trailers with total seating for more than 75 operating positions and support for 15 formats. It has a completely 1080p-capable infrastructure and the largest routing switcher (from Evertz) available for a mobile-production facility in the U.S. It is also configured to support a 25% increase in production levels into the future.

The unit’s 100%–fiber-optic connectivity supplies all interconnections between the trailers and from the trailers to the stadium venue. EVS XT3 media servers support tapeless, fully digital recording workflows, with extensive embedded audio support for 16 channels. In addition to the Evertz routing switcher, ND1 includes a Grass Valley Kayenne Elite 9M/E production switcher and Calrec Artemis and Apollo audio consoles (for an in-depth look at ND1’s audio capability, CLICK HERE).

As a member of NEP’s family of next-generation mobile units, ND1 represents a completely new approach to design, construction techniques, and materials — producing trailers that offer more interior space while taking up a smaller footprint in the compound. In addition, NEP engineers used advanced, computerized stress-analysis tools from the aircraft industry to design a trailer that is stronger, stiffer, and 20% lighter. The result is greater weight-carrying capacity, reduced maintenance downtime, a better ride for the equipment, and a longer life for both the equipment and the trailer itself.

“We went back to our long-term trailer partner, DRS Technologies, and built a computer model for a truck that would allow us to reduce weight and strengthen it by eliminating flexing and optimizing the space as much as we can,” says Hoover. “The key is, instead of using more metal to re-engineer it, to put metal in the right places to have the greatest structural strength.”

A more rigid trailer means more than just longer external life, because internal components can be affected by excessive flexing. For example, gears involved in expanding sides and other components can become misaligned. And, even if the trailer itself doesn’t break equipment, racks can get damaged and out of alignment as well.

Large “super trucks” are typically tied to major renewals of primetime and major national broadcast sports, like the NFL, NASCAR, or golf. And, while NEP continues to work to improve the trucks for those major events, the previous generations of trucks are also getting a refresh, courtesy of EVS XT3 replay servers and fiber interconnect between the A and B units.