Lawo in TV Skyline’s New 3G SDI/4K HD OB Truck Flagship

TV Skyline’s new Ü7 OB truck took to the road on May 1 – with a host of Lawo equipment onboard. This unit is the latest addition to the facilities operated by the Rhine-valley-based production company, and sets new standards in design and workflow for high-end OB trucks.

TV Skyline’s new Ü7 OB truck took the road in May.

TV Skyline’s new Ü7 OB truck took the road in May.

The Ü7 is fully equipped for high-quality operation on ambitious productions with three studio control rooms and up to 32 workplaces. The audio area occupied by the Lawo mc²66 is perfectly suited to the live broadcast of big sports events and music festivals in 5.1 surround, and can also handle parallel production of stereo material. The mixing crew can follow the 5.1 production in four rooms with surround monitoring.

“An mc²66 mixing console was installed in our Ü5 OB, which was completed 2006, and we have had only positive experiences with it,’ says TV Skyline founder and CEO, Wolfgang Reeh. “It is very stable in operation, provides optimal functionality and is reliably doing its job. Another reason for our choice is that Lawo constantly develops and advances itself and its systems. With the current generation of the mc² mixing console, Lawo has brought a high-quality and ergonomically optimized product to the market. With the functionality of its console core and DALLIS I/O system, it allows signal processing to a high level.”

The mc²66’s HD core provides a routing capacity of 8192×8192 crosspoints. It offers 144 DSP channels in recording mode and 288 DSP channels in the broadcast mode, plus 28 MADI ports. The system’s DALLIS stageboxes are connected via fiber-optic lines, and uses redundant power supply units and DSPs.

The 16.6m, 38 ton Ü7 trailer is fitted with one movable 1.60m side and two 60 cm drawers on the other – one of these houses the audio control room. Its acoustic environment is designed for optimum listening with regard to equipment placement and the positioning of the monitor loudspeakers – a 5.1-channel setup with digital Dynaudio Air speakers, plus a K+H system, with Wohler audio control. The abundantly equipped area is able to handle multitrack recordings of up to 256 channels, with processing and limiting from TC Electronic. The truck’s silent air-conditioning, fabric-lined walls and carpet, together with the ergonomic overall design of the room – which also has a “tonmeister workplace” – is optimized for the highest levels of technical and artistic production.

One of the three control rooms is accommodated in an auxiliary truck dedicated to the Ü7, another 16.6m, 29-ton heavy trailer that offers an additional multi-function cabin.

According to Wolfgang Reeh, these three control rooms are an important consideration in the future applications of the Ü7: “For sports events, that the host signal is typically created in one control room, with a second and third control room needed to generate the unilateral feeds with highlights as well as edited versions of the programming,” he says.

When designing the OB van, TV Skyline took completely different approach in determining the demands: “The reason why the Ü7 OB truck is so different from our other OB trucks is that it is based on two-year long observations regarding the requirements of the marketplace and of our company,’ Reeh explains. “Thus we devised a new room concept with up to 32 workplaces, and a technical infrastructure and ambience that translates our ideas on the future of production. In this way, we can cover everything from soccer broadcasts to high-end classical music events.”

Lawo Strong in Arabian Radio
A growing number of Arabian radio stations are using Lawo equipment for their on-air studios and production facilities. Among them is the renowned Middle East Broadcasting Center (MBC) Group, headquartered in Dubai, and broadcasting to Dubai and beyond Dubai – including to Saudi-Arabia and Iraq. The group’s MBC Radio division operates six studios in Dubai, which are equipped with Lawo sapphire mixing consoles. It also operates regional studios outside of the Emirate. The Riyadh studio has recently moved into self-op radio programming, using a new Lawo 20-key panel for remote control of the mixing consoles in Dubai, and a TCP/IP line for signal transfer. The feed is duplicated to a codec and landline, as backup to the satellite connection.

The Dubai radio production complex – which has been on air since summer 2013 – comprises three studios for producing MBC FM, Panorama and Iraq radio programming. These studios boast four 20-fader sapphire consoles complete with overbridges for radio on-air production, and a Nova17 MKII router to network all of the consoles and act as an audio router. A fourth Lawo-equipped studio operates as production studio but can also serve as an on-air studio, while Studios 5 and 6 serve as backup studios.

Each of the six studios can be connected to any of the six networks, and the switching can be managed either centrally or autonomously by each individual studio. Six different commercial playout streams are supplied centrally by the router to the respective networks, with full automation. The commercial playouts and studios are supplied automatically, via the radio automation system, including providing the correct monitoring in the various studios. MBC’s central room for panel discussions and talk shows can be connected to different on-air studios at the push of a button. The networking facility allows the on-air control rooms to be transferred to another studio without restrictions in operation. Both the central router and the Lawo studios are fully redundant in operation, with automated switching to the redundant control and audio system.

“We have been using the Lawo sapphire consoles and Nova router for about a year now, and we are extremely happy. The setup makes our every-day work so much easier and efficient,” comments Bassam Faour, MBC Broadcast Manager. “The sapphires and the Nova run absolutely smoothly and are very reliable. They are also highly user-friendly, and failsafe in their configuration and design. To me, they are masterpieces of German engineering and quality, backed by fast, committed and efficient support.”