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As the world champion New York Yankees warm up for their April 13 home opener against the Los Angeles Angels, YES Network will unveil a new 40-foot hybrid HD production/satellite uplink truck from Metrovision Production Group that it will use to produce special on-field pre-game and post-game shows.
The regional sports network plans to use the new purpose-built HD-2 expando truck from New York-based Metrovision to dramatically expand the amount of HD hours it produces. It will produce occasional remotes for The Mike Francesa Show and coverage of Yale college football and basketball, which YES has previously shot in standard-def. HD-2 will probably handle about 100 events in 2010, including occasional work for other clients.
The 40-foot hybrid unit, which cost between $3 million and $4 million to build, boasts much of the functionality of a conventional 53-foot HD truck. It also has a 1.8-meter Sat-Lite Ku-band antenna and Ericsson/Tandberg MPEG-2 encoders and transmission gear, which will let YES pump HD from smaller venues that don't have fiber connectivity.
"We came up with the concept to put the dish in there to make it economical for the client to go to an Ivy League football stadium, do everything with six to eight cameras, two EVS [replay] machines, a couple of HD [tape] decks and a Calrec board, do everything in HD and get it back to the network," explains Metrovision VP of Operations John Brown.
Ed Delaney, YES VP of operations, got the idea for the hybrid truck after YES successfully used Metrovision's 40-foot HD-1 expando truck as a temporary control room at Yankee Stadium. He was impressed by how much functionality Metrovision could pack into a small space, without it feeling too cramped. "Everything was very comfortable," Delaney says.
The new hybrid truck has the satellite dish mounted up front, countersunk between the cab and the front wall, to save headroom in the main production space. It travels with a 31-foot support unit and provides two-tier seating for nine people. Key gear includes a Harris Leitch Platinum 256 x 256 router and Centrio 96-input multiviewer, a Grass Valley Kalypso 4ME switcher, Sony HDC-1500 cameras with Fujinon lenses and Sony HDCAM VTRs, Chyron HyperX graphics, a Calrec Bluefin audio console and an RTS Cronus intercom system.
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