Megahertz (MHz), an international independent systems integrator, has received an order from Racecourse Technical Services Ltd (RaceTech), the innovative racecourse services provider, for three new High-Definition (HD) Outside Broadcast (OB) vehicles to provide the production facilities for Racing UK Ltd, the premier independent horseracing broadcaster in the UK and Ireland. The high-specification trucks that will be designed and built by MHz are due to be deployed in the first quarter of next year - with the 2011 Cheltenham Festival in March expected to be the first major horseracing fixture to be shown in HD by terrestrial broadcaster, Channel 4.
RaceTech is the leading provider of horseracing pictures for both domestic and international broadcast. The company received a commission from Racing UK to build and operate a fleet of three bespoke OB vehicles that would be capable of race coverage, programme coverage, feeds to the stewards and commentators and on-course closed-circuit television production. These new production vehicles will be built by MHz to replace three of the company's existing fleet of six OB units.
"We admire Megahertz's approach to design and the recent OB trailers they have built are testament to their intrinsic understanding of not only the ergonomics of the space being used but the operational requirements of the production crews," said Mick Both, RaceTech's Director of Engineering and Technical Operations. "We have a longstanding relationship with Megahertz and their commitment to the broadcast market as well as their knowledge of the HD mobile production business was pivotal to the company being selected for this project."
Based on MAN 26T chassis, each vehicle is 12 meters long, with a rigid body. They each have hydraulically operated expanding sections - an 800 mm expanding section to the main production area and a 1000mm expanding platform running the full length of the vehicle to provide easy access to all 3 entrances along an external walkway. There are separate production areas for both RaceTech and Racing UK alongside additional areas for VT and Vision Control. At the heart of the system is a 96x96 HD/SD Evertz Router with additional X-link outputs feeding the multiviewers ensuring output efficiencies. The system is capable of taking up to 10 Triax cameras and 3 radio cameras, 12 XDCam recorders plus a video server. Also included is a Chyron HyperX3 real-time 2D/3D character generator and graphics platform and a GVG Kayak HD production vision mixer. Audio routing is provided via a 32x32 analogue router and a 32x32 AES/EBU router alongside a Yamaha DM1000 audio mixer. Furthermore a substantial amount of fibre equipment is deployed to accommodate the distances involved in providing services to remote parts of each racecourse.
"The implementation of these three trucks is further proof that Megahertz is the leading provider of systems integration for mobile production facilities," said Frances Jarvis, managing director of Megahertz. "Our teams are conversant in both the technical and operational issues confronting today's broadcasters allowing them to provide the most appropriate design, specify the best-of-breed technical solutions and workflow implementation needed to meet the exacting needs of customers like RaceTech - and do so on time and within budget."
RaceTech has been at the forefront of the technological development for coverage of horseracing since the company was founded in 1946. At that time its main aim was to research and develop a photo finish system for the sport and in 1960 the company introduced 'scout' cameras to enhance the integrity of the sport by enabling the entire race to be filmed for the first time.
Part of the AZCAR Group, one of the worlds largest and longest-established independent broadcast systems integrators, MHz plays a significant role in designing and delivering innovative solutions to the world's leading broadcasters, telecommunication and digital media companies.