OB999 Accelerates Hill Climb Broadcast


Nick Collier TV-Bay Magazine
Read ezine online
Download PDF
Download PDF

Over the last century, The Shelsley Walsh Speed Hill Climb has been attempted by some of the world’s most accomplished racing drivers striving to be the fastest up the 1,000 yard, 1 in 6 gradient track.

Last month, in celebration of the motorsport venue’s 113th birthday, Formula E’s Mitch Evans not only added his name to that extensive list of drivers, but also broke the record for the fastest time in an electric vehicle; 30.46 seconds in the new Panasonic Jaguar I-TYPE 2 Formula E car.

The Panasonic Jaguar, however, wasn’t the only impressive vehicle making its debut at the Hill Climb’s celebratory weekend. Capturing all of the action for big screens and livestream viewers was a decommissioned ambulance, newly and painstakingly fitted out as a professional, multipurpose OB vehicle by Nick Collier, managing director at High Viz Media Group.

“Unlike the conventional curved shape of traditional vans, an ambulance is very square and chunky, with a really robust and durable body shell,” says Nick. “Essentially making it the perfect blank canvas to build an OB environment.

“Once we’d stripped back the unit, we had all this space, loads of windows and hatches cut in just where you need them. It fits a six person team, comprising sound, video, production and director stations, quite comfortably.”

Playfully nicknamed OB999 in honour of its previous life, the vehicle houses a production and routing infrastructure based around Blackmagic Design, and Nick explains that the workflow was specifically designed with this in mind. “I’ve been an advocate for Blackmagic Design in broadcasting since I first bought an original ATEM Television Studio. I just couldn’t believe what the kit could do, how versatile it was, and at that price point. Whilst the products have developed hugely since then, that ethos hasn’t changed.”

An ATEM 1 M/E Advanced Panel sits at the heart of the vehicle’s production desk, where for the hill climb’s birthday celebrations, the team produced a multicam mix for the event sponsor GKN Driveline’s YouTube channel as well as for hospitality screens throughout the venue’s public and corporate areas. In order to provide coverage at every stage of the climb, and deliver this through the various platforms, the team laid more than 7km of fibre cable alongside the famous track, together with a multitude of fibre converters.

Routing was handled through a Smart Videohub 40x40, which was complemented by a custom camera preview solution creatively engineered by Nick himself using a Raspberry Pi and a Smart Videohub CleanSwitch 12x12.

A five channel Sony camera rig plus RF cameras for the pit and paddock were supplied by Broadcast Services in Chertsey, who Nick has worked alongside for the past five years. However, without access to a Sony matrix Nick and his team needed a solution that would allow their rack operator to recall the program screen quickly and easily whilst preparing the next camera to air.

Nick says, “Not having the Sony control unit didn’t worry me as I’ve always said Blackmagic kit can do anything and everything you want it to, you just need to know how!

“Alongside Blackmagic’s open SDK, and with a little help from my next door neighbour who runs an IT services company, we spent an afternoon writing a piece of code for the Raspberry Pi. This meant that as soon as the rack operator hits the paddle, the Smart Videohub CleanSwitch would immediately deliver the required camera feed to screen.

“The £26 we spent on that tiny Raspberry Pi system turned into a truly beneficial workflow, one that potentially saved us a rather significant amount of money.”

As with many live events, the team had to produce an engaging and interesting live program of content, whilst managing an ever-changing schedule. “We didn’t know exactly what time Mitch’s hill climb would take place, but we still had to keep spectators entertained with big screen coverage,” Nick adds.

The morning session, ‘Top 12 Run Off’, saw the fastest drivers from the British Hill Climb Championship looking to break records and set the best time of the day, but Mitch’s attempt had to be kept separate as the UK’s Motor Sports Associations’ rules do not allow electric cars. Mitch was to go in the ‘lunch break’, yet this still wasn’t a definitive time, and what if there was an accident in the morning?

The lack of a fixed ‘go live time’, however, didn’t faze Nick and his team. “We had produced a lot of pre-recorded informative content,” he says. “Our editors cut different versions depending on how long we would need to play for: 3 minutes, 7 minutes. Whatever happened, we were well prepared.”

Lead editor, Ross Brown, used Premiere Pro to craft the various lengths of content. Videos included an introduction to hill climbing as well as how the Formula-E car was specially modified to be able to cope with the gradient.

“Our ATEM panel really came into its own here, as we transitioned between the pre-recorded content and the live interviews hosted by female racing driver and presenter Amanda Stretton,” explains Nick. “It was Amanda who announced at 12 noon that Mitch was to go at half past. We really were working on the fly! And so it was absolutely imperative that we were able to react in real-time. The low latency delivered by Blackmagic Design kit meant that we could immediately show viewers the best possible view of the action.”

Due to fairly limited bandwidth at the historic venue, streaming live to GKN Driveline’s YouTube channel had to be 720p. “The course is situated in the leafy Teme Valley, with no ADSL connection, one small spot of 4G, and one location on the hill where you can aim a dish and hit a satellite,” says Nick. “Fortunately though, as soon as were finished we re-uploaded a 1080p version from the HyperDeck recorder which worked seamlessly.”

Nick concludes: “I remember seeing Blackmagic’s OB truck when they had it on show at BVE a couple of years ago, and it made me realise that building my own was possible. But of course the success of this event is not just down to our vehicle, without the assistance of the technical team at Shelsley Walsh and a crew who can react and innovate under pressure, none of this could have happened. For that we are incredibly fortunate.”


Tags: iss133 | ob999 | blackmagic | atem | multicam | videohub | cleanswitch | premiere pro | hyperdeck | Nick Collier
Contributing Author Nick Collier

Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Download PDF
Article Copyright tv-bay limited. All trademarks recognised.
Reproduction of the content strictly prohibited without written consent.

Related Interviews
  • Blackmagic ATEM Television Studio Pro 4K at NAB 2018

    Blackmagic ATEM Television Studio Pro 4K at NAB 2018

  • Blackmagic Design Resolve 14, ATEM, URSA Mini PRo and more from IBC 2017

    Blackmagic Design Resolve 14, ATEM, URSA Mini PRo and more from IBC 2017

  • ATEM TV Studio Pro HD from Blackmagic Design at NAB 2017

    ATEM TV Studio Pro HD from Blackmagic Design at NAB 2017

  • Blackmagic Design with the new ATEM Production Suite at IBC 2013

    Blackmagic Design with the new ATEM Production Suite at IBC 2013

  • Blackmagic at IBC2011

    Blackmagic at IBC2011

  • Blackmagic Design on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

    Blackmagic Design on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

  • Blackmagic Studio Camera at NAB 2014

    Blackmagic Studio Camera at NAB 2014

  • Blackmagic Design at NAB 2012

    Blackmagic Design at NAB 2012

  • Blackmagic introduces Blackmagic RAW (BRAW) at IBC 2018

    Blackmagic introduces Blackmagic RAW (BRAW) at IBC 2018

  • Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera BMPCC 4K at IBC 2018

    Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera BMPCC 4K at IBC 2018

  • Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K at NAB 2018

    Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K at NAB 2018

  • Blackmagic Davinci Resolve 15 at NAB 2018

    Blackmagic Davinci Resolve 15 at NAB 2018

  • Blackmagic Design Ultimatte at IBC 2017

    Blackmagic Design Ultimatte at IBC 2017

  • Davinci Resolve 14 with Fairlight from Blackmagic Design at NAB 2017

    Davinci Resolve 14 with Fairlight from Blackmagic Design at NAB 2017

  • Blackmagic Design at IBC 2016

    Blackmagic Design at IBC 2016

  • Blackmagic MultiView at IBC 2014

    Blackmagic MultiView at IBC 2014

  • Blackmagic and Fusion at IBC 2014

    Blackmagic and Fusion at IBC 2014

  • Blackmagic URSA at NAB 2014

    Blackmagic URSA at NAB 2014

  • Cintel Film Scanner: Blackmagic Design at NAB 2014

    Cintel Film Scanner: Blackmagic Design at NAB 2014

  • Blackmagic Design: Products at NAB 2013

    Blackmagic Design: Products at NAB 2013

  • Behind the scenes of the Teradek booth on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

    Behind the scenes of the Teradek booth on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

  • Den Lennie considers what kit and cameras to buy for 2015

    Den Lennie considers what kit and cameras to buy for 2015

  • BeSteady on the Production Gear stand at BVE 2014

    BeSteady on the Production Gear stand at BVE 2014

  • Hireacamera at BVE 2014

    Hireacamera at BVE 2014

  • The tv-bay Tour in Manchester June 2014

    The tv-bay Tour in Manchester June 2014

  • The tv-bay Tour in London June 2014

    The tv-bay Tour in London June 2014

  • Holdan on BroadcastShow Tour May 2013

    Holdan on BroadcastShow Tour May 2013

  • Official TOUR Video 2013

    Official TOUR Video 2013

  • Autodesk at NAB 2013

    Autodesk at NAB 2013

  • Featured Clip: Geoff Boyle comments on NAB 2012

    Featured Clip: Geoff Boyle comments on NAB 2012

  • Holdan and DaVinci at BVE North 2011

    Holdan and DaVinci at BVE North 2011

  • AMD at IBC2011

    AMD at IBC2011

  • Ateme at IBC 2014

    Ateme at IBC 2014

  • ATEME at NAB 2014

    ATEME at NAB 2014

  • ATEME at IBC 2013

    ATEME at IBC 2013

  • Garland at BVE 2017

    Garland at BVE 2017

  • Global Distribution at IBC2011

    Global Distribution at IBC2011

  • NewTek TalkShow at IBC 2014

    NewTek TalkShow at IBC 2014

  • Softron MovieRecorder updates at NAB 2014

    Softron MovieRecorder updates at NAB 2014

  • Matrox Mojito at NAB 2014

    Matrox Mojito at NAB 2014


Related Shows
  • Day 1 of BroadcastShow at IBC

    Day 1 of BroadcastShow at IBC


Articles
Grading BBC Sounds
Simone Grattarola

The BBC has launched its new personalised music, radio and podcast app with a campaign that follows one listener’s journey from meeting Kylie Minogue in a lift to Idris Elba on a bus. 

BBC Sounds offers a single home for the BBC’s thousands of hours of audio content, including live and on-demand shows and special music mixes curated by artists.

BBC Creative, the broadcaster’s in-house creative division, took the brief to agency Riff Raff Films and Megaforce directing duo of Charles Brisgand and Raphaël Rodriguez who in turn brought on board regular collaborators Time Based Arts.

Tags: iss135 | bbc | grading | bbc sounds | davinici | resolve | blackmagic | editing | Simone Grattarola
Contributing Author Simone Grattarola Click to read or download PDF
Switching to Internet Based Distribution
Chris Clark

"An IP status check for the broadcast industry", "Resistance is futile", "IP points the way forward for the broadcast industry"...

Yes, we've read the headlines too. But rather than force you into submission, scare you, or leave you feeling like you have no other choice, we want to give you the information that helps you to make a sensible decision about Internet-based distribution.

So what’s stopping you from making the switch right now?

Tags: iss135 | ip | internet | distribution | cerberus | Chris Clark
Contributing Author Chris Clark Click to read or download PDF
Test, Measurement and Standards
Alan Wheable The Alliance for IP Media Solutions (AIMS), is a non-profit trade alliance that fosters the adoption of one set of common, ubiquitous, standards-based protocols for interoperability over IP in the media and entertainment, and professional audio/video industries.
Tags: iss135 | omnitek | aims | SNMP | hdr | ai | Alan Wheable
Contributing Author Alan Wheable Click to read or download PDF
21st Century Technology for 20th Century Content
James Hall A big challenge facing owners of legacy content is rationalising and archiving their tape and film-based media in cost effective and efficient ways, whilst also adding value. Normally the result of this is to find a low cost means of digitising the content – usually leaving them with a bunch of assets on HDD. But then what? How can content owners have their cake and eat it?
Tags: iss135 | legacy | digitising | digitizing | archive | James Hall
Contributing Author James Hall Click to read or download PDF
Future proofing post production storage
Josh Goldenhar Advancements in NVMe (Non-Volatile Memory Express), the storage protocol designed for flash, are revolutionising data storage. According to G2M Research, the NVMe market will grow to $60 billion by 2021, with 70 percent of all-flash arrays being based on the protocol by 2020. NVMe, acting like steroids for flash-based storage infrastructures, dynamically and dramatically accelerates data delivery.
Tags: iss135 | nvme | sas | sata | it | storage | post production | Josh Goldenhar
Contributing Author Josh Goldenhar Click to read or download PDF