By: Roberto Landini, Italian Correspondent
Monday, October 10, 2011 - 10:49 am
Italy: Rome-based Eta Beta is the happy owner of a new OB truck, the Esterna 11 ‘Flexivan’, which is a very different OB truck from the norm, not only in its dimensions, but for its out and out flexibility as the name suggests.
The frame is based on six expandable zones, and an inner room of 70 square meters, able to manage up to 36 TV cameras, 12 slow motions and 12 recording systems.
Eta Beta, proudly believe it’s a really unique top of the line vehicle, since it’s based on two very comfortable control rooms, a bigger one, for double mixing and contemporary airing, as recently happened in this case for TV channel Supertennis and Mediaset.
Eta Beta was charged with all the TV shooting at the ‘cittadella dello sport’ at Foro Italico in Rome last May for the Internazionali di Tennis. The new truck showed its potential for sport by accommodating an HD control room, plus recordings of every feed coming from the external sources, plus the various commentary locations that are usually placed at the core of the event, and feeds from the several journalists booths inside the hot areas.
Flexivan is a proprietary project, that was headed by Ing. Rosario Messina for Eta Beta and was meant as the first of a series of trucks which can be completely adapted according to customers needs; and this does not mean to design different OB vans but to forsee different uses for each vehicle. Nowadays outside broadcast TV vehicles all look like one another – shaped as big boxes with fixed rigid configurations – and they hardly allow for moving equipment among different vehicles. Increased specialisation often means modern TV and cinema production require several vehicles, but budgetary pressures require a more flexible structure, such as Flexivan, that are able to face all difficulties and specialized requests, even dismounting and re-assembling the necessary equipment from one unit to another.
So Flexivan is just like a ‘big can’ that can be completely disassembled and reassembled in only 24 hours according to every event needs – and that’s flexibility! Actually these procedures allow for interfacing everything with other external OB units, thus reducing costs and investments. In other words, Flexivan doesn’t always have to move and carry around its maximum configuration.
All equipment on board are interfaced in a whole network, which is headed by a Snell Kahuna digital mixer as main video mixing surface, for SD and HD even mixed format production.