July 13, 2024
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Inside the new Ü3 truck built by Broadcast Solutions for WDR

Systems integrator Broadcast Solutions has built a new 6-camera TV OB van, named Ü3, for German public broadcaster WDR. 

The vehicle incorporates a compact design and innovative room concept, as well as eight flexible workstations. A host of interconnectivity and stagebox solutions have also been included, allowing the vehicle to be used in a wide variety of applications – including in combination with two radio OB vans also built by Broadcast Solutions for WDR.

The idea behind the concept was to create a multimedia approach for an OB van that reflects recent changes in media production. WDR and Broadcast Solutions also had to take into account the interaction of Ü3 with other mobile production units (legacy and new, TV and radio) operated by WDR. The newly built Ü3 is part of an overall concept and marks the start of a cross-media fleet of production tools for WDR.

In case the audio capacity (a Lawo mc256 console with 16 faders is currently installed) of Ü3 reaches its limits, Ü3 will work in combination with a radio OB van taking over the audio production. In those instances, Ü3 will work purely as a video production tool, meaning that the audio workspace in Ü3 is then available for other activities.

At the heart of Ü3 is a decentralised Riedel MediorNet UHD structure that marks the first-ever use of the new UHD cores worldwide. Six of these devices are installed at a different place within the vehicle. Another seven are mounted in stageboxes, which contain the camera CPUs as well as all audio, control and IP interfaces, and can be placed flexibly in the set or near the stage. The cabling is done exclusively via fibre optic and Neutrik MTP12 connectors. Entire productions can be realised with just one cable coming from the back of the OB van – a second cable provides full redundancy. OB van Ü3 and a respective radio OB van are connected by the same system using one fibre optic cable and a MicroN, running in the audio OB van.

All workstations within Ü3 are planned with a maximum of flexibility. Tasks and teams can easily swap between workplaces, and as a result work can be distributed very flexibly.

To further ensure production flexibility, Broadcast Solutions and WDR also implemented the hi human interface control system, which is an in-house development from Broadcast Solutions. With the hi systems, various components and their configuration can be addressed and modified easily by the WDR team without the need for external support. WDR’s additional demand to receive a vehicle that is IP- and UHD/HDR-ready is supported and anticipated by the hi control system.