Broadcasting has been doing its bit in being more ecologically aware over the last ten years or so. Not just with the profusion of wildlife shows and eco-building on property and design programmes but in the use of new technologies to reduce the carbon footprint of TV facilities.
Outside broadcast is among the more problematic areas, with fuel consumption and sheer number of miles clocked up by the vehicles contributing to emissions and congestion on the roads. To balance this Irish OB company TVM has formulated its own green policy, which it says is intended to "look after its environment and local community while giving employees a healthy working environment".
TVM's most recent truck, OB8, is pulled by a Volvo FH12 Globetrotter 460hp tractor, which conforms to the voluntary European EEV (Enhanced Environmentally-friendly Vehicle) code. The production facility, which was used on last week's G8 Summit in Northern Ireland, runs on a single 125 amp three-phase power feed, which is claimed to make it very energy efficient.
To emphasise its green credentials, TVM's new headquarters, built last year in the County Cork town of Bartlemy, was among the first office developments in the Republic of Ireland to be built to the principles of Passivhaus Design. This was recognised in April when the company won a National Green Building Award. "We are delighted with the building," said TVM co-founder Bart Arnold. "It meets our operational needs and satisfies our green policy and ideologies. After a year in the building, we feel really at home here."
Arnold established TVM with his wife Helen in 1986. Since then it has built a fleet of seven OB vehicles, supported by a Final Cut Pro edit suite at head office. The company works with many national and international broadcasters, including the BBC, CTN, IMG, ITN, RTÉ, Sky Sports, TV3 and TG4, as well as independent production houses. In June alone TVM has provided facilities for the Sky Sports Soccer Internationals, ICC Champions Trophy, European Athletics Championships, GAA Championship and Irish horse racing, including the Irish Derby.
The latest addition to the operation is OB8, a 3G equipped truck with capacity for 3D production as well as HD. Its audio area is based on a 52-fader Studer Vista 9 console, the first in Europe to feature backstop PFL (pre-fade listen). The desk offers 760-input mono equivalent signals and 680-output mono equivalent signals, plus 16-channels of embedded audio. A Soundcraft Si6 is used for both sub mixing and grams play-in.
OB8's audio capability was used to its full extent during the G8 Summit. Bringing together eight of the world's 11 largest national economies, the forum was hosted this year by the UK and met at Lough Erne Golf Resort in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland. Various locations round the venue were covered using mostly wired cameras and microphones; additional feeds came from four Panasonic P2 camcorders and their onboard effects mics, plus supplementary booms.
These signals were fed back to OB8 over Cobham RF links, which have a four-channel audio capacity. A TVM spokesperson observed that these "worked extremely well considering the large expanse of area to be covered, both indoors and outside". Four pairs of remote down converters were installed in the Plenary Room, where all the leaders met, and on the Lawn and Lough-side using SMPTE fibre boxes. These gave coverage of arrivals, group photo calls, press conferences and the plenary sessions.
Audio from the Plenary Room was relayed to OB8 over SMPTE fibre through Studer D21 remote stage boxes. Riedel MediorNet systems embedded and carried feeds, including simultaneous translations, from press conferences and bilateral meetings. TVM provided 53 hours of broadcasting from the Media Centre, with more than 160 feeds distributed from OB8 to international broadcasters in embedded audio configurations to meet specified requirements.
"The G8 Summit was a huge success for TVM," Bart Arnold commented. "We are very proud of all our team who made a superb effort to deliver a top-class technical solution for this event."