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Yamaha powers new RaceTech OBs

Horse racing television facilities company RaceTech has ordered three HD OB trucks from systems integration company Megahertz (MHz). Each will house a Yamaha DM1000 digital audio console, with space for a second desk to be installed, writes Kevin Hilton.

Horse racing television facilities company RaceTech has ordered three high definition OB trucks from systems integration company Megahertz (MHz). Each will house a Yamaha DM1000 digital audio console, with space for a second desk to be installed, to meet the exacting requirements of covering the Sport of Kings, writes Kevin Hilton. Racecourse Technical Services, better known as RaceTech, was commissioned to build the vehicles by independent sports channel Racing UK. The facilities provider works closely with Racing UK on televised coverage of over 600 races a year but this is only one of three main functions it performs. A major part of RaceTech’s work is providing “integrity coverage”, which allows race stewards to examine recordings in cases of tight finishes or disputed incidents. This goes back to the roots of the company in 1946. Back then it was known as Race Finish Recording and was commissioned by The Jockey Club to use technology to decide close or doubtful results. That brought about the Photo Finish and the modern equivalent involves video and audio, not just a still image. Footage from all the cameras and the public address commentary are archived and used for any later reference. RaceTech is also provides feeds to the in-house television systems used at racecourses. All three jobs involve audio in varying degrees, from simple sound-following-vision with commentary to more complicated presenter, guests and background effects productions. Mick Both, RaceTech’s director of engineering and technical operations, says this requires a large number of inputs and channels to cope with the race commentary, effects and mix-minus feeds for presenters’ ear pieces. “It can be very complex,” he says, “but there is limited space in the trucks for equipment.” Both says the Yamaha DM1000 was chosen for the new OB vehicles because it has the necessary number of channels and inputs, presented in layers, on a small operating surface. With this selection RaceTech is going against the general trend of the UK OB market, which favours Calrec Audio desks. The company has used Calrec in the past but Both explains that the larger size of its desks led RaceTech to look at what else was available. Each of the three trucks will have a DM1000 fitted as standard. For covering bigger races, such as the Grand National and the Epsom Derby, a second DM1000 will be installed alongside the existing desk. This brings RaceTech’s tally of Yamaha consoles to six. RaceTech currently works in stereo, with mono for the on-course systems, but Both said it could move to 5.1 surround sound if any clients requested that. Fibre connections are used to transmit Racing UK’s HD coverage, with the audio carried as embedded channels in the video signal. The three trucks are scheduled to be on the road during the first quarter of 2011, in time for the Cheltenham Festival in March. www.racetech.co.uk

(Pic of AP taking a tumble – www.horseracingphoto.co.uk)

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