Doha-based satellite TV channel Al Rayyan TV has deployed a state-of-the-art 18-camera OB van to cover live events in and around Qatar.

Doha-based broadcaster Al Rayyan TV recently had a state-of-the-art 18-camera OB van delivered by Italian systems integrator Aret. The 1080i/720p HD OB van features the latest Grass Valley LDX 86 Premiere cameras and LDX 86 HS high-speed cameras with twin Triax-Fibre CCUs. It also boasts two wireless cameras and two super slow-motion cameras.

The main vehicle, 14m long with double expansion sides, comes with a support truck with a 70kVA diesel generator, an audio OB van and a DSNG van. It boasts a fully integrated seamless workflow with multi-format cameras and other sound and video equipment integrated into a flexible and redundant signal path. The camera format in the van is 1080i/720p switchable, but the workflow and equipment are based on the 1080p format.

This OB van will cater to the increased programming demand of the broadcaster, which has introduced a second channel to air live events. Al Rayyan will be using the new van to cover high-profile live programmes such as Qatar National Day celebrations, camel racing events and hunting and equestrian sporting events in and around Doha.

Mubarak Alawammi, General Manager of Al Rayyan TV, says that the channel’s remit is to deliver high-quality cultural and sporting programmes using the latest technologies.

“Launched in May 2012, Al Rayyan Satellite Television is a subsidiary of Al Rayyan Media and Marketing Company. We aim to deliver a variety of content and media relating to the identity and culture of Qatar. We will continue to invest in new technology in order to fulfill the channel’s aim of delivering high-quality content that is up to date with current technology.”

The broadcaster awarded the multi-million dollar contract to Italian OB specialist Aret at the beginning of 2015, following a tendering process. The OB van was ready to be shipped at the end of 2015.

“With 40 years of experience in OB vans and more than 450 OB vans delivered throughout the world, Aret seemed like a good choice for us, as it offered us a complete solution right from coach building to systems integration and training. Many of their vans have been deployed in the Middle East, which gave us the assurance that the company will be able to meet our specifications,” comments Alawammi.

Aret handled the complete end-to-end service for the van, starting with consultancy, structural design, electrical engineering and air conditioning, and systems design, right through to coach building, systems integration, commissioning, training and after-sales support. The end user, therefore, has a single point of contact for any requirements.

Umberto Asti, VP International Sales at Aret, comments that Aret’s end-to-end approach and the company’s extensive Middle East experience helped the broadcaster zero in on Aret. “Our end-to-end approach is a great time-saver. In Aret, we keep the original drawings and the hardware inventory of every single component installed in the OB vans, along with the basic configuration inventory of equipment. While designing our vans, redundancy and emergency mode are top priorities. Because we also design the van’s mechanics, hydraulics as well as air conditioning, we can assist the customer in case of a fault or failure, offering a one-stop shop for any after-sales requirements.’’

The trailer tractor, the grip truck and the small vans are all from Mercedes and comply with destination country specifications. The trailer chassis is designed to offer robustness and flexibility; its expandable sides and large side openings give full access to the rear of the racks and cable ducts.

The coach is made of fiberglass, aluminum, and stainless steel, in order to give flexibility and keep it lightweight and to avoid corrosion.

All hydraulic parts (expansion sides, jacks, and movable floors) can be operated automatically and manually.

The van takes into account the high temperature during the summer months and comes with a patented frame bar structure with foam. These are embedded in the walls of the van to allow working in temperatures as high as 90°C. The foam walls take care of thermal insulation as well as acoustics.

Special care was given to soundproofing all the production areas, especially the sound room, which has been covered with different layers of special soundproofing material inserted in the walls, in the floor and in the ceiling and then covered with a layer of sound-absorbent fabric.

To further improve thermal insulation, additional layers have been placed under the floor, while special gaskets and controlled positive air pressure throughout the OB van minimise sand pollution. The air conditioning in the van is capable of 200,000BTU/h and uses the Aret semi-customised technique, combining the optimum performance of a custom design with the easy maintenance of industrial components.

The layout of the OB van provides a spacious production room, a sound room, a camera control and Slomo /VTRs control room and a completely separate equipment room. The van is also equipped with 16 custom motorised XY 500-metre triax/fibre cable drum system. Wireless links from Cobham, 500mW, H.264, are integrated with the LDX cameras and give up to eight-way true diversity, complete with camera control and with telemetry receiver.

The cameras are equipped with Canon lenses, including long lenses such as 100x and 86x, and GVG super expanders and fibre conversion boxes. The van boasts two networked Grass Valley K2 Dynos servers, one of them with extreme replay 6x capability for the slow-motion section. The vision mixer in the van is the Grass Valley Karrera K-Frame 3ME.

A Calrec Artemis Beam with 48 faders is capable of 340 DSPs. The fully redundant audio mixer provides 464 mono equivalent input patches and 432 mono equivalent outputs. The audio system features a Dolby E encoding/decoding and surround system in production and sound areas with Dynaudio AIR6 loudspeakers.

Grass Valley has also provided the video matrix (180×216), and everything in the van is managed by AXON Cerebrum supervision and management system with dedicated panels.

This system is fully redundant and controls router crosspoints, video mixer tallies, IMD and UMD labelling, SNMP traps, and configurations of complex workflows and control devices, via an intuitive, user-friendly graphical interface.

The van also features a Riedel Artist digital wireless intercom system, a Riface Motorola radio system and a Mediornet interface to support the transit of signals to and from the OB van.

“We provided the commissioning and training for the OB last month, and now the van is ready to use,” says Asti.