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Total Audio open new systems build facility & begin second HD OB truck for Arena

Europe’s largest HD-capable OB truck, Unit 7, which was built for outside broadcast specialist Arena TV, is as large as is permitted under EU legislation for trailers.
At 17.5 metres long (the maximum permissible length under European on-road vehicle legislation) has full-length double expanding sides, the air-conditioned, self-levelling truck is in effect a bold statement by Arena of their complete commitment to HD broadcasting.
Designed to be capable of handling the largest OB events in full HD quality, and equipped on behalf of Arena by Bromsgrove-based HD video and audio specialist Total Audio, Unit 7 featured HD-capable VTRs, routers, vision mixers and space-saving LCD monitors to handle the vision, a Dolby 5.1-capable audio setup based around a Calrec Alpha 64 desk, and a 200 square-foot production gallery. Unit 7 went straight into service; its first two jobs were the BRIT and BAFTA awards, which went without a hitch.
However, Unit 7 is just the beginning of Arena’s HD-related OB plans. The next HD-capable OB truck, Unit 8, is planned on a similarly lavish scale (with an even larger Production area to accommodate extra crew on the larger shows), and as with Unit 7, Arena have turned to Total Audio to equip the truck and complete the interior. To achieve this, and to deal with forthcoming HD systems build projects, Total have opened a new dedicated Systems Warehouse at their headquarters in Bromsgrove, and are starting work on the Unit 8 chassis there in the next few weeks. Situated a minute’s walk along the road from Total’s head office, the new warehouse, which is over 8000 square feet in size, features state-of-the-art Systems-build technology, including the very latest in wire-stripping equipment, welding and cutting gear, and a fully equipped spray shop.
“With the opening of the new Systems Warehouse, we can cope with putting together almost any kind of system for HD broadcasters, whether it’s video-only, audio-only, or, like the Arena trucks, projects with both elements,” commented Total’s Managing Director Peter Knowles. “It’s been interesting to read in the broadcast press recently how many production companies feel they’ve just about got the hang of HD video, but admit that they’ve got very little idea of what to do about the audio side. As our name suggests, we have a great track record in supplying audio systems as well as video, and now we have extensive HD systems build experience, too. We’re well placed to help companies equip themselves to handle all aspects of high-definition broadcasting”.
Richard Yeowart, Managing Director of Arena TV, commented: “We’ve had a very long association with Total Audio as a supplier and sub-contractor. With their push into full systems integration they were a natural choice for such a project. They have the knowledge required to support such a complex project and in Unit 7 delivered an industry-beating truck. We expect a similar result with Unit 8 when it comes on-line in the Autumn.”

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