The new 4K UHD ob-van by Aret for the "Qatar Cultural and Heritage Events Center"

The client who commissioned the latest OB-Van from the Italian company Aret Video & Audio Engineering, Zibido San Giacomo, on the outskirts of Milan, is called "Qatar Cultural and Heritage Events Center".

At the time of writing, the new 9 meter long vehicle is ready for delivery, does not yet have a "stage name" and is also awaiting external graphic customization.

This vehicle is born from the intertwined capabilities of an Italian company that officially boasts the creation of over 450 vehicles for TV production, but also radio-TV studios, SNG vans, automation, galleries, master control rooms, and more in the broadcast sector.

The Qatari client, in addition to various tourist, cultural and media activities, also manages a television channel, appreciated for cultural broadcasts, which makes documentaries and also aims to expand in the filming of sporting events.

Given the coincidence with two important national events and celebrations, the "Qatar National Day" and the "Doha international book fair", most of the on-board equipment of the new mobile vehicle was temporarily collected in special flight cases and shipped to Qatar where they worked at various production sites, - for as many as six hours a day of transmissions over a two-week period - with a reduced format compared to that finalized one on the mobile vehicle, but complete and at full capacity.

We are very proud of the result”, said Umberto Asti, vice president of ARET. “This project is one of the first (if not the first) fully 12G UHD OB Van in the Gulf Area, and its workflow is the proof that you can build a cost efficient 4K OB van using 12G-SDI, with no compromises on the quality side and with a great workflow. This thanks to our technology partners like Ikegami, Ross and Lawo which represent today the state of the art technology in broadcast”.

Under the technical supervision of Umberto Asti and with the collaboration of the team of other engineers including Alessandro Costantino and Raffaele Farinaro, the vehicle boasts several patents, the possibility of future updates and a particular usability suitable for the difficult territories to which it is intended.

Various special coatings and insulations have been applied which allow to offer a valid and long-lasting product capable of operating in any circumstance.

Thus it is able to deal with the climatic characteristics of territories with very different temperatures from the European ones.

All stages of construction, design, equipment selection, engineering, systems engineering, etc., are carried out within the company, as well as custom bodywork by the Aret Coachworx section.

Raffaele Farinaro, Solution Architect, who took care of the on-board systems integration, said: "The layout which obviously tends to maximize the use of the interior spaces, provides the typical production areas with redundant conditioning: main gallery with the monitor wall, slow motion, titling, audio gallery, engineering section and control of eight cameras, plus two wireless.

An automatic remote control stabilization system and a mechanical movement logic system are flanked by a User Interface Software Dashboard from which to set all the on-board control and configuration systems via presets and adapt everything to future developments, repurposing production.

The central server with the entire workflow management software is controlled by intelligent Ultritouch touch panels”.

The technological heart

The workflow of the UHD signals in 12G-SDI is based on Ross Video solutions, Ultrix hybrid router, ideal production switcher for live, an Xpression Studio character generator for real-time graphics, an Abekas Tria server that manages monitors in real time and multiple resolutions, including Ultra HD-4K, HD and SD.

System redundancy and backup are guaranteed, as are multiviewers for controlling audio and video signals and Ross OpenGear glues.

For the audio section we talk about LAWO mc236 mixer and AES analog connectivity, direct via MADI with the Ultrix video router, via RAVENNA fiber to two COMPACT I/O stageboxes by LAWO for long distance productions.

The cameras chosen are all by Ikegami, eight UHK-430 and two HDK-99, native in 4K.

The UHK-430 provides simultaneous HDR / SDR processing, mounts a 2/3 ”CMOS sensor that produces images at full 3840 x 2160 UHD resolution and optimal depth of field outdoors.

The camera, which weighs only 4.6 kg and is easy to use on shoulder, on tripods and studio pedestals, provides B4 bayonet mounting compatible with all 2/3 ”lenses and an optional SE-U430 expander that allows to use also studio lenses.

HDK-99 cameras can send a video feed directly from the CCU to any 4K device.

An integrated Ikegami AXII processor allows the UHK-430 to generate a full band uncompressed 40 gigabit/s video feed with 16-axis color correction and focus-assist for 4K and HD video modes.

Ikegami also provides an optional Media over IP module for CCU-430 that allows to exchange 4K UHD video feeds and additional signals, such as intercom and video return, between CCU-430 and a local IP network hub on a light optical fibre, without using multiple SDI cables: signal distribution becomes simpler and layency is minimal.

The Ikegami HDK-99 cameras are suitable for portable and studio use and mount three 2.6-megapixel 2/3” CMOS sensors for high quality HDR images at 1920 x 1080 resolution in progressive scan.

Here too the AXII processor is integrated and the lens aberration correction function of the lenses minimizes the resolution and colour losses at the edges.

A fast focus function EZ Focus Assist improves vision in the viewfinder so that the operator can make more precise focus adjustments.