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a new concept in ob-vans

One of the latest implementations of technical marvels dedicated to broadcast sports is an Italian OB-Van called Esterna 11 “Flexivan”. The Roman company Eta Beta is the happy owner of this brand new vehicle, which ia a very different OB-Track from the usuals, especially for its dimensions, but its main feature is “flexibility” as the name itself suggests.

The frame is based on six zones expansions, and an inner room of 70 sqare meters, able to manage up to 36 tv cameras, 12 slow motions and 12 recording systems contemporarily.

At Eta Beta, proudly believe it's a really unique top of the line vehicle, since it's based on two very comfortable control rooms, a bigger one, for double mixing and contemporary airing, as recently happened in this case for Tv channel Supertennis and Mediaset.

Actually, among the latest uses of Flexivan, the Roman company Eta Beta was charged with all the tv shooting at The “Cittadella dello sport” at Foro Italico in Rome last May for the “Internazionali di Tennis”. In that case the new ob-track showed its potentials that can be appreciated along the many sports events it is bound to: an HD control room, plus recordings of every feed coming from the external sources, plus the various commentary locations that are usually placed at the core of the event, and feeds from the several journalists boots inside the hot areas.

Flexivan is a proprietary project, that was headed by Ing. Rosario Messina for Eta Beta. The new mobile track “Esterna 11 Flexivan” can be equipped with tv cameras operating from some 300 mt from the shooting area with signal transport and control on a single fiber cable link.

Flexivan was meant as the first of a series of external trucks which can be completely adapted according to customers needs. And this does not mean to design different ob vans but to forsee different uses for each vehicle. Actually nowadays outside broadcast tv vehicles all look like one another shaped as big boxes with fixed rigid configurations and they hardly allow moving equipments among different vehicles. Modern tv and cinema productions up to today often vary a lot and require several vehicles since each one of which specializes in some functions. Reduced budgets of contemporary production require a more flexible structure, just like Flexivan, able to face all difficulties and specialized requests, even dismounting and re-assembling the necessary equipments from one unit to another.

So Flexivan is just like a “big can” that can be completely disassembled and reassembled in only 24 hours according to every event needs, and that's flexibility! Actually these procedures allow to interface everything with other external ob-van units reducing costs and investments. In other words, Flexivan not necessarily and always has to move and carry around its “maximum configuration” which can be reached modularly only when and if necessary.

All equipments on board are interfaced in a whole network, which core is headed by Snell&Wilcox Kahuna digital mixer as main video mixing surface, for SD and HD even mixed format production.

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