Blue Sky-outfitted 5.1 VIP Screening Truck Makes Maiden Voyage On ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” Tour
First Of A Kind Command Center/VIP Conference & Screening Room Showcases Blue Sky 5.1 Media Desk
Production vehicle fabricator Pure Command unveiled its new “Epic” truck at the start of the “Monday Night Football” season this past September. The resurrected and recycled the former 53” double-expandable NMT mobile truck—that served as the CBS golf truck for many years—will serve as a multi-functional command center/newsroom, production/support operations hub, and VIP conference/screening room for executives and talent. It’s the first of its kind and ushers in a new, surround sound, high-end broadcast showcase vehicle that is part of the 7-truck mobile broadcast fleet.
Epic operates self-sufficiently with its onboard 30kW diesel generator. On-site integration is simpliﬁed with internal wiring, comprised of sections of single-mode ﬁber, HD-grade coax, male and female XLRs, and Cat 6 data cable. The screening room centers around a Blue Sky 5.1 Media Desk MKll pro monitoring system.
“The design was a cooperative effort with ESPN,” explained Todd Marshall, CEO of Pure Command. It’s a multi-functional facility on wheels, and although it’s not currently used for broadcast functions, per se, it was built and wired with that capability. As the first truck of its kind, we were pleasantly surprised by the response of the execs and VIPs. Even though we’re within the interior of the stadium, they can get a feel for everything that’s going on out on the field from that room. They can watch the broadcast on a large HD flat screen TV and then walk into the field for comparison. And that’s where Blue Sky 5.1 system has worked out well. We’re piping in a direct fiber optics feed, converting the fiber within the truck, and breaking out the audio and the video thru a Marantz 7.1 receiver tuned to 5.1, so they’re getting a very pure mix before it even gets fed to the satellites.”
ESPN audio mixer and surround sound designer Jonathan Freed specified the Blue Sky 5.1 system. “Sporting events such as ESPN’s “X-Games” and “Monday Night Football” have become the proving ground for cutting-edge surround sound in broadcast television,” said Freed. “For this reason, it was imperative for me to spec cutting-edge speakers to accurately monitor the ‘sound’ of the action in the operations viewing area. I chose Blue Sky’s Media Desk 5.1 for several reasons: sound quality and accuracy, the need for self-powered speakers, ideal size for the constraints of the room, mounting flexibility options, and durability/reliability. We mix the show on Blue Sky pro systems, so it is a great all-around match.”
Even though the truck is making its maiden voyage, both Freed and Marshall agree that the response has been tremendous all around. “When you do something for the first time, you’re never really sure what you’ve got,” offered Marshall. “Now that we’ve been out there working for a few months, I’m pretty sure that if we didn’t have this truck in the production flow, it would be missed dramatically. I think it’s eased their workflow, it’s made their week to week streamlined and efficient, and there’s a wow-factor because it hasn’t been done before. From what I’ve heard, everyone from ESPN to the executives has been very happy with the truck, and especially the green room with the Blue Sky system. My role is usually relegated to outside the truck, but I know that Blue Sky is used in quite a lot of the trucks used by ESPN, and I respect the opinion of guys like Jonathan Freed, who are in my mind, the best in the business. And when he recommends equipment—without missing a beat—I know it’s got to be great. To me the Blue Sky speakers have been incredible; they sound and integrate easily and beautifully, and make everyone happy.”