NEP Group. Solutions for Each Client
“Our key focus is our clients. We look at how we can tailor our client solutions through offering a variety of end-to-end solutions for both now, and how their needs will evolve in the future. Outside Broadcast remains an integral part of NEP’s Global Production Ecosystem.” Simon Moorhead, Managing Director, NEP UK Broadcast Services.
NEP Group operates in 25 countries and employs more than 4,000 people. Based in the United States, we spoke to the English subsidiary to find out more about its current capabilities. In the era of the transition to IP and beyond, multinational companies like this one are trying to adapt their workflows to satisfy as many customers as possible. The future lies in offering as many options as possible while standardizing on the most efficient one. In the meantime, Simon Moorhead tells us where they are today and what their projections are for the future.
What resources does NEP UK have for Outside Broadcast?
The trucks that NEP Group’s UK subsidiary has on hand right now are the following two triple expansion IP trucks capable of handling UHD / HDR signals; one dual expansion IP truck ( meaning, it works with another truck, not having a large satellite dish on the roof) – UHD / HDR capable; two in-line remote production IP trucks – UHD / HDR capable; four triple expansion SDI trucks – capable of UHD / HDR; two triple expansion SDI trucks – capable of 1080p50; three double expansion SDI trucks; one single expansion SDI truck; two inline SDI trucks; and a number of utility vehicles of various sizes that provide additional production space.
In addition to the resources dedicated to outside broadcast, NEP also has a production center in London that is fully equipped and adapted to today’s needs.
What is the status of NEP Group’s Outside Broadcast equipment?
We continually invest in and upgrade our Outside Broadcast equipment to service the needs of our clients as well as undertaking regular equipment refresh cycles. As we service a wide range of sectors, we have equipment to service most productions from SD to UHD. Working with other parts of the NEP Group we can truly provide a glass-to-glass service.
We have recently placed large orders to upgrade our camera, lens and EVS complement. This is in addition to rolling upgrades for our OB and Fly-pack fleet.
From the capture to the sending of signals, what technology and what brands can we find in your most outstanding OB vehicles?
For the cameras we have decided to rely on Grass Valley and Sony bodies. For the replays system they have implemented a solution from EVS. The switchers are also from Grass Valley and Sony. To manage the audio of our productions, we have included Calrec consoles in the infrastructure of our trucks. The routing is manufactured by Grass Valley in the case of IP —both encap and decap— and we trust the manufacturer Imagine for IP3. Finally, communications rely on manufacturers such as Telex and Riedel.
Where are your units at with respect to IP technology?
We have four fully IP capable trucks, one of which can also service a full 2nd Production space housed in a double expanding satellite truck. In addition to these trucks, our London Production Centre is fully IP as well as our remote systems used on Extreme E events and SKY F1 races.
The London Production Centre, Extreme E and Sky F1 set ups also benefit from using our powerful abstraction and control solution, TFC. Our TFC system has been developed to meet the needs of IP Broadcast systems and workflows in the new IP connected world. It offers us a technology agnostic and intuitive interface to configure, control and monitor devices and systems across facilities. What would have traditionally required connecting multiple systems, TFC units, helping us make highly complex setups more seamless and simplified.
By using our own proprietary control system, we can continually develop solutions to configure, automate and monitor IT and network systems based on our real-world experience working on productions around the globe. And because it is technology agnostic, as requirements, priorities and technologies shift and change in our industry it is easier for us to adapt and flex. TFC is fully supported by our in-house team, who work hand in hand with our commercial and engineering teams to develop and deploy TFC to meet the needs of our clients as well as our connected roadmap for truck, facilities, and data centres around the world. TFC is central to our global ecosystem.
How have you approached this technology migration, what challenges have you encountered and what solutions have you deployed to overcome them?
Our TFC solution has been a real game-changer here. IP technology definitely opens up a world of possibilities and allows for more signals, more bandwidth, higher resolution, and complex metadata. But with that comes increasing complexity. TFC gives us one unified touchpoint to manage, monitor and configure it all, which is deployed at NEP.
The innovation of NEP OB trucks is born out of an intimate understanding of what today’s live sports and entertainment content creators need. By collaborating with clients around the world to gain valuable insights and feedback, NEP’s global engineering teams are able to turn their needs into reality, supporting clients as they bring their content to life.
How have you adapted the workspaces and technology in your OB Vehicles to the demands of the pandemic?
Only by reducing occupancy. Additional ancillary vehicles provided for overflow operators and elements of operators and production off site, tailored to client’s requirement.
Separation screens, movable to suite each productions need.
Have the new COVID-19 related features that these vehicles have streamlined workflows, or have they created headaches? Are they going to stay or are they going to go back to normal?
They have created increased flexibility. Many of our trucks can now deliver traditional productions (everyone in the truck on site), or tailored levels of remote production, e.g. All production and operators remote or replay remote or production team remote or vision control remote or any combination of these options. We can empower production teams to make the right decisions for them, and work closely with the client to decide on the right solution for their event or production.