TV Corporation group facilities director Martin Anderson described the new 24-camera truck as 'ball-breaking' and said there had been intense competition between Thomson and Sony to supply equipment. Thomson won the deal and will be providing a vision mixer plus a minimum of 12 LDK6000 cameras with the remainder being sourced from the hire market initially, although Anderson said he may buy more cameras, depending on demand.
The truck will also be the first in the UK to sport the new Calrec Sigma digital sound desk operating in 5.1 mode.
Anderson said Visions would be 'HD capable' by August although the unit itself will take longer to complete.
Visions is not the only OB company to take the HD plunge this year. High Wycombe-based Telegenic is in the final stages of testing its first HD truck - a 20-camera facility also fitted with LDK6000s but featuring a Sony MV8000 desk rather than a Thomson. The truck, Telegenic's ninth, was built by Smiths.
Telegenic director of engineering Mike Spencer echoed Anderson who said demand for HD was increasing and that many producers wanted an HD output for archive purposes even if the main programme output is still standard definition. As a result, both trucks will be fully switchable between HD and 625/525 digital as well as being capable of simultaneously delivering an HD archive output as well as a standard definition output. The Visions truck will also be 24P capable.
Anderson said: 'We prefer to lead the way rather than follow behind somebody else's trail. We did the same thing with Unit 6 six or seven years ago - it was the UK's first large digital OB truck. It was a bold move at the time but it has been thoroughly vindicated since.'
Visions is currently covering the French Open for NBC and is gearing up for Wimbledon where it will provide facilities to both NBC and Turner.