AES Section Meeting Reports

Indiana - May 17, 2023

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Audio and streaming engineer Matt Vice and broadcast production engineer Steven Dixon led the Indiana section on small group tours of IMS Productions' trucks as configured for the upcoming Indianapolis 500. The event, which draws almost a quarter of a million attendees and an average of 5 million viewers brings together a massive broadcast crew and infrastructure across the 560 acres of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The broadcast compound outside of turn 4 of the track houses a number of broadcast trucks, all tied together with a Dante audio infrastructure and over 26 miles of fiber, facilitated by recent upgrades to the Speedway. The fiber infrastructure includes 288 total strands, half of which tie into "The Pagoda", which houses race control and the main broadcast booths on the track. Truck B serves as the primary ingest point for fiber, with numerous patch points to distribute signals between trucks and the venue. Truck B also houses a 5.1 audio station where ambient sound and audio captured on the track is submixed. Engineer Rob Sweeny live-mixes these sources based on camera shots called by the director.

Truck C serves as the primary radio and replay location for the production. All racing team radio communications are received in this truck, and a dedicated mixer creates a submix of these tracks for use in broadcast. The other portion of the truck house multiple capture and playback recorders, where any items for potential playback are archived to a host of NAS devices.

A third truck, the BSI Truck, deals almost exclusively with in-car and action cameras. Each racecar has three mounted PTZ cameras. This truck handles control for those cameras, as well as a helicopter camera, two drone cameras, and a live map of the course. The other primary task of the BSI Truck's crew is wireless coordination and RF comms for on-air talent in this crowded RF environment.

All audio and video converges in IMS's HD5 Truck, which houses graphics, camera shading, final audio mix from the above submixes and talent mics. Director, producer, and video switching includes action cams and a variety of fixed and wireless shoulder-mount cameras in the pit. An additional reply team can provide immediate access to footage for the director and producer, who also work out of this truck. HD5 also provides monitoring of return feeds from numerous networks and serves as the broadcast crew comms hub for production.

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