VegasHD Bets on Mobile HD Production


As executives trek to Las Vegas for this year’s NAB, VegasHD will launch new mobile HD production facilities to allow broadcasters and clients to deliver signals over fiber from the Las Vegas market.

The company, founded by longtime CNN and Court TV executive Jim Rutledge and television host Robin Leach, is hoping to establish itself “as the go-to” company for networks looking to hire facilities in Vegas, said company president Gordon Wason.

Wason sees the company’s HD mobile facilities and its ability to fiber connectivity and its plans to set up plug-and-play HD studios in key locations in Las Vegas, as key competitive advantages.

“When we began looking into the Vegas market and talking to the networks we found that every time they went to Vegas, they had issues,” Wason said. “There wasn’t a clear go-to company for broadcast for hire that was of the level that you can find in New York, Los Angeles” and other cities.

In talking to potential clients, Wason said they also realized the importance of giving clients the flexibility to produce their high-definition from venues that offer spectacular views of the city.

To do that, VegasHD is planning to set up studios at several locations. The first will be located inside the new Trader Vic’s restaurant at the Planet Hollywood Resort Casino that offers unobstructed views of the strip. That venue will go live at NAB, where VegasHD plans to announce additional locations.

VegasHD also had Sony build a new mobile production unit to provide additional flexibility for its production efforts.

“Last year at NAB, Sony introduced a mobile production unit in small trailer,” Wason said. “It was digital but very low end, so I asked them if they could put the guts of a big trailer for HD production in the small trailer.”

The result is a mobile production unit that packs a full HD production suite but fits into a compact 24-foot vehicle that is small enough to fit into freight elevators at major casinos.

The trailer offers producers Sony HDC-1500L multiformat HD cameras, a MVS-8000GSF 2 M/E production switcher with a 2Ch DME, three HDW-D1800 HDCAM decks, two HDW-M2000 HDCAM decks, two PDW-F70 XDCAM HD camcorders, Sony professional LCD monitors, 4-buss 24-channel audio mixer, multiformat (HD, SD and analog) inputs and outputs, and other gear and features.

To deliver the bandwidth hogging HD signal, VegasHD has also teamed up with Media Extreme, which is building a nationwide fiber network. In Vegas, Media Extreme is working with Cox Communications to provide fiber connectivity to key venues.

“As hard as it is to believe, we will be the first to have a dedicated fiber network in Vegas for digital video,” Wason claims. “We think the fiber is an important competitive advantage.”