O21 Television was established in 1990. Based in Birmingham, the UK’s second largest city, it soon earned a reputation as one of the UK and Europe’s leading outside broadcast facilities companies. Originally part of the ITV Group, it was sold to Gravity Media Group in 2006 and the O21 brand was further developed. It became well-known and respected industry-wide, the company providing OB facilities for many popular television shows including Champions League Football, Top Gear, Question Time and Dancing on Ice.
Four years later however, an agreement was reached that saw the company change hands once again – and this time, the O21 brand was not retained. Seeking to increase its client base, rival OB company SIS LIVE successfully purchased O21 Television from Gravity Media Group in January, 2010.
During the summer of 2007, Outside Broadcast (OB) providers O21 Television contracted the services of leading broadcast solutions provider Gearhouse Broadcast. To provide the full systems integration of two purpose-built, state-of-the-art, high definition production units.
Drawing on its vast experience across all types of broadcast systems integration, the Gearhouse Broadcast team was able to provide O21 Television with two comprehensive & comfortable outside broadcast facilities suitable for even the most complex of productions.
Known for its innovation solutions and unrivalled technical expertise, the Gearhouse Broadcast team carefully selected each and every individual component from the latest, best and most reliable broadcast equipment then-available.
Both OB vehicles – Unit 7 and Unit 8 – were firstly built by renowned outside broadcast truck specialists Smiths of Great Bentley, before being configured by Gearhouse Broadcast.
As well as offering the very best in reliable, flexible and cost-effective kit, the trucks’ high-quality interior lighting, ergonomic furniture and high-end finishes were allcarefully designed by Gearhouse Broadcast to create a welcoming and spacious working environment.
A single expanding truck, Unit 7 was fitted out with 20x HD cameras, 2x EVS’s, Calrec Sigma audio mixer and 3.5ME 60-input vision mixers.
The truck featured a two-tier production area with a 60-source TFT monitor gallery.
Unit 8, a double expanding truck, comprised of 24x HD cameras, 12xVTRs, 4 EVS’s, Calrec Alpha audio mixer and 4ME 80-input Sony vision mixer.
Unit 8’s production gallery was designed to be three-tier, with a large 84-source TFT monitor gallery. Large Pro-Bel routers with all sources and destinations available on the router allowed for maximum flexibility, meanwhile the audio desk boasted blue fin technology. Fully capable of 5.1 surround sound audio and multi-track recordings, Unit 8’s large AES audio router gave it impressive audio capabilities.
Following successful delivery of the OB trucks – completed on time, and within budget and feedback from the client, O21 Television, was extremely positive. Managing Director Rob Hollier said the trucks were among the very best available in the UK and Europe. “They rival anything in the industry”.
He praised Gearhouse Broadcast for its “attention to detail throughout the entire design”.
Eamonn Dowdall, then-managing director at Gearhouse Broadcast added: “We have consulted at length with industry professionals throughout the design process and we have selected the highest quality and most fit-for-purpose broadcast equipment. As a result we have created outside broadcast facilities which are among the best available on the market”.