Ottawa, Canada, June 23rd 2021 – MMC Film and TV studios is Germany's largest studio service provider and in 2019 the organisation formed a new group with Crosscast GmbH, another German company specializing in international outside broadcasts, based on OB trucks and flight case technologies – the MMC Group. In January of this year the newly founded MMC Group were getting ready to shoot the next series of 'Let's Dance' – the popular live dance show which is broadcasted from the MMC Studios in Cologne by RTL – and decided to expand their studio capacity, of twenty studios, by adding a new 4K UHD HDR OB truck based on Ross solutions.
Fabian Leimbach, Senior Manager of Innovation & Technology at MMC, picks up the story: "We decided to invest in our first 4K UHD HDR OB unit because we knew it would give a great deal of flexibility in the future, but the next series of 'Let's Dance' was being prepared so we didn't have a great deal of time." Leimbach's team approached MCI – Ross Diamond Elite partners based in Hamburg – and jointly decided to acquire and refit an existing vehicle. "I had already worked with Ross solutions in my previous role with esports producers ESL, so I knew that Ross would offer us excellent value and the performance we required."
The resulting vehicle is based around the latest Ultrix Acuity platform from Ross. "When we first started discussing the OB truck with MCI, the Ultrix Acuity had not been officially announced, but the Solutions Architect team at Ross were kind enough to share the feature set with us and I knew this would be the right solution." The Ultrix Acuity combines Ross Video's flagship Acuity production switcher with the Ultrix routing and AV processing platform, packing an impressive amount of performance horsepower into a modestly sized frame. "The Ultrix Acuity solution supports our 12G UHD workflow but also gives us the ability to adopt an IP-based workflow in future if we choose," Leimbach notes. "I like that flexibility because IP isn't always going to be the right choice for us, and I can't think of any other solution that offers such a rich toolset of features in such a compact package – it's most impressive to have MultiViewers, audio embedding/de-embedding, clean/quiet switching and framesyncs all in one place." With the addition of a secondary Carbonite Ultra switcher, Ultritouch control panels and the Ultricore connectivity control system, MMC Group's latest studio on wheels is ready for anything.
Given that the refit project was completed in an extremely quick turnaround time of just four weeks, Jens Wolf, CEO of MMC Group is full of praise for both MCI and Ross. "This project really felt more like bringing together one big team rather than Ross Video as a technology provider and us as their clients. Ross listened to what we were trying to achieve and provided valuable industry advice without pushing us into a sale. They were really capable of seeing challenges from our perspective and offering impartial help. The service was excellent, and we've ended up with Germany's most powerful new OB truck that extends our capabilities and will have a huge positive impact on our business!"
Hacik Kölcü, CEO and CTO of the group adds "The move from HD to UHD was only possible with our partners from RTL as well as the production company Seapoint, and everyone was watching our approach. Even the BBC was aware of the stakes given their top-rated licencing format 'Strictly Come Dancing'. In producing 'Let's Dance' in UHD for the first time, our technical approach was so carefully planned and executed that we were not only able to make the move HD to UHD, but on top of that move from UHD SDR to UHD HDR in the final show of this year's season. So, two full technology steps within one season of a show – that is also a really unique technical development for us, and perfect proof of a great production setup."