Production truck

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Dutchview's DV3 at AVManifestatie in 2008 Dv3 dutchview.JPG
Dutchview's DV3 at AVManifestatie in 2008

A television production truck is a small mobile production control room to allow filming of events and video production at locations outside a regular television studio. They are used for remote broadcasts, outside broadcasting (OB), and electronic field production (EFP). Some require a crew of as many as 30 people, [1] with additional trucks for additional equipment as well as a satellite truck, which transmits video back to the studio by sending it up through a communications satellite using a satellite dish, which then transmits it back down to the studio. [2] Alternatively, some production trucks include a satellite transmitter and satellite dish for this purpose in a single truck body to save space, time and cost.

Production control room

The production control room (PCR) or studio control room (SCR) is the place in a television studio in which the composition of the outgoing program takes place.

Video production is the process of producing video content. It is the equivalent of filmmaking, but with images recorded digitally instead of on film stock. There are three stages of video production: pre-production, production, and post-production. Pre-production involves all of the planning aspects of the video production process before filming begins. This includes scriptwriting, scheduling, logistics, and other administrative duties. Production is the phase of video production which captures the video content and involves filming the subject(s) of the video. Post-production is the action of selectively combining those video clips through video editing into a finished product that tells a story or communicates a message in either a live event setting, or after an event has occurred (post-production).

In broadcast engineering, a remote broadcast is broadcasting done from a location away from a formal television studio and is considered an electronic field production (EFP). A remote pickup unit (RPU) is usually used to transmit the audio and/or video back to the television station, where it joins the normal airchain. Other methods include satellite trucks, production trucks and even regular telephone lines if necessary.

Contents

Other television production trucks are smaller in size and generally require two or three people in the field to manage. For instance broadcast journalism news reporters providing live television, local news in the field electronic news gathering (ENG) outside a formal television studio. [3] In some cases, it can be a station wagon, people carrier or even a motorbike (especially in cities with congested streets or where a rapid response is needed and a motorbike is more manoeuvrable).

Broadcast journalism Field of news and journals which are broadcast

Broadcast journalism is the field of news and journals which are "broadcast", that is, published by electrical methods instead of the older methods, such as printed newspapers and posters. Broadcast methods include radio, television and the World Wide Web. Such media disperse pictures, visual text and sounds.

Live television is a television production broadcast in real-time, as events happen, in the present. In a secondary meaning, it may refer to streaming television over the internet. In most cases live programming is not being recorded as it is shown on TV, but rather was not rehearsed or edited and is being shown only as it was recorded prior to being aired. Shows broadcast live include newscasts, morning shows, awards shows, sports programs, reality programs and, occasionally, episodes of scripted television series.

In journalism, local news refers to coverage of events, by the news, in a local context that would not be an interest of another locality, or otherwise be of national or international scope. Local news, in contrast to national or international news, caters to the news of their regional and local communities; they focus on more localized issues and events. Some key features of local newsrooms includes regional politics, business, and human interest stories. Local news readership has been declining in recent years, according to a recent study.

Interior

A typical modern OB vehicle is usually divided into five parts, but many vehicles are customised to specific roles.

Production control

Inside Arena Television OB7's production gallery at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships, UK Wimbledon OB.JPG
Inside Arena Television OB7's production gallery at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships, UK

This is the production hub of the vehicle, and is where the majority of the production crew sit in front of a wall of video monitors. The video monitors show all the video feeds from various sources, including computer graphics, professional video cameras, video servers and slow-motion replay machines. The wall of monitors contains a preview monitor showing what could be the next source on air and a program monitor that shows the feed currently going to air or being recorded. The keyed dirty feed (with digital on-screen graphic) is what is actually transmitted back to the central studio that is controlling the outside broadcast. [4] A clean feed (without the graphics) could be sent to other vehicles for use in their production. [5] Behind the directors there is usually a desk with monitors where the assistant producers can work. It is essential that the directors and assistant producers are in communication with each other during events, so that replays and slow-motion shots can be selected and aired.

Computer graphics Graphics created using computers

Computer graphics are pictures and films created using computers. Usually, the term refers to computer-generated image data created with the help of specialized graphical hardware and software. It is a vast and recently developed area of computer science. The phrase was coined in 1960, by computer graphics researchers Verne Hudson and William Fetter of Boeing. It is often abbreviated as CG, though sometimes erroneously referred to as computer-generated imagery (CGI).

Digital on-screen graphic

A digital on-screen graphic is a watermark-like station logo that most television broadcasters overlay over a portion of the screen area of their programs to identify the channel. They are thus a form of permanent visual station identification, increasing brand recognition and asserting ownership of the video signal. In some cases, the graphic also shows the name of the current program. Some television networks use an on-screen graphic to advertise upcoming programs.

Chyron, a well known manufacturer of character generators, “keys” graphics over a specified source the TD chooses, but is generally used for images, and lower third messages, as well as occasionally smaller videos. The Bug Box character generator works the same way but is only for sporting events - the operator is in charge of ensuring that the time, score, and statistics are displayed on the broadcast as appropriate.

Chyron Corporation

The ChyronHego Corporation, formerly Chyron Corporation, headquartered in Melville, New York, is a company that specializes in broadcast graphics creation, playout, and real-time data visualization for live television, news, weather, and sports production. ChyronHego’s graphics offerings include hosted services for graphics creation and order management, on-air graphics systems, channel branding, weather graphics, graphics asset management, clip servers, social media and second screen applications, touchscreen graphics, telestration, virtual graphics, and player tracking.

Character generator

A character generator, often abbreviated as CG, is a device or software that produces static or animated text for keying into a video stream. Modern character generators are computer-based, and can generate graphics as well as text.

Lower third informational display on bottom part of a video

In the television industry, a lower third is a graphic overlay placed in the title-safe lower area of the screen, though not necessarily the entire lower third of it, as the name suggests.

Crew

Television director – responsible for directing the overall production, including cameras, replays and inserts
Television producers – responsible for the overall running of the production, liaising with talent and choosing when to take commercial breaks
Technical director (also known as a vision mixer) – operates the vision mixer / video switcher, switching the video sources, including graphics, to air as directed [6]
Production assistant (also known as a script supervisor) – responsible for communicating with the broadcast channel about timings, counting in and out of breaks, and giving timings on replays and packages [7]
Assistant producers – often there will be an assistant producer who will be the communication link between the director and the VTR crew, providing information on which channel has the best replay of a certain moment for example [7]
Graphics Operator and Graphics Coordinator – There are a wide range of digital on-screen graphic elements used in television production. [8] [9]

Equipment

Vision mixer – switch between multiple video feeds to produce an easy to watch television experience.
Video monitor – monitor different routable sources on multiple monitors to help select which feed is the best at any given time.
Character generator – used to generate a variety of graphics which can be keyed over a video source.

Sound

Inside the sound control area of an ABC OB vehicle ABC OB van.jpg
Inside the sound control area of an ABC OB vehicle

This is where the audio engineer (sound supervisor in the UK) uses a mixing console (being fed with all the various audio feeds: reporters, commentary, on-field microphones, etc.) to control which channels are added to the output and follows instructions from the director. They ensure that the audio is within pre-set limits, typically with the help of peak programme meters and loudness monitors. They relay the information from producers and directors to their A2's (audio assistants) who typically set up the audio cables and equipment throughout the arenas and the booth where the commentators sit. The audio engineer normally also has a dirty feed monitor to help with the synchronization of sound and video. Intercom is also generally the responsibility of the sound department.

Audio engineer engineer who operates recording, mixing, sound reproduction equipment

An audio engineer helps to produce a recording or a live performance, balancing and adjusting sound sources using equalization and audio effects, mixing, reproduction, and reinforcement of sound. Audio engineers work on the "...technical aspect of recording—the placing of microphones, pre-amp knobs, the setting of levels. The physical recording of any project is done by an engineer ... the nuts and bolts." It's a creative hobby and profession where musical instruments and technology are used to produce sound for film, radio, television, music, and video games. Audio engineers also set up, sound check and do live sound mixing using a mixing console and a sound reinforcement system for music concerts, theatre, sports games and corporate events.

Mixing console electronic device for combining sounds of many different audio signals

In sound recording and reproduction, and sound reinforcement systems, a mixing console is an electronic device for combining sounds of many different audio signals. Inputs to the console include microphones being used by singers and for picking up acoustic instruments, signals from electric or electronic instruments, or recorded music. Depending on the type, a mixer is able to control analog or digital signals. The modified signals are summed to produce the combined output signals, which can then be broadcast, amplified through a sound reinforcement system or recorded.

Peak programme meter measuring audio level

A peak programme meter (PPM) is an instrument used in professional audio that indicates the level of an audio signal.

Crew

Audio mix engineer (A1) (also known as audio mixer, audio director or sound supervisor) – The A1 mixes the sounds that the audience will listen to. They will mix the assorted sounds such as crowd noise, effect sounds, announcers, etc. They route the different sources of sounds from microphones, cameras, discs, video tapes, telephones, EVS, or outside audio sources, into the audio mixing board for control. They are also in charge of ensuring the audio is successfully being transmitted. They also insure the intercom is working for every station in the production, as well as dial up coordination with a network director. [7]
Audio assistant (A2) – The A2s work under the direction of the A1 as they set up all the audio equipment around the venue for various sounds. They also set up the intercom system between the production truck and stage or announcer booths. They are also in charge of placing microphones on the talent as they enter and exit. [10]

Equipment

Audio Mixing console – combine any source of audio and change the level and dynamics of the audio, digital or analog audio sources.
Audio router – used to ensure that all sources of audio appear in the right place on the audio mixing console or in other parts of the production truck
Multitrack recording devices – recording individual tracks of the incoming sources allowing for a dub to be done at a later time
Intercom – two wire or four wire intercom allows everyone on the production able to communicate quickly and effectively.

VTR

The VTR area has a collection of machines including video servers and may also house additional power supplies or computer equipment. The "tape room" has VTR operators who monitor one or more cameras that go into machines and can be played back for replays when an exciting or important play occurs during the game. These operators can play back in slow motion or pause to show a key part of the action. VTR operators also play replay rollouts that lead into commercial breaks, run title sequences and introductory clips, or show the highlights of the event at the end of play. [11]

Video server

A video server is a computer-based device that is dedicated to delivering video. Video servers are used in a number of applications, and often have additional functions and capabilities that address the needs of particular applications. For example, video servers used in security, surveillance and inspection applications typically are designed to capture video from one or more cameras and deliver the video via a computer network. In video production and broadcast applications, a video server may have the ability to record and play recorded video, and to deliver many video streams simultaneously.

This area is often called "EVS", after prominent supplier EVS Broadcast Equipment, who make replay machines and associated software.

Crew

Video Tape Operator (also known as EVS Operators) – The Tape Operators control the recording equipment, nowadays video servers, that receive the video from the various cameras. They coordinate with the Director on playing back pre-recorded video, and other replays of action they recorded. [7] [12]

Equipment

Video server - used to record, store and play back video clips (and sometimes visual effects) used during the broadcast
Video tape recorder – previously used to record, store and play back video [13]

Racks / engineering

Most production trucks contain a patch panel Patchpanel2.JPG
Most production trucks contain a patch panel

In this area, the professional video cameras are controlled using camera control units (CCU) by multiple vision engineers, to make sure that the iris is at the correct level and that all cameras look the same. These operators shade, balance, and focus the cameras from this position inside the vehicle. This area is controlled by an operator called a V1 (vision supervisor in the UK) and depending on the size of the show may have multiple V2s. This area is also where the majority of the racked technical equipment is stored, including the video router and converters.

Crew

Engineer In Charge (EIC) – a broadcast engineer who has a great deal of knowledge about the truck than anyone else on the production. They are involved in installing all required equipment, having the correct skills needed to fix and maintain the equipment. EIC’s usually stay on one truck for years learning all the intricacies about each machine and how to fix them in difficult situations. [14]
Vision engineer (also known as a video technician or camera shader) – The vision engineers are in charge of all the cameras' iris and overall look of the cameras video. The vision engineers also troubleshoot issues that may arise with the cameras and cable length.

Equipment

Broadcast reference monitor – used to monitor the output of cameras and the transmission for confidence checking
Video router – send video and audio to any destination from any source.
Frame synchronizer – puts Asynchronous or “wild” video sources into Synchronization with other video signals.
Test card Signal generator – used for checking signal paths and troubleshooting.

Transmission

Some production trucks contain an integrated transmission area, where the outgoing feeds are monitored by monitored by the vehicle's engineers to ensure the audience have a good picture and a high quality signal output. It is then transmitted directly from the truck if it has satellite or fibre uplink facilities, or is sent to other vehicles (typically a dedicated satellite truck) who handle this directly.

Support Vehicles

NEP UK's Adriatic-T tender vehicle at Edinburgh Castle NEP UK's Adriatic-T at Edinburgh Castle.jpg
NEP UK's Adriatic-T tender vehicle at Edinburgh Castle

Most larger production trucks will travel with a tender vehicle, which will contain additional equipment which cannot be stored in the production truck itself. This equipment includes:

These vehicles will often contain workbenches for basic maintenance and repairs.

Transmission of video

TV news production truck doing a remote broadcast at New York Passenger Ship Terminal. The tall telescoping antenna is pointed at a receiving antenna on the Empire State Building, allowing the truck to send video by microwave link to the production facility. TV remote pickup Pier 88 jeh.JPG
TV news production truck doing a remote broadcast at New York Passenger Ship Terminal. The tall telescoping antenna is pointed at a receiving antenna on the Empire State Building, allowing the truck to send video by microwave link to the production facility.

The transmission of the raw video feed from the remote location to the studio is called backhaul . There are several ways of transmitting the backhaul:

The earliest method, used before satellites, is to beam the video directly back to the studio using a microwave dish, where another dish receives the signal. [15] Microwave transmission requires an unobstructed line-of-sight path from the transmitting to the receiving antenna, which can be difficult to achieve in urban locations. Some production trucks have a small microwave dish mounted on a telescoping mast, that can be raised 30 to 40 feet to "see" over buildings and other obstructions. It is still used for short ranges.

Communication satellites

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An ABS-CBN satellite truck

One of the most common techniques is to use a satellite dish to transmit the video feed on a microwave uplink signal to a communication satellite orbiting the Earth, which then retransmits it back to a dish at the studio. Satellite feed allows televising live events virtually anywhere on Earth. The satellite is in a geostationary orbit about the Earth and so appears at a stationary position in the sky, so the dish merely has to be pointed initially at the satellite when the truck reaches its remote location, and does not have to turn to "track" the satellite. Satellite feed became common in the 1970s, when there were enough satellites in orbit that a consumer market for satellite use started in television. This open market for satellite space spawned a flurry in mobile satellite uplink trucks for hire, making possible the television viewing of live events all over the world. The first satellite trucks were allocated frequencies in the C band (5.700-6.500 GHz) which required large 2 meter dishes. In the 1980s frequencies in the Ku band (12 to 18 GHz). were authorized, which required only small dishes less than a meter in diameter, but these are not usable in rainy weather because of rain fade. [16] Today, the satellite dish and microwave transmitter may be on a satellite truck (uplink truck) separate from the production truck, but some production trucks (called "hybrids") also incorporate the satellite dish and transmitter.

Fiber optic lines

Where available, production trucks can use existing high capacity fiber optic cable to send video directly via the Internet to broadcasting companies for distribution. These accept an asynchronous serial interface (ASI) digital stream from the video encoder. This is a very high quality, low loss way of sending video quickly and securely around the world. [17] There have been recent tests using 5G for backhaul, with fibre optic as backup. [18]

Related Research Articles

Sky (New Zealand)

Sky Network Television Limited is a New Zealand pay television satellite TV provider. It is also a wholesale channel provider to New Zealand cable television provider Vodafone. On 30 June 2019, Sky had 778,840 subscribers across satellite and OTT services, making it the largest pay television platform in New Zealand, but still a lower amount than in 2016, when subscriber numbers peaked at over 850,000. Despite the similarity of name and services, such as Sky Go and MySky shared with its British equivalent, Sky, there is no connection between the companies.

Camera control unit for a video camera

The camera control unit (CCU) is typically part of a live television broadcast chain. It is responsible for powering the professional video camera, handling signals sent over the camera cable to and from the camera, and can be used to control various camera parameters remotely.

Master control

Master control is the technical hub of a broadcast operation common among most over-the-air television stations and television networks. It is distinct from a production control room (PCR) in television studios where the activities such as switching from camera to camera are coordinated. It is also vastly different from the studio where the talent are located. A transmission control room (TCR) is usually smaller in size and is a scaled down version of centralcasting.

Electronic news-gathering

Electronic news-gathering (ENG) is when reporters and editors make use of electronic video and audio technologies in order to gather and present news. ENG can involve anything from a single reporter with a single professional video camera, to an entire television crew taking a truck on location. This term was coined during the rise of videotape technology in the 1970s. This term was commonly used in the television news in the 1980s and '90s, but is used less frequently now, as the technology has become commonplace.

Vision mixer

A vision mixer is a device used to select between several different video sources and, in some cases, compositing video sources together to create special effects.

Television studio installation in which video productions take place

A television studio, also called a television production studio, is an installation room in which video productions take place, either for the recording of live television to video tape, or for the acquisition of raw footage for post-production. The design of a studio is similar to, and derived from, movie studios, with a few amendments for the special requirements of television production. A professional television studio generally has several rooms, which are kept separate for noise and practicality reasons. These rooms are connected via 'talkback' or an intercom, and personnel will be divided among these workplaces.

Electronic field production

Electronic field production (EFP) is a television industry term referring to a video production which takes place in the field, outside of a formal television studio, in a practical location or special venue. Zettl defines EFP as using "both ENG and studio techniques. From ENG it borrows its mobility and flexiblity; from the studio it borrows its production care and quality control. EFP takes place on location and has to adapt to the location conditions... Good lighting and audio are always difficult to achieve in EFP, regardless of whether you are outdoors or indoors. Compared to ENG, in which you simply respond to a situation, EFP needs careful planning."

Video assist is a system used in filmmaking which allows filmmakers to view a video version of a take immediately after it is filmed.

Outside broadcasting Remote production of television or radio programmes

Outside broadcasting (OB) is the electronic field production (EFP) of television or radio programmes from a mobile remote broadcast television studio. Professional video camera and microphone signals come into the production truck for processing, recording and possibly transmission.

Television crew positions are derived from those of film crew, but with several differences.

Broadcast reference monitor

A video reference monitor also called a broadcast reference monitor or just reference monitor, is a specialized display device similar to a television set, used to monitor the output of a video-generating device, such as playout from a video server, IRD, video camera, VCR, or DVD player. It may or may not have professional audio monitoring capability. Unlike a television set, a video monitor has no tuner and, as such, is unable independently to tune into an over-the-air broadcast like a television receiver. One common use of video monitors is in television stations, television studios, production trucks and in outside broadcast vehicles, where broadcast engineers use them for confidence checking of analog signal and digital signals throughout the system.

Below is a glossary of terms used in broadcasting.

1st & Ten (graphics system)

1st & Ten is a computer system that augments televised coverage of football by inserting graphical elements on the field of play as if they were physically present: the inserted element stays fixed within the coordinates of the playing field, and obeys the visual rules of foreground objects occluding background objects. It is best known for its original application of generating and displaying the yellow first down line that a television viewer sees during a live broadcast of a football game to make it easier for them to follow play on the field, as pioneered by Sportvision. The line is not physically present on the field, and is seen only by the television audience.

Satellite truck

A satellite truck is a mobile communications satellite earth station, typically mounted on a truck chassis as a platform. Employed in remote television broadcasts, satellite trucks transmit video signals back to studios or production facilities for editing and broadcast. Satellite trucks usually travel with a production truck, which contains video cameras, sound equipment and a crew. A satellite truck has a large satellite dish antenna which is pointed at a communications satellite, which then relays the signal back down to the studio. Satellite communication allows transmission from any location that the production truck can reach, provided a line of sight to the desired satellite is available.

EVS Broadcast Equipment company

EVS Broadcast Equipment SA is a Belgian company that manufactures live outside broadcast digital video production systems. Their XT3 production video servers enable the creation, editing, exchange and playout of audio and video feeds.

Multicam (LSM)

Multicam (LSM) is software developed by the Belgian company EVS Broadcast Equipment. Combined with its remote controller, it allows controlling the XT3 video server and offers highly reactive live editing solutions like instant replays and slow-motion.

Doordarshan Madhya Pradesh often abbreviated as DD Madhya Pradesh is a 24-hour regional satellite TV channel primarily telecasting from Doordarshan Kendra Bhopal and is a part of the state-owned Doordarshan TV Network.

XT3 (EVS)

XT3 is a model of the XT video server. It was created in 2011 by Belgian company EVS Broadcast Equipment.

References

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  6. "Vision Mixer". Careers in Screen. Retrieved 24 June 2019.
  7. 1 2 3 4 "Meet the players: The outside broadcast crew". Colin Jackson's Raise Your Game. BBC Wales. Retrieved 24 June 2019.
  8. "Graphics Operator TV / Outside Broadcast". Careers in Screen. Retrieved 24 June 2019.
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  11. Cooper, Cath (10 February 2015). "EVS operator Jason Lynn is interviewed by broadcast recruitment specialists Frame 25". Frame 25. Retrieved 24 June 2019.
  12. "EVS Operator". Careers in Screen. Retrieved 24 June 2019.
  13. "outsidebroadcast-rigging-bitesize23-videotapedevelopment.mp4". figshare. ADAPT. 19 April 2018. Retrieved 24 June 2019.
  14. "Broadcast engineer job profile". www.prospects.ac.uk. Retrieved 24 June 2019.
  15. "Colour Mobile Control Rooms". www.vintageradio.co.uk. Retrieved 24 June 2019.
  16. "Skyware Technologies - Ka vs. Ku - An Unbiased Review". www.skywaretechnologies.com. Retrieved 24 June 2019.
  17. "SIS LIVE expands Anylive network". TVBEurope. 11 September 2016. Retrieved 24 June 2019.
  18. "EE UK Test Live 5G Broadcast from Wembley Stadium with BT Sport". www.ispreview.co.uk. 21 November 2018. Retrieved 24 June 2019.