Production truck

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A television production truck is a small mobile television studio to allow filming of events and video production at locations outside a regular television studio. They are used for remote broadcasts, outside broadcasting (OB), or electronic field production (EFP). Some require a crew of as many as 12-16, 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. In contrast some production trucks include a satellite transmitter and satellite dish for this purpose in a single truck body to save space, time and cost.

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 intercom, and personnel will be divided among these workplaces.

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. 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 maneuverable).

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.

Equipment

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.
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. This is similar to what a mixing console does for audio.

Synchronization coordination of events to operate a system in unison

Synchronization is the coordination of events to operate a system in unison. The conductor of an orchestra keeps the orchestra synchronized or in time. Systems that operate with all parts in synchrony are said to be synchronous or in sync—and those that are not are asynchronous.

Video router

A video router, also known as a video matrix switch or SDI router, is an electronic switch designed to route video signals from multiple input sources such as cameras, VT/DDR, computers and DVD players, to one or more display devices, such as monitors, projectors, and TVs.

Crew

A television crew can include: Technical Director, Camera operator, Video Tape Operator, Video Technician, Audio Mix Engineer, Audio Assistant, Graphic Operator, Production Assistant and Broadcast Engineer.

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

Camera operator professional operator of a film or video camera

A camera operator, sometimes informally called a cameraman, is a professional operator of a film or video camera. In filmmaking, the person designing the lighting is the cinematographer or director of photography, who is also informally called a "cameraman" though it is a different job. A camera operator in a video production may be known as a television camera operator, video camera operator, or videographer, depending on the context and technology involved, usually operating a professional video camera.

Technical Director (TD) – The TD operates the video switcher during a telecast. The TD translates the cues from the Director to take a specific source and route that to “the air” or line cut. The TD is also in charge of setting up the production room with the correct sources on the monitor wall in front of the Director and TD. The TD sets up the video switchers “cuts” and graphics overlays before the telecast, and when necessary will “key” them over the video.
Camera operator or Camera Op – The Camera Op set up the cameras at various locations around the venue before the telecast. The Camera Ops focus on subjects and zoom for different kinds of framing of the subjects. Camera Ops also listen to the director for targets of new shots and for the focus of the production. Some productions require the Camera Op to be very quick and responsive to any and all action. A sample of some shots called from the Director include: wide, tight, over the shoulder, extreme close up, 2 shot, 3 shot, etc. In the end of each production, they are also in charge of striking their equipment back to the production truck for safe keeping.
Video Tape Operator and Digital Disc Operator (EVS) Operators – The Tape Operators control the recording equipment that receives the video from the various cameras. They coordinate with the Director on playing back pre-recorded video, and other replays of action they recorded. The EVS Operator records and plays back instant replays and small wrap-ups of the action that is accessed from a Video server.
Video Technician or Camera Shader – The Video Technician, sometimes called a V1, [1] is in charge of all the cameras' iris and overall look of the cameras video. They can “shade” the cameras for optimizing the color and unifying all the cameras’ colors and shade. The Video Technician also troubleshoots the issues that may arise with the cameras, cable length and intercom.
Dumont Telecruiser, one of the earliest production trucks, built in 1949 by the Dumont Television Network. DuMont Telecruiser - Early TV production truck.jpg
Dumont Telecruiser, one of the earliest production trucks, built in 1949 by the Dumont Television Network.
Audio Mix Engineer or Audio Mixer A1 – The A1 controls 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. (The A1 may also be referred to as the Audio Director.)
Audio Assistant A2 (remote television production) – The A2 works 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 “mic-ing” the talent as they enter and exit.
Graphics Operator and Graphics Coordinator – There are a wide range of Digital on-screen graphic elements used in television production, but the main devices are manufactured by Chyron Corporation and Bug Box (Fox Box). The Chyron Character generator “keys” graphics over a specified video the TD chooses, but is generally used for Images, and lower third Messages, as well as occasionally smaller videos. The Bug Box Character generator Operator works the same way but is only for sporting events as it is the Operator that keeps time, score, and statistics on the telecast but shouldn’t be used to show images or messages.
Stage Manager – The Stage Manager is involved in coordinating talent and the direction of the producer and production crew in a booth, stage or area the telecast will be produced. They are in charge of building the stages props and cues, as well as the banners and scenery, but usually outsource to Production assistants.
Utilities or Cable Pullers – These are the people who pull the equipment and cable in and out of the venue. They also are skilled in routing the cables so that they are not seen or in people’s ways. Usually these are people a little less experienced or looking to gain experience in the television industry.
Engineer In Charge (EIC) – The EIC is the Broadcast engineer who knows more about production of 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.

Transmission of video

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:

In the context of broadcasting, backhaul refers to uncut program content that is transmitted point-to-point to an individual television station or radio station, broadcast network or other receiving entity where it will be integrated into a finished TV show or radio show. The term is independent of the medium being used to send the backhaul, but communications satellite transmission is very common. When the medium is satellite, it is called a wildfeed.

The earliest method, used before satellites and videotape and still used for short ranges, is to beam the video directly back to the studio using a microwave dish, where another dish receives the signal. 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.

Parabolic antenna type of antenna

A parabolic antenna is an antenna that uses a parabolic reflector, a curved surface with the cross-sectional shape of a parabola, to direct the radio waves. The most common form is shaped like a dish and is popularly called a dish antenna or parabolic dish. The main advantage of a parabolic antenna is that it has high directivity. It functions similarly to a searchlight or flashlight reflector to direct the radio waves in a narrow beam, or receive radio waves from one particular direction only. Parabolic antennas have some of the highest gains, meaning that they can produce the narrowest beamwidths, of any antenna type. In order to achieve narrow beamwidths, the parabolic reflector must be much larger than the wavelength of the radio waves used, so parabolic antennas are used in the high frequency part of the radio spectrum, at UHF and microwave (SHF) frequencies, at which the wavelengths are small enough that conveniently-sized reflectors can be used.

Microwave transmission technology of transmitting information or energy by the use of microwaves

Microwave transmission is the transmission of information by microwave radio waves. Although an experimental 40-mile (64 km) microwave telecommunication link across the English Channel was demonstrated in 1931, the development of radar in World War II provided the technology for practical exploitation of microwave communication. In the 1950s, large transcontinental microwave relay networks, consisting of chains of repeater stations linked by line-of-sight beams of microwaves were built in Europe and America to relay long distance telephone traffic and television programs between cities. Communication satellites which transferred data between ground stations by microwaves took over much long distance traffic in the 1960s. In recent years, there has been an explosive increase in use of the microwave spectrum by new telecommunication technologies such as wireless networks, and direct-broadcast satellites which broadcast television and radio directly into consumers' homes.

Line-of-sight propagation characteristic of electromagnetic radiation or acoustic wave propagation which means waves which travel in a direct path from the source to the receiver

Line-of-sight propagation is a characteristic of electromagnetic radiation or acoustic wave propagation which means waves travel in a direct path from the source to the receiver. Electromagnetic transmission includes light emissions traveling in a straight line. The rays or waves may be diffracted, refracted, reflected, or absorbed by the atmosphere and obstructions with material and generally cannot travel over the horizon or behind obstacles.

Communication satellites

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. 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 fiberoptic 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.

Related Research Articles

Intermediate frequency frequency to which a carrier wave is shifted as an intermediate step in transmission or reception

In communications and electronic engineering, an intermediate frequency (IF) is a frequency to which a carrier wave is shifted as an intermediate step in transmission or reception. The intermediate frequency is created by mixing the carrier signal with a local oscillator signal in a process called heterodyning, resulting in a signal at the difference or beat frequency. Intermediate frequencies are used in superheterodyne radio receivers, in which an incoming signal is shifted to an IF for amplification before final detection is done.

Broadcasting distribution of audio and video content to a dispersed audience via any audio or visual mass communications medium

Broadcasting is the distribution of audio or video content to a dispersed audience via any electronic mass communications medium, but typically one using the electromagnetic spectrum, in a one-to-many model. Broadcasting began with AM radio, which came into popular use around 1920 with the spread of vacuum tube radio transmitters and receivers. Before this, all forms of electronic communication were one-to-one, with the message intended for a single recipient. The term broadcasting evolved from its use as the agricultural method of sowing seeds in a field by casting them broadly about. It was later adopted for describing the widespread distribution of information by printed materials or by telegraph. Examples applying it to "one-to-many" radio transmissions of an individual station to multiple listeners appeared as early as 1898.

Cable television headend facility for receiving television signals for processing and distribution over a cable television system

A cable television headend is a master facility for receiving television signals for processing and distribution over a cable television system. The headend facility is normally unstaffed and surrounded by some type of security fencing and is typically a building or large shed housing electronic equipment used to receive and re-transmit video over the local cable infrastructure. One can also find head ends in power-line communication (PLC) substations and Internet communications networks.

Professional video camera high-end device for creating electronic moving images

A professional video camera is a high-end device for creating electronic moving images. Originally developed for use in television studios, they are now also used for music videos, direct-to-video movies, corporate and educational videos, marriage videos etc. Since the 2010s, most of the professional video cameras are digital professional video cameras.

Camera control unit

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.

A technical director (TD) is usually a senior technical person within e.g. a software company, engineering firm, film studio, theatrical company or television studio. This person usually possesses the highest level of skill within a specific technical field.

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.

Production control room

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

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."

Outside broadcasting

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. The mobile production control room (PCR) is known as a "production truck", "scanner", "mobile unit", "remote truck", "live truck", "OB van", "OB Truck" or "live eye". In the United States an "OB van" is smaller in size than a production truck and generally requires two or three people in the field to manage.

Satellite television is a service that delivers television programming to viewers by relaying it from a communications satellite orbiting the Earth directly to the viewer's location. The signals are received via an outdoor parabolic antenna commonly referred to as a satellite dish and a low-noise block downconverter.

Satellite truck

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.

Marquette University Student Media organization

Marquette University Student Media is the official outlet of Marquette University's College of Communication, which allows students to gain real-world experience in producing mainstream media.

A Satellite contribution link or service is a means to transport video programming by a satellite link from a remote source to a broadcaster's studio or from the studio to a satellite TV uplink centre.

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.

UPI Newstime was a cable television network founded by United Press International in 1978, and premiering July 3rd of that year. UPI Newstime was the second 24-hour all-news television network in the USA for cable TV, following AP Newscable for 13 years and predating CNN by 2 years. UPI Newstime was unique in how it distributed its programming to local cable TV (CATV) headends via satellite, using a form of slow-scan television, or SSTV technology. Using SSTV reduced satellite transmission costs for UPI and was suitable at the time for the programming produced by UPI for the channel, which mainly relied on still slides and wirephotos acquired by UPI's own newsgathering operations.

References

Sources

[1]. Space Today Online Magazine (http://www.spacetoday.org/Satellites/Hamsats/Hamsats1970s.html)