In the spring of 2019, LNKTV, the government and education television station for the city of Lincoln, was looking for a flexible mobile production solution. LNKTV had a busy Fall programming schedule line up of local sports, news, and community events. A new production truck would help them cover more events along with raising their on-location production values. With budget and flexibility in mind, LNKTV chose a Ford Transit High Top for the production truck conversion.
While Gerling and Associates provided the retrofitting for the truck frame and cabin, Alpha Video was busy designing the interior for the production equipment and staff. One of the more challenging requirements was to design the workstations so they could be run by just two people but then accommodate five people when doing more complex productions. With these strict space limitations in mind, Alpha Video accepted the challenge and worked closely with LNKTV to design a solution.
After taking delivery of the truck, Alpha Video integrated Ross Video solutions including a Carbonite switcher, XPression graphics, Mira Express replay, and Ultrix router, along with four Panasonic AK-HC3800 HD field cameras. Four Marshall Electronics HD POV cameras were also integrated. Their small form factor allowed them to be placed in almost any location to gain unique perspectives and camera angles. The addition of a LiveU LU600 field unit allowed the truck to encode and stream live events in HD while the truck recorded HD video files to a Blackmagic Design Hyperdeck Mini Recorder.
An important part of the truck build was the inclusion of a portable rack solution that could be placed inside a venue up to 500 feet away. The venue rack allowed multiple announcer microphones, monitors, intercom, and POV cameras to connect to the rack and then use a single fiber cable to connect the rack to the truck. This design avoided the need to run dozens of separate video and audio cables making set up and tear down much more efficient.
After six months of remote productions by LNKTV, they could not be happier with how the truck turned out. Jamie Wenz, Operations Manager for LNKTV, said, “So far, we have had a ton of positive feedback about the improved quality of our productions, and everyone who has looked at our truck has been wowed by it. We use the truck for a number of productions, from parades, news conferences, sporting events, and more. Often, when we show up at an event, people stop and talk to us about the truck and take a look inside. We’ve had nothing but positive feedback.”
Particularly gratifying to Jaime is the feedback LNKTV has received by viewers. “At one game, the opposing head coach made a point to stop by the truck before the game and tell us that he watched our broadcast of the previous week’s game. He said it was the best production he had seen for an NCAA III game, and that it felt like he was watching a network broadcast,” said Jamie.
The most poignant example of how LNKTV’s production staff and the new truck has made an impact was from a father whose twin sons had played in a game that was covered by LNKTV. Family members were watching a live stream of the game from all over the country and began texting each other on how impressed they were with the graphics packages, instant replay, and the announcers. Everyone said it was the best they had seen in the four years the twins had been playing. Both of the brothers had career-high games that night.
Unfortunately, later in the season one of the brothers tore his ACL, and his football career was over. After years of playing together, the twins would never play together on the same field again. Because of LNKTV’s game day recording, the father was able to request copies of the game and give them to his sons as a memento of their best game ever.
Alpha Video is proud to have worked with LNKTV to provide such a valuable community service and help LNKTV engage their viewers like never before.