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The Importance of Production Trucks

Watching the news or favorite sporting events on TV is definitely one of the best ways to relax and while away one’s time after a tiring day. On the other hand, there are many news and sports television stations, and each one of these stations is battling each other to garner the highest viewership and ratings on a daily basis. Television stations do this by presenting compelling and entertaining programs on an hourly basis to ensure that viewers are glued to their stations. One such program that usually keeps viewers tuned into a television station is that of the coverage of the important sporting event, and many television networks are equipped with the most modern gadgets and tools that can deliver to its viewers the intensity, drama, and cheers that usually come with every sporting event.

The TV Simulcast

Most news and sports coverage are done in the place where they happen. To achieve a good coverage, a TV network needs to send its people, equipment, and vehicles to the sporting location, and have their equipment set up before the event starts. The most commonly seen equipment is the satellite news gathering or SNG truck. This SNG truck is readily identifiable by the dish antenna that it carries on its roof. Due to this dish antenna, this vehicle is named “satellite truck.” The dish is used to transmit the video and audio gathered by a news team via satellite to the television station for post-production editing and broadcasting.

The SNG truck is equipped with an onboard alternating current (AC) power source, like a generator, that powers the on-board transmitters. The SNG truck transmits in C-band or in Ku-band of the electromagnetic spectrum. C-band antennas are far larger than that of Ku-band transmitters and are mounted on the vehicles’ chassis. The Ku-band antenna, on the other hand, is usually mounted on the vehicle’s roof for it is smaller and lighter. The introduction of cellular uplink, however, has provided a new avenue of transmitting the gathered video item to the television station using cellular sites. Moreover, the SNG vehicle is equipped with video cameras fitted with portable wireless mobile uplink. The uplink gives the camera crew the capability to shoot as far as 500 meters from the vehicle, albeit within the line of sight (LOS).

Live Sporting Event

In covering a large event like a football match or a regional athletics meet, a production truck needs to accompany the broadcast truck. The production truck is far larger than the C-band truck due to the large number of production equipment it carries. Some of the production equipment that it carries include multiple video monitors, audio mixers, video tape recorders and routers, vision mixer, frame synchronizer, and video server.

The production truck serves as the hub and the control center for all the cameras on the field. Once on location, the production truck becomes the nerve center of the operation. The film crew is usually composed of the production assistants, technical director, audio mixer, several camera operators, video operator, graphics operator, camera shader, broadcast engineer, and utilities. These crews generally work in coordination with the stage manager who also acts as the director. Unlike in filming movies, covering an event, especially a sporting event, requires the highest form of dedication from crews and the best available equipment.

Written By

Product Manager @ LiveU, a video streaming software provider. Visit us at:

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