rise in demand for more on-location shooting of television shows, commercials
and sporting events there came a need for a sophisticated mobile television
production van. A van 40 ft. (12.20 m) long and 8 ft. (2.44 m) wide
has been designed and built with the latest solid-state equipment. It
features two VR-2000B videotape recorders; one HS-100 videodisc recorder;
a 20-input, 11-output bus video switcher; a 60-input, 4-channel output
audio console; 1/4 in (6.35 mm) audiotape recorder; two cartridge recorders;
turntable; and six color cameras plus two monochrome cameras, one mounted
on a film chain, and the other a portable unit used for graphics and
Building this van for outside broadcast or on-location shooting was
initiated by Transmedia International Corp., the world's largest mobile
television van rental organization, who wanted "the finest mobile
production van in the world, no matter what the cost." The result
was a 1.5 million dollar 40-ft. (12.20 m) unit that contains more equipment
than any other TV mobile unit ever built (Fig. 1).
With the high cost of film production and a market demanding more and
more on-location shooting, especially for television, TV production
units of this type will lower the cost of production by doing the initial
shooting directly on videotape rather than on film. The advantage of
being able to play back immediately the scene and other capabilities
such as instant effects, editing and slow-stop-reverse motion can save
innumerable hours and dollars in any production.
The van did its first show in September 1970 -- The California 500 Indy-type
race at the Ontario Motor Speedway. Since then it has been on the road
constantly and has done many live network shows.
In designing the van, a 1/10 scale 4 ft. (1.22 m) model (Fig. 2) was
built as a feasibility study. In 1971 it was used by Transmedia for
sales demonstration when the van itself was on the road.
The van is divided into four sections: Production Room, Audio Room,
Video Room and Tape Room. These are separated by walls or glass partitions
that permit each group within a section to function without disturbance.
Anyone within the van can talk to anyone else in the van or to people
outside the van (cameramen, floor directors, etc.) via a two-channel
The van is equipped with an IFB (Interrupted Feed Back) system that
allows anyone in the production or audio room to talk to any one of
the 15 positions, such as announcers, outside the van. Normally, the
on-the-air announcer would be receiving any one of four (switchable)
program audio channels in both earpieces of his headset. When someone
pushes the button to talk to him, the program audio in one earpiece
is interrupted with the voice, which the announcer continues to hear
the program audio in his other earpiece.
The IFB System is also used as an adjunct to the Interphone System within
the van to provide communications without the need for wearing a headset.
Speaking into any one of nine gooseneck-mounted microphones located
throughout the van causes the response to be heard on speakers within
each of the van's four rooms.
In addition to the Interphone and IFB Systems, there are 15 telephones
in the van, each equipped with a 5-line pushbutton selector and earphone
jack. These provide a means of keeping in contact with all of the many
people involved in doing a live remote network show, including the telephone
microwave people and the network production and engineering people.
The front-mounted 8 ton air conditioner provides cool air or heated
air as needed. Air is distributed throughout the van in ducts within
the false ceiling, with a louver-controlled supply and return air outlet
located in each room.