George Hoover – Sr Vice president - Engineering
NEP Broadcasting is the leading international provider of outsourced teleproduction services critical to the delivery of live sports and entertainment events. The worlds premiere broadcast networks and production companies look to NEP to provide state-of –the-art facilities, engineering expertise and the finest customer service, in support of telecasts of major events and programmes around the globe.
We cover events all around the states, and therefore need to rely 100% on our equipment. We cover sports, entertainment, studio based applications, rock and roll!!! We like to see ourselves as the leader in the industry, we have world-wide approx. 40 trucks, (since purchase of Vision based in the UK).
We have long relied on ‘Vinten’ for our camera support. We have been Vinten customers for 25-30 years, we started off with the Vision Mark 3’s. Now we use Vector’s and Vision 100 and Vision 11’s. From day one using this kit has always been easy, straight out of the box, it’s then ready to take the camera, simple and quick to balance and your good to go.
We had tried alternatives but always come back to Vinten, to us it’s the industry standard, we entertain all over the world and we can’t have a truck with a mixture of kit on it. There is often a problem if they don’t all have exactly the same kit, i.e. all Vector 70’s or all Vector 700’s as they have preferred heads of choice – ones they like to work with., let alone the issues you would get trying to use different manufacturers products!!. Even if new crew are on board the equipment is intuitive and they can use it right away with minimal training.
We will continue to buy these products because they work in the worst possible environment for any piece of technology anyone has ever made. This equipment gets seriously abused it is left out in all elements, the rain, the cold, put away wet, and this stuff keeps on working.
There are certain events that test the equipment more than others It always rains on golf – often the heads are assembled to cover say the 2nd hole, , which then have to be disassembled in the rain, reassembled again ready to cover the 14th when the golfers get there. You can’t cover all this stuff up as much as we try, conditions really can be horrible. We have even known kit to be blown off towers with tornado’s. With regards heat – well Nascar , its hot, dirty , there is steam!!
The only problems we had when the Vector 70 came out was buying these things fast enough, they were fighting over them in place of the Mark 4’s!! These heads take from 55-101 zoom lenses, we don’t need to change cams, which used to annoy everyone as the dirt, grease and pebbles didn’t combine well!! The cameramen love these heads as it’s all enclosed.
We change the camera more than we change the pan heads. Some of our Vector’s are on their 3rd set of cameras! Its gone from analogue camera to digital to high definition all using the same head.
We have not had any Vector 70’s go down that couldn’t be repaired, we have a staff guy who has had Vinten training who now fixes all our Vinten equipment in house. He is a cameraman so he understands this equipment and how it should work. Last time I looked we owned 150-160 Vector pan and tilt heads, they are heavy so if we are trying to ship them backwards and forwards to Vinten, you then fix them, its much cheaper for us to do it here. A lot of the spring sports are currently winding down so our service guy takes this opportunity to service the heads.