Bingen, Germany, 13 September 2023: Broadcast Solutions, one of Europe’s largest media systems integration groups, has delivered two of four new reporter vans, the ‘comfort.links’, for German production company rt1.tv. The vehicles are part of an expansion of the fleet, which is used by German broadcasters.
Two have been delivered already, to replace life-expired vehicles in the fleet. Based on VW Transporter vans, they are designed to be self-sufficient and as environmentally friendly as possible. For example, while the van includes a generator, the primary source of power is a lithium ion battery pack, capable of supporting all the technical equipment for as much as four hours. Even with the large battery and the technical equipment, the gross vehicle weight remains below 3.5 tonnes, meaning it can be driven without the need for a truck licence.
The production systems are designed to be as simple as possible, and are generally controlled by a single operator, although the reverse bench seat provides for a second operator, and there is an additional pull-out laptop workspace in the front passenger area. The large monitor provides access to the NewTek Tricaster for routing and production control. When in edit mode, the screen provides access to the HP workstation running Adobe Premiere Pro.
Camera connectivity uses the Ereca Cam Racer system, allowing any professional camera to be docked and connected over standard SMPTE fibre to a 1U base station in the truck, and controlled over a web interface. Each vehicle carries Litepanel LED lighting and a number of Sennheiser microphones. For major events, two vehicles can be simply linked together, using NDI and Dante.
The intention is to use IP connectivity from the vehicle back to the broadcaster’s base, using either LTE or broadband via the LiveU transmission system. This also carries the Laon intercom for talkback between the camera position, the van and the central studio. Where there is no strong LTE signal, there is a roof-mounted 1.2m dish, transferred from the vehicles being replaced, providing Ku-band links.
“In terms of their flexibility, scalability and speed, our 'comfort.links 2.0' represent a major step forward in mobile production technology, both for our customers and our company. We are creating the prerequisite for scaling production resources for highly efficient productions with small, mobile units and combining the best of all worlds for smart production, IP workflows as well as live transmissions via LTE or KU-band” said Sebastian Wutschik, Executive Board and Production Management at rt1.tv. “Broadcast Solutions has met our requirements and developed a transmission vehicle that clearly demonstrate its state-of-the-art technical solutions and usability”.
Matthias Hahn, Senior Manager Quotation/Project at Broadcast Solutions added “We worked closely with rt1.tv on the requirements specification. The design, build, testing and commissioning was all carried out in our workshops in Bingen, largely with Broadcast Solutions technicians. It is a clear demonstration of the way we can adapt to any set of requirements and deliver a very effective solution.”
The first two vehicles are already in routine use. An extended delivery time from vehicle manufacturer VW means that the other two new trucks will not be on air until 2024.