TV Pro Gear builds multi-camera video production vans based on Mercedes Sprinter Vans. The vans are used to shoot sports, concerts and conferences. The Sprinter/Flypak™ system is equipped with six Panasonic HD cameras that are connected to the Flypak™ via optical fiber. The Flypak™ houses a Ross Switcher and a Ross title generator. A Newtek 3Play provides six-channels of instant replay/slow motion. Their newest systems are equipped for both HD and 4K productions.
When you’re building mobile broadcast studios that will be crammed with hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of high-tech equipment, choosing the right vehicle makes all the difference. For Andy Maisner, founder and president of TV Pro Gear, it was an easy decision. His blank canvas is the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 3500 High Roof Cargo Van with a 170-inch wheelbase.
Maisner built his first Flypack-a mobile conglomeration of all the A/V equipment needed to do live broadcasts-more than 35 years ago, and he’s been refining the concept ever since. TV Pro Gear builds Sprinter Flypacks for clients ranging from TV Stations to the Defense Department, and it also maintains a fleet that it rents out. “A fully loaded Sprinter Flypack can run anywhere from $300,000 to $1.1 million. It would be short-sighted not to choose the best possible vehicle to server as the foundation for that kind of build.” he says.
The Sprinter comfortably accommodates seven crew members. All of the electronics are built into a removable Flypak™. If the client wants to get closer to the action or the shoot is at a location where a truck cannot go, the Flypak™ can be removed by rolling it down the ramps (see picture). A second box holds the cameras, tripods, microphones and intercom headsets. So with only two boxes, clients can shoot anywhere in the world.
Since the Flypack equipment throws of a lot of heat, air-conditioning is essential. A single roof-mounted unit usually does the trick, but vehicles built for use in extreme conditions can be outfitted with dual ACs. Both environmental power for HVAC, and technical power for the Flypacks as well as the interior LED lighting, come from standard household outlets. “The operational economy is great,” Maisner says. “Our mileage with the BlueTEC diesel consistently beats the specs, and that’s fully loaded.” Andy adds that the Sprinter’s safety features and control systems help make it the perfect choice for this build. “When you have so much valuable equipment onboard at all times. Sprinter gives you that added level of confidence you want.”