Taxi! Hailing a Scaled-Down OB Unit Has Never Been Easier
If you thought getting everything into a 53-ft. production truck was tough, wait till you get a load of Remote Taxi.
Remote Taxi is a scaled-down, three-year-old extension of Remote Recording GmbH, an OB-van business based in Solingen, Germany. Inside an actual London “black cab,” owner Peter Brandt has managed to fit an Avid Pro Tools HD system, Avid Artist Control and SPL NEOS monitoring and mix consoles, Euphonix AM713 and MA703 analog/MADI converters, Adam A3X active audio monitors, a Riedel RockNet 300 Series digital audio network, and assorted computers and displays. His cabs have worked several sports events, including effects and crowd sounds for a table-tennis match last year, testing out a planned addition of 5.1-monitoring capability.
Now Remote Taxi is headed to the U.S. Another company, coincidentally also called Remote Recording Inc., which has been in business for more than 30 years here mainly serving the music market, is partnering with its overseas counterpart.
The first black cab will be on the road in the U.S. this summer, after having been shipped first to the UK for updating by London Taxi International (LTI), the official representative of the iconic vehicles (which are now manufactured in China), and then to Germany for equipping as a remote audio van.
Karen Brinton, president of New York-based Remote Recording Inc., says the business will grow on a franchise basis. Her Remote Recording will operate one or more vehicles in the New York and Los Angeles areas, franchisees will buy in for other regions, and all will operate under the Remote Taxi banner.
Brinton says sports broadcasting will be a primary target market for Remote Taxi — more specifically, the audio-submix-trailer sector of the business as well as the second-tier collegiate-sports broadcast market.
“It bridges the gap between flypacks and big trucks,” says Brinton, adding that the lower cost of the unit versus a conventional audio remote unit (Remote Recording Inc. has two of those, mostly used for the music market) and its ability to bring extensive audio-mixing capability to a one-car parking-spot footprint make it cost-effective for broadcasters.
Remote Taxi is capable of 5.1-signal routing, but its monitoring is initially set up for stereo or L-C-R. Brinton says a design is being worked on to bring discrete 5.1-surround monitoring to the taxi’s control area.
A potential stumbling block could be U.S. networks’ model of using freelancers for remote sports mixes, an approach that largely drives the limited console choices available in most trucks in the U.S. Brinton says Remote Taxi’s cost structure allows for the inclusion of a crewperson, who can act as an A2 for the network’s mixer.
“It will still be very cost-effective to use for sports broadcasts,” she says. “Broadcast sports is an expanding market, and Remote Taxi will be able to accommodate that changing market nicely.”