Token Creek’s New Pioneer Provides High-End Footprint at Affordable Price
As high-profile live sports productions demand more trucks and advanced facilities than ever and budget-conscious lower-end college and regional events look to smaller trucks and the “at-home” production model to meet their needs, a sweet spot has opened up in the middle of the market for providers of mobile-production facilities. With that in mind, Token Creek Mobile Television has launched Pioneer, a 53-ft. single-expando mobile unit that meets the production and budgetary demands of the mid to small market while providing the capacity of a high-end show.
“I think [Pioneer] is perfect for that mid market,” says Token Creek President John Salzwedel. “It’s designed especially for regional small-market stations that want the physical space but at the right price point. There are lots [of truck providers] out there with sprinter vans and horse trailers, and they all serve a very important purpose, but a lot of our clients want the physical space in the truck to operate and not feel like they’re cramping a whole big crew into a vehicle for six people. Pioneer [is a real bonus] for those kinds of clients.”
Token Creek elected to build Pioneer when it won a multi-year contract for a college-football and -basketball package with a television station in the Dakotas. This package, along with a handful of MMA shows, will keep Pioneer will stay busy through the spring.
“We [will be] running up and down I-29 until March covering college football and basketball with Pioneer,” says Salzwedel. “It will also be doing several MMA-style events, which we’re very excited about.”
Although the truck is intended to work traditional productions, it does have the capability — and price point — to flex into at-home/REMI-style production if called on.
“Pioneer is priced at a point where those budget-conscious clients that would like the big truck can afford it,” says Salzwedel. “It’s absolutely a step above the REMI-level trucks, but the price structure allows it to go that route if we need to. It is not [purpose-built] for REMI shows, but we would definitely be able to if that situation comes up.”
Pioneer, which was integrated in-house at Token Creek’s shop in Waunakee, WI, is built around a 3M/E Grass Valley Kayenne switcher and GV Trinix router. The audio room features a Calrec Artemis console, and the replay area houses a six-channel LSM EVS XT3 replay server and a Grass Valley K2 Solo media server (at the request of the client). The truck rolls with 10 Grass Valley LDX 80 Series cameras with Fujinon lenses.
“The layout is a little bit different than what we’ve done in the past,” says Salzwedel. “When you walk in, the switcher faces the opposite direction of what you traditionally see in the truck. It’s just the way the layout ended up working out, but the client is very happy with it.”
The fourth truck in Token Creek’s fleet — joining Sioux, Chippewa, and Varsity — Pioneer marks the company’s first new build since Sioux launched in 2014. In addition to building Pioneer, Token Creek upgraded all of its trucks to Grass Valley Kayenne switchers over the summer.