TNDV’s Destination Is Mainly for Music but Has Sports in Mind
The revamped, renamed 40-ft. expando serves as a ‘one-off event truck’
TNDV’s relaunched Destination mobile unit has a lengthy history. The Tennessee-based mobile-production-services provider is actually the third owner of the truck, which was known as Blackjack when TNDV took ownership and was often used for sports production by its previous owner, Greystone Media. For the past four years, the truck has supported all in-house A/V production for the Atlanta Hawks at Phillips Arena (renamed State Farm Arena in 2018), and, when the venue’s A/V system was overhauled prior to the 2018-19 NBA season, TNDV opted to do the same for Blackjack and put it back on the road under the new Destination moniker.
“When Phillips Arena did a complete revamp of their in-house A/V system, we put the truck back into our rotation,” says TNDV owner Nic Dugger. “Destination has become a one-off event truck, versus serving long-term needs at a specific venue. That meant it was time for a design change.”
With Destination, TNDV is targeting primarily the concert/festival market, although, according to Dugger, there will be plenty of room for sports as well.
“We are seeing a lot of interest in this truck for large concerts, festivals, and entertainment events,” he says. “We have specialized the infrastructure to handle a high density of video and audio feeds. We can switch multiple outputs from within the truck, which is a nice feature for these large musical events.
“That said,” he continues, “Destination is also built with sports production in mind. There is a high camera count, and we have a full 3M/E switcher. We can switch three outputs at the same time or build multiple banks for effects. That’s an unusually large switcher for a production truck [of this size].”
The 40-ft. expando is built around a Ross Carbonite 3M/E switcher and Imagine Communications Platinum router. Wired for six camera chains, it rolls with four Hitachi HD-SK1200 cameras outfitted with Fujinon lenses. Audio is handled by a Soundcraft Si Expression 1 console (16 faders/64 input channels) and A-T, Telefunken, and Studio Tech microphones; comms, via an RTS 24-port Matrix intercom system. A NewTek 3Play is on board for replay (with EVS and Ross Video Abekas Mira systems available on request). In addition, the truck is wired for five DDR/VTR record decks and features AJA Ki-Pro digital disc recorders. Graphics are available on request (ChyronHego HyperX3, Ross XPression, or Avid Deko).
“We’re sticking with traditional favorites with Destination,” says Dugger. “This includes Hitachi HD-SK1200 cameras, which have been a go-to for high-end cameras. We are sticking with Ross on the switching side, with a Carbonite model. And we like Imagine Communications’ Platinum line for signal routing and multiviewing.”
An unusual layout features two main production areas and an audio suite. The back area of the truck is very separate from the front area, providing a sizable space for producers or editors to work during a live production. TNDV has added a full “picnic-style” bench, as well as a small kitchenette with a refrigerator and table seating for the crew to use.
Beyond multi-stage festivals and large entertainment events, Dugger sees opportunity for Destination to serve high school and college sports. He also considers the unit an ideal companion truck for larger award shows and sports events requiring one of TNDV’s flagship trucks: for example, red-carpet shows or interview desks at a sports event.
With a total of nine trucks, TNDV continues to grow its fleet and serve the niche market of customers requiring high-end production facilities with a smaller footprint than 53-footers can offer.
“There are plenty of [53-ft.] trucks in the country, but there aren’t many medium- and smaller-footprint trucks that offer the same firepower as the large truck. Our clients still expect a large switcher, significant routing capabilities, and many cameras and multiviewer outputs,” says Dugger. “But they often need this in a smaller footprint that can fit backstage or in a tight alley. Having a 40-ft. truck with expanding sides allows our clients to fit productions in places where a [53-ft.] truck otherwise would not. We’re definitely filling a void in this niche market.”