Niles Media Group is a remote sports television production and platform agonistic media business that excels in content, sales and distribution. We’ve been working to create the most cost effective solutions to facilitate productions,
so we’re working with the full spectrum of clients, from high school sports to the likes of ESPN. We’re designing and supplying trucks for our clients – and striving to ensure that when a crew is out in the field in one of our trucks, they’re not alone.
Prepared for any Scenario
In the old days you’d be working with equipment from multiple vendors and when it was time to solve an issue, you’d be on your own. You would call the graphics vendor and they would say “Well it’s probably a switcher problem” and then you call the switcher vendor and they would say “Well that’s probably a graphics problem.” With Ross Video, we have solved and prevented this situation entirely. With Ross gear – be it the switcher, the graphics, the distribution amplifiers – all your terminal gear is provided by one company. More importantly, all of this equipment can be managed through one application: Ross Video’s DashBoard.
Our average truck has six cameras, as well as Ross 2 ME Carbonite switcher, two channel XPression graphics system, a BlackStorm server, router, distribution amplifiers, and a Ross UDC converter. The UDC converter can switch sources and key graphics, so we use it as a back-up switcher. We also build trucks for other companies. The highest-end trucks we’ve built have been for ASN (American Sports Network) – our largest customer. In every truck we build there is a comprehensive DashBoard setup. We have at least five extra computers so virtually every member of the crew is utilizing DashBoard – including the Technical Director, the Audio A1, the Graphics Operator … you get the picture.
We’re building everything with the expectation of a problem. When you do thousands of live events, something will fail at some point. The most effective tool to prepare for this is DashBoard. It allows us to back-up the equipment we have, without wasting money on duplicate gear. DashBoard allows us to monitor our trucks behind-the-scenes. When someone runs into a problem, we have a technician or operator that can help you and demonstrate the solution from here in Liberty, Missouri. We’ve even had cases where an operator hasn’t shown up, and we ended up operating the equipment remotely through DashBoard.
Incredibly Successful “Failures”
For instance, we had an issue where the Carbonite panel wasn’t functioning correctly – and we prepared for this scenario. When we build our trucks, we install two SideShot controllers for each switcher we buy. These are just hard panels with physical buttons, that can be configured and programmed to operate the switcher through DashBoard. We write an elaborate DashBoard application for every truck we build. We then do a DashBoard switcher set-up to include everything on the custom controls (even cutting cameras). The issue was with the control panel, but the switcher itself still “worked” so we were able to switch through the DashBoard touchscreen and SideShot controllers.
Of course, that was also the day it was the Technical Director’s first time seeing a Carbonite. We were able to have our own switcher people talk to him on the phone, while remotely demonstrating how it works through DashBoard. We gave him an hour-long tutorial and he switched the show without a problem. All the effects and replay moves wanted in a production were there, and we didn’t miss a beat.
Ross Video has enabled us to build an exceptional support system, which allows us to support our efforts as a company. Ross is a worldwide leader in many aspects of this industry, but in the midst of that they still provide that small-business feel of customer service. As the owner of a smaller business in the industry landscape, I feel free to call anyone, even all the way up to David Ross, to talk and have an exchange of ideas. I know that if we need something done or an idea that’s worthwhile, Ross will work it through. I may not be a major corporation, but the entire Ross team takes their time with us and is totally engaged.