NEP Broadcasting is an international provider of outsourced teleproduction services critical to the delivery of live sports and entertainment events. Many of the world's broadcast networks and production companies rely on NEP to provide advanced facilities, engineering expertise and customer service in support of telecasts of major events and programs.
NEP has relied on Vinten camera pan and tilt heads for more than 25 years, starting with the Vision Mark 3. Now the company uses Vector and Vision pan and tilt heads.
The Vector 70/70H pan and tilt head uses a new, patented counterbalance mechanism. This is easily adjustable, with no time-consuming camera changes, and provides up to a 60-degree balanced tilt range for camera, lens and teleprompter combinations of up to 154lb. It features a telescopic pan bar and a wedge adapter, which will accept a standard camera wedge. The Vinten LF fluid drag system gives the head smooth, adjustable control over movement and a whip pan capability — ideal for sports coverage.
The Vision 11 pan and tilt head features a balance and digital readout, backlit drag knobs, an illuminated levelling bubble and a lubricated friction drag system. All of these features make it easy to use for new NEP camera operators.
One reason why the company relies solely on Vinten's products in its trucks is because they are so user-friendly. As soon as the kits are taken out of the box, they are given a simple and quick balance and are ready to use. If a new crew is on board, the equipment is intuitive, and they can use it right away with minimal training. The Vision 100's that NEP use also include user-friendly features, such as backlit drag knobs for easy viewing and an illuminated digital balance readout, which provides repeatability for easier and quicker setup.
Another reason why NEP employs Vinten camera support products is because they work in the worst possible environments. Sometimes the equipment gets seriously abused when it is left out in the elements. NEP tools must be able to endure the rain, the cold and even being put away wet. The Vinten heads do all that and still continue to work.
There are certain events that test the equipment more than others. For example, the rain during golf tournaments. Often the heads are assembled to cover a hole at the beginning of the course, but then it starts raining. The equipment must be disassembled in the rain, reassembled again and ready to cover the 14th hole when the golfers get there. We try to cover up the equipment as much as possible, but sometimes the conditions can be horrible. We have even had one piece of a kit blow off towers during a tornado.
In regards to heat, when the company covers NASCAR, it's hot, dirty and steamy. But the products are able to withstand the conditions.
The Vector 70 heads take from 55 to 101 zoom lenses and don't require users to change cameras. Changing cameras can attract dirt, grease and pebbles, so NEP's cameramen love these heads because they're all enclosed.
The company changes the camera more than it changes the pan heads. Some of NEP's Vectors are on their third set of cameras. New camera technology has required the company to change from analog to digital to high definition, all using the same head.
NEP has not had any Vector 70's go down that couldn't be repaired. The company employs a Vinten-trained staff member who fixes all of the equipment in-house. We take the opportunities presented between sports seasons to service the heads and prepare them for more work ahead.
George Hoover is the senior vice president of engineering for NEP.