Formed in 2018, M.E. Pro Video & Distribution set a goal of creating a radically more compact and efficient 4K/HD OB truck. They consulted with experts to realize their vision, and the resulting vehicle, named Scotty, is a full-featured 4K/HD OB truck measuring just 37 feet from tip to tail. It was unveiled to the broadcast industry at NAB 2019.
“The idea behind Scotty was to create a smaller truck, more economical to operate nationwide, yet with state-of-the-art equipment,” notes Jim Barton, partner and executive producer for M.E. Pro Video. The vehicle is a custom design by Gerling and Associates (Sunbury, OH) based around a 28-foot work area with expandable sides. Icon Broadcast (Hudson, NH) then took on the task of identifying the right equipment and fitting it inside. All the audio and video equipment was purchased through Allied Broadcast Group (Tulsa, OK).
“We knew we wanted top brands like RTS, and that engineering systems into such a compact space would be a challenge,” says Barton. “That’s why we chose Icon Broadcast for design and integration. They really know how to optimize every square inch of available space.”
One new product that was an easy choice in this regard was the new ODIN digital matrix system by RTS, a full-featured intercom system in a single rack space. “We’ve always been RTS fans, so when we saw they had basically done the same thing as us – putting next-generation technology into the most compact package possible – we were very excited,” Barton says.
In addition to the savings in rack space, ODIN checked every box in terms of the functionality that M.E. Pro Video needed, with IP-based, Dante-compatible OMNEO technology that connects seamlessly to both digital devices and analog two- and four-wire devices, accommodating up to 128 ports.
For its initial configuration, M.E. Pro Video uses 48 ODIN ports, connecting six KP-5032 and seven KP-4016 keypanels, plus 17 beltpacks throughout the workspace. An RTS BTR-240 base station provides wireless capability via four TR-240 wireless beltpacks. Digital telephones are easily ported into the ODIN matrix via two RTS TIF-2000A interfaces.
One of the big attractions of ODIN was its energy efficiency. The system uses less than 50 watts of power while providing dual power supplies and five cooling fans. “ODIN is perfect for this application because it takes so little space and runs cool with full redundancy,” notes Barton. “The most important thing in our world is clear communication between the director, producers and talent. That’s what RTS is known for, and that’s what ODIN delivers.”
After completion, Scotty was driven to its first OB gig – the 2019 Shriners College Baseball Classic at Minute Maid Park, Houston. The annual six-team tournament was being televised on MLB Network for the first time.
“We had a lot of seasoned pros in the truck, so we really wanted to make a good first impression,” says Jim Barton. “Everything worked perfectly, so we were pleased. But what was interesting was that without us asking, people kept commenting on how crystal clear the comm system was and how well it worked. And you can’t ask for a better endorsement than the honest experience of working professionals.”
Since then, M.E. Pro Video & Distribution has had Scotty on the road constantly, including a week on display at the NAB Show in Las Vegas. “With Scotty, we think we’ve tapped into what the next generation of OB trucks can be, with full capabilities in a more compact size, making it more economical to operate. We got great reactions at NAB, and we’re already planning our next truck. And I can guarantee you that RTS ODIN will be a part of it.”