Lighten Up in the Field
by Michael Murrie
When you see reports about NAB in Las Vegas, you see most about
the big technology advancements such as digital video, HDTV,
or virtual sets. Perhaps just as intriguing, however, are the
smaller tech breakthroughs.
This year some smaller products make life much easier for television
news people in the field. For example, imagine ways you could
save time if you could take video with you and play it on a
portable device nearly as small as a Palm Pilot. Better yet
imagine a wireless device that could show video from the ENG
A company called Pocketmultimedia
has such devices, PickIt Transcoder and PockIt Wireless. The
software works with Compaq iPAQ handheld PCs and similar personal
digital assistants (PDAs) using the StrongARM 200 MHz processor.
Backpack ENG Perhaps you've heard about COFDM digital technology
that can be used to transmit ENG signals in ways you never dreamed.
It's great, for example, for feeding live from a moving vehicle.
To lighten the load, there's a product called Expedio
that comes from Moseley in Santa Barbara. Expedo can be configured
as a portable COFDM unit in a backpack. You could even create
a one person motorcycle-cam with it Cable Light There was nothing
more wearisome than laying camera cable at the site of a remote
a few years ago.
Then along came Camplex that made products to multiplex all
the necessary ENG signals on one simple coaxial cable. Now there's
something called CopperHead from Telecast
Fiber Systems. It multiplexes on fiber signals such as two-way
program video and audio, IFB, black burst, and certain control
data. Fiber weighs a fraction of coax but relays the signal
30 times farther. The 1.5-pound portable multiplexer for the
camera is powered by its battery. It costs about $5,000 as does
the necessary rack receiver for the ENG truck.
About the Author
MICHAEL MURRIE serves Pepperdine University as a professor who
teaches journalism and television production. He writes about
news technology for RTNDA Communicator, DigitalTV (formerly
Television Broadcast), and Broadcasting and Cable. He's been
a professor for 15 years at Pepperdine and Southern Illinois
University. Before education, he worked nearly 15 years in all
areas of television news, especially as a producer and assistant
news director at KSDK in St. Louis.