Ensemble Keeps the Trucks Rolling

CLEARWATER, FLA.: At Frontline Communications, our mission is simple—to help our customers perform at peak efficiency and respond to any news or broadcast assignment safely. We design and manufacture everything from small SUV units all the way to the big 53-foot tractor-trailers.

Every broadcast vehicle needs a test generator and sync generator to provide color bars or other test signals and an ID and to lock all of the vehicle's gear together for proper timing and switching. For this application, we use a lot of Ensemble Designs' BrightEye 56 devices. They're really a great little sync and test signal generator. The units are value priced and provide us all the capability we need in any of our vehicles.

Gary W. Britt

For example, we're currently transitioning our news vehicles from standard- to high-definition. We have to deal with everything from analog composite signals, to SDI standard def and hi-def video. The ability to quickly change from SD to HD mode on the BrightEye's front panel is a great feature for a truck application, as this morning's news story may have to be shot in SD and fed out in that standard. It's easy to get prepared for this operation, as we can feed standard-definition bars for checking in at the receive site, and tie all of our gear together with SD reference signals. Two hours later, the client may come back to do a story in high definition, necessitating a reconfiguration of the truck's equipment. The ability to quickly make the switchover via the BrightEye's front panel is really a timesaver for the operator.

On bigger platforms such as the network trucks, we like Ensemble's Avenue 7900 SPG/TSG module. We are building a large satellite truck right now for Platinum Uplink Services in Chicago and they're incorporating the Avenue 7900s along with other Avenue products. Their plans even call for using Ensemble's GPS option for timecode to synchronize the clock system in the truck to make sure they're running exactly on network time. These 7900 units are equipped with touch panels for quick configurations without using a computer; however there's computer interface capability included if desired.

The capabilities, ease of use, ease of setup and attractive price structure are just some of the reasons we continue to select Ensemble Designs gear.

We are also sold on Ensemble's support after the sale. There was only one time that I thought we had a problem with any of the Ensemble gear we purchased. This was in connection with a new BrightEye 56, and I initially figured it was an out-of-box failure of the BrightEye. After notifying the company, I received a very swift response from Ensemble's customer service department in the form of an over-nighted replacement unit. As it turned out, it wasn't the BrightEye that had failed, but rather something else in the truck. However, based on this experience, I now know their customer service is simply excellent and will be there if we ever need it.

Gary W. Britt is director of sales engineering at Frontline Communications and has been in the broadcast truck business for 26 years. He joined Frontline in 1993. He may be contacted at gbritt@frontlinecomm.com.

For additional information, contact Ensemble Designs at 540-478-1830 or visit ensembledesigns.com.