WIFR Expands ENG Capabilities With TVUPack

The TVUPack in use by a WIFR photojournalist.

ROCKFORD, ILL.—Going live from the field has long been a critical part of our nightly newscasts, and we wished to expand live ENG capabilities beyond what we could accomplish with our two news trucks. We acquired a TVUPack a year ago and its has given us more flexibility in our live ENG than we’ve ever had before.

Our TVUPack has been a valuable tool in obtaining live footage of important stories, regardless of where they happen. Our journalists like the pack too, as it’s very easy to use; all they have to do is plug in the camera and push a button to go live to air.

We use the TVUPack extensively for live coverage of breaking news or to cover the biggest newsmaker of the day. We also use it two days a week to go on location with our weather reports. For our most ambitious live coverage, we sent our morning weather guys to Chicago via Amtrak, with live segments while the train was en route from Chicago to Milwaukee. We had great pictures during the entire trip, with the weather crew reporting every 10 minutes from the moving train.

We also use the TVUPack extensively for live coverage of press conferences from the 8th floor of our local municipal building; something we were not able to in the past with a microwave truck.

Election night was where the TVUPack really shined. Our electoral district is so geographically large that it’s difficult to go live from every location where stories are unfolding. This was especially true during last year’s elections. Less than 24 hours before polling started, we learned that one of the main candidates decided to relocate his election headquarters away from party headquarters, forcing us to throw out weeks of planning and adjust our evening’s broadcast strategy on the fly.

By using a combination of our two ENG trucks and four TVUPacks, we went live from six different locations on election night— something that’s really huge for our market.

We provided live coverage of election news events throughout the night. In the locations where we deployed TVUPacks, we used a combination of six data cards and Wi-Fi, maintaining outstanding picture quality for the entire seven hours of live coverage.

Although 3G/4G coverage can sometimes be spotty, this doesn’t really affect us that much if we do a little advance planning.

We’ve had very few issues arise during our use of the TVUPack gear, but when we did need some assistance, we knew that TVU’s support team was there to back us up. They’ve really been outstanding. Whenever we’ve called, we’ve always been able to speak with a real person and the company has gone out of its way to make sure things went right.

Jeff Clark is operations manager at WIFR television. He may be contacted atjeff.clark@wifr.com.

For additional information, contact TVU at 650-969-6732 or visitwww.tvupack.com.