Conceptualization to Delivery: The Process of Building a Mobile Unit from Start to Finish

Mobile units have come a long way since Mobile TV Group opened its doors in 1994. 

Over the last 30 years, broadcasts as a whole have improved dramatically. Picture and audio quality have reached once unimaginable heights, the addition of more cameras now gives viewers unheralded visibility into their favorite teams on a nightly basis, and viewers can now watch a broadcast from practically anywhere. All of these advancements are made possible by the on-site technology and personnel inside a mobile unit, typically well out of sight from the action of the game.

As viewer expectations continue to rise, mobile unit construction continuously adapts to include the latest innovations in live production technology, while also adhering to strict industry guidelines. These factors are often at odds with each other, making every inch and pound matter. 

Every Mobile TV Group unit needs to exceed our customer’s expectations, so we custom-build all of our mobile units in-house. Quality and reliability are non-negotiables in live production, and our customers count on our ability to provide them with their perfect mobile unit. Through MTVG’s rigorous and detailed construction process, the most up-to-date technology, and top-tier service, our customers deliver world-class broadcasts to their viewers every time their team takes the field, court or ice. 

Customization is critical — and possible 

With every mobile unit built inside our facility, there is a clear-cut goal for what the mobile unit will provide.

Before the unit can be built, there are important conversations that happen to outline the unit, and its broadcasting team’s, top priorities. These priorities range from technological capabilities, size, and cost, and each mobile unit typically features a creative blend of all three. As these conversations are happening, thousands of parts are being ordered, and assembled in-house, to prepare for construction.

After these conversations, it’s our job to bring customer dreams to life. Different departments, from assembly to engineering and operations, make sure that their expertise is reflected in each mobile unit. Additionally, there is a strict weight limit for these mobile units to make it on the highway — our team monitors this closely and often gets creative to make it all come together. 

MTVG’s facility in Englewood, Colorado, where each unit is built, is unlike any other in the live production technology industry. 

We start with an empty shell without walls or floor. This gives our metal shop and woodshop the opportunity to custom build different parts and aspects of the mobile unit. This process is aided by unmatched insight and input from MTVG’s internal computer-automated design (CAD) team, which creates blueprints that perfectly align with customer goals and necessary guidelines. For example, every console and panel in our mobile units are built with custom dimensions and from a unique blend of materials, providing a lightweight, durable, and most importantly, reliable, work surface that is much more complex than expected.

The independent purchase of all raw materials for every mobile unit is how we proudly ensure that every inch of the mobile unit has been constructed correctly and carefully. This includes the installation of every piece of live production technology like the router, switcher, record system, monitors, desks, and even the termination of every single wire in the mobile unit — a number typically north of 14,000. This is the only way that we can ensure the quality and reliability of each mobile unit.

If it’s not the best tech, it’s not in an MTVG mobile unit

While technology constantly evolves and takes live productions to the next level, it’s MTVG’s responsibility to make sure that each mobile unit is correctly equipped with the latest technologies that meet customer needs and demands. MTVG utilizes in-house research and development to ensure that the technology that MTVG customers rely on will perform when the stakes are the highest.

Part of this in-house R&D process takes place in MTVG’s designated R&D lab. MTVG’s R&D team is able to test out different cameras and monitors, as well as equipment before they are installed in their respective mobile units. If a piece of technology isn’t meeting that standard, our team is known to make custom enhancements and solutions.

Once these units are completed, have passed our rigorous inspection, and leave the MTVG facility, they are still constantly being monitored and improved throughout their lifetimes. Cameras and tripods are inspected, and often rebuilt, to keep the technology in a MTVG mobile unit performing at its peak. MTVG has over 30 active mobile units throughout the country, all requiring regular updates to the hardware and software that each unit is equipped with. 

Technology and service sharpen each offering

For MTVG, the intersection of technology and service is where the true magic happens in live production.

Live production hardware and software is only as good as the personnel that work with it. MTVG engineers are onsite with MTVG mobile units for every live event and they enable the hardware and software, both onsite and remotely, to reach its full potential. This results in the highest quality broadcast reaching the viewer as often as their teams are playing. 

MTVG prides itself on providing the best service in live production, which is exemplified by the on-site support from MTVG’s Transporters, Engineers In Charge (EIC), and even remote support from Cloud Control Engineers and Event Coordinators, who are the catalysts for live production. Nobody knows the ins and outs of these mobile units as well as our staff, and they ensure that every broadcast goes smoothly. 

Our customers place a great amount of trust in us to bring their live production dreams to life, and we take immense pride in being able to have in-depth conversations with new and existing partners about their goals, and then delivering a solution that can help them achieve those goals on a daily basis. By combining a wide range of internal expertises and outside-the-box construction and design processes, we’re able to continuously deliver outstanding results to these customers.