To Rent or Not To Rent? Bexel Answers the Question

As broadcasters venture across the pond and beyond this summer, all will be charged with building a broadcast infrastructure in order to get their product to air. Faced with equipment options as varied as the productions themselves, many will opt to rent. Bexel has anticipated this need, and will deploy its signature flypacks to sporting events worldwide. The company recently unveiled a new mid-range line of flypacks geared towards middle- to upper-tier sporting events.

Prior to releasing the mid-range line, Bexel’s flypack portfolio contained two models: Hercules and Element.  With a Sony 8000G 80-input switcher; Calrec Artemis mixing console, 96-input LCD production monitor wall utilizing Evertz MVP multi-image display processors, Pesa Cheetah Multi-format video router and DRS audio router, multiple EVS LSM XT2 six-channel HD DDRs, and Sony SRW-5800 HDCam SR VTRs, Hercules might justifiably be called “a truck in a box.” Conversely, Element’s clientele is significantly smaller in scale: the flypack has been deployed for corporate meetings and small stage shows, among other events requiring only a few cameras.

“In designing our new flypack line, we wanted to strike a balance between our entry-level ‘Element’ mini-flypacks and our high-end ‘Hercules’ system typically used for the highest profile, global-audience events,” says Tom Dickinson, CTO, Bexel. “Now, we have the perfect solution for midrange six-to-15-camera productions.”

Each mid-range flypack consists of a 40-fader Calrec Artemis Light console with Hydra2 audio routing technology, Sony MVS 7000x production switcher, Evertz 128×128 router and multiviewer, and RTS intercom system.

“We kind of saw a niche between the [Element and the Hercules, and the] need to do C-level events, studio productions… the halftime show, or the pre show,” Dickinson explains. “Those are some of the shows we’re looking at [for the mid-range flypacks]… It’s not doing [an A- or B-level] football game, it may just do the tailgate parties.”

Bexel’s mid-range flypacks will be out in full force this summer, with systems slated to cover fencing, taekwondo, golf, and preseason football.

Choosing the Rental Option
While rental seems the obvious choice for a remote event that cannot accommodate a truck, Dickinson believes that it makes economical sense for those not yet willing or able to commit to purchasing.

“Rental allows you to [not have to] deploy your capital immediately,” says Dickinson. “You’re not making that total lock-in capital purchase upfront. You’re using rental an option; not a stop-gap, but a way to ease in to something. Rental is a way to ease into a project quickly that doesn’t necessarily commit all your capital resources at their very beginning.”

In addition, rental serves those who do not yet know the scope or timeline of their production. While eventually selling the equipment to the customer is not Bexel’s ultimate intent, the company offers an option to buy for those customers looking to ease into a major investment.

“Rental’s a good way to let [you] see where this show goes, or this production goes, or [assessing] what [your] needs are going to be before [you] make that multimillion dollar commitment that [you] can’t change,” says Dickinson.  “It gives you some flexibility.”

When designing the three flypack lines, Bexel focused on making sure that the systems were easy to set up.  Bexel’s flypacks are standardized so that engineers can get comfortable with the systems and not be forced to relearn how to operate them.

“We do recognize that, if you just have a whole bunch of boxes just showing up with a whole bunch of [equipment]… and you spend a day or two wiring it up, [you] kind of lose the reason to get a flypack,” says Dickinson. “I think the key… difference is a flypack will be something that’s actually wired up in racks that can roll in, plug in, start working in a studio infrastructure… You’re cutting many days off of your set-up time. [Plus], it’s been pretested. It works.”

A Flypack Success
When the Longhorn Network readied to launch in the late summer of 2011, it relied on a temporary facility while a more permanent facility was under construction.  That temporary facility relied on Bexel’s Hercules flypack.

“They kept thinking of our flypack as temporary, [and] visualizing this temporary feel,” said Dickinson.  “[When they saw the setup], they kind of went, ‘This feels just like a control room. I could work here all the time.’ Well, that’s our goal… We spent a lot of time making sure [our flypacks are] comfortable to operate.”