TV News Reporting and Production MCM 516
ELECTRONIC FIELD PRODUCTION
Electronic field production (EFP)
Electronic field production (EFP) is a television industry term referring to television production which
takes place outside of a formal studio, in a practical location or special venue.
Some typical applications of Electronic Field Production include awards shows, concerts, major
newsmaker interviews, political conventions and sporting events.
Electronic field production (EFP) places the emphasis on high-quality, multi-camera photography,
advanced graphics and sound.
Sports broadcasts make up the majority of EFPs. Major broadcast networks once owned their own
production trailers for covering major events, but since then, with the explosion in networks on cable
and over-the-air, they and broadcast rental companies rent production trucks by the day or week for
more routine or remote productions.
A typical sports production truck includes:
A large video switcher, with an external digital video effects unit and several mix/effect equipment
allows the director, flexibility in calling for certain visual effects in the broadcast.
Several tripod-mounted and hand-held cameras.
A variety of zoom lenses for the tripod-mounted "hard" cameras, typically at least 50x to 100x
magnification, and a maximum focal length of at least 600 mm. The extreme amount of magnification is
necessary because the cameras can be located quite a distance from the action.
Several video recording and playback devices such as VCRs or hard disk recorders. Certain cameras
or video feeds can be "isolated" to specific decks, and when something happens that the producer or
director wants to see again, the deck can be rewound and shown on the air as an instant replay. Hard
disk recorders typically allow some limited editing capabilities, allowing highlight reels to be edited
together in the middle of a game.
Several character generators allowing scores and statistics to be shown on screen. The scoreboards used
in most sports facilities can be linked to the truck to drive the television production's graphics as well as
the arena scoreboards.
An audio mixing booth and a variety of microphones to capture audio from the sportscasters and from
the field of play.
Several miles of various types of cable.
TV News Reporting and Production MCM 516
Electronic news gathering
Microwave trucks seen transmitting. Modern news employs these trucks extensively.
ENG is a broadcasting (usually television) industry acronym which stands for Electronic News
Gathering. It can mean anything from a lone reporter taking a single camcorder or camera out to get a
story to an entire television crew taking a satellite truck on location to do a live report for a newscast.
In its early days, the term ENG was used by newsroom staff to differentiate between the NG
(newsgathering) crews that collected TV news with traditional film cameras and the new ENG crews
who collected TV news with new electronic analogue tape formats like low band U-matic.
The requirement for the differentiation stems from the radically different methods of post-production
involved in video versus film. Film needed to be processed before editing, unlike tape where footage
could be edited fairly quickly, thus dramatically reducing the turn-around time for a story. The use of
film in newsgathering virtually disappeared by the early 1980s.
ENG originally referred to the use of point-to-point terrestrial microwave signals to backhaul the remote
signal to the studio. In modern news operations, however, it also includes SNG (Satellite News
Gathering) and DSNG (digital satellite news gathering).
ENG is almost always done using a specially modified truck or van such as those made by Sat-Comm,
Broadcast Vehicles, E-N-G, Frontline, and Wolf coach. Terrestrial microwave vehicles can usually be
identified by their masts which can be extended up to 50 feet (15 m) in the air (to allow line-of-sight
with the station's receiver antennas), while satellite trucks always use a larger dish that unfolds and
points skywards towards one of the geostationary communications satellites operated by companies.
The acronym ENG was also used as title for a Canadian television drama about the news department of
a TV station. The series ran for 96 episodes, from 1989-1994.
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