OB Profile: Italian OB provider Videob succeeds amidst tough economy

The Emilia-Romagna region of Italy, with large towns like Parma and Bologna, has seen its population grow in recent years. But the population isn’t the only thing growing. Ettore Cortesi, owner of OB-unit provider Videob Television S.R.L., founded in 1985, says his company is keeping up with technology needs despite a challenging economic environment.

“We are obliged to follow every new technological advancement; we can never stand still,” he says. “Several times, we find ourselves involved in 12-camera HD-shooting events, in need of super-motion cameras, EVS replay devices, and a huge number of technical professionals are involved.”

At the moment, Videob Television has four OB units that are constantly in use by Italian broadcast clients like Rai, Mediaset, and satellite operator Sky Italia. And each of the vans can be reconfigured to best meet specific needs, as camera choice includes Grass Valley LDK 8000 Elite units for HD needs and LDK 300 for SD shooting.

Two of the units (Esterna 1 and 3) are SD, with the former capable of handling two cameras and the latter up to eight cameras. Esterna 1 also has Avid editing capabilities while Esterna 3 has an EVS XT replay server.

For those looking for HD-mixing capabilities, Esterna 2 and 4 have a Snell Kahuna vision mixer and are wired to handle 12 and four HD cameras, respectively, and Esterna 2 has two EVS replay servers while Esterna 4 has one. Esterna 4 also has an Avid editing system, and both, if needed, can operate in SD mode.

While Cortesi and Videob have made the investment to future-proof the fleet, the current economic crisis is lowering TV production budgets, especially in Italy.

“Italian broadcast organizations often pay less than half of what we would get from foreign broadcasters for similar events,” he explains. “And there is also a common practice to entrust TV production on the field to small and ‘unofficial’ companies with freelancers at very low budgets. In those cases, we simply cannot accept those jobs because we would not even be able to cover the costs.”

Despite those issues, Videob Television remains an important production company. And a long history of experience handling a rich portfolio of news, sports, concerts, and other productions for the nation’s biggest broadcasters will make it always so, whether or not the economy cooperates.

For information on reaching Videob, visit www.videob.it

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