NAB Perspectives: Fred Gerling Sees Bigger Trailers Despite Shrinking Gear Complement
Just a few years ago, the talk in mobile sports production was the move to smaller trailers, smaller equipment complements, smaller crews. But today, the demand for bigger, more spacious double-expando trailers has never been higher, according to Gerling & Associates President/founder Fred Gerling. Last week at the NAB Show, the company rolled out two of its latest oversized trailers, including CAMERON PACE Group’s (CPG) second ShadowCaster unit, a massive 53-ft. double-expando.
“The [CPG] truck is so much bigger than your average truck because they want to put between 25 and 30 people in here,” Gerling said at the show. “That is what all this space is for. This trailer is unique to CPG’s application, but we are seeing requests for this size of trailer more and more from your NEPs and Dome [Productions].”
The new ShadowCaster 2, which has yet to be integrated, was an empty trailer at the NAB Outdoor Exhibit Area. Featuring a 41-ft. x 30-in. street-side expando and 51-ft. x 60-in. curbside expando, it houses a full two-bench-deep audio area and spacious production and tape areas. Although these dimensions make ShadowCaster 2 one of the larger trucks on the road, Gerling sees the move to hulking trailers going even further in coming years.
“We build some very nice mobile medical facilities that are double expandos going out 80 in. and 70 in.,” he said. “I really believe that you will see this industry migrate to that size.”
However, while mobile-production vendors are moving toward larger footprints for network-level shows, second-tier productions are demanding smaller, cheaper, more efficient options. This has created a burgeoning market for smaller trailers equipped to handle low-level productions or a production/satellite-uplink setup.
“There is a strong dividing line right now,” says Gerling. “Any [company] that services high-end productions for networks wants big trailers even though the equipment complement is coming down. Everybody else is cutting back to a smaller truck to accommodate their [lower-level] clients.
“We’re building some very nice small trucks and trailers,” he continued. “But they will never go work for NEP or any of the other big sports [vendors] because, even though the equipment complement is getting smaller, they want more people in it than ever.”