Sure Shot adds 40-foot HD unit

By Carl Lindemann

New Middletown, Ohio-based Sure Shot transmission has launched the

Natalie Michele, a 40-foot High Definition production/Ku truck
with expando. The truck is a near-twin to Sure Shot’s first HD truck, the
Abbey Elizabeth, launched two years ago. The company’s
third 40-foot, the Kelsey Marie, is an SD truck with transmission
capabilities. According to Dennis Kunce, Sure Shot president, the new truck takes on territory largely
overlooked in the initial mania for 53-foot mega HD trucks.

“We’re filling a void in the marketplace,” says Kunce. “The midsized production truck
with transmission capabilities is an all-in-one ideal for certain events.
For example, for college basketball with no fiber at the venue, we’ve got
it all and at the right price.”

Sure Shot’s core business has been satellite trucks. Kunce, a
former partner at Game Creek, swore he’d never get into the 53-foot truck
business. Now, midsized trucks with satellite dishes are where he sees
opportunity for growth in his business.

“There’s a lot of four camera events coming out that can’t afford an
eight camera HD shoot. There’s a huge market for small college events.
ESPNU is doing all of its events with four-to-six cameras,” Kunce

What’s the tradeoff working with smaller trucks? It’s in the
quantity, not quality of the equipment. The
Natalie Michel’s
equipment list is a close match to the A-list HD trucks: a Grass Valley
Kalypso switcher and LDK 8000 Cameras, two EVS units, and Chyron
graphics. A Yamaha PM 5D Digital Audio Console is set for stereo
production with surround possible as an added extra.

While there are limits as to what a midsized truck can do, it takes
advantage of what the bigger trucks cannot do.

“The 53-foot trucks take a half day to setup, and have extremely high
operating costs. With a strait truck, we’re set up, powered ready to go
in a half hour. We can do a basketball game in 10-hour day. You
can’t do that in a 53’,” says Kunce.

Kunce says the $3 million HD truck was built on spec, but with
confidence that his customer base including Major League Baseball, the
PGA Tour and ESPN International could easily absorb the added HD
capacity. The
Natalie Michele is at her first venue at the Miami
Speedway in Homestead, FL for the Indy 300. From there, it will be
featured at the Gerling & Associates area at NAB2008.

Despite the increased economy of the midsized truck, fuel costs continue
to take a toll. This has forced Sure Shot to start adding a fuel
surcharge on top of traditional fees.

“I don’t like giving invoices with surprises, but diesel prices are
certainly a bite,” says Kunce. “The surcharge amounts to a few hundred here and there
added to what’s already been negotiated.”

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