OT: production van security
I'm in the market for a new cargo van and am wondering what add on security measures some of you may take.
Also, do you ID the exterior with a name, logo, phone, website, etc.?? Or does that invite theft??
I've never had signs on vehicles, but wonder if it increases business in any way.
Elgin, Illinois - Chicago area
When I had Minicam Ltd. running in L.A. we had "generic" vans - white, grey, brown - unmarked, at least, until we got to the job site, then magnetic signs were applied for whatever network (ABC NBC CBS CNN WOLD)the vehicles were assigned to. Each unit had two door signs, a rear door sign and a pair upper rear panel signs, all stored on-board. Thinking about it...it kinda looked like "Mission Impossible"...changing out ABC logos for NBC logos in a parking lot...
Occasionally, if one was working an all day ENG assignment, we'd keep the signs on. As a "news unit" in So Cal the CHP might cut you some slack if you buzzed up the median or shoulders to get around traffic - or wave you into a news scene without question.
Note, this was before the "circus wagon" look that most news and production companies went to in the mid-eighties.
Driving around and non-working periods where you're parked and away from the vehicle we found it's better to have the unit unmarked...although with our units - clean, waxed, with microwave masts, antenna farm, exterior lights, road trunks and extra AC on the roof, you'd figure it was obivious the van had value. But on-site at events, a marked van "belongs" and gets a bit more attention by on-site security (talking large venue events and shoots here).
When Minicam Ltd. was morphed into Sandbox Studios, we stopped providing microwave units and doing live ENG. Our production vans had a simple company logo on the front doors - much like the film studios do in L.A
Do the markings get you more business? No. For stations it's a promotional tool - the advance wagon for a traveling show. But for production, commercials, etc., it's really only good for one thing - impressing the other folks out there who go "wow" when they see a production unit drive up next to them, and the client who wants to stroke their ego when your truck is parked in front of his store/home/venue.
Yes, all our units were alarmed. Pager alarms for the driver, a howler on the exterior (kinda worthless) and a "piercer" in the cab - a 210db h.f. device that will bring a normal person to their knees if exposed more than 15 seconds to that high SpL.
If you go the piercer/shrieker route, check with local/state regs. for liability...in some jusrisdictions, criminals have the right not to have an instant migraine or their ears bleed when they try to rig you off.
Also be sure to have locked storage. The simplest thing was a two-drawer steel file cabinet with a lock...for parts, adapters, lenses, radios...anything that is really expensive, can't be rack mounted and can walk away. Our cameras and vtr (3/4" days) were in a locked laterial file cabinet, bolted to the floor with the top being used as additional storage.