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John Hartneyproduction van id
by on Dec 29, 2005 at 9:46:37 pm

Do members put their logo, company name, phone numbers, web address etc. on their production van?

Or does that invite theft...

I've always kept my vehicle with no commercial ID, but wonder if it ever generates business.....


John Hartney
Elgin, Illinois - Chicago area

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Tim KolbRe: production van id
by on Dec 30, 2005 at 3:32:17 pm

Tough one...

I've always kept my vans unmarked, but have been a bit envious when I see competitive production companies with traveling billboards.

I guess if I were to consider signing a van, I'd probably put some sort of secondary security system on it. I'm not in a metro area as a base, but I work in various metro areas in the midwest...there have been locations where I've been more than happy the van was not signed.


Kolb Productions,
Creative Cow Host,

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Mark SuszkoRe: production van id
by on Dec 30, 2005 at 3:56:45 pm

Yes, it depends on how the van is going to be used and where. Large stations with multiple vans keep some of them very plain, and they save the fancy ones for high-profile work like sports, parades, etc. Unless your style of operating means one guy is almost always in or next to the vehicle, I would suggest not using big giveaway graphics. If your vehicles have big masts and dishes on top, the jig is up anyway, so you might as well have fun with it.

You might consider getting magnetic signage that's removeable when you don't want to attract attention.

The experienced ENG guys all have some sort of scheme to protect their most vital gear from theft. Typically this would involve some kind of steel lock box bolted into the floor of the van. One slick one I saw used a spare tripod quick-release plate as part of the floor of the box so you could keep your camera all set to go inside the lockbox, but it was secured from shifting around while you drove. I think I would keep mine in a padded case at least, within the lockbox.

If there's no room for a box, they often go with a steel bar and/or chains thru the grip handles and tripod frames, and heavy duty motorcycle locks.

Of course you want to use a van without windows if you can, or tint them so as to avoid temptation. In regular vehicles or in states where heavy, inpenetrable window tints are illegal, a black blanket or piece of curtain cloth across the back, covering everything, works with the existing factory tinting to make the interior look empty. Five bucks at walmart.Black works universally, but if you can find a color that matches the existing interior, that's even better. Spare aftermarket automotive carpeting from the auto parts store is also good for making such a camoflage: you can make it work almost like a roll-up shade if it's attached to the seat backs in the forward section. If they don't see it, they won't steal it.

Be very aware of theft teams when you're at locations where TV trucks are often parked.Keep the vehicle doors closed and locked, consistently. Even if you're standing nearby. NEVER take your eyes or hand off the camera, not for a second. These guys (and gals) are very good; one distracts you while another sneaks up and lifts the gear, it's over in ten seconds.

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John HartneyRe: production van id
by on Dec 31, 2005 at 3:18:03 am

I'm in the market for a new van.. Mark, I've seen tripod plates mounted to the floor but it seems to me too much resonant vibrations could damage some mechanical part, or who knows?

A cage is a must as I often work in odd places in Chicago.

John Hartney
Elgin, Illinois - Chicago area

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Andy StintonRe: production van id
by on Jan 2, 2006 at 4:34:26 pm

Bearing in mind all of the foregoing warnings. A great van promotion is to place a sign on the roof!!!! I know an AV-compnay that is quite often around the local airport and has actually received business from these innovative roof signs.

Andy Stinton
Corporate Video
Live & Stage Events
Business Practices

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