Australian freelance cameraman Rick Sproxton is an avid user of Dejero equipment, which has allowed him to shoot and deliver in even the most extreme conditions.
Whether he is at the scene of a shark attack or on the 30th floor of a hotel, Australian freelance cameraman Rick Sproxton could not be without his trusty Dejero equipment. Since he started using Dejero, Sproxton has gone from just a couple of hours’ usage a month to having a 60-hour per month data plan.
He explained: “News waits for nobody. The biggest challenge in the past was getting the footage you shot back to the station in time for it to be edited and on air. It was often a case of pulling out early to meet the deadline. Being able to send vision from the field, or from a moving car on the way to the next job, using Dejero, changed my world.”
Earlier this year, when tropical Cyclone Debbie hit Queensland, Australia — the most deadly since the 1970s — three of Sproxton’s Dejero GoBox units were immediately deployed into the field with Nine Network Australia. Over the three-week weather event, which included a major flooding incident, the channel was on air non-stop for more than 80 hours feeding into rolling news coverage.
“Even with only one 4G network remaining operational at the height of the cyclone, and with winds over 100km/h and in the torrential rains, the ruggedised Dejero GoBox units kept working,” said Sproxton.
With the storm moving quickly down the coast, transmission resources were stretched and the Dejero Newsbook also played a vital role in moving B-roll for cut packages. Dejero, he found, proved to be a reliable and rapid way of getting live coverage to air in very extreme conditions.
Sproxton’s adoption and enthusiasm for Dejero’s gear began just a few years ago — at a point of realisation and a change in business tact. With networks under pressure to cut budgets and reduce costly infrastructure, Sproxton decided to be self-reliant and take control of the whole video delivery chain.
For the transmission side, he chose the Dejero GoBox and EnGo; and set up a ‘one-stop shop’ service to clients, who can book Sproxton’s services safe in the knowledge that they will receive the highest quality footage in the shortest possible time.
The Dejero equipment helps Sproxton manage a timetable that varies dramatically from day to day. “Some days can start at 3am and finish at 9pm, so being on the road and having the ability to feed vision from the field means I can just roll from job to job,” explained Sproxton, who may find himself on the road working with a journalist for consecutive live hits or handling a one-off live shot with a particular talent before taking calls from networks for various news requirements.
“I also produce content for a programme called The Project, which airs on Network Ten. This week-day hour-long news programme has very high production values and often requires shooting interviews at short notice with a variety of people in a variety of locations. The Dejero equipment ensures I can fulfil all these requirements, hassle-free.”
During the G20 forum in 2014, world leaders gathered in Brisbane and due to security concerns, large link trucks filled with electronics were not allowed entry at the airport, where the planes were waiting on the tarmac for the return journey. At the time of departure, Sproxton was tasked with shooting all of the planes taking off.
“It was my first real test with the Dejero, as I had only received the unit days before,” he described. “The brief was to shoot the vision and return with the discs for later re-broadcast. But when I used the Dejero EnGo to feed the pics to the director live, he was so happy with the quality that he put them live on air. When I returned with the discs … to ingest them, I was told not to worry [about them] as the quality of the HD+ Dejero feed was more than enough. These days, it’s not uncommon to archive the Dejero feeds but three years ago it was still new groundbreaking tech and it impressed everyone.”
Sproxton also uses Dejero to feed content live from an A-League football match for SBS involving feeding live shots, as well as coach and player interviews, into the live show. Breaking news is also usually fed live, especially for breakfast TV. The bulletins are mainly early morning and late afternoon to evening, so content is either fed live or using ‘Store ‘n Forward’, allowing Sproxton to be on the move between data or phone towers, all the while knowing the clip will arrive without too much drama.
“Very little of my footage is edited in the field,” he said. “My content is usually just sent to the server and the networks manage the editing. That’s what I love about Dejero: you can get all the footage to the networks without too much stress and the quality is great.”
Dejero is also showing it can be a viable alternative to the traditional high-cost international fibre line. In August this year, the Junior Grand Prix Ice Skating was held in Brisbane and the broadcasters on site required the event feed to be transmitted to Madrid. Dejero reached out on behalf of its client, broadcast services deployment company Overon, which employs a Dejero server to receive HD video. The GoBox was connected and vision sent for three solid days of the competition.
Sproxton first encountered Dejero because three out of the five networks he was working with were using Dejero servers. So his interest was initially sparked because of the compatibility with his broadcast clients. It quickly evolved from there.
“I’d also seen the poor ‘on-air’ output from competitive products that other networks were using and realised Dejero provided superior picture quality. When you’re a camera operator, you take pride in your work and if the vision on air looks just ordinary, it’s not a good feeling,” he said.
Using Dejero equipment is easy for Sproxton, especially as the equipment is menu-driven with all information available on an on-screen display. “Dejero just makes sense; it’s 30 seconds from power up to on air. You don’t have to worry about dongles falling out, or a lightweight design that’s going to get damaged. Dejero is robust and reliable.”
One of Sproxton’s favourite features is the ability to remotely control the unit through a smartphone, enabling him to grab lunch while monitoring the transfer of non-urgent footage to the server simultaneously as it is occurring in the vehicle.
“It just works as advertised; too often products over-promise and under-deliver. But from the start, the Dejero unit and the people behind it have been doing exactly what they set out to do — making my job easier.”