Tools of the Trade: Teradek Serv Pro

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I’m Andy Zanto, the Broadcast Director here at Spawn. My job is to be the connection between the creative team, who conceive the idea for a video and the video production team, who bring that idea to life.

A great tool I use to do that is Teradek Serv Pro.

What Does Teradek Serv Pro Do?

Teradek is a wireless video device that allows multiple people to view a live video feed from the camera on their mobile devices.

Why does that matter? Because when we’re on set, there are a lot of people who need to see what the camera “sees.” There is the director, who is managing the action and camera; the gaffer, who is lighting the scene; the stylist, who is overseeing make-up and wardrobe; the representatives from the agency who are there to see their baby come to life; and the clients, who are on set to make sure the project meets, or often exceeds, their expectations.

When all those people huddle around one monitor at one time, things get really crowded, really fast. Teradek eliminates that overcrowding.

It’s a major upgrade from what we used to use to show everyone what we were filming — in my first days, there was a cable that ran from the camera to a monitor. It got the job done, but there were cables everywhere and they’d break, get tripped over, or be too short to work in the space. Next came wireless video that could be sent to monitors, and this is still a very common option. But the Serv Pro allows up to 10 people on set to view the live feed via their own personal phone or tablet. No more moving stands, or multiple people crammed around a single monitor.

Teradek: Pros & Cons

Teradek is great because:

  • It gives the team more viewing options
  • It eliminates the need for multiple monitors
  • It requires fewer batteries (meaning fewer batteries to keep charged)
  • It lowers the number cables to run — and step over — in the studio

Teradek’s only drawbacks are:

  • There’s a very slight lag
  • It’s not a good tool for judging color or fine detail

But for looking at performances, and getting an overall sense of what the camera “sees,” it’s super liberating.

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