Broadcast Pix integrated production switchers are used in educational institutions, ranging from
the largest universities to high schools, all helping their students create dynamic live video.
Applications include school
events, distance learning, campus wide television shows, school sports,
and teaching live production. Broadcast Pix combines a great switcher
with an end-to-end integration workflow and leadership production tools. See why educational facilities worldwide are choosing Broadcast Pix!
Broadcast Pix User Reports
North Idaho College Manages HD Transition,
Production Staff Cutbacks with Granite 5000
Andy Finney, director of the Media Center at North Idaho College (NIC) in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, was tasked with upgrading the school’s aging SD equipment, including a Grass Valley 110 switcher and Sony Beta SP decks, to a native HD production system. In 2011, after testing a variety of systems, he chose a Broadcast Pix Granite 5000 integrated production switcher, which was purchased from VMI, Inc. “We were looking for a system that offered production versatility and expansion options to grow the system as our production needs grew,” he explained.
Good thing, too, because recent college-wide cutbacks reduced the Media Center’s staff to one. Now, Finney has to perform the operations of nine crew members by himself. His new system is built around the Granite and includes five Sony BRC-Z330 HD PTZ cameras, which he controls via Granite’s control panel.
While the Granite is primarily housed in the control room of NIC’s production facility, it is often used for remote shoots, including the college’s Board of Trustees meetings, commencement ceremonies and special events. With no budget for a production truck, Finney engineered a flypack that houses the Granite in an Elite Core shock-mount ATA case. “With Granite’s built-in virtual set technology, I’ve got a five-camera HD studio that I can setup practically anywhere,” he said. “Building the system into a flypack just made sense.”
NIC is also discovering new ways to use its portable studio, such as partnering with local agencies like the Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations to produce their annual Human Rights Awards banquet. “The future is packed with opportunities to go live with our athletic programs,” Finney added, “as well as resurrecting our Broadcast Media program and teaching students the craft of video production.”
Webster City High School Launches Live Sports
Coverage with Broadcast Pix Video Control Center
Webster City High School in Webster City, Iowa, is using a Granite™ 1000
Video Control Center™ to produce live coverage of its varsity athletics from its new competition gymnasium. The school covered all six of its home girls volleyball matches in late 2012, and is currently shooting home boys and girls basketball and wrestling contests.
Live sports coverage is a new challenge for student video production at the school, which has been focused primarily on a weekly newscast. Now in its 14th year, WCTV is a 10-15 minute newscast produced by students that is distributed on an internal cable system and a local community access channel, as well as iTunes and other Internet sites.
When it came time to replace the program’s GlobeCaster switcher and other core SD production equipment, Webster City decided to make the transition to full HD production. Then, according to Mark Murphy, director of technology, Webster City Community Schools, officials decided to expand the video production program by integrating video cameras into the new gym, providing students with the opportunity to produce live sports coverage.
The first phase of the process included the purchase of the Granite system, three Canon HD studio cameras, and other equipment for the 2010 school year, which was purchased from and integrated by Alpha Video in Edina, Minn. The second phase added cameras to the gym and connected the control room to the new facility via fiber in time for the 2012 volleyball season. Murphy said the system will also be used to produce commencement, concert, and special event coverage as well.
Anchored by the Granite, the control room is about 1,100 feet away from the gym, located next to the school’s 400-square-foot studio. The gym is equipped with three ceiling-mounted Panasonic HD cameras and four wall-mounted cameras. All cameras are controlled robotically by students in the control room. The permanently installed cameras and fiber infrastructure that connects to gym to the control room saves hours of setup and strike time for every event, Murphy noted.
Students really like the Granite system, particularly the PixButtons, which include built-in displays to show the device icon and file name of a clip or graphic. “It’s very easy for them to know what source they’re on and where they’re going,”
Murphy explained. “It really makes it easy for them to operate.”
Webster City uses a number of the built-in Fluent™ workflow tools, and recently began using Fluent Macros for its wrestling coverage. During some tournaments, there is action on three mats simultaneously. With a camera covering each mat, a macro creates a split screen to provide footage from each match.
Fluent Rapid CG™ 2
, an option for Granite and Mica™ Video Control Centers that supports Daktronics scoreboards, automatically integrates databases and custom actions like scorekeeping into templates to streamline the creation of data-intensive graphics. Webster City uses Fluent Rapid CG 2 with a Daktronics All Sport CG to provide real-time score data during its live coverage. “It’s working great for us,”
said Murphy. “The data feed can update the same data element on multiple screens. We really like that option.”
With live coverage of several sporting events and dozens of newscasts already completed, Murphy is very pleased with the Granite system. “It’s really helped our production workflow become smoother,”
he said. “Technically, the quality is better – and the convenience of an all-in-one package is really a great thing.”
Boston College Uses Broadcast Pix Granite 2000
To Produce Coverage of Multiple Sports in Multiple Venues
Boston College Athletics Department is using a Granite™ 2000 Video Control Center™ to produce live in-house video scoreboard presentations for Eagles basketball, hockey, and football home games. When hockey and basketball games are not broadcast, Boston College streams its productions live to Web.
Housed in Conte Forum, the indoor arena for hockey and men’s and women’s basketball, the control room is connected to Alumni Stadium via fiber for football coverage. The Athletics Department purchased its Granite last summer through Access AV in Concord, N.H., and installed it in time for its first home hockey game of the season last October.
According to Eric Girard, associate director of interactive media for the Boston College Athletics Department, the control room had been equipped with a Broadcast Pix Slate™ 1000 for three years. Originally, the Slate was used for advertising clips and graphics playback, while the video scoreboard presentation was switched using a Ross switcher. For the past two years, however, the Slate was used exclusively during the production.
When it was time to update the control room, Boston College upgraded to the Granite 2000 because it offered more versatility, including increased I/O and a larger control panel. “The ability to see more on those panels is a huge plus,” he said. A typical football production uses up to four cameras, a combination of tripod and handheld units, while basketball and hockey can have as many as five cameras for game coverage and replays. Girard said they sometimes use video feeds from production trucks that are producing the game for broadcast for additional coverage.
During hockey and basketball, Fluent Rapid CG™ 2 is used to update scores. An option of Granite and Mica™ systems, it streamlines data-intensive CG graphics creation by integrating databases, RSS feeds, and custom actions like scorekeeping into graphics automatically, which produces customized graphics significantly less manual effort. (Fluent Rapid CG 2 is not used in football, because the stadium’s video boards are positioned on top of separate scoreboards.)
The department uses the Fluent™ Watch-Folders feature almost daily, according to Girard. Production graphics are created in Avid and Adobe After Effects, then dragged into Watch-Folders via the network for instant access during productions. The built-in Harris Inscriber CG, part of the Fluent workflow tools included with each Broadcast Pix system, was another selling point. “It’s convenient and the compatibility with the program is nice,” he said. “For moderate budgets, you couldn’t ask for much more.”
With no full-time TD on staff, Boston College relies on Fluent Macros to provide a consistent look for replays, sponsorship bugs, score tickers, and other on-screen graphics and transitions. Girard estimated there are almost 800 stored macros, and up to 100 macros are used during each game. “It’s a very easy way to get things done,” he explained. “They are extremely beneficial.”
Texas Southern University Updates Control Room
with Broadcast Pix Granite 5000 Video Control Center
Texas Southern University (TSU) School of Communication has just added a Granite™ 5000 Video Control Center™ to its student control room. The new system is part of an equipment upgrade for the Houston-based school to support HD and SD video production.
The control room serves as part of the school’s production laboratory, where sophomores, juniors, and seniors work with external producers to create content. Students produce a variety of projects, from news programs to short films, and much of the content is distributed through Comcast Cable’s on-demand portal. “It’s an excellent platform for our students,” said Cliff Edwards, director of broadcast engineering, School of Communication.
Because projects are produced in both SD and HD, it was important that TSU invest in a video switcher that could handle both. “The ability to go HD or SD, that was the goal,” said Edwards. “I wanted something that was going to last and be state-of-the-art quality – and give students a leg up when they went into the real world.”
The Granite 5000 was purchased from and installed by Houston-based Industrial Audio Video last summer, and TSU began using it for classes last fall. It replaced an aging Echolab switcher and CG, and its built-in Fluent-View allowed the school to replace its cumbersome wall of CRT monitors with four Panasonic 42-inch flat panels. Edwards said students enjoy using the built-in Fluent Clip Store, which allows them to bypass time consuming, tape-based workflows. “Now, they can focus that time on putting packages together,” he added.
According to Edwards, the School of Communication needs to invest wisely when it purchases new equipment. With its Fluent™ workflow tools, regular software upgrades, and modular expandability, he said the 2 M/E Granite 5000 essentially sold itself. “I was sold on the product from day one,” Edwards added. “It’s a wonderful tool. We wow the students, we wow visitors, and when we generate content, we wow the viewers.”
Neelb.tv Relies on Broadcast Pix Granite 5000
for Live Webcast of Olympic Torch Coverage
When the Olympic Torch was carried through the small town of Magherafelt in Northern Ireland on June 7, the North Eastern Education and Library Board (NEELB) covered the event with a two-hour live production that was anchored by a Broadcast Pix™ Granite™ 5000 Video Control Center™. Streamed live to www.neelb.tv, the program was also displayed on large public screens in the town centre as well as in nearby Belfast and Derry.
Neelb TV Granite 5000The show began with coverage of a Guinness world-record event, as more than 3,000 children representing 31 schools created the Olympic rings at a local arena. The students then lined the streets for the torch procession. According to Peter Simpson, manager of neelb.tv and director of the production, nine cameras were used during the shoot, including a helicopter-based camera for aerial footage of the record-breaking rings formation.
A studio was constructed in a local church hall, equipped with three robotic cameras that Simpson controlled through the Granite in neelb.tv’s production truck . Coverage also featured two roving reporters stationed near three microwave links positioned along the route. A 30-minute edited highlight program is available on the Web site, and the complete program will soon be available on DVD from Magherafelt District Council.
“It absolutely poured down from early morning, so we were extremely skeptical from the outset,” Simpson recalled. “We deployed three of our microwave links. Two worked perfectly and one died mid-program. We were running ISOs in all the cameras anyway – as a DVD of the event is now being created – so we just lost the live.”
Granite’s 2 M/Es were useful for setting up composite shots, and Simpson said the integrated Fluent™ workflow tools were used extensively during the production. The Fluent-View integrated display fed two 32-inch monitors in the truck, Fluent Clip Store was used for playback of pre-recorded packages, and graphics were produced with the built-in Harris Inscriber CG.
Simpson said the Broadcast Pix system was “perfect” for the production. “Not only was I able to operate all these things from one location, but I could also control the three robotic cameras in the studio,” he explained. “It was the only integrated production system that we could both afford to purchase and that one person could operate to produce a highly polished live program of such complexity.”
Transition to HD Production for New England Institute
of Technology Includes Broadcast Pix Granite Systems
When New England Institute of Technology moved its main campus to East Greenwich, R.I., last summer, the Department of Video and Audio Production and Digital Recording Arts made the transition to HD production in its two new teaching studios with Broadcast Pix™ Granite™ 5000 and Granite™ 1000 integrated production systems.
Each studio includes a control room large enough to seat 15 students. Studio A, which doubles as a second audio studio for the department, is anchored by a Granite 5000 and includes an Avid C|24 audio console with Pro Tools and three Panasonic AG-HPX370 cameras. Studio B, which is used for TV production courses, features a Granite 1000 with a Mackie audio console and three JVC GY-HM250U ProHD cameras.
According to Tom Strolla, professor and department chair, the move to a new campus was the right time to invest in new equipment. “Our studios required updating,” he said. “This was a great opportunity to make our studios HD capable.”
The Broadcast Pix systems replaced aging Grass Valley switchers, Chyron CGs, and Grass Valley DVEs, plus the built-in Fluent-View allowed the school to retire its old CRT monitor walls and replace them with dual Panasonic 47-inch LCD screens. Granite also features Fluent™ Clip Store, which is paired with an Omneon server – a significant upgrade over the department’s previous mini-DV tape roll-in system, Strolla said. HB Communications, which is based in North Haven, Conn., sold and installed both Granite systems.
The college offers an Associate in Science degree program in Audio Video Production, along with a Bachelor of Science degree program in Digital Recording Arts. Students produce a variety of programs, including news and interview shows, which are shown across campus on a digital signage network. The college is in its third quarter using its Granite systems, and Strolla said the smooth workflow has kept the learning curve to a minimum.
Strolla said the department did a lot of research prior to purchasing its Broadcast Pix systems. “We were really sold as soon as we saw what it could do and it fit our budget,” he added. “It was a pretty easy decision.”
Far Eastern University Department of Communication
Upgrades to HD Production with Broadcast Pix Granite
FEU's Granite 1000 Video Control Center
The Department of Communication at Far Eastern University (FEU) in Manila, Philippines, recently renovated its video production facilities with a Granite™ 1000 Video Control Center. The new Broadcast Pix system is part of an upgrade to HD production for FEU’s television production classes.
While Granite has been primarily used for class productions, there are plans to produce a live cable broadcast during the upcoming semester. According to Babsie Morabe, associate professor, FEU Department of Communication, students like the new system, which replaced an aging Videonics switcher. “The industry is moving toward HD production ,” he noted, “and the students need to be armed so that when they apply for a production job, they are already well versed in HD.”
Located in the Arts Building, the new production studio is housed in a space that had been previously used as a stockroom. Solid Video Corporation in Makati City, Philippines, supplied and installed the Granite system, and FEU began using it for classes in 2011. The upgrade also included new Sony HD cameras in the studio and HD control room monitors.
Budget was a primary consideration in choosing Broadcast Pix, but Morabe said the university’s technical team was also impressed by its functionality. For example, FEU relies on Fluent-View™ , Broadcast Pix’s built-in, customizable multi-view to provide images and status information for cameras, clips, graphics, and key layers. “We don’t need a lot of monitors anymore,” Morabe explained. “It’s very efficient.”
Morabe also praised the other integrated tools, including the Harris Inscriber GS CG. “It is a very powerful tool for video mixing and live broadcast integration,” he added. “It greatly improved our productions, since we can come up with real-time graphics anytime.”
Aquarium of the Pacific Offers Marine Biology
Videoconferencing with Broadcast Pix
With galleries dedicated to animals and habitats throughout the Pacific Ocean, the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, Calif., is the fourth largest aquarium in the United States. Last year, the nonprofit organization launched a marine biology videoconferencing pilot program anchored by a new Broadcast Pix™ Slate™ integrated video production system. So far, the aquarium has delivered more than 50 live presentations to classrooms across the country.
The aquarium already had an active education department, with a staff of more than 40, plus three classrooms and a 160-seat presentation theater. But for many students, the facility is too far away to visit – and with California’s current budget issues, field trips are not feasible even for many in-state schools. Sarah Swain, Aquarium of the Pacific education technology and media coordinator, said the aquarium wanted to broaden its outreach, but also wanted to maintain the creativity and interactivity of its classroom lessons in its video conference offerings.
“We didn’t want to be a talking head sitting in front of the camera,” said Swain. “Our goal was to bring our programming to students who can’t come to us.” The vast majority of the aquarium’s distance learning programs are designed for K-12 students, though Swain is investigating potential programs for additional audiences.
A storage closet at the aquarium was converted into a small videoconferencing studio and outfitted with the Broadcast Pix system, which was purchased from VMI, Inc., and installed by RBL Engineering in September 2011. The studio and pilot program were funded through a grant from The Roddenberry Foundation.
There is no separate control room; one instructor operates the Slate and monitors the production through the built-in Fluent-View™ multi-viewer , while a second instructor conducts the class. The setup allows the instructors to switch between a webcam, document camera, video clips, and still images to produce compelling HD videoconferences. The distance learning programs rely heavily on chromakey to create unique live visuals, while prerecorded footage is accessed from the Fluent™ Clip Store during lessons. Swain has also incorporated live feeds from cameras installed in exhibits throughout the aquarium.
In the aquarium’s classrooms, instructors rely on customized DVDs for clips, but Swain said there is no convenient way to replay clips during a lesson if a student has a question. She prefers the Slate, which makes it easy to access and replay clips or still images instantly.
For the instructors, the move to video conferencing required some adjustments from traditional classroom teaching, none bigger than learning to use the Broadcast Pix itself, as they had no previous video production experience. Swain admitted there was a learning curve at first, but the instructors are now comfortable with their “directing” duties.
“It’s been a really neat team building experience,” Swain added. “We’ve all really enjoyed learning how to use this piece of equipment. I love the flexibility. It’s a really unique tool.”
College of the Canyons Anchors Remodeled Studio with
Broadcast Pix Granite 5000 Live Video Production System
The College of the Canyons, a community college in Valencia, Calif., that serves the Santa Clarita area, has installed a Granite™ 5000 live video production system as part of an upgrade to HD production for its studio and control room facilities. The system is used for classroom instruction as well as the production of Cougar News, a student-produced news program that is streamed live to www.cougarnews.com.
Part of the Division of Fine and Performing Arts, the Department of Media Entertainment Arts (MEA) has more than 400 students, including more than 85 broadcast students. Ron Entrekin, broadcast lab technical engineer, said part of the certification offered through the department is based on providing training on professional equipment. The move to HD production was a must, he added, because “HD is where a lot of broadcast and high-end production houses are going.”
Local bond funds allocated for upgrading the college campus paid for the $1 million renovation. In addition to a new Granite 5000, which was installed in February by the Garden Grove, Calif.-based offices of VMI, Inc., the facility now features a Yamaha LS9 digital audio mixer and three new JVC GY-HD250U ProHD cameras with studio configurations on Libec pedestals.
Entrekin praised the 2 M/E workflow of the Granite 5000. With its DVI output, one M/E is used to feed background monitors on the set and change them on the fly during a show. “It did exactly what we wanted at a price we could afford,” Entrekin said. “The 2 M/E workflow is how we want to teach in the control room, and Broadcast Pix works better than any other system out there.”
For Entrekin, one of the main reasons for choosing the Granite system was Fluent™ Watch Folders, which allows students to import video files over the network, even during a live program. He also said they use the built-in clip and animation stores, as well as the built-in Harris Inscriber GS CG. Entrekin said there are also plans to integrate Fluent Rapid CG into the system to feed a handful of 46-inch monitors across the facility with updated news and weather, along with programming.
Granite 5000 includes support for Fluent-View customizable displays, but MEA added support for an additional two monitors for its facility. Three Fluent-View monitors are used in the control room – one for the director, two 60-inch LCD monitors for the technical director – while the fourth is used in the audio room. “The audio person can see what’s coming before it gets to air,” Entrekin explained. “We couldn’t do that before. Our audio students love being able to see what’s coming next.”
Students produce seven episodes of Cougar News each semester, as well as four specials. Episodes are also shown on SCVTV, the local PEG (public, education, government) channel on Time Warner Cable. The programs are also available on demand on the school’s Web site and www.scvtv.com.
Meanwhile, MEA’s previous production system, a Broadcast Pix Targa 2000 purchased in 2007, is now being used by advanced students to produce live school baseball and basketball coverage, which is streamed to the Web site via Skype. “Our students have found a use for it beyond what we expected,” Entrekin said.
SUNY Fredonia Student Station WNYF Installs Broadcast Pix
Granite 1000 for Transition to HD Production, File-Based Workflow
more than 30 years, independent student television station WNYF has
been one of the staples on the campus of SUNY Fredonia, which is part of
the State University of New York. The station recently installed a
Broadcast Pix™ Granite™ 1000
video production system, which has helped
usher in a new era of high definition production and file-based
According to T. John McCune, multimedia team leader, SUNY Fredonia, the
Granite 1000, which was purchased through Audio Video Corporation to
replace a Panasonic AG-MX70 switcher, was installed last August in time
for the fall semester. McCune said the students are still excited about
the new system, because it is easy to use and has improved the quality
Students produce a variety of original programming, including news,
cooking and game shows, campus event coverage, and PSAs. WNYF also
offers live campus coverage of men’s ice hockey from Steele Hall (using a
fibre channel feed back to the station), and may expand its live sports
coverage to include basketball. McCune said some hockey games have been
streamed live on Ustream this season, which produced positive feedback
from fans not able to attend the games.
The upgraded control room is based around the Granite 1000, and includes
a Yamaha audio board, two legacy tape decks, computer stations for
prompter and automation control, and an Apple Mac Pro with a Blackmagic
Design DeckLink capture card for recording all programming. Programs are
shot with Sony HVR-S270U cameras, which are equipped with HD-SDI
outputs that connect directly to the Broadcast Pix system, and archived
to an Apple Final Cut Server.
McCune credits the Granite 1000 as a major factor in the station’s
cost-effective transition to HD production. He said the system delivers
high quality performance at a great price point, plus its built-in
Fluent™ workflow software provides a number of important tools. Using
, for example, the control room monitor wall has been
replaced by a single 46-inch Sony LCD monitor. A 24-inch LCD panel in
the control room is used by the CG operator, who uses Granite’s built-in
Harris Inscriber CG.
McCune is particularly pleased with Fluent Watch-Folders, a built-in
file management system that allows clips and graphics to be sent
directly to the Granite system from separate workstations over a
network. “For the workflow to be very powerful, I think it has to be
intuitive – not just how you route files, but where you’re routing them
from and how they appear,”
he said. “Granite makes it easy.”
Costa Rica State Distance Education University Selects
Broadcast Pix for Classes, Live Event Production
The State Distance Education University (UNED) in Costa Rica is using a Slate™ 1000 video production systems at the heart of its new mobile video production unit, which is being used for distance education and other live productions.
According to Alejandro Astorga, audiovisual producer for UNED, the new mobile unit was delivered in March and is being used for at least five programs per month. “It’s been used on distance education classes and live event production,” Astorga explained. “Specifically, we´re producing a serial of lab videos for the Chemistry Professorship. Also, we´ve recorded conferences and debates at our auditorium, and provided coverage of our XV International Congress on Distance Education and Technology in November. We have several projects in development that will need the mobile unit to travel extensively next year.”
The mobile unit was designed by Sonivisión, S.A., and features three Sony cameras with Canon lenses, plus a Mackie audio mixer, in addition to the Broadcast Pix system. Video is produced in widescreen SD. UNED relies on the Slate’s built-in workflow tools during productions, including Fluent-View™ and Clip Store, as well as its integrated Inscriber CG.
“Before the mobile unit, we only had portable ENG equipment,” Astorga recalled. “The Broadcast Pix system allows us to utilize virtual sets with multiple cameras through chromakey.”
Designed for small studios or compact production trucks, the 1 M/E Slate 1000 features a control panel with a classic switcher layout. It offers four live inputs (expandable to eight) and four outputs (expandable to five), and its innovative PixButtons include built-in displays that show icons for the device types and file names. Plus, the built-in chromakey offers exceptional performance for blue and green wall sets, and allows control over key softness and spill suppression.
Georgia Southern University Reduces Clutter,
Improves Productions with Broadcast Pix
The Department of Communication Arts at Georgia Southern University (GSU), a public university in Statesboro, Ga., has installed a Slate™ 5000 live video production system, which is being used to produce a weekly news program and other original student programming that airs on a local cable channel.
Kent Murray, assistant professor of Multimedia Communications in the Department of Communication Arts, said the new Slate system replaced an “ailing” Grass Valley analog switcher that was more than 30 years old. Murray chose the Slate 5000 after seeing it in action in Savannah, Ga., at the shared facilities for WJCL, an ABC affiliate owned by New Vision Television, and WTGS, a FOX affiliate operated by New Vision through a local marketing agreement.
The stations are using the Broadcast Pix system to produce local news in HD. GSU produces its programming in SD with three Sony studio cameras, but Murray knew the university needed to start moving toward an HD future. He said the Slate system was appealing because it positioned the facility for an HD workflow while accommodating current SD needs.
In addition, because of the Slate’s built-in Fluent™ workflow tools, GSU was able to eliminate three racks of equipment in the control room. “It minimizes the footprint for equipment space consumption,” Murray said. “It looks like we’ve downsized, but we’ve upgraded.”
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