City council meetings, miliatry training, & MOre
Broadcast Pix integrated production systems are popular in many government applications. They are used by
the U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force, Voice of America, state houses,
parliaments and a great many municipalities worldwide.
Using Broadcast Pix systems, government entities can televise state
house and town hall meetings, and school board discussions with
broadcast-quality production values. The integrated camera control
option is very popular as it enables a solo operator to control robotic
cameras. There is no more cost-effective way to create dynamic live video.
A Case Study
Broadcast Pix User Reports
Columbus Consolidated Government TV Builds New Control Room around Broadcast Pix
When Georgia’s Columbus Consolidated Government opened its new City Service Center in June, it helped address parking issues for citizens and more than doubled the capacity of the council chambers. For Columbus Consolidated Government TV, its local government channel, relocation to the new building meant a chance to upgrade equipment that had not changed in more than a decade. The new control room is anchored by a Broadcast Pix Granite 2000 integrated production system.
Located on the second floor, the control room is positioned between the council chambers and CCG-TV studio, with large observation windows in both connecting walls. With three wired drops in different areas of the City Service Center, as well as one at a new aquatic center across the street, the station can connect a camera, have it feed into the Granite, and go live with a press conference very quickly.
CCG-TV had been using an aging NewTek system, but Michael King, CCG-TV station manager, was ready for a change. “When I had the opportunity to upgrade, I immediately knew I was going to get a Broadcast Pix switcher,” he said. “We were behind the times, so we decided to update what we had. Broadcast Pix is the main catalyst behind everything that’s going on.”
The new studio includes two talk show sets, which are used for a variety of programs. CCG-TV produces about 14 shows a month, in addition to coverage of four weekly council meetings, committee meetings, press conferences, educational videos, and community event coverage. King has one part-time and one full-time employee, but sometimes borrows staff members from other departments to help produce programming. The station has multiple field cameras, two dedicated studio cameras, and two edit suites, plus an additional edit station in the control room.
To avoid bandwidth issues, CCG-TV has its own wireless network, and can use iPixPanel, Broadcast Pix’s iPad-based virtual control panel, to switch a show from anywhere in the building. “That is another good feature that we have with the Broadcast Pix,” King added.
During meetings, four new Panasonic HD PTZ cameras provide coverage of 10 council members, as well as other city officials and the public. King said the Granite is used to control all the cameras during a meeting, and camera presets are used frequently to simplify production.
CCG-TV uses many of Granite’s built-in workflow tools, including Inscriber CG and Fluent-View, its customizable multi-view. With Fluent Watch-Folders, each show has its own folder for clips, graphics, and other interstitials. “You don’t have to shuffle through a lot of stuff you don’t need,” King explained. “We do nine different programs. It keeps everything simple.”
Belmont Media Center Improves Local Sports Coverage with Broadcast Pix Mica
Belmont Media Center (BMC), a PEG station with three channels serving the town of Belmont, Mass., has improved its local sports coverage with a new remote HD studio anchored by a Broadcast Pix Mica 500 integrated production system.
When BMC moved into upgraded facilities in 2009, its new control room was built around a Broadcast Pix Slate™ 1000 system. Last year, when it was time to build a remote HD studio , the nonprofit organization went back to Broadcast Pix. With volunteer-based production crews, it was important to create a remote system that would be easy, not intimidating, to operate.
“We were looking for the latest technology and a company that had good support,” said Jeff Hansell, executive director, BMC. “After extensive research, we felt that Broadcast Pix was the best match for us. It provides the ability for inexperienced people to learn the system really quickly, and it delivers a very high quality presentation.”
BMC is a PEG station that provides public, education, and government programming on three channels for Comcast and Verizon subscribers. Programming is also available online at www.belmontmedia.org. The station produces a great deal of government access programming, with regular coverage of four different commissions, as well as committee meetings and citizen forums. While HD footage is downconverted to SD for Comcast and Verizon subscribers, programs are streamed live and on demand to the Internet.
Purchased primarily for local sports coverage, the Mica is also used for school event coverage and some government meetings. “The rationale was that we wanted broadcast-quality sports on the scene in real time,” Hansell explained. “We’re always trying to improve the look of our programming.”
BMC worked with The Camera Company in Massachusetts to design and build the remote system. It was used for the first time to produce a Thanksgiving football game, and was used throughout the winter for sports and special events. Built around the Mica, the remote system is housed in two cases and features a Shure mixer, Clear-Com intercom system, and three Sony cameras. Programs are recorded to DVD or ingested into a video server.
On location, BMC uses the Mica’s built-in Fluent workflow tools, including the Fluent-View customizable multi-view. Fluent Clip Store provides access to B-roll footage, PSAs, sponsorships, and interstitials, while Fluent Macros are used to simplify multi-shot screen compositions, particularly for sports coverage. Hansell said the built-in Harris Inscriber GS character generator is very important, because it allows the crew to add graphics live and reduce post-production.
After several months of remote productions, the Mica has been a solid performer for BMC. Hansell said, “We are really happy with the performance of the Broadcast Pix.”
Housed in a single 4 RU case, Mica includes a multi-definition switcher that can mix eight HD/SD-SDI inputs with seven channels of internal clips, animations, and graphics. There is support for up to six keyers and DVEs, six HD/SD-SDI outputs, and two DVI outputs. It includes the full complement of Fluent workflow tools, and can be controlled through a traditional control panel, keyboard and mouse, or touch-screen.
Village of Niles To Begin Live Coverage of
Council Meetings with Broadcast Pix System
When the Village of Niles, Ill., built its Village Hall in the mid 1990’s, officials had no interest in recording or broadcasting its meetings. In the last few years, however, changes to the local political landscape prompted a new attitude – and the Management Information Systems (MIS) Department was tasked with retrofitting the council chambers and building a video production system from scratch. Now, the village is preparing to broadcast its first meeting with a system built around a Broadcast Pix Mica 2000 Video Production Center.
The project had a number of challenges, including a limited budget and no dedicated staff in place to operate the system. The final solution needed to be powerful enough to create compelling coverage, yet simple enough to be operated by one person with minimal training.
“This had to be easy to operate and it had to be as consolidated as possible. The Mica is what made it all possible,” explained Bill Shaw, MIS director for the Village of Niles, which is north of Chicago and has a population near 30,000.
“It’s only because of the integration in the Mica,” added Steve Cusick, systems engineer. “It allows us to make a consistent on-air product, regardless of who is behind the switcher and how much experience they have.”
Shaw and Cusick engineered and installed the system. In an effort to manage costs, every line item – from cables to cameras – was sent out to bid to more than three dozen vendors. In the end, 14 vendors provided various equipment for the project. While Shaw admitted it was a “very complicated” process, it was also the only way the village could afford a system that would meet their objectives.
While the village has been training on the system since late September, it will be used to broadcast its first meeting in December. Meetings will be available in HD for live streaming and video-on-demand on the village’s Web site, and will be broadcast live and rebroadcast in SD on the village’s PEG cable channel.
The large closet containing the audio rack for the Council Chambers in Village Hall was converted to serve as the control room. The council chambers are equipped with four Panasonic HD robotic cameras that are controlled through the Mica; a projector in chambers is another source that can be accessed through the switcher. Mica’s built-in Fluent-View provides customized multi-view monitoring over two LCD touch-screens in the control room, while the integrated Inscriber CG is used for titles and credits.
With Fluent™ Macros, production complexities have been programmed into user-friendly macros to automate meeting coverage as much as possible. As a result, Shaw said, village staff with minimal training can produce a quality broadcast. Cusick and Shaw have created macros to move and switch cameras, add graphics, trigger breaks, and even turn off the cameras after a meeting.
“We realized the only product out there that met our goals was Broadcast Pix. We designed the entire solution around the Mica,” said Cusick. “It’s easy to use, with built-in automation with macros and integrated camera control. It was really the right solution for us.”
Tualatin Valley Community TV Adds Broadcast Pix
Mica Video Control Centers to New Control Rooms
Based in Beaverton, Ore., Tualatin Valley Community TV (TVCTV) produces PEG (public, educational, and government) programming for cable subscribers in 14 cities and Washington County. Earlier this year, TVCTV moved from a three-studio setup it shared with a magnet school to its own two-studio facility. Each new studio has its own control room , which is anchored by a Broadcast Pix Mica Video Control Center.
A division of the Metropolitan Area Communications Commission, TVCTV produces more than 400 local programs each year for its five cable channels. Its main studio is dedicated to community programming, while a second studio is used for government programs, in-house productions, and contract work.
By design, both control rooms are very similar. “We do a bunch of outreach programs for each community,” explained Thaddeus Girard, TVCTV production services manager. “We have 14 freelancers and five in-house producers. Both studios running the same platform is huge. Two Micas in house will help volunteers by easily cross-training and reducing crew costs.”
The move to the new facility also included a move to a file-based workflow, which allows TVCTV to take advantage of Mica’s built-in Fluent™ Clip Store. “One of the most exciting things for us is having so much stuff stored in one unit,” Girard said. “What we’d used before was a ton of monitors and decks – and it took a lot of engineering and tweaking. Now we can use internal clip stores instead of three DVCPRO decks. I’m excited to have it so tightly integrated with Fluent-View and get rid of so many crummy black-and-white monitors.”
TVCTV is also exploiting the capabilities of its new production switchers to improve its on-air look. “We want to try to spice it up as much as we can. There’s so much power, we can do so many things,” Girard said. “It’s fun to program your own vision and have it show up almost immediately. Mica has just made our workflow much more sensible, creative, and easier.”
TVCTV implemented the Mica workflow in March. They were purchased through Professional Video and Tape in Tigard, Ore., and installed by Delta AV in Portland, Ore. One of TVCTV’s new studios features robotic HD cameras, but programming is down-converted and broadcast in SD. Mica’s multi-definition switcher can mix eight HD/SD-SDI inputs with seven channels of internal clips, animations, and graphics.
Beyond its new studios, TVCTV produces live coverage of city council meetings for seven cities, and Girard plans to begin migrating existing local city council control rooms to Broadcast Pix systems later this year. “Mica fits that perfect niche, allowing us to expand a little bit but keeps us within budget,” Girard added. “All around it’s been a fantastic piece of equipment for our new facility.”
CTV Santa Cruz Installs Broadcast Pix Granite 1000 on
New HD Truck for HD Production, File-Based Workflow
In keeping with its mission to foster a strong sense of community
through its public interest programming, Community Television (CTV) of
Santa Cruz County – the producer of public, education, and government
(PEG) access channels serving 75,000 households in Santa Cruz County,
Calif. — has launched a new HD video production truck to provide
broadcast-quality coverage of high school sports, youth athletics, and
local cultural events. At the heart of the new 1080i truck is a
Broadcast Pix™ Granite™
1000 live video production system.
Since it hit the road in December, the converted 33-foot Ford motor
coach has been used extensively to cover Santa Cruz Coast Athletic
League (SCCAL) high school basketball and soccer games and
championships, Monterey Bay League boy’s soccer, and other sporting
events. CTV uses its truck to produce an average of three hours of
programming each week, which is carried by three local cable systems and
is available on demand at CTV’s Web site.
“Granite 1000 brings all the features and functionality we need to
produce visually exciting local programs cost effectively,” said Craig
Jutson, director of technology for CTV. “While many factors led to our
choice of Granite, price was a critical issue because we needed to
accomplish our production goals while staying within our truck budget.”
Jutson credits Granite 1000 in large part
for holding the line on truck costs (which totaled nearly $270,000)
without sacrificing performance and operational ergonomics. “While we
considered many top conventional and PC-based production switchers,”
added, “Granite 1000 was the only one that incorporated all the
functionality we needed in a way that enables small crews to produce a
multi-camera show in a very small footprint.”
The truck also features four new Hitachi Z-HD5000 EFP HD cameras, a
Datavideo HDR-50 hard drive video recorder, NewTek 3Play multi-channel
slow motion replay system, Mackie Onyx 32.4 analog audio mixer, and Zoom
R16 digital multi-track audio recorder. Jutson designed the truck’s
file-based workflow, and ordered the Broadcast Pix system and other
equipment from VMI, Inc. in Sunnyvale, Calif.
During a production, the CTV crew takes full advantage of Granite’s
built-in Fluent™ workflow tools, including Fluent Clip Store for instant
access to opens, bumpers, and interstitials. The graphics operator uses
the built-in Inscriber CG, and Fluent View
provides heads-up displays
to three different LCD monitors in the truck for the technical director,
graphics operator, and audio operator.
“The Granite user interface has unique, features that make it easier for
one or two people to manage all the elements of a sophisticated live
show,” said Jutson. “The PixButtons dynamically display
detailed labels of cameras, video clips, graphics, keys, and other
assets at your disposal, which prevents confusion and mistakes during
the show. We’re very pleased with Broadcast Pix Granite 1000. It’s a
Broadcast Pix Helps Move BATV into HD
At Brookline Access Television (BATV), we’re trying to change the face of public access television.
BATV is committed to providing a wide range of programming, including documentaries, studio-based talk shows, and coverage of local government meetings. We encourage the participation of our residents and local organizations through instructional workshops, plus we offer production courses at our facility through agreements with local colleges.
We like to think that our new 10,000-square-foot facility is one of the most technologically advanced community multimedia centers in the country.
We celebrated the grand opening of this facility on March 28, following a soft launch back in January. Our new digs include two high-definition studios and two identical control rooms, which are anchored by Broadcast Pix Slate 5000 systems and Yamaha 01V96 digital audio mixers, which are controlled through the Slates.
We have 45 edit stations that are all connected to a 40 TB shared storage server system. I handled the broadcast equipment integration, while our dealer, HB Communications, provided the audio and video integration for the classrooms and other areas in the building.
Part of the appeal of the Broadcast Pix switchers is their Fluent workflow tools—from the built-in Inscriber CG to clip and graphics stores. Fluent-View feature allows us to view our sources on a 52-inch flat screen display in each control room. Fluent Watch-Folders is another valuable workflow tool. We don’t use it much for simple productions, but it’s invaluable when we have to add last minute graphics.
Several of our shows use virtual backgrounds, so Slate’s outstanding chromakey technology gets regular use as well. And for these shows, we often use Fluent Macros to create presets that automatically change the virtual set to correspond with the different cameras.
We didn’t want our new control rooms to appear to be a hodgepodge of equipment racks, so our Slate 5000 control panels are recessed into custom consoles manufactured by TBC Consoles. In public access television, particularly when you’re working with volunteer crews, sometimes you can have a room full of help, or it could be just a one-man operation. Our consoles are designed to allow one TD easy access to all of the equipment needed for an entire production, but we can accommodate a full crew when it’s necessary.
BATV produces its programming in high definition, though we’re still transmitted in SD by the Comcast and RCN cable systems.
However, we’re planning to launch high-defiition video on our Web site later this year, and with our Broadcast Pix systems, we’re prepared should an HD opportunity become available on one or both of the cable systems.
I am a huge fan and advocate of Broadcast Pix. From a financial standpoint, Broadcast Pix is a great decision for any public access or small to mid-market facility. You really get a lot of product for the money. Also, their switching systems can handle extremely complicated productions, but are also easy to use. Our Slate 5000s allow students and volunteers to grow at their own pace into more advanced productions
City of Lakeville, Minnesota Streamlines Workflow
with Broadcast Pix Slate 1000
On June 22nd 2010 announced that the City of Lakeville, Minn., is using the Broadcast Pix Slate™ 1000 integrated production system to produce live video telecasts of its City Council and Planning Commission meetings, as well as in-house presentations, town forums, and community-related interview shows. The meetings are broadcast live and frequently repeated on the city’s government access cable channel through Charter Communications. Meetings and other programs are also available on demand on the city’s Web site, www.lakeville.mn.gov.
The installation in February 2010 followed two years of intensive planning, budgeting, and competitive bid reviews. Purchased through Alpha Video in Edina, Minn., the Slate 1000 resides in a control room adjacent to Council Chambers at City Hall in Lakeville. “When I first saw the Slate 1000 switcher two years ago at NAB, I knew it was perfect for our setup and budget,” said Tim Klausler, video production specialist for the city.
Both Klausler and fellow Lakeville video production specialist Jim Schiffman operate the Slate 1000. Because the system includes Fluent™ workflow software, which includes clip store, graphics, macros, and an Inscriber CG, either one can each produce programming by themselves.
“The Slate’s ability to allow a single operator to handle an entire production from start to end was extremely attractive to us,” added Klausler. “The Slate 1000 replaced an older Ross analog switcher, a Compix character generator, several analog CRT monitors, and a rack full of small LCD monitors. As a result, the Slate switcher greatly streamlined our production workflow very cost effectively, while saving us valuable control room space.”
Leveraging the built-in Fluent Multi-View, Klausler and Schiffman display their program, preview, and input sources on a single 30-inch Dell LCD monitor screen. “Since Jim and I share operation of the Slate, we appreciate how easy it is to setup the Slate system for the needs of different productions,” Klausler explained. “When we switch between memorized user and production settings, the system instantly recalls our individual preferences and instantly configures itself according to the way we want to work, such as the monitor layout and graphics templates.”
During City Council and Planning Commission meetings, the Slate 1000 accepts HD-SDI signals from four Panasonic AW-HE100 robotic HD cameras integrated with pan/tilt/zoom operation that are mounted on the ceiling, as well as signals from computers, projectors, and a WolfVision document camera at the podium. Using the Slate’s Fluent workflow tools, native files cut on either of two Apple Final Cut Pro editing systems can be fed directly into the Slate work environment for use during the production.
While meetings are produced in HD, they are currently broadcast on cable in SD. “When the time comes that we can air the meeting videos in high-def, we’ll be ready to take advantage of that opportunity,” Klausler said. “Since we depend on city revenues to fund our major video equipment purchases, we are very pleased with the ‘bang for the buck’ the Slate 1000 gives us, including HD.”
Douglas County Television, DCTV23 Selects Broadcast Pix Slate Switcher for Live Broadcast
On November 12, 2008, Broadcast Pix™ announced the sale of its Slate™ system to the Douglas County Television, DCTV23 in Georgia. The switcher is being used to air the Board of Commissioners meetings twice a month as well as planning meetings once a month.
DCTV23 recently televised runoff election results live using the Slate system, something that could not have been done before. T.J. Jaglinski, DCTV23’s Technical Director explains the process: “I created titles for the two runoff races and combined it with a live feed. We ran it through the switcher with our regular programming, shrinking it into a lower right-hand screen with a wraparound title. We also wrote a script so that it would alternate from title to title and I could update the results. In one night, our coverage went from government access channel style reporting results to something we’d see on a major news channel.”
DCTV23 department consulted with and purchased its Slate system through Broadcast Pix dealer, Media Products – located in Atlanta, GA. Media Products then assisted the media department in conjunction with Broadcast Pix during the integration of the switcher. The Broadcast Pix Slate system integrates a production switcher, production control panel, Inscriber CG, clip store, and multi-view monitoring, among other functions, in a single system.
DCTV23 purchased its Slate to replace the original equipment that had been installed at its facility one decade ago. Several options were researched before selecting Slate, but a demo of the features and having all control room functions built into Slate helped cement the decision, according to Jaglinski. He also says DCTV23 uses the Sony BRC 300 cameras that interface with the Slate, taking full advantage of the remote control functionality the interface offers.
“We really loved the fact that with this upgrade, we weren’t going to have to buy a separate camera control for the cameras; we’d get integrated clip store, integrated CD, and keying flexibility. I especially appreciate the ability to adjust iris exposure, zoom and all other configurations with the presets. It allows me to input settings that automatically compensate for an area of the courthouse that is especially bright or dark.”
The all-in-one design and single operator configuration of the Slate provided a significant cost savings to the DCTV23 when compared with the financial outlay involved in installing a legacy system. Separate components, according to Jaglinski, would have taken more time to integrate and require additional staff to operate. A two-person staff handles DCTV23’s coverage of board of commissioners meetings, while the planning and zoning meetings are produced by a single operator.
“Our experience with Broadcast Pix has been stellar from start to finish. Technical support is immensely important for people in my position where budgets do not allow for additional staff to address technical issues. Broadcast Pix is there to take care of the technical stuff – we can draw on their knowledge base as if they were a member of our staff.”