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Mobile AV: Santa Cruz County Remote CTV, Part 1

Apr 26, 2011 12:00 PM, with Bennett Liles

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And you selected four Hitachi cameras to use on your remotes?
I’ve worked with a lot of cameras in the last 23 years and when we decided it didn’t make sense to invest a couple 100,000 dollars in making a standard def truck we had to figure out what high def options we had and so I looked at what industrial/affordable/low-cost high def camera systems were out there and Hitachi had the most appropriate design that met all of our needs. My experience with other manufacturers and their approach to cabling, CCU cabling, add remote control, and power. Hitachi’s approach, I thought, was the best by far the most robust and of course their price was perfect. Hitachi has made a point of packaging this camera so that it’s affordable so that it obviously get a market share and I think they made a good choice. There’s Z-HD5000 cameras their counters are capable of 1080i or 720p or if you want to go 4-3 SDI you can get 4-3 486 out of them as well and we chose the Hitachi one reason is because with the combination of CCU’s and hybrid Mohawk fiber that was available with them we could get camera distances of 300, 500, 700 or 1,000 ft. for pretty affordable and durable cable. [Timestamp: 8:42]

And tell me about your switcher, you’ve got a Broadcast Pix Granite 1000 in there?
Yeah, working with the switcher because we chose the Hitachi CU500 which is their lower price CCU, it has less outputs than their more expensive CCU. We are limited to 1080i, 4-486 SD out of the cameras. But the switcher, the Broadcast Pix Granite 1000 can take 1080i in and we can convert it to just about any output we want. I decided within my design to stay 1080i all the way through the truck, all the way through to conversion right before recording and distribution and that way everything was working with the same flavor without any cost converting or aspect ratio conversion anyplace except for right in front of the recorders and the distribution amplifiers. It seemed to make more sense to me to have one format and to work with it natively in its highest resolution the equipment is capable of and then to convert it where I needed to for the destinations rather than trying to up convert and cross convert within the work flow. It didn’t seem to make much sense so the Broadcast Pix is getting 1080i in from the Hitachi’s and my replay recorder, my player, etc. It’s all 1080i and so the Broadcast Pix Granite was our choice of switcher and the reason I chose it, I’d love to have the rock solid reliability of a Grass Valley style switcher but of course we’re looking at a small format truck. It’s only four racks wide in the entire truck, one operator, a TD of good experience but not broadcast level TV in terms of quality and pay. You need to be able to come in and operate it and so to some degree the designs that are more suited to a one man band make sense for our small truck application and Broadcast Pix, New Tech, FOR-A—lots of companies are making smaller format switchers that are very powerful compared to switchers of years ago. The Broadcast Pix made the most sense. I’ve had New Tech products, I still do. I’ve had FOR-A. I’ve worked with Sony. I have worked with Panasonic. I’ve worked with Echo Lab—a variety of switchers. The Broadcast Pix made the most sense. We bought the Quad Card with ours so we have four multi viewers out of the one unit and I’ve got three multi viewers installed right now. Some other manufacturers do have integrated multi viewers, there is a range of significantly more expensive switchers that were…just didn’t fit our price point and then there are some switchers that are more affordable that have a integrated multi viewer but it only had one multi viewer as opposed to four multi viewers in it. So instead of building a separate rack of multi viewers and then having to deal with the cabling to those Broadcast Pix answer it fit really well in our budget and it fits really well in a small format and it’s simple to use. [Timestamp: 11:52]

Tell me about the fluent clips store feature on the Broadcast Pix switcher. How do you use that on your shows?
We have several pretty simple roll ins, interstitials, commercials, etc. that we can have in the clips store as well as the music open to our sports package. They live in the clips store and we can call them up through pix pads and use them as roll in's. We saw the switcher at NAB last year and ordered it in July and August and they’ve gradually released successive versions that have revealed more of the capabilities of the switcher. The last two versions we got into the beta program. The last version of beta that we had and the current public release are really some of the first two releases to have a full use of the clips store, animations, etc. that it’s capable of. So we’ve only just wrapped our teeth around it in the last couple of months. For the first couple of months we didn’t have the clip store and now we do, we’re pretty pleased with it. We’ve integrated the animations. Seeing as we didn’t have the clip store when we first got it we redesigned our open as an animation because we did have the animation stores. And actually that’s worked really well because it frees up the clip store for other roll in's that we have. Fluent is a buzzword in their sales lexicon. It is rather fluid, it’s easy to move files around; it’s easy to design a show. A show is a designation for all of the settings, all of the files, all of the images, all of the lower thirds, and even the layout of the switcher—it’s all wrapped up into what you call a show file and so once you design your show and then load it when you get the location and it has all of the features. And of course we’re always editing it even up to the last minute, and so their design works really well. [Timestamp: 13:52]

Well when you have that much to cover and everybody has to be doing a lot of different jobs, efficiency is the name of the game and in the small remote vans making the most of the gear and the space that you have. Craig, it’s been great having you here to tell us about the new remote van. Craig Jutson from CTV Santa Cruz. In Part 2 we’ll get more into the audio and recording capabilities of the new van. Thanks for being here, Craig.

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