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Television Production Systems, Part 1

Aug 10, 2010 12:00 PM

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And you've got Sony PMW-EX3 cameras?
Correct; which is nice because we ended up going with the NIPROS package so we have it running over fiber back to our control rooms with the NIPROS breakout boxes and then also camera control form as well, which is nice. And we ended up going that route instead of a standard studio camera because, in fact, we were already using EX1s for our field acquisition, and we wanted to keep that there. Because we have two studios, we now have the ability to draw gear from one studio or the other if we need additional field gear or if we need additional cameras in one of the studios we can actually take that camera, throw it in the other studio, take the HD SDI out, route it directly into the open Broadcast Pix inputs, and because it is asynchronous, we don't have to worry about genlocking the cameras or anything else. [Timestamp: 8:30]

You've got, I think its Yamaha 01V96 mixers. The Slates control those. How does that control happen?
It's easy. It's just—we end up building some scenes ... There are two ways of doing it. You can actually tell it to turn individual channels up and down depending on what you select on your program box or preview box, but at the same time you can just launch scenes. And that's what we ended up configuring is it to slowly launch scenes. And when we actually bring up our XDCAM play deck into program, what it will automatically do is it will automatically fade up the audio channels for that deck. If we bring up a clip store, it will automatically fade up the audio for the clip store. If we fade to black, we can actually fade all the channels, all the mic channels and everything, down. There are some instances where that becomes very handy and helpful like when there is one person doing all the directing, but at the same time, if we do have—especially when we are doing workshops and training, then we have four or five people in there. All we do is we disable that functionality, and then we actually get to have somebody working the audio board as well. [Timestamp: 9:34]

Yeah, probably for the more complex formats you got to have an audio operator.
Well, for a lot of the simple public access shows and stuff like that, the amount of time it saves is great. We're also doing a lot with macros and other things in the board. [Timestamp: 9:49]

And obviously this all had to be put in by somebody. Who installed all the gear and how did that go?
I actually did all the engineering and all the install of all the gear; it's actually something I love to do. I'm an executive director/video engineer, and it's the way I like it and it's the way I want it to stay. [Timestamp: 10:06]

Well, you certainly don't have any communication problems between the tech guys, the installers, and the production people then.
No, no. We don't have any of that. Anytime my staff have a problem or there's a glitch or anything else, they know where my office is and they come in there and then I'll go over there and see what the problem is. But at the same time, I like to involve all my staff and make sure all my staff know the ins and outs. There's a lot of situations—and again, I run my access centers differently. And that's one of the things about accesses is that every single access center does run differently; there's no one model that everybody copies. But when I did decide to do all the engineering and all the install and all the configurations, it was not only because it's something that I enjoy to do, but it's also helpful for the staff to learn, "OK well this is how this is wired," and, "This is where this is going." It teaches them signal path and signal flow, and they better understand how the control room works instead of having this turning key solution and, "There you go—use it." They may know how to use and operate it, but if there is a problem or if something does need to be changed or done, they don't know how everything's wired and configured. This way, they do and it puts them a little bit ahead of the curve. [Timestamp: 11:22]

And I understand you're using virtual backgrounds there. What are you using those for?
We're using them for some of our shows. We do have set storage, so we do have plenty of room for sets, but if we have a community producer that comes in and they don't have the resources to either buy their own sets or they don't like anything that we have, we give them the option of, "OK well, this is what you can do; we have chroma key sites, and if you want a virtual background, these are what you can do. Or also if you want to create your own, you have that ability too." You can create something in SketchUp or you can create something in Photoshop or download photos and make your own. And we've actually&%151;a lot of our producers have decided to go that route just because it is easier for them and they don't have to invest any money in sets. [Timestamp: 12:10]

Well, that makes it quick and easy. Now, how do you extend control? You extend control down to Brookline High School auditorium. What happens there?
Actually, what we have is we have another system at the Brookline High auditorium, but we will actually be taking that control over from the separate system there and controlling it over from our educational studio. So we've already built in that expandability. So what we're doing is going to be multiplexing all the data and video over fiber to our location, which is several thousand yards away, and then integrating it into our control room. [Timestamp: 12:48]

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Television Production Systems, Part 2
At Brookline Access TV, public-access television has moved into the 21st century with macro driven switching, modern lighting systems, and digital mixers...

OK and you've got, I think, a separate facility at the town hall?

OK, what do you do there? Obviously, I guess town hall meetings and things.
Correct. Your standard municipal meetings, school committee selection, planning board, or if there's any special or large events going on over there. We have one control room, and we control a variety of rooms in there. Luckily enough, they just remodeled their town hall about two years ago. We have a very good working relationship with the community we're in, so they called us right away and we were involved right from the beginning, when they were still in working with the architects. So we were able to install our own conduits in the walls. We were able to install all of our own jacks in the rooms that we felt we might need or in the future that we might need, which worked out very, very well for us.

All right, Peter Zawadzki with Brookline Access Television. I appreciate your being here, Peter, for part one. In part two, we're going to get into some of the graphics and how you do those and how you work with macros and more really interesting stuff. Thanks for being here for part one.
Thank you for having me.

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