In Broadcast - June 2013 - 30


I N T E R N A T I O N A L

N E W S

WWW.INBROADCAST.COM | ISSUE 20 - JUNE 2013

InVIEW

Stations Rethink HD Production Sets
Reduced cost, limited manpower and the inherent flexibility to seamlessly change environments easily
are all driving the design of today’s video production and local broadcast news studios in the U.S…

By Michael Grotticelli
Contributing Editor

W

30

hat we’re seeing in the US is
that designers are able to get
more use out of the same studio
space, led by a reduction in the size
and complexity of the equipment
installed and its fully automated
control. And changing a stations’
on-air look can be a ratings booster,
at least in the short term.
The advent of HD production has
required sets to be rebuilt to wider
specifications while adding more
physical depth and brilliant colours
to enhance their on-air look. Set
design and fabrication companies
like Devlin Design Group (DDG),
Production Design Group (PDG),
tvsetdesigns.com and others have
helped shape this new look with the
latest lighting, graphics and visual
display technology.
Recently a TV news set was
unveiled at KBZK-TV, the XX
affiliate in Bozeman, Montana
and it’s getting rave reviews from
viewers. John Sherer, the station’s
News Director, said what he likes
best “is the great lighting and how
versatile it is, giving us many venues
for showcasing stories”.
The KBZK news set features a
main anchor desk/main background
area, a weather centre and a
multi-purpose presentation area
including several rolling kiosks to
provide versatility in presenting
the news. The new set is a nice
blend of technology and design,
incorporating two 70-inch monitors
in the multi-purpose area, several
rolling kiosks with monitors and
a rear projection screen behind
the main anchor desk which is
surrounded by colour changing
back lit graphics.
In keeping with the local Montana
look and feel, the set graphics
comprise of sweeping mountain

Backscreen projection has gained
traction at some studios

ranges that are backlit with LED
colour changing lights. The set,
designed by DDG, also include “rich
warm Olive wood, sleek acrylics and
cool metallics.”

Keeping It Affordable
The latest on-going trend in studio
cameras continues to be been
smaller, faster and ever-higher
resolutions. For news that means
the highest quality high-definition
in a camera that costs around
$6,000 (US). Fully outfitted with
a studio configuration it will run
about $10,000 per camera (with
teleprompter, viewfinder, hand
controls and tally light). That’s
compared to just a few years ago
when the same three-camera setup
would cost around $100,000 (US).
There are still some larger studios
that are including larger broadcast
cameras, capable of up to 1080p/60
resolutions, but these purchases are
getting fewer and fewer in number
as camera quality of the smaller
cameras increases signifi cantly.
Mostly, they are being installed
at the major sports leagues and
network news production facilities.
Local TV continues to keep it as
simple and affordable as possible.
The lighting requirements for HD
studios has gotten cooler, smaller
and more brilliant; making for
better working conditions for onair talent and reduced power costs.
New technologies like fluorescents,
LED and even micro plasma are
now commonplace in the studio.
Litepanels, for example, offers its
Sola 12 and Inca 12 LED Fresnels,
which have an output similar to a
traditional 2K, but only draw 346
Watts. As LED products get more
powerful and the mechanical
engineering gets more sophisticated,
we’re going to see even bigger
fixtures with super-low power draws
that are going to redefine lighting.
Another lighting technology with
potential is micro plasma. With over
30 patents, Zacuto has developed
its PlaZma Light, which I saw at the
recent NAB Show in Las Vegas and
was amazed by the sheer amount
of light coming from such a small,
flat source. I predict many studios
will embrace this technology in the
next few years.

KWTV high-definition production set for CBS 9

Adaptable Studio Design
The use of virtual set technology,
once popular with broadcasters,
has now lost favour for local news,
due to its complicated set up, and
high processing power needed to
run such systems. Instead studios
are installing off-the-shelf flat panel
displays that can be mounted in a
variety of ways and add colour and
graphics capabilities while allowing
the anchor to roam around a set.
Others are using rear-projection
cubes mounted in a monitor-wall
configuration. This allows the
producers to change the backdrop
without having to build a new “hard”
set for every newscast.
News studios looking for the “cool
factor” are installing large touch
screen plasma and LED displays
that allow an on-air reporter to
swipe the screen and move on to
the next image. Both CNN and Fox
News use such technology in their
main New York studios. The images
shown on these flat-panel displays
could be live video, a Google map
or a still image.
With more and more frequency,
studios are being run by one or two
operators, doing the same job that
used to require six or seven people.
Automated production systems from
Grass Valley (Ignite), Ross Video
(OverDrive) and others allow a single
operator to sit at a keyboard and
manage a rundown, even for live
breaking news. Hundreds of stations
in the U.S. and Canada have
adopted this type of solution, but
it has not always been successful.
One station in Massachusetts (I
won’t provide call letters) installed an
automated system, used it for a full
year, and then scrapped it because it
was plagued by on-air crashes and
the difficulty of training traditional
video production switcher operators

to use a mouse and keyboard and
“program” their newscasts.
On-air talent is also doing more,
being given the tools to control
camera angles and graphics from
the palm of their hand, or from
an Apple iPad or similar IP-based
interface. This technology allows
the reporter to walk around the set
while they present a story.

Remote Production
And these days the control room
does not necessarily have to
be in the same building as the
studio. A control room located
two blocks away is driving robotic
camera systems at WABC-TV in
New York, over a fibre connection.
This includes three box-style
HD cameras mounted on three
unmanned robotic pedestals.
Various types of camera control
automation sof t wa re, from
companies like Telemetrics
(Mahwah, NJ), allows operators
to work with a touch screen or a
mouse and a virtual joystick to have
full control of up to eight cameras
including storing up to 16 presets.
At the end of the day, the trend in
TV news studio technology is finding
that right mix of providing the most
flexibility at a cost-effective price.
In today’s current tough economy,
broadcasters are being asked to
create more programs with the same
resources and studio space. They
also have to keep viewers’ interest
in a multichannel world filled with
an increasing variety of on-air looks
and capabilities.
That’s why embracing new robotic
or automated technology and
refreshing a station’s on-air look
with creative studio space design
is critical to staying competitive.


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of In Broadcast - June 2013

In Broadcast - June 2013
Contents
InNews: Rogers Opts for Quantel at City Montreal
InNews: Vizrt and Mosart Enter Newsroom Partnership
InForm: Istreamplanet Live-Video Workflow
InReply: BSI Wireless Camera Captures the Action
InFocus: Sound Devices Pix 240 Sprints Ahead
InView: Bradley Engineering Focuses on Remote Camera Control Systems
InView: Government Tax Breaks: The Devil Is in the Detail
InMedia: In Demand Uses Aja to Create Promotional Content
InMedia: Ihse Draco Kvm-Matrix Switchers Support Broadcast It Workflow
InMedia: Media Production - the Next Generation
In Broadcast - June 2013 - Intro
In Broadcast - June 2013 - In Broadcast - June 2013
In Broadcast - June 2013 - Cover2
In Broadcast - June 2013 - Contents
In Broadcast - June 2013 - InNews: Rogers Opts for Quantel at City Montreal
In Broadcast - June 2013 - 5
In Broadcast - June 2013 - InNews: Vizrt and Mosart Enter Newsroom Partnership
In Broadcast - June 2013 - 7
In Broadcast - June 2013 - 8
In Broadcast - June 2013 - 9
In Broadcast - June 2013 - 10
In Broadcast - June 2013 - 11
In Broadcast - June 2013 - 12
In Broadcast - June 2013 - 13
In Broadcast - June 2013 - 14
In Broadcast - June 2013 - 15
In Broadcast - June 2013 - 16
In Broadcast - June 2013 - 17
In Broadcast - June 2013 - 18
In Broadcast - June 2013 - 19
In Broadcast - June 2013 - 20
In Broadcast - June 2013 - 21
In Broadcast - June 2013 - InForm: Istreamplanet Live-Video Workflow
In Broadcast - June 2013 - 23
In Broadcast - June 2013 - InReply: BSI Wireless Camera Captures the Action
In Broadcast - June 2013 - 25
In Broadcast - June 2013 - 26
In Broadcast - June 2013 - 27
In Broadcast - June 2013 - 28
In Broadcast - June 2013 - 29
In Broadcast - June 2013 - 30
In Broadcast - June 2013 - 31
In Broadcast - June 2013 - 32
In Broadcast - June 2013 - 33
In Broadcast - June 2013 - 34
In Broadcast - June 2013 - 35
In Broadcast - June 2013 - 36
In Broadcast - June 2013 - 37
In Broadcast - June 2013 - 38
In Broadcast - June 2013 - 39
In Broadcast - June 2013 - 40
In Broadcast - June 2013 - 41
In Broadcast - June 2013 - 42
In Broadcast - June 2013 - 43
In Broadcast - June 2013 - InFocus: Sound Devices Pix 240 Sprints Ahead
In Broadcast - June 2013 - 45
In Broadcast - June 2013 - 46
In Broadcast - June 2013 - 47
In Broadcast - June 2013 - 48
In Broadcast - June 2013 - 49
In Broadcast - June 2013 - 50
In Broadcast - June 2013 - 51
In Broadcast - June 2013 - 52
In Broadcast - June 2013 - 53
In Broadcast - June 2013 - 54
In Broadcast - June 2013 - 55
In Broadcast - June 2013 - 56
In Broadcast - June 2013 - 57
In Broadcast - June 2013 - 58
In Broadcast - June 2013 - 59
In Broadcast - June 2013 - InView: Bradley Engineering Focuses on Remote Camera Control Systems
In Broadcast - June 2013 - 61
In Broadcast - June 2013 - InView: Government Tax Breaks: The Devil Is in the Detail
In Broadcast - June 2013 - 63
In Broadcast - June 2013 - 64
In Broadcast - June 2013 - 65
In Broadcast - June 2013 - 66
In Broadcast - June 2013 - 67
In Broadcast - June 2013 - InMedia: In Demand Uses Aja to Create Promotional Content
In Broadcast - June 2013 - 69
In Broadcast - June 2013 - 70
In Broadcast - June 2013 - 71
In Broadcast - June 2013 - InMedia: Ihse Draco Kvm-Matrix Switchers Support Broadcast It Workflow
In Broadcast - June 2013 - 73
In Broadcast - June 2013 - InMedia: Media Production - the Next Generation
In Broadcast - June 2013 - 75
In Broadcast - June 2013 - 76
In Broadcast - June 2013 - 77
In Broadcast - June 2013 - 78
In Broadcast - June 2013 - 79
In Broadcast - June 2013 - 80
In Broadcast - June 2013 - 81
In Broadcast - June 2013 - Cover3
In Broadcast - June 2013 - Cover4
In Broadcast - June 2013 - S1
In Broadcast - June 2013 - S2
In Broadcast - June 2013 - S3
In Broadcast - June 2013 - S4
In Broadcast - June 2013 - S5
In Broadcast - June 2013 - S6
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