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Originally featured on BroadcastEngineering.com
Jun 13

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6/13/2012 10:42 AM  RssIcon

The Gray Television Group, with 36 affiliates spread our across the country, is now deploying a common cost-effective, automated workflow for its stations, based on the Viz Engine platform from Vizrt. Gray's WOWT-TV, the XX affiliate in Omaha, Neb., has been the pilot site for much of the system testing and development that Gray then deploys to the other stations throughout the group.

Jim Ocon, vice president of Gray TV Group, said he’s developing a new technology strategy he calls the “Gray Model,: that is now fully operational in 19 stations and the company plans to add additional stations every quarter. Fully integrated with existing workflows and automation processes, The Vizrt technology has allowed Gray to quickly implement a centralized hub of resources and technology with a single graphics solution across its entire network.

WOWT-TV, in Omaha, Nebraska, has served as the test site for deployment of a centralized graphics platform across all of Gray’s stations.

As the cornerstone of Gray's new technology, Ocon chose a MOS solution based around the Viz Engine, Vizrt's graphics renderer. Gray’s automated production control and master control rooms also incorporate Viz Artist animation and design software

, automation-driven Viz Trio for character generation, Viz Content Pilot for content management, Viz Ticker for news ticker creation, and Viz Multichannel for channel branding automated graphics playout.

Ocon said they can take Viz engines and plug them in anywhere in the studio and the station.

The basic Vizrt system includes a Viz Engine, which is the graphics renderer, and a Trio, which is the operator console/interface. Gray uses a combination of Engines and Trios to run its graphics operations.

“It's very modular, so if there's ever a technical problem and you lose your main engine, you can literally patch in one of your engines from another part of your system to do your graphics. Vizrt gives our stations tremendous flexibility,” Ocon said.

Employing Vizrt’s products within the Gray Model enables the broadcaster to create a more efficient central hub, while also giving their stations autonomy and control over their work.

Mike Fass, WOWT's Media Production Manager, noted another advantage of

the Vizrt system. "The graphics templates are vector-based,” he said. “They're very small in file size, unlike, say, a QuickTime movie file. So one of our artists can modify a graphic and simply email it to the station. We're not using hours of upload time, or lots of bandwidth. And because Viz Engines don't store graphics with page numbers like a

traditional system, they don't have to store large graphics files at the station itself.”

The hub strategy has greatly reduced the redundancy of effort at Gray Television Group., according to Ocon. “We can focus our best talents in the network at creating the template packages, customized for any station in any market. Stations don't need to have someone on site to create those daily graphics, just someone who can populate the template and then get them to air. So, that really helps their workflow. Once they’re comfortable using the technology, the templates have the flexibility to let them stretch their wings a little bit creatively.”

This means that even the smallest stations in the Gray network can employ graphics that

are look as sophisticated as those created for its larger stations. Ocon said.

To see a video of Gray Television’s Ocon discussing the Gray Model, click here. http://dl38tvmapnp8c.cloudfront.net/video_mp4_2012/Ocron_Interview.mp4/.

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