CHICAGO—Serving more than two million weekly viewers across a four-state area, WTTW—a Chicago-based PBS station with four distinct channels and an online presence—takes pride in our many well-known local and national productions.
Like all public television stations, we walk a fine line between meeting our budgetary goals and delivering programming that will interest our viewers. As a result, we’re always looking for technologies that will allow us to cost-effectively produce more local content and enhance it with live video from the field. This is particularly important for “Chicago Tonight,” WTTW’s evening TV news program.
A NEW ALTERNATIVE
|The GoBoxes can capture and transfer files while on the go.
Previously for “Chicago Tonight” and other programs, our only resource for broadcasting live video reports was a microwave truck. Not only does the equipment require a specially trained crew of engineers to deploy and operate, but the truck is getting on in years, so we were facing some big maintenance bills to keep it in top operational condition.
When we discovered Dejero’s family of video-over-IP acquisition, management, and distribution products, we knew we’d found a compelling alternative to traditional microwave transmissions. Last year, we purchased two Dejero LIVE+ GoBox transmitters for live and on-the-go video contributions from the field. Since these rugged and highly portable transmitters are the size of a small briefcase, our field team can grab a GoBox and camera and go virtually anywhere with the ability to transmit broadcast-quality video using bonded cellular and Wi-Fi.
The GoBoxes are great for live shots and they can also record up to 40 hours of HD video in both 720p and 1080i for later broadcast. Back in our broadcast facility, a LIVE+ Broadcast Server from Dejero receives the transmissions and routes them, via Telestream software, for ingest into Avid Interplay and playout to air.
VIDEO ‘ON THE GO’
|WTTW uses Dejero’s LIVE+ GoBox for its “Chicago Tonight” news
For a fraction of the cost to operate and maintain the microwave truck, we can use the GoBoxes to go live from virtually anywhere, even from places that can’t be accessed by a truck. We can also capture and transfer a file back to the station for editing while stuck in traffic. Combine this with easy set-up and operation, and the GoBoxes are truly video “on the go.”
While we use the GoBoxes mostly for live reporting on “Chicago Tonight,” they also played an important role in our last pledge drive. As part of our “Chicago’s South Side” show, two teams, each equipped with a GoBox, were able to file live footage of interviews from key gathering places on the city’s South Side, bringing interactivity and life to our fundraising event. We can also use the GoBoxes to collaborate and share content with other Chicago-area news agencies equipped with Dejero gear.
With Dejero, we can enhance our programming with compelling live content while making maximum use of our production budget. Plus, the automated workflows for delivering the content to air save us time and resources, letting us focus on what we do best: creating great content.
Mark Jahnke is vice president and chief technology officer for WTTW in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected].
For more information, please visit www.dejero.com or call 519-772-4824.