—Access Sarasota is a
government-access channel that’s shared
between Sarasota County and the city of
Sarasota. It’s available locally via cable and
we also provide live and on-demand coverage
of city commission meetings on the
We upgraded our system with an SVideo
infrastructure in 2000 and a couple
of years ago found ourselves with the difficult
challenge of repairing and replacing
analog equipment that was now obsolete.
This led to our decision to do a rebuild
that incorporated HD production and allowed
us to incorporate a digital workflow.
The upgrade was completed earlier this
year and included replacement of our aging
switcher with a Broadcast Pix Granite
2000 integrated production switcher. The
decision to install a Broadcast Pix system
was based primarily on the recommendation
of the integration firm we selected,
Encore Broadcast Solutions. We normally
don’t do much elaborate production—
mostly coverage of meetings with persons
sitting around a table—and initially wondered
if the Granite might be more switcher
than we really needed. However, Encore
suggested that we would likely want room
to grow and they were right.
TAPPING GRANITE’S CAPABILITIES
We’ve found that the 11 inputs available
on the Broadcast Pix switcher allow us to
incorporate supporting materials provided
by individuals appearing at these meetings
very effectively and seamlessly. The
new switcher gives us access to such video
and graphics sources as DVDs, USB thumb-drives,
tablets and more; something that was
not easily done in our analog environment
with its limited switching capabilities.
We started using the new system this
past March for meeting coverage, and
we’re still just scratching the surface of
its capabilities. We can do things we just
couldn’t do before, and we have the freedom
to think creatively and improve our
production values. With our old system,
even incorporating program opening and
closing roll-ins was a complicated process.
Now, the new Broadcast Pix setup makes
such programming enhancements simple
with its built-in clip store.
Granite’s built-in production tools have
also improved our workflow.
We’ve also found that the Inscriber
character generator is a huge improvement
over our old PC-based graphics, which
were poorly integrated into our system
and positioned poorly in our control room.
Having the c.g. inside the switcher is so
convenient—there’s no rolling your chair
back and forth between workstations, and
it’s so much easier to make changes.
We also love the switcher’s Fluent-View
multiviewer option which allows you to
see everything you’ve got. We’ve used it to
customize our video I/Os across two 23-
inch LCD monitors. We also use the Granite
for camera control, and Encore and
Broadcast Pix engineers created a special
application programming interface that
provides integration of the Granite with
the AMX control system in the commission
chambers, allowing a staff member to run
the production remotely if necessary.
Every time I sit down in front of the
new switcher to produce chamber meeting
coverage I’m more convinced than
ever that going with the Broadcast Pix
Granite was the right decision. It makes
our productions so much easier and better.
Miles Larsen is the public broadcasting
manager for the City of Sarasota. He may
be contacted at [email protected].
For additional information, contact
Broadcast Pix at 978-600-1100 or visit