07.28.2009 11:30 AM
Clear-Com Boosts AccuWeather Services
STATE COLLEGE, PA.
At AccuWeather, we're no strangers to multimedia content creation and production. We made our first major foray into cyberspace in 1996 as the free Internet site AccuWeather.com, and by 2000 had launched streaming video. We now produce 700 broadcast quality videos each day, which are transcoded into anywhere from nine to 16 different formats.

The rapid growth of our audience on all screens was one of the reasons why we decided to purchase intercom systems from Clear-Com Communications. We'd been sharing a single party-line IFB/PL intercom system across our two studios, and the accelerating growth of our video broadcasting operations was pushing this to its limit.

NEEDED MORE IFB/PL CAPABILITY

Steve Dowd and AccuWeather colleague use the new Clear-Com Eclipse. ©AccuWeather
We provide live on-air broadcasts or commentary from our meteorologists to the various TV stations using our services. When severe weather happens, AccuWeather gets calls from stations all over the country, looking to do what we refer to as "live hits." We set up these feeds through the IFB/PL system, which allows producers directing the broadcasts from the TV stations to communicate directly with our tech people and meteorologists. With our previous intercom setup, we could only handle one live hit at a time. With the growing demands, upgrading to an intercom system with more IFB/PL capability was critically important.

We invited Clear-Com's team of experts to do a site survey of our facility and propose an intercom solution that met our needs. They recommended their Eclipse Median digital matrix intercom solution, which included two V-Series 12-key lever user control panels for each studio, a V-Series 24-key lever user control panel for the control room and four CellCom beltpacks and headsets. For our IFB/PL requirements, we selected three sets of Clear-Com TEL-14 and FOR-22 modules, along with three PTX-3 UHF wireless transmitters and four PRC-2 UHF wireless receivers.

The Eclipse upgrade has allowed us to expand our IFB/PL capabilities into both of our studios and the control room, and we're now able to have IFB/PL feeds for three simultaneous hits. The video techs just set up and dial-in for the feeds from the V-Series panels in each studio, with no need to run back and forth to the control room, thus boosting operational efficiency.

At the height of last year's hurricane season, we did more than 220 live hits with 10 different networks during a three-week period. Without the expanded IFB/PL capabilities enabled by the Clear-Com Eclipse, this just would not have been possible.

SYSTEM EASY TO CONFIGURE

In addition to the IFB/PL capabilities, another feature of the Eclipse we like is the Eclipse Configuration Software. This makes it very simple to reconfigure switch assignments for the V-series panels. It will also provide the flexibility to update our configuration when we expand into future studios or interview sets.

The CellCom system has worked out great as well. Our techs can go out onto the operations floor and remain in contact and monitor the IFB, while setting up for a live hit. We could not have envisioned this kind of flexibility with our previous intercom system. The CellCom and Eclipse systems have helped us meet the need for broadcast quality TV content, and also provide breaking weather information to the world's leading TV news sources.

Steve Dowd has worked in video production and broadcasting for more than 30 years. He may be contacted at dowd@accuweather.com.

For additional information, contact Clear-Com at 510-337-6600 or visit www.clearcom.com.



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