04.07.2010 04:45 PM
Griffin Readies for HD With Grass Valley
Gerald Weaver

TULSA, OKLA.
Griffin Communications prides itself in making careful technology choices that help its television stations produce high-quality news content that looks good on-air. Reliability and overall system compatibility are critical when we make equipment choices.

The company owns three stations that reach 90 percent of Oklahoma households and collectively produce 12 hours of television news per weekday and an additional 12 hours on the weekends. We operate a duopoly (CBS affiliate KOTV and CW station KQCW) in Tulsa, and run a single station (KWTV) in Oklahoma City. Both KOTV and KQCW operate from the same studio in Tulsa.

In 2007, we began planning for conversion of our newscasts to high-definition, and looked at several cameras before selecting the Grass Valley LDK 4000 Elite HD (1080i) camera. We found that it offered high-quality image acquisition at a very affordable price. That was important, as we needed at least seven cameras to equip two separate production studios and the equipment we purchased needed to last a long time.

NOTICEABLY IMPROVED PICTURE QUALITY

As soon as the cameras were placed into service, our viewers told us that the stations' on-air look improved dramatically. Although we still broadcast in SD, we'll begin HD production in the near future using our Grass Valley cameras, which have proven to be extremely reliable and stable.

We're now using four of the LDK 4000 HD cameras in our Tulsa operation, and KWTV in Oklahoma City operates the other three. The cameras are mounted on Vinten manual pedestals and are equipped with Autoscript prompters. We selected Fujinon compact-box style lenses for all seven.

We like the superb color rendition of the cameras and also the great customer support that we've had from Grass Valley. The OCP units for each camera are nice and give us access to most of the camera features, should some adjustment become necessary. Our operators also like the design of the viewfinders, which makes focusing and shot framing easy.

CAMERAS HAVE PLENTY OF GV COMPANY

Most of the other production equipment that our company owns—switchers, routers, servers—was also made by Grass Valley. We use their 7500 WB and Trinix routers, Kalypso switchers, Profile video servers and GeckoFlex signal processing modules. In any television environment, connectivity and control are very important to smooth operations. Having all of the equipment communicate with each other in a seamless fashion helps keep our stations running smoothly.

After three years, I can honestly say that we are still very pleased with the performance of the cameras and the value that they have added to our newscasts. The LDK 4000 is powerful enough to handle any type of studio production we might encounter, while at the same time not being too complex, expensive, or loaded with features and formats we would never use.

When our stations do make the move to full HD operations, we know that the Grass Valley studio cameras will be ready to take us to that next level. The purchase of the cameras was an investment in our future that continues to pay off in a big way.

Gerald Weaver has served as statewide director of engineering at Oklahoma-based Griffin Communications since late 2009. Prior to that he was director of engi-neering at KOTV. He may be contacted at gerald.weaver@newson6.net.

For additional information, contact Grass Valley at 800-547-8947 or visit www.grassvalley.com.



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