Today’s video producers are always
looking for ways to reduce costs, whether they are
running a small-town public access channel or a
federal video training production center. A way to
do that effectively, while improving operations, is
by implementing modern master control technology
|Evertz’s 3025EMC Master Control Switcher
Evertz offers two excellent video switching options
for the cash-conscious broadcaster. For those who
already own an
upstream router, the
(starting at $15,000)
provides “an affordable
way to offer
capability,” said Mo
Goyal, Evertz’s director
of product marketing.
the power of your
existing router, to allow you to support full video
switching at a very low price.”
Capable of supporting an SD, HD or 3G-production
environment, the 3025EMC exploits the router’s
channel capability to control inputs ranging from
16x16 to 1152x1152, depending on the router’s
capability. The 3035EMC includes a full A/B mixer
with 16 audio channel support, and four external
and internal keyers for graphics and branding. The
3025EMC offers advanced options that include twoor
four-channel DVE squeezeback, dynamic text
crawls and Dolby E/AC3 decoding/encoding.
Meanwhile, around $20,000 will buy the same
system with a 14-input internal router built in.
Branded as the 3025SW, it is known as the “mini-
EMC” as this switcher includes a full audio/video
transition engine with external and internal keyers.
Both the 3025EMC and 3025SW can be operated live
(via control panels) or by using automation software.
|Grass Valley’s Ignite at work in the control room of WGBH-TV Boston.
WGBH-TV Boston is undeniably the powerhouse of
the PBS network, with responsibility for producing
much of the network's programming. But the station
still has to count its pennies, especially because
the federal Public Telecommunications Facilities
Program that helped PBS purchase equipment has
Faced with that loss, plus falling subscriber revenues
to Grass Valley,
which is headquartered
Valley Ignite integrated automation system in its
studio control room.
The Ignite system enables WGBH to predefine
and then automate many of the functions previously
performed by human video, audio and playback
source personnel. “One of our studio control personnel
can now do the jobs of four people,” said
Ed Chuk, WGBH’s director of production services.
Ignite’s usefulness lies in the fact that multiple
functions, such as camera setups, audio sources,
graphics and playback sources can be predefined
and then made available to operators as single
commands. In addition, the production lineup is displayed
in a visual “timetime,” enabling the operator
to see what is coming up next and to make decisions
about any manual changes that may be required.
“Ignite even integrates with newsroom systems
such as ENPS or iNews,” Chuk said. “This means
that production or news staff working on those
systems can update the playout lineup, and the
changes are automatically loaded and reflected
on Ignite’s log and time line.” All told, Ignite has
allowed WGBH to combine four master control
functions into one, without any loss of control or
quality. “At a time when money is tight, Ignite is
helping is do more with less,” Chuk said.
|Harris Broadcast’s IconMaster
Harris Broadcast’s answer to cost-effective master
control operations is the IconMaster master control
switcher and branding solution. This is an SD/
HD-ready modular system that combines critical
master control functions with branding, built upon
a modular card format that supports expansion by
simply adding more cards.
The IconMaster comes with a 12- or 22-input
control panel. It is fitted
buttons with LEDs for
source selection and
transitions, plus configurable
Options include an
intelligent audio control
panel and touchscreen
The IconMaster can be migrated from SD to HD
using a configuration utility, without paying more or
making any hardware changes. The system can by
controlled using automation, and works with systems
such as Harris DSeries and ADC playout automation.
|Ross Video’s MC1-MK
Remember the climactic scene of “Star Wars: A New
Hope,” where the Death Star powers up its planetdestroying
weapon? Sharp eyes will have noticed that
the all-important weapon control lever
was actually a standard T-bar (transition
bar) on an old-fashioned analog
TV video switcher.
It makes sense, for a conventional
video switcher is an intimidating looking
device chock full of flashing lights
that only well-trained operators can
be trusted with. But such personnel
are expensive, which is why Ross
Video of Iroquois, Ontario, has developed
an easy-to-use budget switcher,
the MC1-MK. Priced at $3,495, it
is a touchscreen-controlled switcher
that simplifies basic master-control
functions, making those functions
intelligible and controllable by lightly
The MC1-MK is housed in a 2RU
openGear DFR-8321 series frame and
has slots for up to 20 openGear cards,
but the basic model only requires
four. The system is operated using a
touchscreen, with the control functions,
multiple channels, audio levels,
branding and other key details shown
on the computer display.
“The Ross Video MC1-MK is open
architecture, which means it can integrate
with third-party automation and
production systems,” said Brad Plant,
Ross Video’s marketing product manager.
“It is an ideal all-in-production
switcher for public access channels, as
well as small TV stations.” The MC1-
MK comes equipped to handle up to
10 sources, with the ability to expand
to 20. It is capable of interfacing with
numerous automation systems, allowing
an operator to control a series of
separate program feeds/channels.
Ross Video developed the MC1-MK
in partnership with Jim Felton, chief
engineer and John Seymour, operations
manager of WWNY/WNYF-TV (CBS and
Fox affiliates) in Watertown, N.Y.
Felton was looking for an HD system
that would allow a single individual to
control both channels at once, reducing
manpower and costs without sacrificing
quality. At the time WWNY/WNYF was
upgrading from SD to HD, and replacing
its master control production chain.
“We literally sat down and drafted
our ideas for a touchscreen video
switcher, and they did the same,”
The touchscreen video switcher
developed by Ross Video and WWNY/
WNYF has not only reduced the cost
of operations for the station, but
made them far simpler.
“Part of the MC1-MK’s design
is allowing the creation of multfunction
commands that can be
triggered on or off with the touch
of a single onscreen button,” said
Felton. “This allows us to have the
system configured by engineers,
and then have the commands executed
by less-skilled people. For
them, it is simply a matter of pushing
the right button, and since the
MC1-MK display has been stripped
down to basic functions, they don’t
get overwhelmed by too many choices.”
After six months of prototyping, design and sideby-
side testing with the existing air switchers, “we
were satisfied the MC1-MK was ready to go to final
test,” Felton said. To play it safe, WWNY/WNYF tested
its MC1-MK HD master control system in parallel
with its existing SD conventional switcher-controlled
program feed, running the two side-by-side for a 24
hour/7 day, frame-by-frame qualification test.
“We then took the complete solution to air the
following week,” Felton said. “Not only were there no
serious problems, but we discovered that the MC1-
MK feed was smoother, with fewer pops and issues.
“Since we switched to this feed solely, it has
worked well for us. I would have never believed
that a touchscreen video switcher could let a single
person operate two TV stations at once, but the
The Colony, Texas, is served by the public, education
and government channel, the City of The Colony
Community TV, which provides both live coverage of
local governmental meetings and prerecorded informational
The Colony Community TV is a 24/7 operation,
and Ted Ringener, the city IT manager, runs the station
using a single live operator during peak hours,
or by an unattended automation system as needed.
To do that, The Colony Community TV uses the
A-List automation system and VDesk integrated
pan, tilt and zoom production system produced by
Rushworks, which is based in Flower Mound, Texas.
A-LIST is an integrated hardware/software automation
system that includes a built in broadcast server
capable of supporting up to four SD/HD TV channels
and bulletin board illustrated Web/TV stills. A-List
features drag-and-drop scheduling
that can be managed remotely from
any PC with an Internet connection.
It comes with 2D and 3D DVE
transitions, and the ability to record
scheduled live events.
VDesk features a single-operator
touch screen control that can manage
four, eight or even 12 PTZ cameras
using a 22-inch monitor (a tablet
control is also available). When
connected to a local area network,
VDesk can be operated remotely
from anywhere on the network.
It includes onscreen monitoring of
camera previews, Preview and Program displays, DSK
window and fullmotion overlays, and supports chroma
key and other broadcast transitions and effects.
“We’ve been using A-List and VDesk for the
past eight years,” Ringener said. “These two systems
have allowed us to operate our station using
minimal personnel, while actually increasing our
production and scheduling capabilities.”
|Utah Scientific’s MC-40
With so many broadcasters launching subchannels
on their HDTV broadcasts, Utah Scientific saw the
need for a simple channel master control solution.
The result was the MC40, a 1RU chassis that contains
a complete SD/HD channel processor.
Using any of a range of control panels or virtual
graphical user interface panels, an operator
can access every single feed carried on the router,
and use it to feed a distinct broadcast channel.
The MC40 also supports ID keys, station logos and
emergency alert system messages; everything a
stand-alone broadcaster needs.
“The MC40 can handle eight inputs, support two
keyers and do video mixing and fading,” said Scott
Bosen, Utah Scientific’s director of marketing. “It
also handles embedded audio mixing, and connects
to both remote master control and automation systems.
With this unit, you can operate a fully-fledged
TV channel, all within a 1RU chassis.” The MC40
sells for $15,000.