While the economy continues its slow recovery, broadcasters and video production professionals are still wary of building out large studios and control rooms. Budgets are still limited, so a wide variety of broadcasters, college and municipal A/V departments (like independent student television station WNYF, on the campus of SUNY Fredonia, in NY) and live events producers are deploying integrated systems like those from Broadcast Pix.
The technology is less expensive to purchase, typically requires a single operator to produce content, and generally works out of the box — so a production team could be up and running in a matter of days (or hours, if they have production experience).
This trend was evident at NAB last week, as the Broadcast Pix booth was usually crowded with professionals from around the world looking for a cost-effective way to establish turnkey production capability quickly. The company demonstrated new software for its Granite (2.0) and Slate (8.5) systems, in addition to two new live video production systems, Granite 500 and Slate 500. The newer systems feature a new compact control panel.
Granite 2.0 adds playlists, ProRes clips and QuickTime Animation playback, along with an enhanced Harris CG and an optional Chyron CG, improved chroma key and key priority controls, and remote control capability to access streaming appliances (like those from ViewCast, which offer the flexibility of streaming simultaneous formats and bit rates). Slate 8.5 provides many of these same workflow improvements.
Both new model 500 systems provide a tactile control surface with full monitoring of video and files, as well as complete control of the system’s clip store, CG, cameras and other devices. The new 1 M/E control panel supports up to 18 sources and six keyers for overlays of picture-in-picture boxes and graphics, yet is so compact that it fits in a rack drawer.
The Granite 500 HD system offers 11 HD/SD-SDI inputs (expandable to 22) and six HD/SD-SDI outputs (expandable to 12). The Slate 500 hybrid system offers four or eight analog, HD/SD-SDI, or DVI inputs and four (expandable to five) outputs. Both systems provide seven channels of file-based inputs from the built-in clip store and graphics systems. Plus, both include the complete suite of Fluent file-based workflow tools, including Fluent-View monitoring of video and files, Fluent Watch Folders for importing files, and Fluent Macros, which combine sophisticated switcher effects and files with one-button recall.
Apple Final Cut Pro users can take advantage of the new Granite pipeline for ProRes clips and QuickTime Animations. This simplifies the production workflow for animations, as operators can simply copy a single file to the Broadcast Pix system and instantly load animations with key and audio. New playlist capabilities enable a sequence of clips to automatically play and then transition to the source on preview.
The new Granite 2.0 software also communicates with Chyron Lyric PRO 8. The optional CG software creates sophisticated titles and 3D animations that can be accessed from any Broadcast Pix control surface, seen on Fluent-View, played from the system's graphic and clip stores, and easily edited on-air. It also provides access to Chyron’s AXIS Web-based services, which allow users to obtain and share broadcast-quality graphics. And 2.0 adds rolls and crawls to Granite's Harris CG.
Slate 8.5 upgrades the system's built-in CG to Harris GS, a more powerful CG with an easier interface and improved handling of Asian languages. Slate 8.5 also adds some Granite 2.0 features, including clip playlist capabilities and an enhanced chromakey interface that makes precise color selection and adjustment easier and faster.
The Granite 2.0 and Slate 8.5 software will begin shipping with all new systems in May, and will be available for free download to existing customers May 16. The new Granite and Slate 500 models are now shipping.