Accelerated Media Technologies (AMT), a specialist in vehicle integration for broadcast and mobile communications, delivered a ground breaking new mobile weather lab for Washington D.C.’s WRC. Named the “Storm Team 4x4,” the mobile weather lab is based around Blackmagic Design’s ATEM Television Studio live production switcher.
AMT is a manufacturer of ENG and SNG vehicles for broadcast and specializes in evolving traditional ENG/SNG platforms. Part of this development is the designing and building of live, motion switching capabilities and adding multi-camera POV systems for news gathering, traffic reporting and storm chasing.
The WRC Storm Team 4x4 is a mobile, multi-camera, weather tracking lab and broadcasting station. It includes three cameras — one in front for live shots of weather, a forward-looking POV camera and a camera mounted on a 30ft mast tower that can take 360-degree shots — a large monitor at the back of the truck for showing on location graphics, and a host of weather equipment, such as radar and wind speed indicators. The vehicle, built around a Chevrolet Express 3500HD Diesel Van, allows weathercasters to broadcast live from the vehicle while in motion or on location.
Built around an AMT designed and customized wireless robotic control system, ATEM Television Studio provides the ability to switch cameras and graphics in motion and on location. This allows WRC’s weathercasters and drivers to switch up to four sources from a laptop, iPad or wireless remote control. A four trigger dashboard control is also available, allowing the driver to switch cameras safely while driving through severe weather.
The simple wireless control for WRC gives the talent a familiar control format, like their weather clicker, for live switching between a weatherproof-forward camera, a POV camera inside the work area of the vehicle, their mast camera and their weather graphics running on a laptop.
The ATEM Television Studio was perfect for this vehicle. The switcher’s six video inputs, with both broadcast SDI and consumer HDMI inputs, internal frame syncs on each input and both SDI and HDMI outputs, gave WRC the perfect platform. The small footprint and rack-mount format is small enough to mount in the back of racks in vehicles as small as Subaru Foresters. Power consumption is nominal, and the unit's only other necessary connection is Ethernet.
With the wireless remote application, WRC likes the ability to use multiple, cost-effective, HDMI-based POV cameras, intermixed with HD-SDI cameras, all with one switcher and without additional converters or external references.