Field Report: Vinten and the AMEX

Vinten and the AMEX

By Ken Meyer

The American Stock Exchange might not be the first place one would think of in connection with television broadcasting, but the Broadcast Services department of the stock exchange does produce a weekly financial show with Business Week and BizNet Television News, which airs on WABC-TV in New York and on ABC affiliates across the country.

The American Stock Exchange isn’t just about trading – it also does booming business in broadcasting. Recently, AMEX’s broadcast department upgraded to the new HCP-8000 camera control system from Vinten to keep up with production demands.

In addition to this five-camera switched network show, the department facilitates upwards of 20 live reports and interviews a day, including daily financial market reports for use in broadcasts via cable, satellite and other television outlets throughout the trading day.

Depending on what is happening in the stock market on a particular day, AMEX also makes its facilities available to financial broadcast stations and cable programmers as a remote location for reports on breaking financial news or market updates. Space is also available for analysts to conduct interviews in AMEX studios. The stock exchange also provides related extended services, which might include taking in remote feeds, or facilitiating camera crews shooting on the trading floor.

In addition to maintaining the facility, as technical manager I work with stations to help produce their market reports, facilitate remote analyst interviews and direct a financial news show.

The aim of the American Stock Exchange’s television department is to gain maximum exposure through daily broadcasts, satellite media tours, special event programming, and by producing outside shows and taped segments. The department benefits from having access to industry professionals, traders, Exchange officials and AMEX-listed company executives for interviews. The department works closely with outside producers and directors to individually tailor all reports, interviews and specialized broadcasts to their specific needs.

To continue to meet the needs of these broadcasts and productions, the television facilities at AMEX recently went through an upgrade. As the facility grew and demands on it increased, the older equipment could not keep up. Since we have a relatively small staff, using robotic equipment eliminates the need for camera operators.

So we chose to upgrade to Vinten equipment because the facility’s existing Vinten MCS-4000 controller with robotics had provided good service. The new equipment includes an HCP-8000 touchscreen camera control system with flat-panel display, HS-102P CCD camera pan/tilt heads, SLD-2010 servo drives and four Osprey Plus pedestal tripods.

The new control system provides the flexibility to perform simultaneous camera moves among separate cameras in the studio, and allows more accurate positioning of camera shots for live broadcasts. It allows control of eight cameras, while the old equipment could only handle four.

The Vinten equipment is easy to use and has performed well. Camera movements are smooth and precise, and the programmed shots are consistent. The new equipment’s ease of use and increased reliability will make any future expansions considerably easier.

Ken Meyer is technical manager, Broadcast Services, for the American Stock Exchange.

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