GV Karrera Switcher Powers FDA Studio Ops

Chad Heupel

WASHINGTON—The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which is responsible for advancing the nation’s public health, has one of the largest HD television studios in the Washington area. Our facility is used both for FDA productions and by other federal agencies through interagency agreements.

The studio is equipped for many types of productions, including shows with live studio audiences of more than 100 people, agency news programs, green screen productions, and presentations with multi-monitor feeds. It’s designed to allow quick reconfiguration to meet the needs of any type of production, providing us with the flexibility to work with many interagency partners.

To take advantage of the size and flexibility of our studio space, we turned to Grass Valley for a production switcher that provided a great deal of power, flexibility and reliability at an affordable price. Grass Valley has always been a leader of innovation with production switchers, and the company’s 3 M/E Karrera video production center switcher with K-Frame was just what we sought to meet our present and future needs.

The Karrera switcher allows multiple users to control different features simultaneously without interfering with the each other’s on-air switching operations. The switcher software can be loaded on a regular PC and when connected to the network, users can access all of the switcher’s functions.

Of the many advantages the Karrera switcher offers, one of the most significant for us is the built-in 10-channel stillstore. It can be controlled by the show’s technical director or from a PC. Changing stills is a simple and intuitive point-and-click operation, allowing us to add a dedicated stillstore operator whenever production calls for it.

The switcher’s built-in RGB color correction is another feature we’re using to advantage. In fact, we’ve set up an additional user station to take advantage of the color correction on the outputs feeding studio monitors,

We also integrated the video server playout control of our Avid AMS and Omneon servers, providing the technical director full control over eight channels of video playback. This can also be programmed in an EMEM or macro. This allows video effects and roll-ins to be performed by the technical director, with no need for coordination of efforts with the tape or server operator.

The addition of the Grass Valley Karrera switcher to our operation has really sparked the creativity of our producers. In the past, ideas were limited by the capabilities of the system, meaning that we frequently had to adjust show rundowns, blocking and scripts to compensate for limitations in the production equipment we employed. That’s all changed now. Actually, it seems now just about anything that producers or directors want to do is already available in the Karrera switcher.

Chad Heupel has served as director of the FDA’s division of communication media since 2008. He may be contacted atchad.heupel@fda.hhs.gov.

For additional information, contact Grass Valley at 514-333-1772 or visitwww.grassvalley.com.