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Metrovision Truck Processes With Harris

The Harris X50 frame synchronizer and converter
Metrovision Production Group is a production and broadcast services provider. We recently commissioned our new 40-foot Metrovision HD-2 truck—the nation's largest hybrid production/Ku mobile unit—and are preparing to take it on the road to produce high-definition programming for various broadcast events.

The technical infrastructure for HD-2 required a flexible conversion platform to meet our clients' diverse needs. We were seeking a multipurpose processing device that could handle format conversion, aspect ratio conversion and frame synchronization, and our search led us to Harris. Their X50 conversion platform can accomplish all of these tasks in a single box, and with pristine quality and a very attractive price point.


The X50 is essentially a single-channel processor housed in a lightweight, 1RU package. Its slim design is ideal for mobile truck installations where space is at a premium, and that played a significant role in our decision, as our design plans called for 16 units.

The X50 is a superior unit for up/down and cross conversion, as it is able to take a signal from any camera and convert it to the desired format. We don't have to worry about different incoming signals, as it produces exactly what's needed.

The X50s, combined with our Harris Platinum router, enable us to deliver various signals for different areas of the truck, including playback decks, editing bays and external transmission systems.

Specific format conversion parameters are set up through the X50's front panel menu, or via the unit's Web interface from a basic Web browser, or through a computer-controlled interface powered by Harris CCS Navigator control software. The front panel menu is concise and intuitive, featuring specific menus for video, audio, reference and internal parameters.

The Navigator software is ideal when operating multiple units. A single operator can access all front panel menus and make adjustments on multiple units from a central station. The Navigator software also allows the operator to pull information on incoming feeds from the Platinum router while modifying settings on the X50.

The X50 also handles audio very well. Most incoming video signals include embedded audio, but occasionally we're required to insert audio. The Platinum router facilitates this, allowing analog audio signals to be added via router control panels. The X50 synchronizes and embeds the audio.

The ability to handle everything in a single box minimizes the number of conversions, thus maintaining the best possible signal quality. It also reduces equipment costs and overhead by eliminating the need for separate units for up/down/cross conversion, as well as aspect ratio conversion and frame synchronization.

In addition, the X50 is also lower in cost than some other models available. And while it's not as feature-rich as some of these, it does deliver the features we need most. We're able to support the conversion and processing needs of our clients with relative simplicity and without a big equipment investment.

Patrick Augustin and Julian Diaz serve respectively as vice president of production and repair engineer for Metrovision Production Group. Dahrmendra Motieram, the company's chief engineer/project manager also contributed to this article. They may be contacted

For additional information, contact Harris at 800-231-9673 or