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Small station in Illinois produces local news cost-effectively with robotics

WEEK-DT, the NBC affiliate in Peoria, IL, is using a robotic camera system made up of technology from Hitachi Kokusai, Tekskil Industries and Eagle to produce its nightly local HD newscast in a highly cost-effective way.

Working with a limited budget, Fred Roe, chief engineer of WEEK-DT, oversaw the installation of three Hitachi HV-HD30 cameras, a Tekskil 15R-DBC prompter and Eagle PT-250 pan and tilt camera control panel.

The HV-HD30 features three HDTV, 1/3in format, 1.3-megapixel CMOS sensors that deliver SMPTE 292M-compliant HD image capture ay 720p and 1080i resolutions.

In the studio, the cameras’ operating parameters and video adjustments are controlled remotely with the Eagle control panel. The PT-250 pan-tilt head offers a range of motion of 355 degrees in pan and 180 degrees in tilt. Up to 64 different preset combinations of position and lens settings can be memorized by the head with the touch of a button — all are stored in nonvolatile memory inside each head, which can easily be recalled at any time.

The Tekskil robotic solution features a supercharged LCD for maximum contrast and resolution and can be comfortably viewed from more than 20ft away, even under bright studio lights. Tekskil’s ultralight 15R integrates perfectly with the latest generation of smaller cameras and pan and tilt heads.

The robotic prompter system is comprised of light, strong aluminum components, micro-truss supports and a Dynamic Balance Cradle (DBC). The DBC enables precise, rapid alignment of the camera and prompter payload with the pan/tilt’s axis of rotation. Stable at any angle, even upside down, the dynamic balancing cradle provides a system that does not require any counterweights.