Telemetrics Robotics Helps WFMZ Compete - TvTechnology

Telemetrics Robotics Helps WFMZ Compete

There are a multitude of choices for television stations and viewing options in our area, which puts our local independent television broadcasts at WFMZ in competition with neighboring broadcasters from New York and Philadelphia.
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ALLENTOWN, PA.—There are a multitude of choices for television stations and viewing options in our area, which puts our local independent television broadcasts at WFMZ in competition with neighboring broadcasters from New York and Philadelphia. In an effort to get even with the competition, we recently automated our two studios with new integrated systems featuring Telemetrics camera robotics.

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Dewalt saw the installation of camera robotics from Telemetrics into two WFMZ studios.THE TOOLS
From the main studio control room, the Telemetrics’ RCCP-1 control panel, which is integrated with a Ross automation system, enables our director to control our new Telemetrics PT-LP-S4 pan/tilt heads, the Telemetrics Televator Elevating Pedestal and Ikegami cameras, all of which are located in the main studio. The RCCP-1 control panel also provides our director with complete control of the Panasonic pan/tilt cameras in our remote studio, which is located in the PP&L Center in downtown Allentown.

A Telemetrics DS-4 Device Server allows communication between the Panasonic cameras and the RCCP-1 control panel via an Ethernet connection. Previously, the Panasonic cameras were controlled remotely through their CCUs and the Ikegami studio cameras were operated manually. By adding the Telemetrics camera robotic system, all camera controls are now operated via the new RCCP-1 control panel that sits in front of the director, allowing him to set up the shots he likes, save them and repeat preset shots with 100 percent accuracy.

The control panel provides “repeatability,” which means we have a more professional and tight newscast while eliminating common issues that occur when the wrong button is pushed, a camera is not set up properly, or a camera operator’s manual pan is not smooth enough. The Telemetrics camera robotics system makes all those problems disappear.

Retooling the newsroom also included the installation of a new teleprompter system. The teleprompters were configured with the Ikegami cameras, balanced and measured on a jig and then mounted on the Telemetrics pan/tilt heads. It’s nice and tight and there’s no wobble or shaking back and forth when panning. Like the Televator and the RCCP-1 control panel, the Telemetrics pan/tilt units are well engineered and extremely solid, which dramatically reduces down time due to equipment issues.

THE TRANSITION
When Telemetrics sent a field tech to do some of the installation work and help in setting up the system, he made sure that our cameras were all properly mounted and balanced. Needless to say, we have been extremely pleased with Telemetrics technical support and overall customer service, which is essential when undertaking such a critical studio retrofit.

Overall, the retooling was a very massive undertaking because when going from a conventional newsroom to an automated newsroom, everyone had to learn a whole new studio production workflow. On top of that, every director had to learn both the automation and robotics aspects of the system, which are tightly integrated. In retrospect, the idea that we did all of this over the course of the summer of 2015 seems a bit ambitious—but we did it.

Telemetrics’ proven reputation as a rock solid engineering company with a history that spans over three decades was definitely an important influence in our purchasing decision. From their original Triax systems to today’s comprehensive camera robotics systems, I am impressed with what Telemetrics has done and continues to do.

Brian Dewalt began in broadcasting in 1976 as a master control operator at WFMZ-TV and was promoted to director of engineering in 2002. He can be contacted at bdewalt@wfmz.com.

For more information, please visit www.telemetricsinc.comor call 201-848-9818.