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Brady DreaslerQUINCY, ILL.—In 2012, our television stations standardized on Volicon Observer video monitoring and logging systems for transport stream verification. Since then our experience with Volicon systems— along with ongoing development of the Observer product line—made it clear that the Observer was a solid choice for recording and monitoring off-air content. However, we’ve found a far more valuable use for these systems—the creation of compelling and timely promotions for our live news and weather programs.

Promotion in the news business is huge because it demonstrates a station’s leadership position in providing timely coverage and reporting. After our stations air live breaking news about an event such as a weather emergency or fire, it’s important that we immediately run a “proof-of-performance” promo that includes a series of clips from the broadcast.

In the past, our stations relied on their promotion managers to assign a staff member to record the broadcast, with that person then following through and actually triggering the recording. Unfortunately, this was an unreliable process, and content often went unrecorded, leaving the promotion manager without material required to create such “proof-of-performance” promos. Even when content was recorded to tape, it could take days to access the right video, edit it and complete the promo.

The Observer’s ability to record aired content continuously provided us with a significantly more effective alternative and one that’s dramatically increased the system’s value within our operations. With this Volicon system, we never miss a promo opportunity.

Fourteen of our stations use the Observer to capture their full MPEG transport streams, maintaining 14 days’ worth of high-resolution content on the system for promo creation. Using the Observer’s browser-based interface, a single promotions department staff member can quickly and simply identify and extract video from the aired news program.

Just one second after video is aired— even during an ongoing broadcast—the staffer can export footage directly into an Adobe Premiere timeline and begin editing and adding graphics. There’s no need to draw on other station resources to shoot or provide video, perform voiceovers, or add effects. Using only the tools provided by the Observer and Premiere systems, one person can package a promo that’s ready for air within 30 minutes.

The Observer system has now become a tool that our stations’ promotion teams consider critical to doing their jobs effectively. Every day, they benefit from the savings in time and effort enabled by Volicon. Equally important is the impact of rapid promo creation on our business.

News viewers pay attention to which station is going to offer the best coverage of breaking news, and they tune in accordingly. When we can show in a timely and engaging way that we cover this news well, it enhances our credibility and helps drive ratings. Observer systems have helped us create several local Emmy Award-winning promotional videos. As our company acquires additional broadcast stations, we’ll very quickly make the Observer a part of their day-to-day operations, as well.

Brady Dreasler is the corporate director of television engineering at Quincy Newspapers Inc. He may be contacted

For additional information, contact Volicon at 781-221-7400 or