GREENVILLE, S.C.—Last February WHNS-TV, the Fox Network affiliate covering upstate South Carolina and western North Carolina, upgraded its newsroom automation system, added all new robotically controlled cameras and PTZ heads and as well as a new graphics package that, in total, has our newscasts looking great on-air.
Our parent company, Meredith Local Media Group, has been testing and deploying production automation and robotics since 2007. Like most Meredith stations we’ve installed Grass Valley automated production systems which precisely control Grass Valley LDK C82 Compact Première HD (switchable 720p/1080i) “box style” PTZ cameras on Telemetrics PT-LP-S5 PTZ robotically controlled camera heads with CueScript TelePrompters attached. We’ve got five in the news studio and one in our newsroom for unique on-air reporting assignments from the journalists’ desks.
The best thing about the combined system is that it allows our directors (one person runs the entire newscast from a Grass Valley Ignite GUI and a Telemetrics camera control panel) to get creative and store the settings they like most for later (and fast) recall. We have two directors to handle our morning shows and two for our afternoon and evening shows. We also do two shows on the weekend.
Each director first sets up their desired camera shots with the Telemetrics RCCP-1 control panel and then imports those settings into Ignite to use during the show. The control panel features a color touchscreen that allows users to preview what the shots look like before we use them. This makes it easy to set shots and immediately get ready for the next newscast coming up.
The Telemetrics PTZ heads are mounted on stationary Miller tripods, which give us nice steady and smooth pans, tilts and framing every time. Each PT-LPS5 camera head features an integrated pan/tilt unit equipped with servomotors for maximum accuracy in positioning and velocity. The precise operational specifications of the heads—including a pan/tilt velocity of 0.01–90 degrees per second, a stop accuracy of 0.005 degrees and a feedback accuracy of 0.000375 degrees—make it ideal for the type of shots we do on a daily basis. And we’re constantly trying new things with them.
We also love the Telemetrics RCCP-1’s touchscreen for controlling the PT-LP-S5 PTZ heads. We used to have to help run the newsroom camera, but now it can be controlled all from a single control panel.
The system is so easy to use that we’ve been able to add more news programming without increasing spending—a big plus for a station like ours. It’s allowed us to focus on the creative aspects of a newscast (shot framing, more graphics, etc.) and not worry about the technology. We also have better control of what’s happening with the cameras, audio, lights, graphics, etc., before and during a newscast. Anyone who has worked in news understands that’s a big advantage. News is not always predictable, so the system you use should be able to handle anything that comes its way. We feel like the Grass Valley Ignite and Telemetrics PT-LP-S5 PTZ camera heads (and related control panel) are the perfect complement for us.
Bob Munyon is director of engineering at Fox affiliate WHNS-TV. He can be reached at email@example.com.
For more information on Telemetrics, please visit www.telemetricsinc.com or call 201-848-9818.