Excellence Awards GV RAI

Category Newsroom technology Submitted by Grass Valley Design teamRAI: Michael Harabin,
head of production; Sal
Paglia, chief engineer
The Systems Group:
Michael Panico, lead
systems designer;
Francesco Mari, head of production Technology at work Avid Pinnacle FX Deko
character generator
Grass Valley
Aurora newsroom
M-Series iVDR digital
disk recorders
Kayak DD production
Concerto routers with
Encore control
Kameleon and Gecko
infrastructure modules
NetCentral monitoring
BVW-550 studio
compact decks
Betacam SP VTRs

RAI creates modern news bureau in Manhattan

AI, the Italian state broadcaster, maintains a large news operation in the United States, based in New York. The facility supports the expanding demands of its parent company in Rome, supporting fi ve main channels.

The result was a crowded and labor-intensive setup based on tape operations. Incoming feeds were recorded to four decks simultaneously to provide copies for everyone who needed them. Editing was in linear A/B suites, which gave little flexibility to add much in the way of production values to the packaged reports. As two of the edit suites were also the control rooms for the studios, the pressure on facilities was enormous.

The decision was taken to move to a new site in lower Manhattan, and The Systems Group (TSG) was appointed as systems integrator. TSG worked with RAI in the United States to develop a new environment that, while not being completely tapeless, adopted the best of modern, integrated digital technology to deliver both the workfl ows and cost effi ciencies RAI sought.

The new space features fi ve NLE suites, as well as one linear edit room. The two production studios each have their own control rooms. They can also be linked by fiber. There is also scope for graphics, voiceovers, radio production and a central machine room.

The equipment is based around Grass Valley Aurora (formerly NewsEdit) digital news production equipment, including five XT editors and two LT laptop editors. The building’s computer network also allows journalists and producers to access browse resolution material from any desk.

The central servers hold 200 hours of online storage plus 1000 hours of browse storage. Providing ingest and playout are four Grass Valley M Series video disk recorders, each with two input and two output channels. These can be used for multiple channels of ingest, for playout into productions in the studio or down the line to Rome, or any combination. The flexibility of the system, together with the two studios and newsroom cameras, is such that the center can deliver live feed to three different networks simultaneously.

Field acquisition is by Sony PDW-510 camcorders to XDCAM disk. Each producer has a compact XDCAM deck. With the Grass Valley Aurora Browse desktop editor, any producer or journalist can create a rough EDL using select takes from XDCAM disks and content from the central servers.

The resulting production workfl ow has eliminated the bottlenecks of tape operations and reduced the huge amounts that were being spent on tape stock. The new way of working has been quickly accepted by journalists and production staff, leading to better communication and collaboration.