Excellence Awards NTC Times Square

Category New studio technology
— HD Submitted by National TeleConsultants Design teamABC 66th Street
master control facility
Robin Thomas, dir. of
eng. services; Steve
Machanic, proj. mgr.;
Philip Waldman, systems eng.; Raul Rapalo, systems eng.
Times Square Studios/
: Jeff Hartnett, dir. of technical op.; Robert Agnello, supervisor of
technical eng.; Doug
Schuetz, GMA eng.
: Steve Mendel, proj. dir.; Keith DeBelius, sr. consultant;
Tom Levno, sr. consultant;
Yves Schanck, sr.
consultant; Alex Cheng, sr. eng.; Dave Tosh, sr. eng.; Jeff Phelps, proj.eng.; Terry Priesont, dir., implementation services Technology at work Clarity Lion DLP displays
EVS XT2 HD/SD server
Leitch NEO servers
Miranda K2 display
HDC-1500 cameras
HDS-X5800 HD routing
/ MVS-8000A HD
production switchers
Zandar display

Times Square Studios transitions to HDTV without interruption

Converting an existing studio complex to HD is no small task, especially when the revision can’t interfere with live daily two-hour network broadcasts originating from the same facility. Such was the challenge for National TeleConsultants’ project team during its significant design upgrade of core engineering facilities at Times Square Studios in New York City, where “Good Morning America” (GMA) and other network programming is produced. In order to accommodate daily production of these shows, SDTV program video was switched live in a temporary mobile production trailer parked outside.

The project also included a coordinated HD/SD redesign of ABC’s 66th Street master control facility, where GMA’s production, news ingest, editing, playout and release control room are located. New equipment included up- and downconversion, frame syncs and HD terminal fiber gear; the facility is linked via fi ber to Times Square Studios. National Tele-Consultants worked under a strict requirement to limit its work at ABC’s 66th Street facility to specific times of the day. The facility is the origination point for the entire network’s HD programming; all work had to be done within a set schedule with no exceptions.

Times Square Studios was expanded to support two control room facilities and upgrades to two Sony HDS-X5800 routing switchers. This expansion ensured that everything the studio was already doing in SD (and more) could also be done in HD.

The redesign included HD color correctors and Leitch NEO servers to enhance on-set graphic capabilities. Nine Sony HD cameras, connected via newly added SMPTE hybrid cabling, were installed for use in both studios as well as outdoor positions that provide TV audiences with background views of Times Square. Camera control facilities were extensively modifi ed to support the new Sony HD cameras. An upgrade to both the GMA control room and a second control room included installations of Sony MVS-8000A HD production switchers.

The GMA control room was also outfi tted with a new monitor wall employing four Miranda K2 display processors and fi ve Clarity Lion DLP displays, along with a combination of LCD and CRT monitors to provide virtually unlimited options for viewing confi gurations. Zandar display processors were installed in the Control A audio room.

National TeleConsultants provided the Times Square Studios/GMA project with workfl ow consulting and analysis, technology consulting, technical systems design and integration, facility testing and commissioning, specialized project management and logistics. On Nov. 3, 2005, GMA viewers witnessed a technically fl awless launch in both HD and SD.