Global TV upgrades news productions, prepares HD transition with virtual studios

Category New studio technology — network Submitted by Orad Hi-Tec Systems Design Team Applied Electronics: Paul Stechly, pres.; Donnie Gallant, virtual set specialist; Keith Treble, robotics; Kim Edmonds, install. sys. mgr.; Paresh ...
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New studio technology — network

Submitted by
Orad Hi-Tec Systems Design Team

Applied Electronics:
Paul Stechly, pres.;
Donnie Gallant, virtual set specialist;
Keith Treble, robotics;
Kim Edmonds, install. sys. mgr.;
Paresh Premjee, news sys.

Global TV:
John O’Connor, VP, tech.;
Gerry Belec, proj. leader virtual and graphics creation;
Glen Altwasser, proj. leader for install. oversight;
Geoff Franklin, video content interchange;
Chris Mapes, virtual set tech. advisor

Orad:
Andrew Wojdala, VP, R&D;
Ofir Benovici, VP, bus. dev.;
Arek Sliwinski, sr. R&D programmer;
Mike Paquin, tech. support eng.

Technology at work
Autocue prompters
Canon lenses
Evertz conversion
Harris routers
Ikegami HL 45A cameras
Miranda downconverters
Orad ProSet virtual studio
Snell & Wilcox Kahuna
Telemetrics robotics and H-Frame rig
Telex IP-based intercom
Thomson Grass Valley
servers
Ultimatte chroma keyers

Global TV upgrades news productions, prepares HD transition with virtual studios

Canada’s Global Television Network has a viewership spread across five time zones — with regional broadcast centers in Vancouver, Toronto, Edmonton and Calgary as well as stations in 10 other communities. Global TV recently brought online seven new virtual production studios to pave the way for a cost-effective HDTV transition.

The broadcaster’s objective was to reduce costs in markets where news production was disproportionate to the revenues of a region and where overlap in facilities and news coverage was creating inefficiencies. Also, the network sought to improve the look and market position of its smaller stations. Rather than invest in new equipment for each station, Global TV embraced the virtual set concept.

Based on Orad’s ProSet virtual studio solution, Global TV implemented virtual studio production facilities at its broadcast centers in Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton. The fourth and final virtual production facility, located in Toronto, will be completed by spring 2009.

Each regionalized newscast uses local talent, while production of the news show is centralized at the virtual studio. Local news items are transmitted to the centers via FTP prior to each broadcast. At airtime, remote-control cameras transmit the image of the local anchor, sitting in front of a green screen, via fiber. Global TV’s smaller stations rely on a two-camera studio setup, while the larger stations use three cameras; all use Telemetrics robotics and a Telemetrics H-Frame rig.

At the production facility, ProSet provides virtual studio backgrounds and produces images appropriate to the program’s location and then transmits the broadcast back to viewers in the local market. Global TV uses the Orad HDVG (high-definition video graphics) rendering platform to ensure that its virtual sets run in real time without a hitch. The virtual sets were designed by Full Mental Jacket of Los Angeles using 3D Studio MAX, Adobe After Effects and Adobe Photoshop and then exported as VRML into the ProSet HDVG rendering platform.

Global TV built the foundation for its conversion to HD with a one-time investment in equipment, which can be leveraged across multiple newscasts and time zones. This represents an estimated one-fifth of the capital expenditures that would have been required to upgrade each regional control room.

With the virtual studios, local news directors and producers remain in complete control of their programs but ProSet gives each show a unique look and allows common content to be repurposed across multiple broadcasts and time zones. The best resources of the network can now be brought to bear for any regional news production.