At television facilities across the country, operations managers are streamlining their production procedures and developing new workflow strategies by automating traditional manual functions (i.e. camera operators, switching, recording, etc.) with robotic systems. The result is a local newscast produced and delivered in a superior, more consistent and less expensive fashion.
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Gulf California Broadcast, which operates KESQ, NewsChannel 3, the ABC affiliate in Palm Springs, CA, as well as the local Fox (KDFX) and Telemundo (KUNA) stations, is a perfect example of the industry-wide trend toward newsroom automation.
The broadcast company first considered automating the operation because of problems it was having in finding a qualified part-time floor crew. Conventionally, television studios hire students from local colleges and universities as interns or part-time employees, but there are no universities in Palm Springs or surrounding communities. The broadcaster needed the flexibility to go on-air at a moment's notice without having to wait for a floor crew to assemble from geographically distant locations.
The broadcaster chose a Telemetrics camera robotic system as its solution. The system is intsalled in both the main control room and news studio and produces six hours of daily news on three broadcast stations.
Flexible architecture for studio automation
Telemetrics products used in the facility include Televator motorized elevating pedestals, PT-LP-S2 pan/tilt mechanisms, CPS-ST-S control software complete with an 18in LCD touch screen monitor and the CP-D-3A camera control panel. The facility placed the touch screen monitor with the camera shots next to the audio operator and the camera control panel next to the technical director so he can touch up shots if needed and resave them. The system operates with no staff on the studio floor. Communication with the anchors is through IFB. The three motorized elevating pedestals provide fluid vertical camera positioning from different perspectives, while the pan/tilt mechanisms mounted on the Televators further enhance camera positioning. The units also feature RS-232/422 control, preset/motion control and smooth slow/high speed “camera operator-like” movements with programmable timed presets.
The system is controlled using the CPS-ST-S studio control system software along with the desktop CP-D-3A control panel. The software provides for “on-air” quality moves and, among other features, allows the system operator to preset the key points of the trajectory as single shots (up to 16 at one time) and display live video on the monitor. The operator can track the movement of the system on the monitor and use a mouse, joystick or touch screen monitor to select desired camera positions from the presets, resulting in more consistent camera shots and cleaner communication.
System provides economic value
While the economic realities of television production are closely related to technology, the new camera robotics systems have proven their worth. Without having to staff a floor crew in an automated newsroom, the company saves almost $60,000 annually.
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