KMEX-TV opts for Avid

Los Angeles station KMEX-TV, part of the Univision Television Network, competes with three other Spanish-language stations and a number of English language outlets in the second-largest television market in the United States. In order to be successful in the face of this competition, its news operation has to be efficient.

Station management determined that a move to a new facility was needed to maintain its successful news operation, and turned to the broadcast news solutions team at Avid to help build an optimal nonlinear workflow system.

KMEX-TV ugraded its newsroom system with integrated Avid news systems in order to streamline news production and maintain its competitive edge. Photo by Alexander Sibaja/UET.

The project team began with existing systems. The newsroom was already using an Avid iNEWS newsroom computer system (NRCS), which had been upgraded to a newer version earlier in the year. In the new facility, KMEX-TV was able to supplement it with an iNEWS ControlAir automation system. To facilitate the move to completely nonlinear news production, the station also purchased an Avid Unity for News media network, four NewsCutter Effects editing systems, a Media Browse journalist video editing server system, and four AirSPACE video servers.

Use of the new equipment and software has made the news production workflow more efficient. Many times stories come in while the show is on the air. The new systems allow staff to quickly ingest and edit stories, and have them on the server ready to go at the director/producer’s command.

Step one of this process begins with the ingest of material by the Media Browse. The system’s Capture Manager records multiple feeds onto one of two video servers. The capture software simultaneously encodes a low-resolution version for directors or producers to use to quickly select appropriate clips, make rough cuts or frame-accurately edit entire simple sequences. Material can then be finished on the higher-resolution NewsCutter editing systems or sent directly to the other two video servers for mirrored playback.

As material is being ingested into the video servers, the information is simultaneously sent to the shared storage system so the station’s editors are able to access it while it is still being recorded. News editors on the network can share more than 100 hours of DV25 format footage using this system, or more than 50 hours of DV50 format, but this could be expanded to as much as 650 hours.

Footage can be dragged and dropped from the Unity into the NewsCutter via the Unity MediaManager asset management system. Editing is conducted directly within the storage system, reducing the transfer of bandwidth-intensive, high-resolution files across the facility’s network.

Introducing four new Newscutter Effects nonlinear editing workstations within the iNEWS environment is a natural evolution. Journalists benefit from the ability to edit words with pictures and maintain tight association with their projects using the NRCS. In time-sensitive situations, editors can begin editing the script before they’ve received voice-over tracks. NewsCutter Effects, with its bank of real-time effects, allows finishing of high-resolution material to keep on-air and production quality high.

The addition of the automation system to the newsroom infrastructure allows for control of up to 32 on-air playback devices, such as character generators, video servers, still store devices and robotic tape systems from a single workstation. An added benefit is that any changes made to the rundown on either the NRCS or the control system are instantly synchronized, even while the show is on the air, allowing news staff to create a more timely and accurate newscast. The Avid systems work together to enable the KMEX-TV news production team to deliver an entire newscast – from video ingest to air playout – from within a single, integrated environment.

Lorenzo Della Montaña is an industry consultant based on the West Coast.

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