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MTV Networks brings Spike, TV Land and Comedy Central together


Post & network production facilities

Submitted by
The Systems Group Design Team

MTV Networks:
Michael Bivona, VP of eng., content creation and distribution tech.;
Bill Anchelowitz, production tech., dir. of proj. mgmt.;
Sean Hamilton, production tech. proj. mgmt.

The Systems Group:
John Meusel, sr. proj. mgr.;
Chris Gefken, proj. mgr.;
James Tome, sr. sys.eng.;
Niels Haenebalcke, proj. eng.;
Rachel Pomerantz, proj. eng.;
Jose Morales, integration supervisor

Technology at work
Final Cut Pro
Xsan SAN
Xserve server
5600MSC and 5600ACO SPGs
Freeway routers
Sirius routers
Aurora router control
DVW-M2000 Digital Betacam VTR
DSR1800A DVCAM recorder
TBC Consoles SmartTrac

MTV Networks brings Spike, TV Land and Comedy Central together

MTV Networks needed to bring Spike, TV Land and Comedy Central under one roof to allow these workgroups to have greater access to shared storage, transmission, production stages and duplication resources.

MTV selected The Systems Group (TSG) of Hoboken, NJ, as the broadcast systems design and equipment integration specialist for the project. The goal of this project was to design and install a broadcast infrastructure in a new location that would support the migration of existing equipment from current operations and prepare MTVN for HD production and post work, allowing greater flexibility than the existing facilities.

Delegating the two biggest challenges of the project to two independent teams was the key to the success of the project. The first was the migration of the current equipment being used at the three network locations. MTV and part of the TSG team worked closely to identify what equipment could be reused in the new design and what would be discarded. Once the equipment was properly labeled, sorting it to speed the installation on the other side was the next step in limiting the amount of downtime for each network. The window for each migration ranged from less than 10 days to 14 days. TV Land had the least amount of new equipment, but the shortest migration window. The decision to move it last allowed everyone to work out any kinks in the plan.

The rest of the team worked on the new design/build plan. Each of the three network workgroups was served by its own 12-rack local equipment room populated with Pro-Bel SDI video, time code and machine control routing, which served four edit suites and 12 to 30 workstations for graphics and media ingest. Based on the individual needs of the workgroup, up to eight tape machines were centrally located in each equipment room. Formats ranged from HDCAM SR and analog Betacam to VHS and DVD. Editing systems, SANs, network infrastructure and servers filled out the rest of the equipment rooms.

Apart from the three network channels, an additional 42 edit suites and five stages were built out for use by MTV network production and post-production groups. A large equipment room provided the infrastructure for intensive fiber and copper connectivity to each of these rooms. The equipment room also served as a hub point for connecting the intrabuilding workgroups with other MTV facilities in Times Square and Long Island.

Finally, to support the workgroups, a large tape duplication center of 44 machines was built out to handle interformat transfers. Conversion equipment allowed transfers to and from analog and HD formats. DVD and Blu-ray duplication was also possible through a Rimage Producer III.