MTV Networks' Central Facilities

Key technology: Leitch DPS frame synchronizers, Miranda VTR-100 conversion products, Avid Unity nonlinear edit systems, Ikegami video monitoring, RTS Intercom, Audio Accessories patching products
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New Facilities Excellence Awards Runner-up

MTV Networks has grown substantially since its inception, and production requirements have increased with the channel's popularity. MTV's operational needs had grown to the point where much of the post-production and graphics work for the channel had been outsourced. In addition to third-party providers, MTV had built up a number of off-site suites and facilities. With these various resources, MTV managed to satisfy their extensive production schedule, though limited technical resources and difficult logistics created unique challenges for engineering and production staffs. Operating in such an expanded environment created inefficiencies in the daily routines and restricted the expeditious growth MTV required.

Focused on efficiency, MTV Networks made a decision to consolidate these facilities into their broadcast operations center at 1515 Broadway, where they could centralize staff resources and leverage the significant technical infrastructure MTV had created throughout the last decade. This reorganization required a large capital expenditure, which was recognized swiftly with the benefits of operational efficiencies and savings from the reduction of outsourced services. Since this facility was to serve all of the MTV Networks, it was important to create an image that was not identified with the branding of any one of the networks but would embody the innovative spirit and character of all the networks. The futuristic technical environment was inserted into the rough shell of the office building to create the feeling of a creative laboratory.

The new facilities, appropriately named “Central Facilities,” are located on the 10th floor of the Viacom building and were constructed to provide MTV with a 25,000-square-foot centralized operations center for four online edit suites, 20 Avid nonlinear suites, multiformat duplication, fiber optic transmission and acquisition, 23 3-D digital animation/high-end rendering workstations, titling and paint stations, and maintenance facilities. A 3000-square-foot core equipment area provides a location for the system mainframes, including a multi-level 256×256 wideband routing switcher, a 64×64 intercom system, 20 A/V frame synchronizers for transmission services, more than 40 tape machines, the Avid Unity system hardware, and multiple quality control stations. MTV standardized on a combination of broadcast products to maintain cost-efficiency from a purchasing and ongoing maintenance perspective.

Staff relocation, office demolition and subsequent rebuilding of the technical spaces required the utmost attention in timeline coordination between MTV, The Systems Group, Kostow Greenwood Architects and the general contractor.

Design Team

Michael Bivona, director of engineering, MTV Networks

The Systems Group:
Joseph Policastro, project manager
Robert Gilmartin, systems engineer
John Zulick, project engineer
Darwin Clermont, integration supervisor

Kostow Greenwood:
Michael Kostow, principal
Charles Gustina, project manager
Viola Rouhani, project architect
Eric Heidt, architect
Laura Dolph, interior designer
Elora Cosper, interior designer

Equipment List

Leitch DPS frame synchronizers
Miranda VTR-100 conversion products
Avid Unity nonlinear edit systems
Ikegami video monitoring
RTS Intercom products
Audio Accessories patching products

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