New WFAA HD facility gives visitors storefront view of broadcasts

WFAA-TV/DT is catching attention with its new street level studio set against the glitzy backdrop of Victory Park, an energized new section of downtown Dallas.
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New studio technology
— HD

Submitted by
Thomson Grass Valley Design Team
WFAA: Stewart Allen, IT; Tommy Baugh, asst. dir. of tech.; David Boyd, asst. dir. of tech.; David Johnson, dir. of tech.; Randy Mclean, IT; Tom Alexander, Doug Blohm, Richard Doyle, Don Guemmer, Dave Hunn, Kelly Moore, Melissa Rasmussen, Johnny Stigler, Ray White, maintenance
Broadcast Construction Services: Ron Rentfrow, construction & proj. coord. Technology at work
Apple G5 editing workstations (w/Final Cut Pro HD)
Avid Thunder servers
DMX lighting control
Entertainment Technologies lighting dimmer strips
Evertz signal conversion
Harris Inscriber Ticker branding
Thomson Grass Valley
C2IP camera control
Kayak HD switcher
LDK 4000 HD cameras
M-2100 HD MC system
Vizrt HD graphics system
Weather Central LIVE graphics system

New WFAA HD facility gives visitors storefront view of broadcasts

WFAA-TV/DT is catching attention with its new street level studio set against the glitzy backdrop of Victory Park, an energized new section of downtown Dallas.

The Belo-owned TV station constructed the glass-walled facility on the south side of the plaza outside American Airlines Center (home to the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks and the NHL’s Dallas Stars), which is about one mile away from the station’s main control room. The new 4000sq-ft studio includes five new Thomson Grass Valley HD LDK 4000 cameras, a colorful HD news set and a Thomson Grass Valley C2IP camera control system.

The new facility opened in January 2007 and began HD broadcasting of local news a month later on WFAA-DT. The Victory Park studio provides visitors with a storefront view of WFAA’s live morning and evening newscasts as well as the local talk show “Good Morning Texas.”

The TCP/IP-based C2IP Ethernet camera control system offers a two-way connection, giving the station’s technical staff the ability to shade and focus the cameras at Victory Studio from its remotely located control room at the station. Fiber-optic connections provide almost unlimited bandwidth.

The C2IP system enables unlimited remote operation for all the LDK 4000 cameras at WFAA. The camera control system offers Ethernet-based control using standard IP networking as well as multiple control points per camera. This includes variable matrix control, fine skin-detail adjustments and installation adjustments, which all directly control the cameras’ internal menu settings.

Camera and production settings are often saved as digital files on standard USB storage media, which can either be e-mailed or easily transported as necessary. When setting up a production, technicians simply load the settings into the OCP panel.

A variety of pre- and post-event broadcasts, along with its daily morning show, are produced in the new studio, with the signal transmitted via fiber across downtown to WFAA’s main control room. These camera signals are combined with commercials, graphics and other production elements with the station’s Kayak HD production switcher.

There are even HD cameras located at various locations atop Victory Park to provide live shots and to capture the crowds. These overhead shots are often fed to HD projection screens located along the Victory Park plaza and incorporated into the station’s coverage.

In order to maintain a consistent look for its locally produced programs, WFAA has installed another five LDK 6000 cameras in its existing production studio, which are also fed into the Kayak HD switcher. These also are set up remotely with the C2IP system.