Savannah stations add Slate 5000 to support local HD news production

WJCL and WTGS in Savannah, GA, have begun using a Broadcast Pix Slate 5000 video production system to produce live local news in HD. Last year, the stations were some of the first in the market to launch local news in HD.

WJCL, an ABC affiliate owned by New Vision Television, and WTGS, a FOX affiliate operated by New Vision through a local marketing agreement, share studios and resources for local news production. The facility produces four newscasts on weekdays. The stations simulcast a morning news show; WJCL broadcasts local news at 6 p.m. and 11 p.m.; and WTGS offers a 10 p.m. nightly newscast. Each station also broadcasts its late newscast on the weekends.

According to Walter Bohlin, director of engineering, the Broadcast Pix Slate 5000 replaced an aging Grass Valley 3000 analog switcher. With Slate’s built-in Fluent Multi-View, control room personnel monitor all video sources on one 52in LCD panel, which Bohlin said was a more cost-effective solution than building an HD monitor wall.

Slate 5000 features like Fluent Clip Store and Watch-Folders are used during newscasts, and a Yamaha audio mixer is slaved to the Slate 5000 switcher so an audio-follow-video system can be employed. Graphics are built through ENPS and Vizrt systems, and most editing for the newscasts is done through a Quantel Newsbox. The HD newscasts also use Sony HD cameras in the studio and in the field. Bohlin said the station’s technical directors like the new setup.

New Vision made the decision to provide local news in HD to provide a ratings spark. However, the move to HD news was not part of a facilitywide digital upgrade, and Bohlin needed to keep expenses and personnel costs down. The Broadcast Pix Slate integrated production system was a good way to meet his needs, he said

The Slate system is tightly integrated into the station’s file-based workflow by using Mediamano asset management, Rhozet transcoding and Aspera FTP acceleration. The transcoding allows access to content from file-based sources, such as syndicators and on-site Omneon servers. The Slate 5000 also can be used as a second-level backup to the Quantel and Vizrt systems, if necessary.