Snell & Wilcox
Runner-up: ET & the Insider
Submitted by: Avid
In 2008, The Weather Channel completed the migration of its Atlanta broadcast plant to native HD and launched production from a new HD studio. To ensure uninterrupted production, The Weather Channel alternately deployed Snell & Wilcox Kahuna SD/HD multiformat production switchers in its main production control rooms. Equipped with FormatFusion technology, the Kahuna systems enable simultaneous SD and HD operations in the same mainframe and the same control panel. The network thus was able to continue producing a high-quality SD feed while preparing HD-capable control rooms for the HD studio launch. The Kahuna's internal conversion capability allows staff to merge a broad range of SD and HD material provided by external sources, taken from archive or acquired by the network, seamlessly into live broadcasts.
The primary objective across the HD upgrade was to create a highly flexible and dynamic production environment. The HD studio, a 5000sq-ft LEED-certified facility, reflects this goal, featuring a 360-degree set that can be shot from any angle. A 35ft x 8ft video wall, comprising three Christie 8K rear projection systems linked by a Vista Spyder, displays video and weather graphics from a WSI HD Titan and a Vizrt VizWeather system, as well as monitor fills from a Ross Video SoftMetal server. An Ultimatte HD chroma keyer feeds a backlit display that rotates to serve as a key-over map in one position and a wall in another. An Avocent KVM allows anchors to control and modify five 20in on-set screens.
The Weather Channel uses Ikegami HDK-75EX cameras with Canon HD lenses in the studio and Panasonic 2000 cameras for live and P2 field record. Switching of video to the set and to the Evertz MVP multiviewer within the control rooms is handled by a Thomson Grass Valley Trinix routing switcher and Encore control. Wheatstone audio consoles support 5.1 channel surround sound audio.
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