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Submitted by Ross Video
WABC recently unveiled its new flagship studio on the corner of 66th and Columbus streets in the heart of Manhattan. WABC requires a highly efficient, remotely controlled studio to support daily news and public affairs programming, as well as any special events that may arise. To accomplish this, Studio 77 is remotely connected to existing control room facilities located at 7 Lincoln Square, making these facilities accessible to all of WABC's productions. WABC engaged The Systems Group (TSG) of Hoboken, NJ, to develop the conceptual design and launch the new operation under an aggressive project timeline.
To extend the capabilities of Studio 77 to each of three existing production control rooms, a considerable fiber-optic infrastructure was installed for most signal types. TSG deployed the BSS Soundweb London platform to handle all audio processing and transmission using a dedicated CobraNet audio network. To achieve a distinct on-air look, LCD monitors were used extensively throughout the set. To facilitate monitor control, WABC and TSG deployed a custom Crestron-based control system that is accessible locally and from each of the three remote production control rooms. The system allows individual control over each of the monitors, as well as the lighting, shades and exterior audio feeds. An extensive KVM infrastructure was deployed over WABC's converged 10GigE network, including cloning all weather systems from the existing newsroom to a new weather center built into Studio 77.
The addition of eight new robotic cameras necessitated that the existing control system be replaced in a seamless, overnight cutover. Three cameras were added outside of the building to provide live video of the neighborhood, including one placed in the park across the street, fed back over an IP microwave link. To optimize the street-side experience for visitors, 14 outside-facing LCDs display a mix of the station's air signal and real-time weather radar.
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