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WCAX Channel 3 recently integrated a robotic control camera system comprised of two Radamec RP2A pedestals, three Radamec HK 436 pan/tilt heads, and a Radamec ARC 2000 touch control panel into a battery of equipment. The system supports four daily newscasts and two shows — “You Can Quote Me,” and “Across The Fence.”

The installation marks the station's first foray into robotics, and management was determined to choose a system that would transition as smoothly as possible. Radamec's ARC 2000 touch control panel (TCP) fit the bill. The TCP is comprised of a touch-screen monitor and user-friendly panel control unit (PCU) with an integrated 8x4 video matrix for operator preview and monitor switching. The TCP is capable of controlling up to eight cameras and provides a three-axis proportional joystick for control of pan, tilt and zoom, and an encoder for focus.

Movements of the RP2As, Radamec's free roaming robotic pedestals, are controlled by the ARC 2000. Designed to support any ENG/EFP or full-facility studio lens and teleprompter package, the RP2As use a two-level navigation system to provide both absolute and ‘relative’ positioning rather than referencing themselves to a home target studio floor position. This allows the RP2A to adapt to nearly any studio environment and offers smooth, controlled movement of floor position and pedestal height.

The WCAX system was designed for current needs and future considerations. The three compact HK436 pan/tilt heads eliminate the need to choose between conventional and virtual robotic applications. The breakthrough HK436 can be purchased in a standard configuration, without VR sensors, and upgraded in the field for virtual applications. WCAX chose the HK436s because they wanted the option to upgrade to virtual reality. The technology represents a major cost savings over traditional robotic systems that cannot be upgraded with virtual sensors.

The HK436 can be fitted with two high-resolution self-referencing encoders with DSP technology that detects the slightest movement of pan or tilt. These signals combine with measurements of zoom, focus and any other axes, and are transmitted to the studio VR system as serial data. The measurement electronics can be locked to video reference or polled by the VR system. Adjustable fluid dampers and brakes ensure smooth operation for manual control.

The heads, designed to ensure responsive control, precise repeatability and smooth, broadcast-quality movement, can support cameras, lenses and teleprompters up to 110 pounds and can be controlled by any Radamec control system. The head easily mounts onto all types of studio pedestals, and indeed, WCAX will be employing a legacy pedestal topped by a 436.

Design Team

Bret Lukezic, vice president, U.S.
Gerard Veihmeyer, technician, U.S.
Brian Channell, project engineer, UK
Dave Taylor, technician, UK

Phil Scharf, production manager
Keith Lawrence, studio engineer

Equipment List

HK436 pan/tilt heads
Mini head control unit
Lens interface units
PCU (panel control unit) touch control system
Flat touch-screens
RP2A robotic pedestals
Height drive

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