Ascent builds control room for Supreme Court hearing

Ascent Media Group built the third HD control room for C-SPAN with very short turnaround to meet a deadline for the U.S. Supreme Court Nominee Elena Kagan hearings, enabling C-SPAN viewers to watch all the hearings in HD quality.

Ascent Media’s first job for C-SPAN consisted of two phases:

  • Phase 1: In November 2009, AMG started a refit of two master control rooms, upgrading them both to HD (C-SPAN HD Control Room 1 is for House proceedings, while HD Control Room 2 is for Senate hearings). C-SPAN announced at NCTA that both control rooms were HD capable .
  • Phase 2: Ascent Media built HD Control Room 3, working six days a week to complete the project in six weeks starting mid-May 2010.

The technical systems in Control Room 3 are built around a Grass Valley 64 x 64 HD-SDI Concerto router and Grass Valley Maestro master control switcher. Sources specific to Control Room 3 are fed directly into the Concerto, while sources that are common to all control rooms are delivered to the Concerto through tie lines from the legacy SMS7000 SD router or a separate Concerto router that was installed to support Control Rooms 1 and 2.

The existing Grass Valley Profile XP video servers are used to play back any prerecorded material. The upconversion all other SD video sources is handled by Harris X85 frame syncs, and the downconversion of the HD outputs is handled by Harris X50 frame syncs.

Crispin RapidPlay automation is used to control the playback and switching functions in the room. The bulk of graphics are generated by a pair of two-channel Chyron Duet LEX CGs. The four channels of graphics are made available to both the Maestro switcher and a pair of Evertz 7725DSK-LG-HD keyers, giving the operators great flexibility to insert graphics at various points in the signal chain. The monitor wall in the control is comprised of four 55in monitors fed by a Miranda Kaleido-X multiviewer.