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Austin station improves workflow with robotic camera system

Austin, TX, ABC affiliate KEYE-TV is using a Fusion robotic camera operations system from Vinten Radamec. The Fusion system has reduced how many people it takes to produce KEYE-TV’s newscast, freeing up personnel resources for other tasks around the station.

The Fusion system includes four Fusion FH100 robotic/manual heads. The station also is benefiting during its newscasts from more precision and repeatability in camera moves on a nightly basis.

Three of the FH100s are mounted on FP145 Fusion Robotic Pedestals, which can be robotically moved across the studio floor. A fourth camera mounted on an FH100 head is used for weather forecast green-screen shots and does not require movement around the studio floor.

“The control console is very straightforward, very simple and easy to learn,” said Dusty Granberry, station director of broadcast operations and engineering. The system relies on icons to represent the various shots needed for the newscast, which makes it easy for operators to learn the system, he added.

Because KEYE is located in a college town, where student camera operators come relatively cheap, it’s all the more impressive that the station is amortizing the capital costs of the robotics through operating cost savings. But Granberry said the cost savings is just part of the robotics advantage.

According to Granberry, the robotics have actually improved the uniformity of camera operation during the station’s news programs, especially for those hard-to-repeat signature newscast shots.

The ability of the Fusion system to navigate precisely to a location across the studio floor has been especially important for KEYE’s morning news program. The feature-driven morning show requires the station to move two of the pedestals to an interview set 40ft across the studio. Additionally, for the Friday late newscast the station does a sports extra show, which requires the pedestals to be moved to a location off the main news set. The new robotic system navigates those moves every day, Granberry said.