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Broadcast U.

UMTV at the University of Miami is one of the largest university television stations. At its core are the teachings of the School of Communication, which directs the broadcasting futures of thousands of students. The station serves the campus and its surrounding community with original news and feature shows, as well as MTV-U, the MTV university cable network.

Desires for advancement

The university wanted its station capabilities to be on a technological level with today's television networks and their outlets. The system had to be intuitively simple to operate and maintain. And the equipment would include server-based playout devices with manual VTR-type controls.

While the budget didn't permit HD integration at this time, a pathway was designed and installed to enable an HD upgrade to be accomplished efficiently and economically.

Phase one

Two nearly identical control rooms were needed to facilitate teaching and production, each with its own studio. Professional Communications Systems (PCS) was chosen to integrate the total rebuild on a challenging schedule in the fall of 2006. The integration began in a staging area at the company's Tampa, FL, headquarters. Cable was placed and racks were populated while classes were still in session.

Over Thanksgiving weekend last year, the university staff removed all existing equipment, and PCS moved in the new racks and other components, and completed the installation.

Equipment setup

The two existing production control rooms were transformed into state-of-the-art serial digital control rooms, running embedded audio on the SDI signal. They are integrated with one another through the newly created master control room, featuring a 128 × 128 Grass Valley Concerto router, which is at the heart of the new production studios.

The facility features shared resources, including graphics and audio mixing. The format is 4:3 throughout, with the capability of simulating 16:9 using aspect ratio converters that work in both directions.

The station also has external tie lines to a courtyard and another building, providing remote broadcast capabilities to anywhere on the university campus IPTV network.

Each of the production control room systems includes three large HD plasma monitors driven by Miranda multi-input display processors, iControl monitoring and Densité distribution, conversion and embedding, as well as Clear-Com Eclipse Omega digital intercoms.

In addition to the Grass Valley master control and router, each room employs a Grass Valley 2.5 M/E production switcher with a full complement of HD-compatible keyers, chroma keyers and color correctors, with a six-channel RAM recorder.

Five Grass Valley multichannel videodisk recorders provide 320 hours of storage, touch-screen control panels and simultaneous play-and-record in either MPEG or DVCPRO 50Mb/s.

The new Grass Valley master control replicates what students will find in the industry as they enter the field of broadcasting. The new systems also provide cost savings in security, power, A/C and maintenance. Large HD plasma monitors driven by Miranda multi-input display processors also lessen the amount of equipment required in the studio control rooms.

Phase two

This just-completed integration added a new, two-camera studio and control room, as well as a Vyvx fiber-optic connection to the Level 3 network. Vyvx connects the new studio and control room to the TV world beyond the campus and UMTV's 600,000 Comcast homes in Coral Gables, FL. The system has analog-to-digital and digital-to-analog conversion both into and out of the Vyvx, and will enable live or delayed Vyvx fiber transmissions.

The new facility and system are accessible for use by outside organizations, by arrangement with the university. Currently, the metropolitan area's daily newspaper, the Miami Herald, uses the facilities to produce a daily Internet program titled “What the 5!” presented online at This is expected to precipitate additional third-party programming production at the school.

Also, NBC has used the Vyvx link to produce an interview at the university's medical facility with a medical professional who is an expert on the pacemaker. This interview was fed to the NBC-Now 24/7 satellite news service.

While this capability is still in its infancy at the university, its cutting-edge character and additional usage are anticipated to present additional learning opportunities for students, staff and educators.

The studio can stand alone, yet is fully integrated into UMTV's existing system. It is able to use all the capabilities of the master control of the two studios in the previous integration, such as cameras, sources, routing, timing, intercom, audio and graphics.

Challenges that were overcome include fitting the new control room into limited space, within a limited budget, and making it fully functional by drawing resources from the existing master control system in another location.

Equipment setup

The Vyvx studio contains two Ikegami HC-D57 cameras with full multicore control units and remote control units. Cameras are in studio version configuration with Fujinon zoom lens and are mounted on Libec pneumatic pedestals with 17in LCD QTV teleprompters fed via CCU and powered from camera head. Cameras are full 16:9 SDI compliant.

The switcher is a Grass Valley Indigo AV production model with 16 inputs and can accept both SDI and HDSDI signals. The switcher includes a digital audio mixer with motorized faders and can accept analog and digital signals. The audio signals are then embedded into the SDI output. The switcher's robust production tools for wipes, fades, special effects and keys can all be controlled from a built-in touch panel.

Recording and playback of SDI signals can be performed from the Grass Valley M322-D iDVR system, which has two simultaneous record and two play output channels operating at either 25Mb/s or 50Mb/s. SDI signals may also be recorded or played back from the Panasonic professional AJSD930 DVCPRO 25MB/s or 50Mb/s videocassette recorder. Both units feature processing and embedding AES/EBU digital audio with the SDI signal.

All significant signals are monitored via a Harris VTM-2000 multiformat on-screen monitor system, which handles both SDI and AES/EBU signals.

Studio talent audio is processed via four Sennheiser EW122 UHF wireless microphone systems. Their IFB, as well as all production and technical intercom communications, is processed by a Clear-Com Matrix digital system and is interconnected to master control for access to any of the other university studio facilities.

The embedded SDI signals are remotely selected and routed via a Grass Valley router with 128 × 128 capacity using an Encore control system.

The production display monitors are Marshall SDI LCD broadcast monitors with multiple input selections.

The character generator graphics unit is an Avid Deko system with ClipDeko, 2-D motion and automation. The system is networked to other Deko systems in master control for optimum flexibility.

Embedded program audio is monitored via a Wohler LM30-4 SDI 30 segment horizontal LED level meter display unit.

Studio talent playback is displayed on a Peerless mounted 37in Panasonic TH-37PH9UK SDI plasma monitor. Audio is monitored by JBL Control 5 wall-mounted speakers driven by a Crown D75A amplifier.

All distributed analog and digital video signals are routed and processed by a Miranda Densité system, which also utilizes frame synchronizers and audio muxes.

To best use the compact space in the Vyvx control room a Middle Atlantic WR-44-32 rack system was used, which enables installation and servicing via a moving/rotating cabinet. The production console was custom built to customer's requirements by Harvey Scenic.

The Brightline series of high-speed 3200k grid-mounted fluorescent lighting fixtures was selected to optimize studio space and reduce heat and power loads. Fixtures included both RGB 6-lamp cyc lights and two or four 55watt dimmable fixtures controlled by a 16-channel, two-scene dimmer system.


Students, staff and visiting organizations are now creating, cable-casting, webcasting and broadcasting original programming to the university campus and 600,000 homes in the Coral Gables, FL, area.

Loyd Hicks is regional manager for Professional Communication Systems.

Broadcast U.

Technology at work

Avid Deko


SeriesONE fluorescent studio lighting
Studio CycSeries fluorescent RGB studio lighting
16-channel, two-set control and dimmer system

Clear-Com Eclipse Median Digital Matrix intercom system

Crown D75A amplifier

Evertz 5600 master sync and clock system with changeover

Florical AirBoss server

Grass Valley

Concerto SD/HD router
Indigo AV production switcher
Kayak switcher
M322-D iDVR system video digital recorder

Harris VTM-2000 multiformat monitor system

Harvey Scenic custom consoles

Ikegami HC-D57 cameras

JBL Control 5 wall-mounted speakers

Libec pneumatic pedestals

Marshall SDI LCD broadcast monitors

Middle Atlantic WR-44-32 rack system

Densité HD/SD processing converter
iControl monitoring and control system
Kaleido multi-image display processors

AJ-SD930 DVCPRO recorder
TH-37PH9UK SDI plasma monitor

QTV LCD teleprompters

Sennheiser EW122 wireless microphone systems

Wheatstone D7 digital audio mixer

Wohler LM30-4 SDI

Vyvx fiber-optics

Design team

Professional Communications Systems
David Palmeira, senior design engineer
Lloyd Hicks, regional manager
Troy Pazos, installation manager

University of Miami
Tomas Ortiz, director of engineering and operations, School of Communication
Paul D. Driscoll, Ph.D, broadcasting program director
Sam L. Grogg, Ph.D, dean, School of Communication
School of Communication faculty members