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Cable Operator Mediacom Goes Virtual With For-A's EX II

Mediacom Communications Corp., the nation's eighth largest cable operator, has purchased and installed a 35x40-foot For-A digiWarp-EX II virtual studio system for its production facility in Des Moines, Iowa.

The digiWarpII is an enhanced version of the digiWarp EX, For-A's 2D virtual set system, and contains a software-based graphics engine that works on the MS Windows NT platform. Mediacom made its decision after expressing an interest in producing shows for regional and national use.

Mediacom says the digiWarp-EX II helps it avoid building expensive sets that change with each production. Cecil Van Houten, production manager for the Des Moines facility, said, "We will use the variety of pre-built sets, which gives us multi-camera capability and 3-D features, and we can tweak the sets to modify and tailor the virtual backgrounds."

Mediacom uses three Ikegami standard-definition digital cameras with the For-A set at its facility. The new system's features include expanded masking and chroma key capabilities and the ability to create backgrounds from 2Dor 3D images. The digiWarp-EX II continues to operate with For-A's VPS-400D digital switcher, and also contains a camera tracking or sensor system, which are not included in the original digiWarp.

Current users of digiWarp can upgrade to digiStorm, a full 3D real-time virtual studio. Customers can replace two components and enhance their camera tracking/sensor system.