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CNN NY - From downtown to way uptown

From downtown
to way uptown

Time Warner Center was more than a corporate milestone for Time Warner — it marked a pivotal event for CNN as well. For the first time, the network had the opportunity to build a broadcast facility from the ground up. By the time construction of Time Warner Center began, CNN New York had already outgrown its location, and the lack of space had forced technical managers to install gear in less than optimal areas. And, in early 2002, six new hours of television programming were added to the New York production mix.

This programming expansion, and the desire to centralize key production areas like terminal gear, graphics and media operations, prompted a redesign of the technical plans. As a result, the new facility now houses three large and three small production studios (nearly 10,000sq ft total), four large production control rooms, 15 edit suites, and nearly 4000sq ft of equipment space in terminal gear. In all, 50,000sq ft of technical space was built, supported by facilitywide intercoms, routers and video server access.

The physical size of the space made it necessary to co-locate production studios and control rooms with proximity to terminal gear and/or vertical risers between floors. Design was critical to maximizing cable management and to minimizing cable lengths, and the problems caused by long distances between user interfaces and gear mounted in equipment racks.

The network told design architects to keep technical areas as centralized as possible, using cable management as a primary design factor. Besides this, CNN needed technical spaces that would meet rigorous acoustic standards, as well as provide adequate ceiling clearances for lighting. The facility also required edit suites large enough to accommodate multiple people and media operations with adequate monitoring for all incoming and outbound feeds, server ports activity and ingest management.

Aside from serial digital receive and transmission capabilities, the facility is also HD-capable for greater business flexibility down the road. The design team deliberately selected switchers, routers, studio cameras and distribution equipment that had built-in HD capability, or, at the very least, logical upgrade paths that would not require major conversion work.

The greatest challenge was the schedule, and the sheer volume of wiring and work that had to be done in order to move on time. Ultimately, CNN contracted Sony Systems Integration and A.F. Associates to design and build the broadcast technical facility. The network worked with Pinnacle Systems to design and implement a facility production server, which is used for all video media production, including ingest, edit and playback. Sumitomo fiber fills conduits throughout the shared Time Warner Corporate and retail spaces to remote broadcast service panels, all of which are directly wired back to the terminal gear room.

Design Team
Dave Silver, VP of eng., Atlanta
Jeff Polikoff, VP of eng., New York
Jeff Gershgorn, dir. of eng., New York
Lisa Pedrogo, project mgr.

Sony S.I.C./A.F. Associates:
Keith Jackson, project dir.
Steve Sabin, project mgr.
Howard Dixon, Nand Ganesh, Mark Willet and Mike Duomo, project eng.
Equipment List
Thomson Grass Valley 512x512 Trinix Router RTS/Telex intercom
Sony MVS-8000 prod. switcher
Pinnacle Systems: Production server, Encoders and decoders, Liquid Blue edit systems, Vortex Desk Edit, Vortex Browse
Ardendo DART
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