Freedom Broadcasting Upgrades With Harris NewsForce

Freedom Broadcasting stations WRGB-DT and WCWN-DT (Schenectady/Albany/Troy, N.Y.) have boosted their combined newsroom efficiency and flexibility with a Harris NewsForce digital news production system.

The platform includes five Harris Velocity ESX HD/SD editing systems and the new Nexio Browse system, a family of products that enables desktop browsing and editing of low-resolution proxy clips throughout the news department.

The browse network integrates a Neixo Browse Server storage array, 12 Harris Velocity PRX low-res proxy editors and the Nexio InstantOnline III conforming engine, which enables journalists and editors to easily conform their low-resolution edits to high resolution.

The entire newsroom workflow is supported by a 7.8 Terabyte SAN of two Harris Nexio AMP HD/SD servers equipped with two Nexio PRX Transcoder servers for on-the-fly format conversion to low resolution. Nexio Ingest Control Manager is used to acquire real-time footage and add metadata to the video.

The NewsForce solution was chosen for the newsroom because it interfaces seamlessly with the stations’ existing Nexio on-air SAN, which comprises five Nexio transmission servers. It also interfaces with the stations’ existing Avid iNews newsroom computer system and Ross OverDrive newsroom automation system.

“Based upon our positive experience with Nexio servers for playout, we decided to build out our news pipeline with the same server because it handles news and on-air tasks very well,” said Fred Lass, director of engineering for WRGB and WCWN. “By standardizing on a single platform, we simplified our configuration, reduced the learning curve, and maximized common parts, software and support. Because they integrate with the newsroom automation system we employ throughout our workflow, Harris products also enable us greater creative freedom and efficiency, which helps move news stories to air faster.”

WRGB produces a live newscast from 5-7 a.m.; news cut-ins throughout “The CBS Early Show” from 7-9 a.m.; and live noon, evening and late-night newscasts. The station also produces a one-hour morning newscast for WCWN and a 10-minute 10 p.m. evening newscast. While the programs are broadcast in HD, each show is actually a hybrid of HD and SD elements.

“The Velocity ESX editing system allows our editors to mix video of different resolutions, formats and aspect ratios on the same timeline,” said Lass. “It automatically inserts graphical side panels around 4:3 SD video, while allowing 16:9 video to fill the screen. This saves our editors considerable time and increases control over the on-air presentation. And Velocity PRX has greatly streamlined our news workflow by giving our journalists, reporters and producers desktop access to low-resolution video, as well as user-friendly, desktop editing and conforming tools.”