PCS builds digital control room for University of Miami

The new facility housing the School of Communications at UMTV was completed during the seven-week semester break.

Professional Communications Systems (PCS) was contracted by the University of Miami to design and integrate digital broadcast capabilities that would be on the same level with today’s TV networks, including a pathway to HD production and transmission.

The School of Communications’ UMTV cable channel provides programming to the university campus and its surrounding community on channel 96. 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 x 128 Grass Valley Concerto router, which is the heart of the new cable studios.

The assignment called for control rooms that would be nearly identical and completely interchangeable. This was necessary for ease of teaching, either during class work or when producing broadcast programming. The system had to be intuitively simple to operate and maintain, and it was specified that equipment would include server-based playout devices with manual VTR-type controls. While the budget did not permit HD integration in this project stage, a pathway was designed and installed to enable an HD upgrade to be accomplished efficiently and economically.

The facility features shared resources, including graphics and audio mixing. The format is 4:3 throughout, and is also capable 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’s 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 Densite distribution, conversion and embedding — as well as a Clear-Com Eclipse Omega digital intercom. In addition to the Grass Valley master control and Concerto 128x128 SD/HD router, each room has a Grass Valley Kayak 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.

For more information, visit www.pcomsys.com.