Switched on HD

KJCT takes its slogan, "Where the News Comes First," very seriously.

The News-Press & Gazette Co.-owned station that produces this ABC affiliate's newscasts for the Grand Junction-Montrose, Colo. market (DMA 184) pioneered ENG and digital technologies in the area. And on May 22, 2009, it became the first station in its market to launch live local news in high definition.

Jim DeChant, director of technical operations for NPG's Broadcast Division, credits the station's new production switcher-Sony's MVS6000-and its own team of vendors for giving KJCT its latest edge.

KJCT News Director Kim Robinson operates the robotic cameras with the touchscreen control. "The urgency here was to beat the CBS affiliate-about a year prior it lost its production facility to a fire," said DeChant, who noted his rival's intent to rebuild as an HD facility. "We worked with the vendors to launch our HD product first-we beat them by 5-7 days."

In addition to Sony, the station relied on Portland, Ore.-based Professional Video & Tape for integration.


DeChant described the MVS6000, introduced at the 2009 NAB Show, as "a little brother" to Sony's MVS8000, which is used at KRDO, the NPG station serving Colorado Springs (DMA 94).

"The MVS6000 was built for smaller stations," said DeChant. "This production switcher was adequate to give us the video quality we were looking for."

NPG ordered it on May 7; Sony arrived a week later to install a show model (which was swapped out about a month after).

Running the equipment was so intuitive for the three-man staff of veteran Sony equipment operators that they worked the board for about 10 days before the manufacturer came out for formal training.

"It's really the same board with an upgrade in technology," said DeChant. "It has much-improved DVE and more key sources, and is a much better board electronically than its analog [predecessor]. The effects memory system is basically programmed, and the shows are very repeatable."

He noted that prior to getting the system, KJCT had very limited on-air picture manipulation capability.

"They now have the capability to produce high-quality looking borders-drop shot DVE with a nice 3D motion element in the borders of the shot-and multiple levels of graphics in their Chyron system," said DeChant. "And they can key more easily from shot to shot."

The station's Creative Services Manager, Dylan Hardy, who DeChant credits with defining the new look of KJVT's news, was impressed by the efficiency provided by the MVS6000 macros.

"You can do a lot of one-button switching," said Hardy. "With the analog board we needed five steps to accomplish the same thing." He also noted that its multi-format capabilities and improved processing enabled the use of more inputs.

"We can do a triple or quadruple source shot that we couldn't do before," he said. This was particularly helpful in KJCT's team coverage of local tornadoes and shootings over the last few months.

And both DeChant and Hardy praised the MVS6000's seamless integration with the station's news automation, camera automation, graphics, clip playback, browse/edit and branding systems.

KJCT audio operator Chris Vigil, director Kim Robinson and Chyron operator PJ EdgellGRAPHICS, AUTOMATION & CAMERAS

"The operation already had Telemetrics camera automation and a Chyron graphics system linked to its newsroom automation system," said DeChant. Telemetrics Desktop 3-Axis Joystick Control Panel and CPS-ST-S architecture control three (of the station's 16) MMWEX3 XDCAMs mounted on PT-LP-S4 serial pan/tilt heads, according to Hardy. The station also uses the Telemetrics EP-PT-S2 "Televator" elevating pedestal.

The three HD ENG-turned studio cameras are expected to be outfitted with Fujinon 17x5.5BERM HD lenses, which Telemetrics was fitting to the robotic camera controls.

"Fujinon lenses will be true high definition-right now [our cameras] have high definition CCDs, but they have standard definition glass in front," said Hardy. "Fujinon lenses cost more than the EX3 itself with a lens-one lens is $8,500 and the EX3 retails for $6,500-but they provide greater depth of field."

Hardy also noted that the station uses the Chyron Lex2 multichannel graphics system (with HD option) and the Lyric Pro7 creation and playout application. Autocue Group's qSeries media management system interfaces with the Chyron and Leitch Nexio NewsFlash Preditor systems. ABC requires the use of Harris' Icon HD channel branding system (called BrandNet by ABC) for news bugs.

Sony did not write any software to integrate with these systems, but did provide an interface to the station's 360 Systems' MAXX-1200HD clip playback technology, said DeChant.

Currently the station provides three and a half hours of newscasts for ABC's KJCT affiliate and 5-minute update inserts for local cable channel Bresnan Communications' headline news. This month, it planned to provide news programming for Western Colorado CW 13's faceoff against the local Fox station, according to Hardy who added that newscasts for KKHD Telemundo 20 were also in the works.