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U.S. House adopts HD Archiving

Mobile Studios' Portacast portable HD production system
Internal HD coverage of Congressional hearings and other Capitol Hill events has begun in the various House office buildings of the larger chamber of Congress, following the recent delivery of three portable HD video production systems to the House Recording Studio from Mobile Studios, Inc.

Rich Rubin, MSI's president, said the three portable production units are designed for rapid deployment -— with a hearing room site typically requiring only about 15 minutes from initial equipment arrival to in-house transmission (and/or recording) to House members' offices.

The portable units allow for three ongoing House hearings to be covered simultaneously. "The challenge was to create a multi-compact and portable production system that could be easily moved by a single operator to produce HD-quality recordings," Rubin said in the January 2010 edition of Government Video, a sister publication of TV Technology.

One paramount provision, Rubin said, was that each setup and remote camera coverage (usually from outside the hearing room) could be handled by only one staffer of the HRS. While the hearings are covered and eventually archived in HD, for now the hearings are fed from HRS studios in the basement of the Rayburn House Office Building, and viewed in House offices, in SD.

Each of the trio of mobile units-on-wheels includes a "rolling director" console for switching, camera control and CG input — accompanied by a rolling accessory case for cameras, cables, fiber interfaces and tripods. Each console is equipped with a Panasonic AV-HS400A multiformat switcher and AWRP655 robotic camera controller-plus a character generator, audio mixer, HD/SD DVR, and an interface from Telecast Fiber Systems for multiple-camera link-ups.

The HRS's HD/SD services are only for the U.S. House; the U.S. Senate has its own equipment and recording studios, as does C-SPAN (which in non-governmental and located near the Senate side of the Hill).