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Union-Tribune San Diego adds robotic cameras to new studio

The Union-Tribune San Diego, which has expanded its media endeavors to include production of news for cable television, online, mobile and social media distribution, has added three new robotically controlled cameras to its news studio.

PAC Engineering, a full-service systems design and integration firm in San Diego, installed Hitachi DK-Z50 multiformat HDTV box cameras in the studio the firm built for Union-Tribune San Diego. The cameras are situated on CamBot robotic camera systems from Ross Video.

Located on the third floor of the Union-Tribune San Diego building, U-T San Diego’s new, U-T TV broadcast news channel, which launched in June 2012, is carried by Cox Communications and AT&T U-verse as well as streamed via its website. While the channel began producing three to four hours of live newscasts per day, this schedule quickly expanded to 12 hours of news and other local programing during the day, with 12 hours of replays overnight.

“We chose these cameras for U-T San Diego because their attractive price-point worked well with our tight budget and they produced a beautiful HD picture from a very small, unobtrusive studio footprint,” said Craig Claytor, who co-owns PAC Engineering with his partner Gail Pineda. “We knew that the DK-Z50’s in combination with the Fujinon lenses would work well with the CamBot robotics system.”

Two of the DK-Z50’s reside on CamBot Series 500 pedestals, which provide pan and tilt along with accurate robotic camera controls. One DK-Z50 is on a CamBot 700 series pedestal, which performs pan/tilt and elevation so the camera can move up and down. The cameras are set up and shaded via Ethernet using the Hitachi SU-1000 Master Setup control panel. The cameras move about in a studio space that accommodates three sets for news, sports and other reports as well as an 80in touchscreen display.

U-T TV’s live, multicamera newscasts are switched using a Ross Vision production switcher, which can be driven by a Ross OverDrive automated production control system. The studio also uses Ross Xpressions for graphics, a Yamaha DM2000 audio mixer, EditShare storage and asset management, and Ross Inception for social media production. With more than 80 reporters on staff, U-T San Diego also leverages its reporting staff, giving them cameras and camcorders to capture video of the stories they cover for the newspaper.