BURLINGTON, Massachusetts (April 10, 2007) Broadcast Pix Inc. today announced that KHQ-DT, the NBC affiliate in Spokane, Washington, is using its Slate? 2100 live television production system for single-operator production of the station´s "Weather Plus Updates." The weather report is broadcast daily on its DTV channel 6-2; carried locally by Comcast Cablevision, and available from the station´s Web site, www.khq.com. The updates are also fed to two other Central Washington stations owned by KHQ–KNDO-DT in Yakima and KNDU-DT in Kennewick–for broadcast on their DTV secondary channels and Web sites. All three stations rely on the Slate 2100 system´s performance when producing the updates since the weather can change rapidly and dramatically throughout the region.
The Broadcast Pix Slate 2100 system integrates a production switcher, production control panel, Inscriber CG, transitional effects, chromakeyer, clip store, and multi-view monitoring, among other functions, in a single workstation-based system. The system can be operated with a production switcher-style control panel or by using a keyboard and mouse interface. In addition to the Slate 2100 system´s integrated design, KHQ found the system´s compact footprint ideal for its situation. The Slate 1000, installed in late 2006, now serves as the centerpiece for a new space called Production Control 2.
"During the first year that we produced Weather Plus Updates, we had been using our main production control room," said Doug Miles, KHQ´s production manager. "We soon found that sharing these resources with the other daily productions that needed to be done from the same rooms made things logistically difficult. Our Weather Plus Updates were tying up the main control room and studio for about five hours a day, and we didn´t always have the rooms available to take Weather Plus Updates live in severe weather emergencies. Since Production Control 2 is extremely space-challenged, it was critical to have an integrated production switcher that could be managed entirely by a single operator, as opposed to our main production control room which requires a director, technical director, and audio person."
Weather Plus Updates are polished TV weather reports formatted as two or four-minute recorded segments and updated seven times a day using the Slate 2100 platform. A KHQ meteorologist provides the latest weather forecast illustrated by satellite and Doppler radar maps, 3D animated weather maps, as well as live video shots showing current weather conditions. The video plays inside a window that´s bordered by an "L-Bar" graphic that displays the humidity, time, and temperature in the left-hand vertical bar, and icons for the six day forecast along the horizontal bar underneath the video.
Another feature that empowers a single operator to manage every aspect of a video production is Scripts, a companion software to the Broadcast Pix system that automates program execution, including chromakeys, camera takes, dissolves, and graphics and other roll-ins.
"With Scripts, the Slate 2100 remembers all your button pushes from start to finish as you go through your show?which cameras to take, which lower third supers to display, and rolling in any video and music elements. Then in subsequent production run-throughs, it can automatically recall all of those moves in their precise order," said Miles. "All the operator has to do is push a button and cue the talent. This feature can store the settings for several different show formats, which will be useful should we expand our ?Updates´ programming in the future."
Formerly a newsroom edit suite, Production Control 2 is a six by six foot space adjacent to an auxiliary set dedicated to producing Weather Plus Updates, as well as news and elections updates. The studio, which is equipped with several four Panasonic robotic cameras, has a green screen chromakey wall for keying weather graphics generated by a WSI weather graphics presentation system.
While the Slate 2100 packs the functionality of an entire television production control room in a single box, KHQ chose to supplement it with two large Sony flat screen color monitors for program and preview displays; as well as a small Tascam audio board, MP3 player for music beds, and an Avid Airspeed playout server for bringing video roll-ins into the system. The operator can also route two or more sources from anywhere in the station, such as a live video shot from a field camera.
Located in Spokane, Washington, KHQ-DT is an NBC affiliate owned by Coles Company which airs programming daily in both HDTV and SDTV. KHQ produces a two-hour live morning show from 5 a.m. to 7 a.m., as well as live newscasts at 5 p.m., 6 p.m., 9 p.m., and 11 p.m. Also, at 10 p.m., KHQ´s news department produces the live 10 p.m. newscast for KAYU, the local FOX affiliate, from KHQ´s main studio and control room. The station also offers regular news and weather updates on its DTV secondary channel 6-2, which is carried by Comcast Cablevision in Spokane on its Channel 115, as well as via video on demand at its Web site, www.khq.com
About Broadcast Pix
Broadcast Pix is the leader in integrating switcher and computer technology to provide live television production systems. These are more powerful, easier to use, and much more cost effective than a traditional control room of individual components, yet retain a fast action human interface and robustness. Broadcast Pix switchers enable a single operator to create engaging live video, yet gracefully adds operators on its network when desired. It is the only switcher that can be controlled remotely over the Internet. Broadcast Pix is based in Burlington, Massachusetts, with offices in California and Europe. Customers include leading broadcast, cable, corporate, education, entertainment, mobile, faith and government studios. For more information on Broadcast Pix, go to www.broadcastpix.com.