Wrangling New Workflows
Stations are upgrading automation to streamline systems or launch HD newscasts
By George Winslow -- Broadcasting & Cable, 2/13/2012 12:01:00 AM
BXF implementations have been around for a number of years but are only now becoming more widely adopted. Rodney Mood, COO and chief technical officer at Crispin, notes that the company completed a BXF integration of its automation system with the WideOrbit traffic system at WDBJ in Roanoke, Va., last fall and has since seen a significant increase in interest. “BXF has eliminated or at least streamlined the interface between master control and traffic,” Mood says. “We now have two big station groups looking at it, in addition to a lot of individual stations.”
Harris, NVerzion and Grass Valley also report increased demand for BXF integrations between their automation systems and whatever traffic system the station is using. “It is becoming the expected method of how things should work,” notes Ed Casaccia, senior director of marketing at Grass Valley.
Those integrations also reflect growing interest in solutions that can automate more of a station’s infrastructure. To help meet that demand, Grass Valley acquired the Dutch company Publitronic and has used its technology to launch a new product family, the K2 Edge, which offers integrated playout solutions.
“We’ve already had some notable wins for the K2 Edge,” notes Casaccia. “There is a huge demand for self-contained solutions for automated playout of a channel or groups of channels.” —GW
Last fall, for example, Fisher Communications’ ABC af! liate KOMO and Univision affiliate KUNS in Seattle began implementing Sony’s Enhanced Live Production Control (ELC) automation systems.
Since then, the station has automated about seven hours of newscasts at KOMO and KUNS each weekday, with plans to finish automating the rest of its news shows by the third quarter, says Brian McHale, VP of technology for Fisher Communications.
McHale stresses that the new automation system has been very easy to use, but they are moving to it gradually because of the scale of the upgrade, which includes the installation of a new Sony MVS production switcher, Sony HD cameras, Miranda graphics and other equipment.
“We’ve basically done a forklift upgrade, and wanted to give the staff time to get used to everything,” McHale says.
Young Broadcasting, meanwhile, is implementing Crispin’s master control automation and media asset management systems at its stations as part of larger HD upgrades, notes Rodney Mood, COO and chief technical officer at Crispin. Young’s KELO in Sioux Fall, S.D., will be the first to go live with the Crispin automation system.
In addition to the Crispin solutions, the upgraded master controls will include Omneon video servers, Miranda graphics and routing and Elemental transcoding servers.
A key driver for the automation project has been the move to file-based work" ows. Used in tandem with Crispin’s automation and its Digital Transfer Agent and DigiPrep solutions, “the upgrades [at the Young stations] will allow automated delivery of catch server content from such providers as Pitch Blue, DG and Pathfire,” Mood says.
A similar dynamic also helped convince KAIL Fresno (Calif.) to upgrade to the latest NCompass software platform for its NVerzion playout automation software system. “The need to streamline file-based work" ows is one of the major trends driving demand for automation,” notes Reed Haslam, director of sales and marketing at NVerzion.
Several Sinclair Broadcasting stations are installing the Ross Overdrive production automation system, with upgrades just completed at Fox affiliate KABB San Antonio, reports Allan Pepper, marketing product manager-technical for the Overdrive system at Ross Video.
This drive for greater efficiency continues to spread into smaller operations and religious broadcasters. For example, Adventist Media Productions, which is owned by the Seventh-day Adventist Church, recently upgraded its infrastructure with Harris equipment so that it would add two new channels.
“They were traditionally a Harris ADC [automation user], and as part of the upgrade we layered in the asset management systems so they could more efficiently move files through their facility to different distribution channels,” says Jason Salyards, product line manager for automation in the broadcast communications division of Harris Corp.
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