As Meredith Broadcasting marches toward a fully digital future, it has begun standardizing station news operations on Avid nonlinear editing and storage.
The group has already converted two of its stations, KPTV Portland, Ore., and KPHO Phoenix. Up next? WSMV Nashville, Tenn., and WGCL Atlanta by the end of the year, followed by WNEM Saginaw, Mich., WHNS Greenville, S.C., WFSB Hartford, Conn., and KVVU Las Vegas.
"Whether large or small, the stations still produce the news in the same manner," says Joe Snelson, Meredith vice president and director of engineering. "The only difference is that the larger station will have more gear."
The deal includes Avid's Unity systems for storage, NewsCutter Adrenaline FX nonlinear editor, and NewsCutter XP laptop editors, which provide frame-accurate DV-format output to tape in real time with 2D and 3D digital video effects. Other Avid products include the AirSPACE server and the Xdeck, which helps ingest content from microwave or satellite feeds.
KPTV Chief Engineer Ed Williams has been working with the Avid gear for four years now. The news people love it, he says, particularly the six XP laptops that bounce around the newsroom and allow reporters and producers to dabble in editing. "We have one in the graphics suite as well. They don't need a full editor; they just need access to graphics to build opens," he adds. "There is one in the newsroom that the producers use to view stories and make quick cuts."
Williams says reporters get used to doing their own editing fairly quickly. Some like the idea of controlling what footage gets on-air.
Meredith uses the Panasonic DVCPRO tape format and all content is ingested onto the Unity network storage system.
That workflow could change in the next year or two. Snelson says the group will take a close look at Panasonic's new P2 solid-state recording technology. The P2 cameras record on flash-memory cards and have no moving parts. He finds that compelling: "The biggest thing to me is maintenance, not having to worry about tapes and mechanical parts."