Gannett stations WLBZ-TV Bangor, Maine, and WCSH-TV Portland, Maine, are using remote-camera-control technology from ParkerVision to help produce statewide newscasts and share resources.
"During the day, we share a number of newscasts, and we produce a couple a day just for Bangor," says WLBZ-TV General Manager Judy Horan. "That's how these cameras had such an interesting application."
Gannett has set up two ParkerVision CameraMan 3-CCD robotic pan/tilt cameras at WLBZ-TV and Shot Director camera controllers at WLBZ-TV and at WCSH-TV , 140 miles to the southeast. A microwave channel sends control signals through a single line from Portland to Bangor, allowing the ShotDirector operator in Portland to control pan/tilt, zoom, focus and all other function on the ParkerVision cameras in Bangor.
"It's a two-way microwave system that's used to feed things back and forth," says WLBZ-TV Chief Engineer Jim Chadwick.
"We do a combined newscast out of Portland, where the Portland people can control the cameras in Bangor for doing stories in Bangor," he says. "It's controlled over the microwave system via a leased line with modems. It's what's called an RS45 party line, and we convert [the signal] to RS-232 to hook up [to the cameras]."
The ParkerVision CameraMan systems are located in WLBZ-TV 's newsroom and weather center. The cameras are used via remote-control from Portland for four shared newscasts each day: 5 to 7 a.m., noon to 12:30 p.m., 5:30 to 6 p.m., and 11 to 11:30 p.m. They are also controlled directly in Bangor for WBLZ-TV 's local newscast at 5 and 6 p.m..
"They're preset shots," says Chadwick. "The way they're set up, they can run the cameras from either controller."
Jacksonville, Fla.-based ParkerVision was founded in 1989 and initially targeted the distance-learning and videoconferencing market with its remote-control camera systems.
Over the past four years, the company has focused on selling its CameraMan units and PVTV Production Automation Systems to broadcast and cable news organizations.
In addition to Gannett, ParkerVision's major television customers include Cablevision's News12 in the Bronx, N.Y., and The Ackerley Group.
The company is also marketing a wireless networking technology called Direct2Data for wireless LAN applications. ParkerVision has received several patents for the technology, which is based on highly integrated radio chips.