Chronicles of an upgrade

About a year ago i first got a call that he wanted to get back on television. When i first started here back in 97 they had a weekly 2am tv show, the 11th hour. Then LPTV 57 came online and they began carrying their show on that. The equipment being used was impressive for it’s day.
12 channel component analog switcher. 3 sony 3CC PTZ’s with 17x fujinon lenses. And a Panasonic on a tripod all with CCUs. Mastering could be done on a Sony BetaCAM and a Panasonic DVCPro deck.

When talks first started about this, the TV HD conversion had just been pushed through so with this new directive i knew if we wanted to be back on local broadcast we would also need to be compliant with HD standards. Our existing equipment just wouldn’t cut it.
Things just were getting old. The Cambridge robotic system was only 2/3’s working and the company that manufactured it didn’t even exist anymore. The original EchoLab switcher had already been sent in for repair and wasn’t reliable anymore so all switching was being done on a Panasonic 4 channel mixer. The rear camera was transmitting a single composite feed instead of a multicore.

I had a vision of what a new program would include and now i had an chance to explore it. The biggest problem with the production is that the core portion of the program isn’t the worship portion but the sermon. Typically this is just a single rear camera capturing him on the pulpit. Once in a while a look into the audience, hold it for 10 seconds and the back to the pulpit. The best way to change this would be by putting two rear cameras in the rear. One tight. One wide. And then pushes and pulls between the two to keep motion during the entire show rather than a single static shot for 25 minutes. Also putting in three new PTZ’s mostly for the worship but if used right they could prove useful during the sermons as well.

Another part of the project was choosing a standard. I decided to use 3G HD-SDI, the equipment to produce it is more expensive but it makes the connectivity much cheeper. Instead of needing costly multicore, i could use standard RG6 with BNC connectors. I could make all the cabling myself. And the PTZ and CCU’s all interconnect with Cat5 cabling.

The switcher would be the heart of the entire program. I had looked into a Panasonic multi-format system but all the cards needed would be costly and make upgrades difficult. There really wasn’t any need for a hybrid system and why keep the old technology when we really should be looking forward not backwards. I got to survey a Broadcast Pix slate system a while back and loved the functionality of it but it was a bit more machine that we would need. Now the same company has a Mica machine. Same functions on a scale i could use and continue to grow into. So we are going with the Broadcast Pix Mica 1000 with the PTZ control to allow the director to set macros and run the PTZ’s if a controller isn’t present.

I had been putting together prices and quotes for about a year off and on but finally got the call at the start of the new year about finding a network to carry the new program. I immediately got a hold of the vendor and began putting the final touches on the quotes. When the project first started I had come up with a ball park and the initial solid quote came in really close. The deeper i began solidifying the project, the higher the cost kept getting. I ended up cutting some of the luxuries but now i have a list of a few goals i’d like to incorporate into the future going forward such as
AJA Ki Pro – Digital Recorder for editing linkable to the BroadcastPix
ViewCast Streamer – to offload the current stream from the Mac to a dedicated appliance also controllable from the BroadcastPix
Canon XF305 – 3CC HD-SDI handheld field camera with gunlock. originally this was going to be the stage camera, but i’m going to use one of the 750’s for this for the time being.
Temptest – Wireless Clearcom system..

All of those have been cut from the current proposal but not forever lost. Possibly after selling the old equipment these can be a bonus. The plan is to take ALL of the old equipment and put it on craigslist as a entire package. Maybe get $10k for it or more?

I’m planning on using this category as a means of keeping track of the entire project. Today Pastor sent the first check for the communications system and the deposit for the video equipment. The vendor should get it monday and then start ordering.

I threw in a redesign for the control area and the current media office. I’ll post details on those as soon as i get a solid “go” on that part of the project. Yesterday i made up the visio drawings for that, today i worked on the wiring. Going to need about 15 RG-6’s to the wiring hub, each about 150ft in length. that’s 1500 in cable JUST for the trunks. I found a beldin bundle that would do the trick but they were listing for $14,000 for a spool. I think i found a source that must have misprinted the cost at $13. I paid $13 and we’ll see what actually shows up at my door.