WTNH and WCTX, two LIN TV stations in New Haven, Conn. (DMA 30), have chosen the Broadcast Pix Slate 1000 integrated production system to produce select high school sporting events around the state in HD. WTNH, an ABC affiliate, and WCTX, a MyNetworkTV affiliate, operate as a duopoly from the same facility. In an effort […]
WTNH and WCTX, two LIN TV stations in New Haven, Conn. (DMA 30), have chosen the Broadcast Pix Slate 1000 integrated production system to produce select high school sporting events around the state in HD. WTNH, an ABC affiliate, and WCTX, a MyNetworkTV affiliate, operate as a duopoly from the same facility.
In an effort to be more competitive, LIN TV decided a year ago that it would be beneficial for its stations to produce high school sports. As the first in the group to take up the challenge, WTNH/WCTX began by evaluating its production options. After evaluating competing systems and rental options, station officials recognized the value of the Slate 1000, which integrates the functionality of a video switcher with Fluent file-based and network-based workflow tools, including a multi-viewer, Inscriber CG, clip and graphic stores, and aspect and format conversion.
“We found that renting a mobile unit — at about $12,000 per event — would be too costly, and building our own large mobile unit with a separate switcher and other dedicated gear would be cost-prohibitive,” said Jamie Holowaty, live broadcast manager for WTNH and WCTX. “But because the Slate 1000 packs a control room full of gear into one low-cost, compact, energy efficient unit, it enables us to produce broadcast-quality HD shows from a small 20-foot production trailer we built for under $175,000.”
Working with Broadcast Pix dealer Access A/V in Concord, N.H., Holowaty supervised the installation of the Slate 1000 as the centerpiece of the company’s new Markertek VPTR-1 20-foot mobile production trailer. Other equipment includes three Sony PMW-EX3 XDCAM EX HD camcorders and Sony HVR-1500A HDV/DVCAM VTRs. Plus, a Mac Book Pro with Final Cut Pro records footage directly from the Slate 1000 to external drives for editing. The trailer also features uplink and microwave capabilities.
“The Slate 1000 isn’t just enabling us to do high school sports in high-def, it’s making it profitable because it’s extremely cost, space and energy efficient,” said Holowaty. “With production quality rivaling that of top sports networks, we’re attracting a strong, loyal, family audience, as well as new advertisers that see the value in supporting this hyper-local, community-oriented programming. We’re strengthening our stations’ market identity while producing compelling local programming that feeds both our on-air and online operations.”
The Slate 1000 features include robotic camera control, so the stations use a Sony BRC-H700 robotic camera for the shot clock, which reduces crew requirements. WTNH/WCTX also use CG Connect, an optional feature that automates the insertion and updating of statistical data in live sports graphics. While the Slate 1000 is configured as a 1 M/E switcher, Holowaty said the built-in macros can be programmed to expand the switcher’s functionality.
Last fall, Friday night high school football games were streamed live on the stations’ Web sites, then aired in HD during primetime the following night. “This spring, we’ve been maximizing our investment in the Slate 1000 and trailer by covering both boys’ and girls’ basketball games, and we’re thinking about expanding our program schedule to include high school swimming, baseball, and track events,” added Holowaty. “We’re also considering using the trailer for community events, such as parades and political debates, and taking our daily, half-hour magazine show, Connecticut Style, on the road to enrich the variety of topics we present.”
With its built-in redundancy and Broadcast Pix’s tech support, Holowaty said the Slate 1000 has proven to be extremely reliable for mission critical live broadcasts. “Based on our Slate 1000’s performance, our corporate office recently ordered a unit for WISH, our Indianapolis station,” he said, “and we plan to share our trailer with our sister stations WWLP in Springfield, Mass., and WPRI in Providence, R.I.”