Ross Buys Cambotics, Debuts New Products

The purchase of the studio camera robotics producer is just one of its Sunday announcements that include a number of product introductions and improvements. For all that’s going on at NAB 2012, click here.

Ross Video doubled down on studio camera robotics, announcing at NAB Sunday that it had purchased Cambotics, a robotics company based in Escondido, Calif.

It was one of several announcements of new products and major product enhancement that the Iroquois, Ont.-based vendor made at its NAB press conference. Any one of the announcements, crowed CEO David Ross in a running joke, was worthy of its own press conference by a lesser company.

Rebranded as Cambots, the Cambotics pedestals are “robust, durable and precise studio workhorses” able to accept payloads — cameras, teleprompters and the like — of up to 200 pounds, Ross said. The deal brings camera robotics pioneers Bob Scotto and Miles Spellman into the Ross camp.

Earlier this year, Ross entered the robotics market with its purchase of another manufacturer, FX-Motion based in Brussels. The company’s Furio is available in two variations — Furio Robo (full robotics system) and Furio RC (remote control system). Furio’s “absolute positioning” and rail-based tracking makes it ideally suited to virtual set and augmented reality applications, Ross said.

The acquisitions were made without having to bring new investors into the company. It was “all internally financed,” said Ross, who is 90% owner.

The other announcements:


MC1 — A full-function master control switch on a single openGear card for $3,495. According to Ross, the switcher is being beta-tested at WWNY Watertown, N.Y. Features include mixing, keying, onboard logo storage, relay program bypass protection, EAS and Amber Alert crawl generation. As a dedicated, hardware based solution, the MC1 offers robustness and reliability not found in PC based solutions. OpenGear is Ross’ open-architecture, modular frame system.

BlackStorm —  A two-channel HD playout server. The basic system goes for $14,995. A solid-state version, available for an extra $5,000, Ross said, “is perfect for playing content in a live mobile video production offering less power usage, faster data access and higher reliability.”

Quickturn — An Overdrive option that automatically records lives newscast and prepares segments for export to websites as soon as the newscast ends. “That’s cool,” said Ross. “That’s so 2012.” Overdrive is Ross’s news production automation system, which, Ross claimed, is “absolutely the market leader” with more than 200 “on-air” installations.

OverDrive itself is also getting some enhancements. Version 12 completes the set of redundant options, which include HotSwap for switching between OverDrive

servers, DeviceSwap for managing sync rolling of video servers and FrameSwap, which allows two Vision switchers to be operated synchronously from a single

OverDrive system.

Inception — An interface between TV newsrooms and social media. It facilitates the creation and scheduling of content for Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and BrightCover. It also places control of the content where it belongs, in the TV newsroom, Ross said. “This ends the wild west of social media management….”

NK Series of 3Gb/s Routers — With prices of $1,895, $2,495 and $4,495, the routers aim for a market that BlackMagic had staked out for itself, David Ross said.  Added Ross product manager Eric Goodmurphy: “Our goal was to redesign this router family to manage all formats — from SD to 1080p — while keeping the cost as low as possible.”

Not new, but hot is the Carbonite production switcher. Since its introduction at NAB last year, David Ross said, the company has sold 400 of them and anticipates a run rate of 500 per year. The switcher is also driving sales of the Ross multiviewer, which can handle 16 windows in 29 different layouts. New to the Carbonite line is the C1 M, a 1 MLE unit with 24 direct access source buttons.

Ross also announced enhancement to its high-end Vision QMD and Octane multi-format production switchers. Among other things, the v15 software improves the interplay with the company’s XPression graphics systems and with OverDrive.

For all that’s going on at NAB 2012, click here.

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