“We saw it as a way to drive our OTT with a control room-type look that would not require a control room to do,” explained Bob Maupin, director of technology for WOIO and WUAB, a CW and MyNetworkTV affiliate also owned by Raycom. “We hope to drive all our digital platforms with this.”
On Dec. 18, WOIO began using the system by offering live coverage of two events in one day, a press conference in Akron and the sentencing of a murderer in a Cleveland courtroom. The production, which was shared on the station’s website, mobile app, and Facebook Live, included double boxes, graphics, phone commentary from a reporter, and other production elements viewers expect during a newscast.
“All of this we can do with one person running this production system using touchscreens,” Maupin added. “We’ve developed some workflows to make it rather comprehensive.”
The self-contained ProHD Studio 4000 is housed in WOIO’s newsroom. With a dedicated JVC KY-PZ100 robotic PTZ network video production camera hanging from the ceiling in front of the production workspace, the system operator can also serve as on-camera talent. A 70-inch LCD monitor behind the operator serves as a video backdrop, and retractable ropes on either side of the workspace prevents personnel from walking in front of the camera during a live webcast.
Two of the ProHD Studio 4000’s four inputs are dedicated to the PTZ camera and an NDI source, while the other two are used for content accessed through the station’s router. During a webcast, the system operator can add graphics, bugs, relevant archival footage, live Skype feeds, and web pages, as well as adjust audio levels.
According to Brian Sinclair, WOIO assistant news director, training on the new system was very easy, and operators adapted quickly to the touchscreen interface. There is no traditional control panel, and a keyboard and mouse are used only for typing CG content or searching for content in the station’s ENPS system. WOIO added a second touchscreen so operators could conveniently access the station’s virtual router control panel and ENPS through a separate computer.
The new production system also provides WOIO with new flexibility. As Sinclair noted, during the live coverage on Dec. 18, the main studio and control room were used to produce an on-air update and a recorded tease for an upcoming newscast. In the past, the station would have had to break from its live coverage to produce the two segments.
WOIO plans to use the ProHD Studio 4000 extensively. “We want our digital platforms to have as much live breaking coverage as we can provide,” Sinclair said. “We’re hoping the JVC system can make a difference in the market with obvious viewer benefit. We’re really happy so far.”