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Integrated Systems - News

Lincolnshire Police HQ uses Broadcast Pix Slate 1000 switcher for video training and simulations

Broadcast PixTM Inc., an exhibitor at this year's IBC convention in Amsterdam this September (Hall 7; Booth 116) announces the recent instalment of its Slate™ 1000 digital production switcher within the newly upgraded television studio at Police Headquarters in Lincolnshire, UK.  Located in the East Midlands of the UK, the territory patrolled by the Lincolnshire Police Force represents one of the largest police force areas in England and Wales.  The Slate 1000 was sold through the department's long-time, UK-based dealer, Team4.

The switcher is used to produce video simulations of anti-terrorism exercises and the resulting 'mock' media coverage generated from those events.  Scenarios are created in studio with ‘live' feeds.  The police headquarters also holds the region's National Press Officers course, a media-training program for police staff.

Officers with little or no television experience are given a two-day course designed to give them experience in making television appearances.  A Broadcast television presenter instructs the officers and conducts a number of different style interviews over the two-day period.  The Broadcast Pix equipment provides an environment that closely mimics a genuine Broadcast situation the officers would meet when put in the position to do a real interview or program.

David Buckley, Head of Television Production for the Lincolnshire Police Department, said that the wide array of features the Slate 1000 offered in a cost-effective package made it the clear choice to add it to their studio, "We selected the Broadcast Pix unit, because it eliminated the need to purchase several separate items, such as a character generator.  With the purchase of just one unit, we had our complete studio.  And because it only requires one person for operation, it further saved us money."

For no extra cost, multi-image monitoring is available on the Slate 1000.  Slate switchers are the only ones with built-in, multi-image monitoring that displays full motion program, preview, sources and keys on any LCD monitor.  Buckley said that he found the Slate 1000's ability to add on a second monitor a strong point as well, especially for those demanding productions that require more than one operator.  Up to 20 moving windows can be displayed on any size monitor or spread across two.  The new software provides the operator(s) with files names and thumbnails of content, comprehensive tally, clip and graphic libraries, clip counters and clocks.  Different layouts can be saved for different shows.

Buckley added that he did a thorough competitive search for switchers when planning to upgrade the department's television studio.  "Most of the other switchers didn't offer as high quality video.  And for every feature we needed to add, there was usually an additional cost associated with them.  The ability to add different types of input at a later date was another deciding factor, as well as the continuing software updates."

Exercises taped for media training purposes often require setting up the Slate 1000 in a remote location.  Before acquiring the Slate 1000, Buckley had to customise a show for each individual training program.  With the Slate 1000, he can now save settings and recall them each time the unit is needed. 

"The most valuable feature of the Broadcast Pix is its adaptability to any situation," explained Buckley. "It's greatly improved our efficiency, and the results on screen are excellent.  Set up time was greatly reduced, giving us more time to rehearse our program and make final adjustments."

Buckley added that the panel design of the Slate 1000 makes for easy operation, "I found that after using it for just a short time, the unit became intuitive.  New users find that the touch screen and Pix buttons help immensely."  The Slate 1000 retains the familiar layout of a traditional switcher, but its PixButtons™ have built-in displays that always show the exact content of every source and key, and it provides quick access to graphics, clips and even camera controls.

Slate systems use a switcher on a computer card (patent pending), which is closely coupled to the included workstation's clip store, still store and Inscriber CG.  The computer display provides full motion monitoring of program, preview, and all cameras, so separate video monitors are no longer needed, but can still be added.  The Slate 1000 can mix up to six digital and analogue live video inputs with five graphic sources and two clip channels.  The Lincolnshire Police is planning to add a second clip channel to their unit.

The Slate 1000 system's live video inputs support both timed and asynchronous inputs, in SDI, analogue composite, Y/C and component for a wide range of cameras, video tape recorders, clip servers, DVD players, and other external elements.  The system's workstation is rack-mounted and installation takes only minutes.  Superior integration enables clips, animations and crawls to start playing on transition to air.

Camera control software is available for Sony and Hitachi pan/tilt systems.  When team operation is still desired additional operators can run the graphics, or initiate soft panels controlled from inside the studio or across the country over IP.  Unlike other computer based systems, the Slate family features "fail-safe" operation, which keeps a camera on the air even if the computer stops.

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