Cityscreen-12 Transitions to HD with NVerzion Automation

Community TV channel finds upgrade path
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Rack with NVersion automation at Cityscreen-12 in Fairfax, Va.

Fairfax, Va. - As the public, educational, and government access channel serving the City of Fairfax, Cityscreen-12 broadcasts a wide range of programming, including city council meetings and work sessions, school board meetings, planning commission meetings, public service announcements, special events, city news, emergency notifications, and “The Fairfax Scene,” a monthly news magazine-style show.

Recently, the station made the transition from an SD to HD infrastructure. By migrating to HD, Cityscreen-12 can deliver a superior on-air presentation to viewers. However, moving to HD was a very complex undertaking. The station needed to replace the majority of its core infrastructure equipment.

Working with a new equipment can be time-consuming, expensive, and stressful without the right automation system. Thus, Cityscreen-12 knew that it needed a dynamic automation system that was flexible enough to provide control for a variety of third-party equipment and scalable enough to allow future growth, should the station decide to add another channel or subchannel under its control down the road. Reliability was also an important factor. Cityscreen-12 wanted an automation system that would guarantee that the station would stay on-air at all times.

Prior to the upgrade, Cityscreen-12 had been relying on NVerzion’s Component Level Automation System Solutions (CLASS). Over the years, CLASS had dramatically sped up the station’s file-based workflow. Based on the massive cost and time savings it provided, Cityscreen-12 knew that the best plan of action would be to upgrade the NVerzion automation system during the transition to HD.

Automating With CLASS

During the HD upgrade, Cityscreen-12 enhanced its NVerzion automation system with new hardware and software components designed to optimize the file-based workflow. The system, which was installed by system integrator Human Circuit, includes: NControl on-air playlists, NGest professional dubbing and recording software, NPoint video preparation software for segmenting and trimming, NBase SQL media database manager, and EMC Ethernet Machine Control for up to eight devices.

CLASS controls a wide range of third-party equipment at Cityscreen-12, enabling the broadcaster to get content on-air more quickly and deliver a better quality on-air presentation to viewers.

“NVerzion automation completely changes how we operate, bringing simplicity, flexibility, and reliability to our file-based workflow,” said Rachael Roth, cable TV manager for the City of Fairfax, Va.

It’s All in the Architecture

CLASS is based on an open architecture that enables Cityscreen-12 to support a variety of third-party equipment. The automation platform currently manages a Harris Nexio AMP NX3601HDI dual output server, Ross Video XPression graphics system, AJA Ki Pro file-based recording and playback device, and Ross NK Series Video and Audio routing system. By controlling all of Cityscreen-12’s master control and playout operations, CLASS substantially speeds up the station’s file-based HD workflow, lowering its capital and operating expenses.

The highly modular architecture of CLASS provides Cityscreen-12 with two major benefits. First, it guarantees the integrity of the station’s on-air presentation by eliminating any single point of failure within its file-based workflow. Station engineers can bypass any piece of equipment that isn’t functioning correctly and still get the signal on-air.

Second, it dramatically simplifies upgrades. Although Cityscreen-12 currently produces all programming in HD, it downconverts to SD for cable distribution and online streaming. When the station chooses to go all-HD, NVerzion’s automation solution will simplify this process. Leveraging the scalability of CLASS, Cityscreen-12 can easily support additional channels and subchannels in the future.

Dyna Seg Makes a Dynamic Difference

One of the enhancements that Cityscreen-12 finds particularly useful is the new Dyna Seg functionality. The advanced software application enables Cityscreen-12 to designate in and out points within a live recording for editing purposes. This feature is very helpful during city council meetings, when there is a recess or closed session, as it enables the station to more quickly edit out parts of the meeting.

“Prior to this upgrade, we were manually jotting down time codes based on where to edit recordings. NVerzion saw an area for improvement and suggested their Dyna Seg, a time-saving functionality that allows us pinpoint certain segments for editing, on the fly, without stopping recording. Since the NVerzion upgrade, we’ve experienced a significant increase in operational efficiency,” said Roth.

Conclusion

Since installing a new NVerzion automation system, Cityscreen-12 has realized tangible time and cost savings. With CLASS controlling all of the station’s third-party equipment, the engineers have more time to focus on critical tasks like quality control to provide viewers with a high-quality on-air presentation. When the station chooses to go all-HD in the future, CLASS will further streamline its operations.

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