Melrose Community Access Upgrades On-Air Quality with Broadcast Pix

With its upgrade to the Slate 5000, MMTV also made the move to an SDI workflow.
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A new Slate 5000 integrated production system from Broadcast Pix is at the center of an overhaul of the control room at Melrose (Mass.) Community Access Television (MMTV).

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MMTV production coordinator Michael Miner works on the new station’s new Broadcast Pix Slate 5000 switcher.

MMTV has two studios at its main facility, each equipped with three JVC cameras. (An additional JVC camera is mounted on a jib and shared between the studios.) Programs are produced in SD and broadcast locally by Comcast and Verizon. Access A/V, based in Concord, N.H., was the integrator for the control room upgrade, which was completed during the summer and has been in use since September.

MMTV has been actively providing a public access forum for Melrose residents since 1992. MMTV also supports the area’s city government and educational channels. According to Patrick Doyle, executive director, the studios usually produce close to 10 hours of new programming each week, with up to six hours of additional programming from City Hall.

Chip Potito, production engineer at MMTV, said the station was looking at a number of switchers in the same price range as the Slate 5000. However, since the new switcher was going to replace an aging Grass Valley 3000, the station wanted a traditional control panel, not a touch screen interface. The integrated Fluent workflow tools, particularly multi-view and clip store, made the Broadcast Pix an obvious choice.

“This one box eliminates so much of our older equipment,” he said, “and it’s so easy to use and customize.”

With its upgrade to the Slate 5000, MMTV also made the move to an SDI workflow. “That has increased our quality immensely,” Potito said. “The shows look so much better. Now we have broadcast-level quality to match our content.”

The Slate 5000’s built-in Fluent Multi-View helped MMTV save money and space in the control room. A bank of 17 CRT monitors were replaced with two 52-inch Samsung LCD screens. Two additional 21-inch LCDs were installed for the director and graphics stations. With the new monitor setup, Potito said the station has reduced power and A/C use, and he appreciates the ability to program different monitor wall layouts for different shows.

With only one full-time and two part-time employees, MMTV is driven primarily by volunteers. Doyle said MMTV has more than 110 members, including many churches and nonprofit groups, but about 20 very active members regularly produce programming.

“MMTV has always had a wide range of members and member goals. In the past they were restricted to one way of doing things,” Doyle said. “Now, with the Broadcast Pix, creative freedom is at your fingertips. They love the fact that you can program your own ‘show design’ in the switcher.”

One program that has benefited from the new Broadcast Pix Slate 5000 is “Melrose Red Raider Report,” also known as MR3. A bi-weekly sports show produced by a collaboration of high school students and adult volunteers, the live-to-tape program features a variety of content, including news and interviews.

Potito said the student volunteers shoot game footage during the week and are often editing packages together until the last minute. Fluent Macros are used extensively to pre-program opens and other effects during the show, and can be quickly changed to incorporate new source material. “That’s where the flexibility of the Broadcast Pix comes into play,” he said. “We have a lot of effects that are constantly changing. Fluent Macros has been a saving grace for us. It’s very easy to use.”

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