The Village of Niles, Ill., a municipality north of Chicago with a population of about 30,000, has selected Broadcast Pix Mica 2000 Video Production Center to manage broadcasting its Village Board meetings.
Niles’ current village hall was built in the mid-1990s and it lacked a video production facility. However, the hall has been renovated and a production facility was added, according to Bill Shaw, the director of the village’s Management Information Systems Department (MISD), which was tasked with retrofitting the board chambers and building a video production system.
A large closet that contained the audio rack for the Board was converted into a control room, and the Board chamber was equipped with four Panasonic high-definition robotic cameras that are controlled through the Mica. In addition, a projector in the chamber is another source that can be accessed through the switcher and Mica’s built-in Fluent-View provides customized multi-view monitoring over two liquid crystal display touch-screens in the control room, while the integrated Inscriber graphics is used for titles and credits.
The operating system “had to be easy to operate and it had to be as consolidated as possible,” Shaw says. “The Mica is what made it all possible,” he added.
The project had a number of challenges, including a limited budget and no dedicated staff in place to operate the system, according to Shaw. The system selected needed to be powerful enough to create compelling coverage, yet simple enough to be operated by one person with minimal training.
In an effort to manage costs, every line item—from cables to cameras—was open for bids from more than three-dozen vendors, but 14 vendors were selected to provide equipment for the project. While Shaw admitted it was a “very complicated” process, it was also the only way the village could afford a system that would meet their objectives.
The integration of the Mica enabled staff to produce a consistent on-air product, regardless of who is behind the switcher and how much experience the operator has, said Steve Cusick, MISD systems engineer.
“We realized the only product out there that met our goals was Broadcast Pix. We designed the entire solution around the Mica,” said Cusick. “It’s easy to use, with built-in automation with macros and integrated camera control. It was really the right solution for us.”
With Fluent Macros, production complexities have been programmed into user-friendly macros to automate meeting coverage as much as possible, according to Shaw, who, along with Cusick, has created macros to move and switch cameras, add graphics, trigger breaks, and turn off the cameras after a meeting. As a result, village staff with minimal training can produce a quality broadcast.
Village staff has been training on the system since September and the first meeting to be broadcast is scheduled for December. Meetings will be available in HD for live streaming and video-on-demand on the village’s website, and will be broadcast live and rebroadcast in SD on the village’s public, education and government (PEG) cable channel.