From the 11/30/2010 issue of TV Technology
By Joel Legaspi, KION-TV
Salinas, CA – KION-TV is a CBS affiliate serving the central California coastal cities of Monterey, Salinas and Santa Cruz. Four years ago, when our chief engineer, Adam Perez, and I decided to replace our tape-based newsroom workflow, we turned to friends at other stations for recommendations. The consensus was that we should explore Bitcentral’s Precis news production system.
Our requirements were quite specific. We didn’t want to be locked into a system that required us to buy most of our hardware as well as expensive support contracts from a single provider. We also didn’t want one file format forced upon us. We also knew that we wanted the quality, efficiency and performance available only in file-based technology. Our new system needed to be cost-effective and non-proprietary so that we could buy the most economical hardware off the shelf and easily integrate with the systems we decided to keep. And we wanted to be able to share content without buying satellite time or hiring third-party transcoding services.
Ultimately, we installed a Bitcentral Precis newsroom workflow system which has been up and running since Feb. 2009.
GREATLY INCREASED EFFICIENCY
Today, we’re able to send one person to a breaking story instead of two by using video journalists (VJs) to report from the field. This approach enables us to strategically reallocate our resources to provide as much local content as possible. VJs shoot and edit in the field on a standard laptop. By creating small (50 to 100 MB) FTP files, we can get those stories back to the station via the Internet without using a microwave truck or satellite. Within five minutes of the reporter’s editing a story and uploading it to the newsroom, it can be on the air. This has allowed us to double our newsgathering staff from five to 10.
During our coverage this fall of the World Series and mid-term elections, Bitcentral’s Precis was really a big asset. During the elections we covered Democratic and Republican headquarters simultaneously without having to set up a remote truck. This was really a huge advantage. We were able to go to air with a much better looking news package than our competitors. Also, the pairing of Precis with non-linear Edius video editing software has placed even more technological bells and whistles at our disposal.
NO MORE TAPE RUNNERS
This new configuration has also significantly improved our newsroom efficiency. We can cut a package and deliver it directly into Precis for playout and we can shift stories around in the rundown on the fly without the need for people to be running around the station with stacks of tapes.
We really have given the system a full workout since its implementation. It allows us to seamlessly share material between stations and remote offices. We produce news for the CBS, FOX and CW affiliates here, and also produce in Spanish for Telemundo—all from the same location—by using the same Bitcentral system and sharing materials betweens programs and stations.
There’s simply no comparison between the old ways of working in videotape and today’s file-based, state-of-the-art news acquisition/production system. The video quality is at least 100 times better and our news rundowns have never looked this good.
Joel Legaspi is a 10-year veteran at the KION-TV/KCBA television operations. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.