Professional video and audio systems integration firm Advanced Broadcast Solutions (ABS) today announced it designed and installed a new HD-SDI infrastructure with embedded audio for KHSL, the CBS affiliate serving the Chico-Redding, Calif. market (DMA #132). The native HD upgrade included new master control and production control rooms, plus new studio and ENG cameras, NLE systems, and the adoption of a tapeless workflow.
Owned by GOCOM Media of Northern California, KHSL shares operations with KNVN, the local NBC affiliate owned by K4 Media, as part of a joint facility arrangement. Aaron “Mike” Roberts, director of engineering, said the ABS project provided a technological fresh start for the facility, which had previously transitioned from analog to digital SD, then to an HD/SD hybrid infrastructure. The facility had layers of cables that could not be organized or removed until after the new infrastructure was operational.
ABS completed the project in November 2013, and the facility began using its native HD system in January. The new HD-SDI infrastructure includes embedded audio, which significantly reduced cable runs. In fact, more than four racks of system routing equipment were replaced by a 4 RU 128×128 Utah Scientific router. Other master control upgrades include Harmonic Omneon video servers controlled through NVerizon automation.
Built around a Ross Carbonite production switcher, the new production control room features a Miranda Kaleido multi-viewer, Panasonic LCD monitors, Ross XPression CG, BlackStorm playout server, Yamaha LS9 audio board, Clear-Com intercom system and custom furniture from Martin & Ziegler. All newsroom edit systems were also upgraded to Adobe Premiere CS6 and are connected to an 18 TB SAN system.
For field production, ABS replaced an aging group of tape-based camcorders with eight JVC GY-HM600 ProHD handheld camcorders with built-in 23x Fujinon lenses. Part of KHSL’s new tapeless workflow, the cameras record HD footage to SDHC or SXHC media cards. Roberts said the new cameras were particularly effective shooting low-light footage, which was beneficial at the site of a local April 10 accident between a FedEx truck and school bus that gained national attention.
Rather than traditional studio cameras, ABS installed five Panasonic AW-HE120 robotic PTZ HD cameras, each with a custom 13-inch LCD prompter system mounted on top that maintains the eye line of the news anchors. According to Roberts, the system works very well and was “an innovative, inexpensive way” to update the studio.
During the project, ABS personnel utilized a vacant space on the second floor of the facility to relocate the analog news production. The space formally used by news production was then used to assemble new racks and equipment. Once the HD infrastructure was in place, ABS created the new master control for KHSL and KNVN, and its three multicast channels.
The facility’s original location for master control was designed to support a single station, so master control had been moved several years ago during an upgrade to accommodate multiple channels. However, technological innovations allowed ABS to return master control back in its original location. The new HD news production equipment was then installed in the space previously occupied by master control.
“KHSL was the biggest ‘little’ project we’ve ever done,” explained Mark Siegel, president of ABS. “Coordination was critical. We needed to build and install an HD-SDI with embedded audio infrastructure without interfering with existing operations. It was definitely a challenge, but the end result is a much cleaner and more consolidated operation with a lot less cable.”
“It was a logistical nightmare,” added Roberts. “They handled it like pros, but it was a very complicated move. We had three layers of build-out, and it all had to be worked around. We had to keep it running, yet build this new layer of digital, which ABS did beautifully. Overall, the project went great.”