From its two-studio facility in Beaverton, Ore., Tualatin Valley Community TV (TVCTV) produces PEG (Public, Educational, and Government) programming for cable subscribers in 15 cities and Washington County. A division of the Metropolitan Area Communications Commission, TVCTV annually produces more than 400 local programs for its five cable channels, in addition to live coverage of city council meetings for eight cities.
With aging equipment in all of its local city council control rooms, TVCTV is moving forward with plans to update each location over the next few years. The first project was the Washington County Board of Commissioners, the largest jurisdiction in its coverage area, which would serve as a template for the other seven facilities. ABS was tasked with reducing the equipment footprint, modernizing the technology, and installing equipment that could handle the county’s SD production needs of today and potential HD production needs of the future.
Located in the County Administrative Office Building in Hillsboro – and crammed into a small space with IT equipment behind the dais in the auditorium – the control room was the oldest and came with its own unique challenges. Equipment had been packed into one 12-foot rack as well as an Anthro equipment cart, which housed an Echolab switcher, camera control units and black-and-white monitors.
Not a total rebuild, the Washington County project focused on replacing outdated video equipment; the new system would have to work with the auditorium’s legacy audio gear, which would not be replaced. Plus, there was only a short window between board meetings, so the installation would have to be completed in about four days. “ABS has a good reputation, and they came out with a very good plan,” said Thaddeus Girard, TVCTV production services manager.
The 12-foot rack is still being used, but it is no longer filled to capacity. A Broadcast Pix Granite 1000 integrated production system serves as production switcher and CG. All jurisdictions already use Inscriber-based graphics, so the Granite’s built-in Inscriber CG provided a seamless transition for operators. Various CRT monitors were replaced with two 42-inch LCD monitors, which receive multi-view feeds from the Granite as well. The Washington County operation was also upgraded to a file-based workflow, with meetings recorded to AJA Ki Pro recorders.
“I knew it’d be different, but I didn’t know it would be that different,” Girard boasted. “We have a lot more space. It is more professional by far – it looks better and functions better. It didn’t take long for our technicians to get up to speed.”
ABS also replaced four older Panasonic SD cameras with AW-HE120 HD/SD PTZ cameras in the auditorium; mounting the cameras posed another challenge. Freight and commuter trains run very near the building, so ABS had to take special precautions to ensure the new, lighter cameras would not shake from the vibrations of the trains. Instead of multiple CCUs, all camera control is now handled through one unit in the control room, which saved additional space and expense.
This was TVCTV’s first experience with ABS, which has managed a number of similar PEG station projects. “We knew we were in good hands, and they didn’t disappoint,” Girard said. I can’t recommend them enough.”
“I’m not an engineer, but I knew what was going on at all times. That comfort was huge, and there has been no shortage of customer service.” Thaddeus Girard, Production Services Manager, TVCTV