Professional video and audio systems integration firm Advanced Broadcast Solutions (ABS) today announced it designed and built an HD video production system for Univera, a Seattle-based direct selling organization that produces and markets health and wellness nutritional supplements. The new system is used to produce videos of meetings and other presentations, which are streamed live to the company’s sales force.
Univera products – including Xtra, its flagship product line – are sold by hundreds of thousands of associates across the United States and Canada, so face-to-face communication is not an efficient method of communication. The new streaming video system allows Univera executives to address more than a roomful of associates at a time. A recent presentation, for example, was shared with dozens of associate groups on the East Coast.
“We’re a relatively small organization. Everything was face-to-face before – it was expensive and time consuming, and we weren’t reaching everybody,” explained Craig Ardis, director of event management. “We wanted to merge the value of live meetings with Web-based broadcasting to reach more associates around the world. This helps us get the message out in a more efficient way.”
Univera’s main auditorium comfortably seats 150 people and includes a small, raised platform for presenters. Apart from a limited sound system, there was no existing infrastructure in place. ABS installed three Panasonic AW-HE60SN HD PTZ cameras, two for the dais and one for audience shots.
The dais was lit using Brightline T-Series fluorescent instruments, and the rest of the lighting in the auditorium was changed so the audience shots would match. Panasonic PT-EZ570U HD projectors were also installed to display PowerPoint presentations and other graphics for the auditorium audience.
A small control room connected to the auditorium was built around a Broadcast Pix Mica 500 integrated production system. It is used as a production switcher, but Univera utilizes a number of integrated features – camera control, built-in Inscriber CG, clip and graphic stores, and multi-view – so presentations can be produced with minimal staff. Three of the four LCD monitors in the control room are Planar PX2230MW 22-inch touchscreens that are used to control the Mica during productions. The fourth is a Panasonic BT-L2150PJ 21.5-inch monitor, which is used as a reference monitor.
The audio system can be run manually or automatically. It features a Mackie DL1608 16-channel wireless mixer with iPad control, Shure ULXD4Q quad-channel digital wireless receiver, and Symetrix Solus 8 audio processing. Footage is captured to an AJA Ki Pro, which feeds an AJA Io XT attached to a MacBook Pro equipped with Telestream Wirecast software for live streaming and webcasting.
Univera’s headquarters also include a large atrium area, which is used during presentations to handle audience overflow. An output from the Broadcast Pix Mica is used to feed a Sharp LC-70LE847U 70-inch AQUOS Quattron LED Smart TV in the atrium.
According to Leighton Hanson, production manager, the new video production system is being used about four times per month, but there are plans to increase usage for internal and external communications. The company is also installing a green screen to utilize Mica’s built-in virtual set technology, and a LifeSize Express 220 HD teleconferencing system, also installed by ABS, will soon add interactivity to presentations.
The project had an aggressive timeline, with a December 2012 start date and the first video presentation scheduled for early January 2013. After considering other vendors, Univera chose ABS to handle the project. Within two weeks, ABS created a plan and was able to get the system functioning for a meeting in early January 2013.
Admittedly, because of the quick turnaround required, Univera did not have a complete strategy in place before ABS began work on the project. The strategy developed during the install; as a result, specifications changed throughout the process. Despite the changes, ABS was able to complete the project on budget.
“We love the system. Without them, we could not have accomplished what we needed,” Hanson added. “ABS knew where we wanted to be and they managed the project very well, especially with all the changes we threw at them.”