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Cable Technology Feature Article

January 29, 2014

Local TV Affiliate Revamps Studio Operations with Vizrt

By Tara Seals, TMCnet Contributor

WWAY-TV, the local ABC station in Wilmington, N.C., has chosen Vizrt (News - Alert) to develop a trackless virtual studio to enhance its live programming.

WWAY-TV has replaced its hard set, aging control room and standalone cameras with robotic cameras, Viz Virtual Studio and Vizrt’s TV in a box solution to provide complete graphics-led newscasts controlled by just one operator.

The TV affiliate said that the new on-air look has already proved successful, helping WWAY-TV to attract new audiences and improve viewer ratings.

“The solution had to be cost-effective first, and secondly reliable,” said Billy Stratton, WWAY TV3 chief engineer. “We now have a system that’s easy to use and also totally flexible enough to allow us to present different looks for our shows in ways we never could before with a hard set.”

The installation at WWAY-TV includes two 3D graphics rendering and video playout platforms (Viz Engine) and“trackless” virtual set software (Viz Virtual Studio), supplied and implemented by Vizrt. The Viz Trio software is used in tandem with Viz Engine to play out all graphics and clips to air and as the automation dashboard.

The new studio includes four fixed Panasonic (News - Alert) pan/tilt/zoom cameras and a green-screen backdrop upon which three basic “looks” are inserted into the main program output (for news, sports and weather). The Vizrt technology also allows live video to be inserted into virtual background monitors on set.

“WWAY is using Viz Trio as their switcher and automation system combined,” said David Jorba, executive vice president of operations at Vizrt Americas. “We’re providing broadcasters with the option to eliminate all of their legacy gear and replace it with a new way of thinking about how news production and broadcast is accomplished. It’s all done through a single interface, instead of several different pieces of equipment, saving a great deal of money. It results in an extremely easy workflow that can be created and edited throughout the production process right up to playout.”

WWAY’s sister station, WXXV-TV, (a FOX affiliate in Gulfport, Miss.), and Morris Network (the owner of the stations) is now looking to replicate the model at some of its other television stations, located throughout the states of Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina and Tennessee.

Edited by Alisen Downey

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