Battling a tight deadline of under a year from concept to on-air debut, and keeping ABC's "World News," "Nightline" and "America This Morning" shows on the air throughout, ABC News and ABC's Broadcast Operations and Engineering teams performed a complete control room, graphics, and editing playback rebuild and production workflow overhaul by integrating show elements under automation control in HD.
A project of this magnitude could take years, but the mission-critical needs of ABC News accelerated the timeline, and much of the existing architecture and infrastructure was retained to make schedule. Embracing the changes that go with production automation proved to be the most significant challenge. In a major cultural shift for the 24/7 network news operation, TV-3's editorial staff had used Avid iNews as the primary tool across all news programs.
Because so many sources feed the control room, upstream components like graphics, playback and editing needed to be simultaneously rebuilt. The challenge was providing full redundancy for all these components. Ross Video met the design directive and configured a backup switcher for TV-3 to maintain all device control and ensuring continuous signal flow in case of a failure on the primary Vision 4 switcher. OverDrive was to cue and play the "air" and "protect" Omneon channels simultaneously in a single rundown event.
Another layer of complexity was the design of the graphic elements. They needed to transition on and off in sync with video clips. Innovations in
OverDrive included MOS control over Chyron clips and the ability to "hide" a channel in OverDrive.
TV-3 now automates "ABC's World News," "Nightline," "America this
Morning," "World News Now," and "GMA News" with improved performance and efficiency. The quality, reliability and simplicity of the Ross OverDrive system allowed ABC News to successfully migrate to an automated control room environment in the most expeditious way. Ross OverDrive makes significant use of the Vision switcher's device control capability. Control of the Calrec audio mixer, Vinten Robotics, Omneon and EVS servers, and Chyron HyperX was critical to the integration of show production via OverDrive. TV-3 replaced its existing switcher with a Ross Vision Octane 96-input switcher, with additional DAs added to accommodate the newly added input capacity.
TV-3's audio console was replaced with a Calrec Sigma digital audio console, equipped with 128 AES I/O and 128 analog I/O. In cooperation with ABC, Calrec provided a custom-built interface that allowed the new console to be plug-compatible with the previous console. This approach saved a significant amount of installation time. The Ross OverDrive interface with Calrec is an integral component of the ACR operational workflow.
Using a combination of Evertz and Ross technology, fiber connectivity to ABC's HD routing infrastructure was added as well. Further, the Ross Vision switcher is fully integrated into the Image Video TSI-3000 system, the Miranda K-X processor and the Evertz EQX house routing system. All the source names are controlled by an application developed for ABC by VASGO.