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WEEK-TV’s robotic cameras profiled in trade magazine

Broadcast Engineering, a TV industry trade publication, recently profiled our own WEEK-TV, channel 25. The station has installed some new robotic HD cameras for their newsroom:

WEEK-DT, the NBC affiliate in Peoria, IL, is using a robotic camera system made up of technology from Hitachi Kokusai, Tekskil Industries and Eagle to produce its nightly local HD newscast in a highly cost-effective way.

Working with a limited budget, Fred Roe, chief engineer of WEEK-DT, oversaw the installation of three Hitachi HV-HD30 cameras, a Tekskil 15R-DBC prompter and Eagle PT-250 pan and tilt camera control panel.

I’m sure you’re all fascinated by the technical information — there’s more if you want to read the whole article. I found a couple things interesting about this article.

First, I didn’t realize WEEK was producing its newscast in HD now. I watched the newscast last night, and it didn’t look high-def to me. Perhaps some other equipment needs to be upgraded before they can utilize the HD functions of their new cameras.

Second, I thought the headline of the article was sort of ironic: “Small station in Illinois produces local news cost-effectively with robotics.” Of course it’s a small station; the more they automate, the smaller it gets! It wasn’t that long ago that a newscast meant a dozen people buzzing around the studio — floor directors, camera operators, audio engineers, prompter operator, etc. Those people are all gone now, replaced with robotic cameras and computer scripts.

While these changes may be “cost-effective,” they certainly haven’t improved or even maintained the quality of the newscast. The number of technical glitches in last night’s 10:00 newscast was comical. My favorite part was when they showed the Peoria Heights Tower camera at the end of the broadcast for two or three minutes, well into the intro for The Tonight Show. They apparently take the green screen camera and key in the Tower camera, because we all got to see Tom McIntyre and Lee Hall leave the set during this segment.

4 comments to WEEK-TV’s robotic cameras profiled in trade magazine

  • someguy

    WHOI had remote camera’s for several years. They weren’t HD, I think, but it was interesting to be in the studio and just see the two anchors and the cameras moving by themselves. They were run in the control room.

  • Garth Madison

    Did you see the 25-2 feed last night? It was a Microsoft Windows XP “Windows is Shutting Down” blue screen. Pretty hilarious.

    Garth-

  • CK

    The weather graphics also showed the forecasted evening low temperatures to be 45-54 for Friday through Monday.

  • Ben

    I remember a Saturday morning weather break during the Today Show, in January, I think that had Lee Ransom saying it was going to be a high of 85. Since it was hovering around 0 at the time, I thought that was quite comical.