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Hospital Integrates New Production Tools to Encourage Healthful Eating

Boston Children’s Hospital produces multicamera cooking program via Broadcast Pix integrated switcher

Three times a month, the hospital produces a live cooking demo that’s anchored by a Broadcast Pix Mica 1000 integrated production switcher.

In an effort to promote healthy eating for its patients and their families, Boston Children’s Hospital has recently introduced its own take on dinner and a show.

About three times a month, the hospital produces a live, multicamera cooking demonstration that’s anchored by a Broadcast Pix Mica 1000 integrated production switcher.

One of the largest pediatric medical centers in the United States, Boston Children’s Hospital offers a complete range of health care services and more than 200 specialized clinical programs. Its new video production system was installed as part of a renovation of the hospital’s Fresh Food Court, which reopened in July. The dining area includes a number of recognizable restaurant chains, but also features the Chef’s Playground, an interactive, made-to-order cooking station that focuses on healthy eating habits and nutrition.

The video production system includes four Vaddio RoboSHOT PTZ cameras.

Patients are being taught how to prepare healthy meals at the station by the hospital’s executive chef as well as guest celebrity chefs, according to Summer Menegakis, retail operations marketing manager.

“When they go home, patients are excited about cooking and they’re excited about eating healthy,” she said. “And they’re inspired to have their parents make these kinds of meals at home.”

The video production system includes four Vaddio RoboSHOT PTZ cameras, with two installed under the range hood to provide clear views of the cooking surfaces, one mounted to provide coverage of the prep station, and a fourth in front of the cooking station to provide a wide shot of the area. Audio is a unique challenge during productions because the fan in the range hood can be very noisy. Chefs are equipped with headset microphones, but handheld mics are also used so patients in the audience can ask questions and be heard.

The system design and integration of the hospital’s video production system was handled by Pro AV Systems in Chelmsford, Mass. Rather than purchase separate components, Pro AV chose the Mica’s integrated system structure to provide a single user interface for camera control, switching, and graphics, as well as additional production tools.

The Mica is housed on an AV cart along with two monitors, and is wheeled into the dining area for productions.

“They wanted a single-operator, easy-to-use system that they could grow with,” said Mark Woods, director of engineering for Pro AV Systems. “The Mica was basically a one-stop shop for everything they wanted to do. It was much easier to use, but didn’t handcuff them into a basic system.”

At first, the plan was for the video productions to be relatively simple, but the hospital has added some sophistication and created custom-produced videos for each guest chef, which are played through Mica clip store. The live output of the Mica is displayed on the dining rooms’ LCD menu boards and on two portrait video walls that are composed of stacked 55-inch monitors on either side of the Chef’s Playground in the food court during productions.

“It changes the ambience of the space completely,” Woods said.

The Mica is housed on an AV cart along with two monitors, and is wheeled into the Fresh Food Court for productions. One monitor is dedicated exclusively to graphics, while the other is used as a more traditional TD video wall. The monitor setup was designed using “Fluent-View,” Mica’s customizable multiviewer, while the lower-third graphics are created with the built-in Inscriber CG.

All productions are broadcast live through the hospital’s in-house network and recorded so they can be replayed.

Via the Mica 1000 control panel, Menegakis handles production duties during cooking demonstrations, including switching, graphics and camera control. “I am not a technical person at all,” she said. “The joystick makes everything pretty seamless. For me, I couldn’t ask for something simpler.”