FDA Sees Growth with Grass Valley

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The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the U.S. government agency responsible for advancing public health, has one of the largest high-definition studios in the Washington, D.C., area. We perform a wide variety of studio productions for the FDA and other federal agencies through interagency agreements. Our studio is capable of hosting many types of productions, including live studio audiences with more than 100 people, agency news programs, greenscreen shoots and presentations with multi-monitor feeds. Our studio is designed to be quickly reconfigured to meet the needs of any type of production, giving us the flexibility to work with many interagency partners.

To take advantage of the size and flexibility of our studio space, we looked to Grass Valley, a Belden Brand, for a switcher that would provide power, flexibility and reliability at an affordable price. Grass Valley has always been an innovation leader in production switchers, and the 3 M/E Karrera video production center switcher with K-Frame was just what we were looking for. Its exceptional capabilities meet our current and future needs.

The Karrera switcher allows any number of users to control different features simultaneously and without interfering with on-air switching operations. The switcher software can be loaded on a regular PC, and when connected to the network, it can access all the functions within the switcher.

Of the many advantages the Karrera switcher provides, one of the most significant for us is its ten channels of built-in still store. This can be controlled by the technical director (TD) or from another PC in the control room. Changing stills is a simple point-and-click operation, so it’s very intuitive, which allows us to add a dedicated still store operator when the production calls for it.

The RGB color correction is another feature we are leveraging. In fact, we’ve set up an additional user station in our camera shading and engineering area to take advantage of the RGB color correction on the outputs we use to feed floor monitors. This allows the engineer to adjust the floor feeds independently, which frees the control room to continue with production.

We also integrated the video server playout control of Avid AMS and Omneon video servers, so the TD has full control over eight channels of video playback, which can be programmed in an E-MEM or macro. This means video effects and roll-ins are no longer dependent on the coordination of the TD and tape operator.

The addition of the Karrera switcher has really sparked the creativity of our producers. In the past, ideas were limited by the capabilities of the system—having to adjust show run-downs, blocking and scripts to compensate for equipment limitations. Now anything they can think of, the switcher already does. (Within reason, of course.)   VE

Chad Heupel has served as the director of the FDA’s Division of Communication Media since 2008, overseeing the facility’s HD transformation and daily production operations. He may be contacted at chad.heupel@fda.hhs.gov. For additional information, contact Grass Valley at www.grassvalley.com.

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