Since its launch in 2016, the CRTV network has built an impressive variety of right-leaning political talk shows that appear exclusively on the Internet. Its stated mission is to reach as many people as possible via TV apps like Roku, AppleTV, Chromecast, and Amazon FireTV with “Reality Not Rhetoric.”
The company has established robotically controlled studios in Las Vegas, New York, Iowa, Florida, Virginia and Washington DC, where it’s program hosts live and work. This IP network allows the technical staff to control any of the studio locations from CRTV’s two main studios—in New York and Washington DC—using multiple PT-LP-S5 pan/tilt heads, Televator® elevating camera pedestals, a single RCCP-1A control panel and an Enterprise Database Control server and dedicated software; all supplied by Telemetrics.
This agility keeps the network’s programs fresh and able to distinguish themselves from each other and from other similar programs online with robotic camera presets unique to each location. In each control room sits a director and another operator who runs the robotic camera systems. An IP network makes management of the disparate systems as easy as a few button pushes and software adjustments..
“We handle a lot of programs on a daily basis, so keeping everything up and running requires an attention to detail and a system that allows me to control different production studios locally or from my main base in Washington DC,” said Paul Kullman, Broadcast Engineer at CRTV. “Our use of Telemetrics is a big reason why we’ve been able to expand our programming options.”
Each of CRTV’s studios features a different complement of cameras—11 robotic camera system in Las Vegas, four in Washington DC and another five in Leesburg, Va.—and a control panel, depending upon the available space. One Telemetrics RCCP-1 control panel sits in New York while another two newer models (RCCP-1A) are installed in Washington DC (for two separate studios). One Telemetrics EDCS server sits in Washington DC and can be used to send commands that facilitate the communication and accurate control of any of the CRTV locations. Another such server is installed in New York as a backup.
The Telemetrics DS-4 Enterprise Database Control Software (EDCS) and server allows any of the Telemetrics serial control panels and robotic devices to communicate with each other through IP/Ethernet networks. Up to four serial devices can be interconnected with RS-232/422 jumper selectable data inputs. Integration of the Telemetrics products with the Ethernet and IP network technology provides reliable point-to-point service connection.
Our use of Telemetrics is a big reason why we’ve been able to expand our programming options.
The dedicated server features eight switch selectable system configurations, eight switch-selectable IP addresses and includes the ability to connect four serial devices for virtually unlimited scalability.
Kullman is using the DS-4 to provide reliable camera control of each studio’s robotic camera system by utilizing a Microsoft SQL database with configurable access control. This provides seamless operation between the multiple CTRV controllers via a database of frequently used camera moves and sequences. The system also provides remote access to all settings and functionality from any networked control location.
“There have been times where I’ve had to run the cameras in New York from DC and the database allows me to do that quickly by recalling presets,” Kullman said, adding that each studio has its own custom settings because there’s a different lighting scheme and different studio environments that have to be taken into account. Each of the studios’ settings can be recalled at a moment’s notice. “And we’re seeing very little latency with the system between locations. In fact, our longest latency is between Las Vegas and Florida and it’s about 16 milliseconds. That’s barely noticeable, if at all, to the viewer.”
CRTV is so happy with the results that some of the Telemetrics equipment that was installed in 2016 has already been updated, including the addition of new software features and additional pan/tilt heads and pedestals.
“The technology has been rock solid for two years,” Kullman said, “and we’ve been continually adding to the system as the need arises. We hope to add more locations in the future and they will all be based on Telemetrics robotics systems. That’s for sure.”
He also said that controlling the camera systems with a single RCCP-1A panel ensures the systems run smoothly with a minimum amount of resources. And the panel is easy to train the staff on.
“Once you learn it, it’s a good system to operate and troubleshoot,” Kullman said. “There hasn’t been too many times that I have had to call into Telemetrics for support, but when I do they are always quick to get me what I need. I consider Telemetrics to be more than an equipment supplier. They are my friends who are always there to help. That’s a good feeling to have when you are in charge of supporting as many systems as I am.”
While it remains an Internet-only TV network, CRTV is proud of how its programs look on screen and how easy it is to operate a multi-camera show with one operator at each location.
“Our productions are as good as anything on network TV,” Kullman said. “If you watch the footage it speaks for itself. We stand up to anybody.”
Mike Young, owner of Glade Media and a consultant to CRTV, served as the lead design and integration engineer that built all of the facilities across the country.
About Telemetrics, Inc.
Telemetrics, founded in 1973, revolutionized the robotic camera control industry with the introduction of robotic camera control over Triax. Today, Telemetrics is a pioneer of innovative solutions used in Studio, Legislative, Military, Corporate, Houses of Worship, Sports, and Education. Telemetrics offers the S5 line of Pan/Tilt heads, motorized columns with the Televator, ceiling or floor mounted TeleGlide track systems and expansive software control packages with the RCCP-1 platform. Telemetrics is committed to making the most reliable, durable, and dependable broadcast ecosystem in the world…products that can be built on for decades not just years.
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