Our city of license is Allentown Pennsylvania in the Philadelphia DMA. There are a multitude of choices for television stations and viewing options, putting our local independent TV broadcasts at WFMZ in competition with neighboring broadcasters from New York Coty and Philadelphia. To keep our operational costs low and our viewers coming back, we decided to automate our two studios with new integrated systems featuring Telemetrics camera robotics to put us on an even footing.
From the main studio control room, a Telemetrics RCCP-1 control panel, which is tightly integrated with a Ross Video OverDrive automation system, enables our director to control four Telemetrics PT-LP-S4 Pan/Tilt heads, a Telemetrics Televator Elevating Pedestal and four Ikegami box-style HD cameras (all of which are located in the main studio). The RCCP-1 control panel also provides our director with complete control of the Panasonic pan/tilt cameras in our remote studio, located in the PP&L Center in downtown Allentown.
A Telemetrics DS-4 Device Server allows communication between the Panasonic cameras and the RCCP-1 control panel via an Ethernet connection. Previously, the Panasonic cameras were controlled remotely through their own dedicated CCUs and the Ikegami studio cameras were operated manually. By adding the Telemetrics camera robotic system, all camera controls are now operated via the RCCP-1 control panel that sits right in front of the director. This allows him to easily set up the shots he likes, save them, and repeat preset shots with 100 percent accuracy—whenever he wants.
The RCCP-1 control panel provides “repeatability,” which means we have a more professional and tight newscast while eliminating common issues that occur. This could be a wrong button is pushed, a camera is not set up properly, or a camera operator’s manual pan is not smooth enough. The Telemetrics camera robotics system makes all those problems disappear.
To keep our operational costs low and our viewers coming back, we decided to automate our two studios with new integrated systems featuring Telemetrics camera robotics to put us on an even footing.
Retooling of the newsroom also included the installation of a new teleprompter system. The teleprompters were configured with the Ikegami cameras, balanced and measured on a jib and then mounted on the Telemetrics pan/tilt heads. It’s nice and tight and there’s no wobble or shaking back and forth when panning. Like the Televator and the RCCP-1 control panel, the Telemetrics pan/tilt units are well engineered and extremely solid, which dramatically reduces down time due to equipment issues.
When Telemetrics sent a field tech in to do some of the installation work and assist in setting up the system, he made sure that our cameras were all properly mounted and balanced. Needless to say, we have been extremely pleased with Telemetrics technical support and overall customer service which is essential when undertaking such a critical studio retrofit.
In the end, the retooling was a very massive undertaking because when you are going from a conventional newsroom to an automated newsroom, everyone had to learn a whole new studio production workflow. On top of that, every director had to learn both the automation and robotics aspects of the system, which are tightly integrated. In retrospect, the idea that we did all of this over the course of an entire summer seems a bit ambitious—but we did it.
In addition to assessing product offerings when looking at companies I am considering as partners, one of the additional evaluation criteria that carries a great deal of influence with me is their history. Telemetrics’ proven reputation as a rock solid engineering company, along with its history that spans over three decades, was definitely an important influence in our purchasing decision.
From their original Trial systems to today’s comprehensive camera robotics systems, I am impressed with what Telemetric has done, what they continue to do from both a product engineering and support perspective. We look forward to maintaining a long and mutually beneficial relationship between WFMZ and Telemetric into the future.
WFMZ-TV is an independent television station licensed to Allentown, Pennsylvania, United States. The station is owned by Maranatha Broadcasting Company, as part of a duopoly with Wilmington, Delaware-licensed MeTV affiliate KJWP. WFMZ’s studios and transmitter are located on South Mountain in Allentown.
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.
Product Marketing / Management