Joe Carter, Manager of Technical Operations and B r o a d c a s t E n g i n e e r f o r t h e D e p a r t m e n t o f Communication at UTA, explained the issue with their initial set-up, “Our entire production relied on a single-box production appliance. This forced us to put all our eggs in one basket. We had one student manually creating graphics, importing and ordering videos, and trying to make it all come together during the show with a substandard interface – all on what was becoming an unreliable platform.” Andrew Clark, Associate Professor and Broadcast Sequence Coordinator at UTA, expanded on this point: “We wanted a set-up that would enable our students to gain experience in different positions throughout the production process, not a set-up that only allowed for a sole individual to be responsible for switching, graphics, directing, etc. The old equipment was aging and unreliable, so it was ultimately hindering us instead of helping us to educate our students.” Looking to empower their students and their productions, UTA began their search for an improved system.
UTA had two main considerations in their search for a new system: cost and interoperability. Ross Video was simply the most competitive vendor in both aspects. The Ross products were reasonably priced and offered a single-vendor solution with all the additional benefits of going 100% Ross. Joe said, “I’ve seen other facilities try to mix other devices (graphics and playback); it usually works out okay, but you sacrifice some of the best features of having a fully Ross set-up – namely, the additional control features and interfacing.”
“It has always been in our interest to mirror workflows used by the broadcast journalism industry. Having access to state-of-the-art equipment and software facilitates learning and provides employment opportunities to our graduates. The fact that NBC/Telemundo is using Ross Video platforms motivated the Department of Communication to look more closely at Ross products. By integrating Ross Video into our television studio and curriculum, we’ve also integrated our program with the industry. Today we have a solid relationship with NBC/ Telemundo that answers to their needs by training students using Ross Video platforms. It is truly a win-win situation, one that we are extremely proud of and continue to carefully develop.”
For the purposes of their new facility, UTA decided on the Carbonite Plus 2ME Switcher, XPression Prime Graphics System, BlackStorm Video Server, and Inception News Computer System
The Ross equipment is used in UTA’s live English and Spanish-language newscasts (UTA News and UTA News en Español), as well as their Television Production and TV Reporting classes. “In a teaching environment it’s better to train students on one production position at a time. Once their skills and understanding are proficient, we can consolidate positions using the advanced integration features of Carbonite, XPression, and BlackStorm,” explained Joe. Julian added, “By providing a completely new workflow that accelerates and improves our learning environment with Ross – students can now identify each production position, learn each responsibility, and deliver high quality multimedia content in real time.”
With Inception News, the collaboration amongst students has greatly improved. It’s functionality as a web services allows them to work on the go, on campus or off-campus. “Not only do our workflows better reflect what the industry is currently using, they also facilitate partnerships with the industry,” commented Julian. “We currently have a relationship with Telemundo-Dallas that helps us develop curriculum and increase student employment opportunities after graduation.”
With powerful XPression graphics, their productions possess a reinvigorated and modern look. “It has really encouraged our students to be more creative and take more responsibility,” explained Andrew. “They are learning how to create graphic packages that have enhanced the quality of our productions. We’re a lot more innovative in what we put on the air and it is due in large part to the power and flexibility of the various Ross products we’re making use of.”
“To sum it up, it has been great. We’ve been impressed by the responsiveness when we’ve needed something and the quality of the product is outstanding,” stated Andrew. On that note, Joe concluded, “Working with Ross has changed the game. We now find ourselves on-par or exceeding the capabilities of many professional facilities. Thanks to our Ross integrated facility, students are graduating with very competitive skill sets that not every University can provide.”