CTV Santa Cruz Equips New HD Truck with Broadcast Pix Granite System

Community Television (CTV) – the producer of public, education, and government (PEG) access channels serving 75,000 households in Santa Cruz County, Calif. — has launched a new HD video production truck to provide broadcast-quality coverage of high school sports, youth athletics, and local cultural events. At the heart of the new 1080i truck is a Broadcast Pix Granite 1000 live video production system.

Since it hit the road in December, the converted 33-foot Ford motor coach has been used extensively to cover Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League (SCCAL) high school basketball and soccer games and championships, Monterey Bay League boy’s soccer, and other sporting events. CTV uses its truck to produce an average of three hours of programming each week, which is carried by three local cable systems and is available on demand at CTV’s Web site.

“Granite 1000 brings all the features and functionality we need to produce visually exciting local programs cost effectively,” says Craig Jutson, director of technology for CTV. “While many factors led to our choice of Granite, price was a critical issue because we needed to accomplish our production goals while staying within our truck budget.”

Jutson credits Granite 1000 in large part for holding the line on truck costs (which totaled nearly $270,000) without sacrificing performance and operational ergonomics. “While we considered many top conventional and PC-based production switchers,” he adds. “Granite 1000 was the only one that incorporated all the functionality we needed in a way that enables small crews to produce a multi-camera show in a very small footprint.”

The truck also features four new Hitachi Z-HD5000 EFP HD cameras, a Datavideo HDR-50 hard drive video recorder, NewTek 3Play multi-channel slow motion replay system, Mackie Onyx 32.4 analog audio mixer, and Zoom R16 digital multi-track audio recorder. Jutson designed the truck’s file-based workflow, and ordered the Broadcast Pix system and other equipment from VMI, Inc. in Sunnyvale, CA.

During a production, the CTV crew takes full advantage of Granite’s built-in Fluent workflow tools, including Fluent Clip Store for instant access to opens, bumpers, and interstitials. The graphics operator uses the built-in Inscriber CG, and Fluent View provides heads-up displays to three different LCD monitors in the truck for the technical director, graphics operator, and audio operator.

“The Granite user interface has unique, features that make it easier for one or two people to manage all the elements of a sophisticated live show,” says Jutson. “The PixButtons dynamically display detailed labels of cameras, video clips, graphics, keys, and other assets at your disposal, which prevents confusion and mistakes during the show. We’re very pleased with Broadcast Pix Granite 1000. It’s a terrific product.”