Outdated broadcasting equipment can hinder the quality of any production. The below article explores how The Florida Channel managed to enhance their live legislature coverage for at-home viewers with Panasonic PTZ cameras and live production switcher.
As a government-access television network housed in the Florida Capitol building in Tallahassee, The Florida Channel serves as the state’s primary source for live, unedited coverage of the governor, cabinet, legislature and Supreme Court. We are funded by the Florida Legislature and produced and operated by Florida State University’s WFSU-TV.
We have always recorded every Capitol meeting, broadcasting them live or online before archiving them. However, the ability to tune in remotely became much more important during the pandemic when the Capitol was closed to the public.
In recent years, we had deployed 70 robotic cameras throughout the Capitol complex, but in 2021, it was time to upgrade the camera systems in the House and Senate chambers and the Knott committee rooms. Our outdated equipment began causing issues and failures, inhibiting our ability to provide high-quality content for at-home viewers.
Better Workflows in the House
After looking at multiple solutions, we chose to deploy eight Panasonic AW-UE150 4K 60p PTZ cameras with AW-SF300 Visual Preset Software because of their high-quality acquisition, ease of use and reasonable price points.
Our production crews have always maintained a busy schedule. While covering one live meeting, they simultaneously cover three other meetings for later viewing. When the state legislature is in session, we often capture as many as 16 meetings per day for the Florida Senate and the Florida House of Representatives, producing 2,500 hours of annual public programming. Our remote events group also covers key government meetings statewide when the state legislature is not in session.
With the UE150 cameras, one operator can run anywhere from three to eight cameras at a time. We can make our audience feel part of the action with the ability to capture more close-ups of the speakers through the 20X zoom. The cameras’ seamless operation makes them easy to use whether the operator is an experienced member of the production team or part-time employee.
We also implemented Panasonic’s AV-UHS500 4K/HD live production switcher, which aligns well with the cameras to streamline workflows with their easy-to-use interface and built-in PIP, viewfinder and waveform monitor.
Remote Camera Control
In addition to deploying the new PTZ cameras, we installed single-mode fiber-optic wiring around the Capitol complex to control the cameras remotely from a central master control. This new setup, along with the flexibility afforded by the cameras, has made our broadcasts run much more smoothly.
Since deploying Panasonic PTZ cameras, we have dramatically enhanced the quality of our broadcasts, which means we’re keeping residents engaged and informed on key legislative activity. Our viewership has also increased now that people can watch our footage online via 18 different web channels.
We have already equipped our remote events crew with Panasonic AW-HE42 HD PTZ cameras to support their extensive meeting coverage throughout the state. So far, the cameras have cut down on setup time and reduced the number of crew members needed.
We’re excited to continue improving our broadcasts as we change out the camera technology in other parts of the Capitol in the years ahead.