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NAB: New Tools for News Gathering

Next week is the National Association of Broadcasters convention in Las Vegas, I thought it timely to look into some of the ways in which technology is intersecting with the business of video broadcasting.

Going on location to capture a news event, as one example, used to be about getting a truck there in time, setting up a remote studio, and everything that goes along with that: Travel time, travel costs, and the setup logistics that almost always add latency to the process. Every minute spent getting on-air is a minute not spent airing a live event, as any broadcast news editor will attest.

But as the world of IP intersects more deeply with the world of video, it’s becoming much easier, faster and cost-effective to capture and transmit live news. Here’s a few examples, all based around the Cisco TelePresence EX Series:

  • CNN’s coverage of the 2010 mid-term elections used EX90s to bring in on-air commentators James Carville (broadcasting from his home in New Orleans) and David Gergon (via his Harvard University office). In essence, the technology enabled CNN to quickly and easily take the studio to the talent, not the other way around. CNN got quick, on-air expertise; Carville and Gergon got to save time and travel expenses by working locally.
  • MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show regularly uses the EX-90 to capture live 1:1 interviews, extending the studio virtually as if the guest was physically present.
  • The National Basketball Association (NBA) put up a circular kiosk, outfitted with a TelePresence screen, during a fan appreciation event in Phoenix. Fans were able to talk live with their favorite players, in a “you are there” setting.

In each case, the system transformed the everyday executive desk into a way to reduce time-to-air by pulling in talent and guests faster - without a truck roll, without set-up costs for A/V, without travel costs. It also helps news organizations to differentiate themselves competitively, by getting talent and unique interview subjects on air quickly, from anywhere - at press conferences, during breaking news events, or during the reporting process.

Watch for Major League Baseball (MLB) to launch a new talk show, featuring two (as yet unnamed) hosts in two remote locations, linked back to a main studio using TelePresence.

Curious? Come see more! We’re on site at NAB this week, and the EX90 TelePresence system for broadcasters is featured in our booth #SU2617.

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