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Sky News adds more Autoscript to HD studio

NAB News: Sky News has bought more Autoscript prompters for its HD studio, while Autoscript has launched upgraded prompters and new accessories useful for colour-blind presenters or talent that requires comprehensive countdowns.

NAB News: Sky News has purchased three further Autoscript prompting units to replace its legacy Autocue system as it continues to fully equip its HD studio. Autoscript was named as Sky News’ preferred supplier for prompting equipment in May 2010, writes David Fox.

It has bought three WinPlus XboxUltra systems, each with a Magno Foot Control. The systems will be used as part of the main Sky News output; WinPlus can be interfaced to Avid iNews which is used by Sky as well as other newsroom systems.

The Magno Foot Control employs frictionless magnetic technology to provide more responsive control of prompting systems. It needs virtually no maintenance and offers a longer life span than mechanical foot controls that use tension springs, which weaken over time.

This equipment purchase is the second phase of a complete upgrade of Sky News’ prompting systems. The initial phase saw the installation of six LED TFT camera-mounted units and a further two units for jimmy jibs.

Autoscript’s prompting tools “are completely reliable, robustly built, bright and legible whether shooting on location or in the studio, and they fit seamlessly into our workflow,” said Jon Bennett, Head of Studio Output, Sky News.

New prompters

At NAB, Autoscript showed the newly redesigned 15-inch Entry Level Prompter Plus and 8-inch Hi-Bright LED on-camera prompting systems.

“Based on proven products, the new ELP15 and LED8TFT teleprompting systems offer key performance improvements in brightness, while reducing power consumption and weight in streamlined case designs,” said Greg Prentiss, its director of sales.

The ELP15 Plus requires 50% less power consumption than its predecessor, provides a 20º wider viewing angle and a slimmer, more compact design. Its all-metal case is 20% lighter (less than 2.3kg) with either a folding hood for portability or a moulded hood for the studio.

The LED8TFT takes composite and VGA inputs and has a brightness level of 1700 nits, 10% brighter than the TFT8HB (and four to five times brighter than standard LCDs. It has a built-in tally light, tally sensor input, illuminated control panel for easy viewing and a mounting pattern to incorporate the Clock Plus, TallyPlus, or CuePlus accessories. It uses 30% less power than the TFT8HB and weighs 17% less.

New accessories

It also launched CountPlus and CuePlus, two accessories to make life easier for on-screen talent. CuePlus caters for those with colour vision impairments, while CountPlus provides a very flexible timecode and countdown generator. The products were designed as a result of customer feedback.

CuePlus is a tally accessory that provides both a selectable colour range and multiple colour states. This helps where a presenter has colour blindness, which often makes it difficult to distinguish reds and greens, and allows you display on-air, off-air and pre-tally the camera being cued next. The CuePlus can be mounted on and powered directly from Autoscript’s LED prompters.

The CountPlus is a timecode generator, timecode inserter and up/down count generator designed for use in conjunction with Autoscript’s ClockPlus timecode display. The user can preset and store ten different combinations of start and stop times, addressing the requirement of many live studio presenters to have separate countdowns for programme sections. It embeds SMPTE/EBU Vertical Interval Timecode into the NTSC or PAL prompt video and provides two video outputs that can be distributed to all prompt monitors and ClockPlus units in a studio. There is also a GPI input that allows the Start/Stop function to be triggered remotely.

“CountPlus was devised as a result of a client who simply wanted a visual countdown to the end of a show. We took this as a starting point and added other functionality to make a really useful piece of equipment,” said Brian Larter, Worldwide Managing Director, Autoscript.