The relocation and HD upgrade of ITV Meridian's News operation has been completed by systems integrator TSL, which is currently pre-building the system for ITV Yorkshire's News relocation into the Leeds Television Centre on the same design template.
With the leasing agreement for the Meridian building coming to an end last December at Forum1 in Whiteley, ITV News took the opportunity to completely re-evaluate its operations and suppliers before making the move. The requirements included an HD-ready infrastructure, a more collaborative workspace and improved workflows.
Although TSL had been ITV Regions' primary systems partner on previous projects, including the build of the original Meridian facility, the integrator won this particular contract following an extensive tendering process.
"We were looking for a fresh approach to forthcoming projects and, following a rigorous evaluation of a significant number of UK-based broadcast systems integrators, TSL offered a higher level of expertise and technical innovation,” said Dave Wyatt, project manager for ITV News Group.
"The TSL team has extensive knowledge of available products and technology, whether it's long-established or brand new. Furthermore, TSL is independent from any particular manufacturer, so we can be confident that it has ITV's best interests at heart".
A key technology, which TSL implemented, was the VSM (Virtual Studio Manager) from LSB. The VSM controls routers, intercom systems, modular gear and other hardware devices to be accessible in all areas for operational flexibility. The system can also be used to create configurable GUIs to simplify some of the control functions that operators perform on a daily basis.
"The VSM's intuitive nature really opens up this previously technician-exclusive domain to creative operators,” said Wyatt.
Unusually, the News Traffic Desk is located immediately next to the News Desk rather than as previously in its own enclosed area.
"With this approach, we have been successful in achieving a more collaborative work ethic,” explained Wyatt. "Not only have we improved the workflow and lines of communication, we have created a functional crossover, which means that colleagues have a better understanding of different operational positions throughout the News Production process".
The Meridian installation consists of a single-studio which, as well as live transmission, produces a pre-recorded opt for the regional on-air split, a production control room, sound control room, two craft edit suites, a voice-over booth, graphics and the news traffic desk. Key equipment includes a Harris Platinum router, multiviewers and glue, Sony HXC-100 cameras, a Ross Vision 3 Mixer, Calrec Omega audio mixing console and a Trilogy talk back unit.
Currently TSL is pre-building ITV Yorkshire's Calendar News facility at its Maidenhead-based headquarters. The system is due to go on-air in October.
Picture credit: Edmund Sumner