Azzurro Media

Broadcast Studio Opens in Arizona

A new, independent broadcast studio in Scottsdale is hoping to take advantage of advances in broadcasting and telecommunications technology.

BroadcastAZ is using a high-definition broadcast system that links the studio near Cactus Road and 108th Street to global television networks via a dedicated high-speed, fiber-optic line to New York.

“This is basically the window that connects Arizona to the world via broadcast,” said Doug Collins, BroadcastAZ marketing director.

BroadcastAZ’s 2,000-square-foot studio will allow news makers — politicians, entertainers, artists and authors — to be interviewed remotely using the latest high-tech robotic cameras or with a local producer at the helm.

The studio relies on the Azzurro HD robotic-camera system that has been used by the NFL Network, Major League Baseball, NHL Productions and the Food Network.

BroadcastAZ has invested about $500,000 in its studio with a targeted clientele that includes news networks, public-company communications with financial analysts and shareholders, and producers of video content for Web broadcasts and social media.

The 2,000-square-foot studio is available around the clock and allows a commentator or news source to go on camera at 3 a.m. local time for morning-news shows in New York at 6 a.m.

“You walk into the studio here and you might as well be in New York,” Collins said.

He expects plenty of demand for the studio because of global interest in Arizona news related to immigration, border security and a U.S. Supreme Court ruling on SB1070.

Brad Dick, Broadcast Engineering magazine editor, said the robotic-camera systems are increasingly in use and vastly improved, with faster and more precise controls of the cameras.

A control room in any location can operate with video feeds from a variety of locations and have only one production crew instead of one at each location, Dick said.

“It is much cheaper,” he said. “The real economy is in the cost of the people.”

Collins said BroadcastAZ, with its dedicated video pipeline, also eliminates satellite-uplink charges of about $400 per hour for standard definition and $1,000 for HD transmissions.

The direct link to New York cuts the time delay to 70 milliseconds, eliminating the lag on a satellite broadcast between an anchor asking a question and the correspondent responding a few seconds later, he said.

Mark Lowden, Azzurro HD vice president of sales, said the robotic-camera system has been employed for a variety of sports-broadcasting uses.

The NFL Network has 48 systems in use at all of the team training facilities, including for the Arizona Cardinals, and at the homes of its football analysts.

All of the systems can be controlled from the network’s broadcast center in Culver City, Calif., Lowden said.

The MLB Network does its “Intentional Talk” show with the Azzurro system installed in the homes of its broadcast talent, Kevin Millar in Austin and Chris Rose in Tarzana, Calif., with the show produced from a studio in Secaucus, N.J., he said.

“It’s almost as if they are in the same room,” Lowden said, adding that the system also allows the talent to comment on video highlights showing on their TV monitors.

The system can be controlled remotely or locally, as it is at BroadcastAZ, he said.

BroadcastAZ includes Bonnie Adams, director of operations, and Scott Siegwald, director of technology and production services.

Adams has a decade of experience with digital photography and videography.

The HD broadcast studio is behind her home on an acre lot on Cactus Road 2 miles east of Loop 101. She is the widow of Western artist Ken Freeman.

The two-story building has a 1,200-square-foot studio on the ground floor with five cameras for larger productions.

A smaller studio on the second floor is for “talking heads” or live-shot interviews with one to two people.

A 70-inch TV monitor in the smaller studio can be set up with a choice of thousands of backdrops, everything from the McDowell Mountains to Yosemite Valley or downtown Phoenix.

Adams said BroadcastAZ hopes to hire 12 to 15 employees over the next year and add other remote HD studios in other Western cities that would be linked to the Scottsdale studio.
By Peter Corbett, The Republic|
Posted 6/16/2012 04:12:09 AM

Jorge MontoyaBroadcast Studio Opens in Arizona