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News editing comes to the laptop level

Mar 11, 2002  •  Post A Comment

DAISY WHITNEY
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Recognizing the mounting need of television stations to reduce costs, the Grass Valley Group announced plans last week to introduce a laptop-based field editing system designed to help broadcasters become more efficient and two other new systems to round out its line of digital newsroom products.
The laptop-based NewsEdit LT nonlinear editor, priced from $12,900, is a news editing system designed for field journalists. The system can be used to ingest, review and edit material and then send the finished product back to a camera for storage. The laptop can also be connected to a microwave or satellite truck to send the resulting story or footage back to the station.
“There’s kind of a new breed of journalist out there: the journalist who is the producer, editor, videographer, who’s doing a lot more things,” said Jeff Junker, senior product marketing manager for Grass Valley Group, which is based in Nevada City, Calif. “This tool set really enables the field journalist to be a turnkey production station. With stations really trying to drive costs and reduce their crew size, this is really a fundamental tool in helping them achieve that goal.”
The system can read digital formats through a FireWire digital connection input and nondigital formats through a converter box that links to a Beta deck, for instance. NewsEdit supports DV Media, up to four channels of audio and more than 60 gigabytes of storage, which translates into three hours of media acquisition, he said. The laptop can also be plugged into the network at the station. The system should be available in June.
Grass Valley’s NewsShare system, slated for second-quarter availability, is designed to allow journalists to view and edit the same material in different edit bays at the same time while the material is being ingested. “Instead of having to run tapes around the station and have people make copies of tapes and the time that involves, people can now start editing and working with material directly and sharing packages,” Mr. Junker said. The system starts at $170,000.
NewsBrowse, priced from $200,000, is a PC-based system that allows journalists to browse low-resolution images and access high-resolution copies of those images. It should be available in the summer.
Grass Valley, which is now a division of Thomson Multimedia, has been expanding its line of digital newsroom products since it acquired Vibrint nearly two years ago, said Mike Cronk, VP of marketing.
`Essential tools’
Ken Manley is one of the Grass Valley Group faithful. He is director of engineering for KTVU-TV and KICU-TV in Oakland, Calif., and he plans to use the NewsBrowse system. “They have products that are essential tools for what we do-the cost-effective production of news,” he said.
Still, Grass Valley Group’s main competitor, Avid, considers itself to be a step ahead. Avid introduced its shared storage system, Avid Unity for News, two years ago and installed 30 major systems last year alone, said David Schleifer, director of broadcast for Avid in Tewksbury, Mass. The system starts at $40,000, he said.
Its MediaBrowse system, which starts at $80,000, has also been available for two years and is similar to Grass Valley Group’s NewsBrowse, he said. Finally, Avid’s NewsCutter XP is its laptop-based field editing system, which starts at $9,000 and has been in the market for about a year.