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Product Spotlight: AirNews

Apr 15, 2002  •  Post A Comment

What it is: AirNews from Harris Corp. is an end-to-end automation software system that links a newsroom computer system, video servers and video equipment, allowing the automation of a newscast from story creation to show production.
What it does: AirNews links a newsroom computer system, such as ENPS or iNews, to the video server where the associated graphics or video clips reside. A producer or reporter can then click on a reference to a video clip on the station’s computer system and view a low-resolution proxy of that clip. The next step is to sequence those stories into a show and queue them up for playout during the live newscast, said Brian Lay, director of product marketing for Harris Automation Solutions, a division of the broadcast unit of Harris Corp. Air News integrates with existing legacy equipment, such as video switchers and keyers, Mr. Lay said.
Features and benefits: AirNews is a multiuser system, meaning a producer in the newsroom can make a change during the live show, and that change is sent automatically from the newsroom system to AirNews. The change is displayed immediately on the playlist for the director to see. In addition, the producer can view on his or her desktop the status of different pieces.
Target market: Mr. Lay estimated that 10 percent to 15 percent of newsrooms in the United States use video servers, and most of those are in larger markets. That’s why Harris has targeted the top 50 markets with AirNews. As more newsrooms transition to video servers, it is possible to link a script to the clips and graphics on the server. “As everyone is going to servers for editing and playback, automation becomes a more important part of that,” he said.
Live production automation: The system is also designed to assist in live production. “It’s not possible to automate entirely, but it is possible to bring some automation assistance and make it easier to do their chores,” he said. For instance, a producer could program the “look” of a live shot into the system-from the anchor to a double box of anchor and reporter to the reporter on location and finally to the footage of the story. A technical director would then no longer need to operate the video switcher to switch between the different sources during that live shot sequence, since AirNews would handle those functions.
Availability: The system was introduced at last week’s National Association of Broadcasters convention. Development partner ChicagoLand TV is the first U.S. customer for AirNews.