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Hewlett-Packard Builds Flypack with Broadcast Pix Slate 1000HD Live Integrated Production System for Sundance Film Festival
Posted on Thursday, April 10, 2008
Hewlett-Packard Builds Flypack with Broadcast Pix Slate 1000HD Live Integrated Production System for Sundance Film Festival

Billerica, Massachusetts (April 9, 2008) Broadcast Pix™ (NAB Booth #SU10605), the company that redefined the production switcher as a live integrated production system, announces the sale of its Slate 1000 HD switcher. The Slate 1000HD was sold by reseller and integrator Snader and Associates to Hewlett-Packard (HP) for use at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. The Slate 1000HD was used to produce interviews and commentary in 1080i for broadcast on television and the Internet, as well as local uses at the festival.

Assisted by Snader and Associates and Broadcast Pix, HP built a flight pack around the Slate 1000HD switcher, which served as the heart of the HP Broadcast Studio in Park City, UT. In their role as sponsor of Sundance, HP offered free access to broadcast equipment so that independent filmmakers could perform interviews and create promotional material. The studio was built in California, de-constructed and shipped to Park City, and re-built for use in the Kimball Arts Center, known as the Sundance House during the ten-day festival.

The Broadcast Pix Slate 1000HD was used for live coverage to Los Angeles CW-affiliate KTLA for its morning show and for a national feed to Canada.

The purchase continues a long-standing relationship between HP and Broadcast Pix. David Massey, HP Chief Engineer and Technical Consultant, explained that his team at HP was pleased to be working with such a reliable and user-friendly switcher. “Our familiarity with the Broadcast Pix system was a real bonus for us. But that doesn’t take away from the ease of use that Slate switchers bring to the table. They’re extremely user-friendly switchers.”

The new Slate HD switchers provide the easiest and most cost-effective way to create compelling live HD video. Their file-based architecture streamlines live production workflow by completely integrating their included switcher, CG, clip stores, still stores and monitoring, and seamlessly networking them with content from edit bays.

Further demonstrating the ease of integration offered by Broadcast Pix switchers, all was up and running on schedule at Sundance in a short amount of time. “We had a total of eight weeks to get the system up and running from the day we surveyed the location,” explained Massey. “That’s not a great deal of time to prepare for such a high-profile event. Broadcast Pix and Snader were extremely accommodating and helpful throughout that whole service and integration process.

Reaction from the filmmakers was unanimously positive. “Once people got over the shock of having a broadcast-quality studio available to them for free, reaction was immediately very enthusiastic,” added Massey. “The Sundance Film Festival caters to independent filmmakers, and many we spoke to were thrilled to be able to avoid spending money on production crews and equipment and still be able to promote their films.”

The coordinated effort of Broadcast Pix’s Slate 1000HD and HP to bring the HP Broadcast Studio at Sundance was much praised by filmmakers who took advantage of it. Many cited the financial savings of avoiding travel with their own production crew. Others remarked that the ability to produce the interview with such a sophisticated configuration meant reduced editing and post production time.

Since the film festival, HP has used its Slate 1000HD switcher to produce an end-to-end broadcast at the company’s Retiree Event at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California, held on March 3rd. During the event, the CEO of Hewlett-Packard addressed former employees asking them questions about their years of employment with HP. In-room projection at the event was done in HD, as was the uplink and downlink to HP’s Cupertino headquarters. The Slate 1000 HD switcher performed an HD to SD 16x9 conversion for the event’s webcast and recorded the proceedings in HD.

Each of the three new Slate HD models (Slate 100, Slate 1000, and Slate 3000) include: a switcher with up to six keyers and DVEs, multi-view monitoring, a Harris® Inscriber® CG, and a clip store. The switchers’ hybrid I/O supports: 1080i, 720p, SD, DVI and VGA, plus analog output in composite, Y/C and component. It can add: HD and SD analog inputs and 1080p output. Both 16:9 and 4:3 content can be mixed while preserving the native aspect ratio of each element. Slate 1000 HD adds a professional switcher control panel.

“Compelling live HD programming has never been more accessible. These switchers create stunning HD productions,” explained Ken Swanton, Broadcast Pix President. “For a fraction of the cost involved in outfitting and staffing an HD control room, Slate HD makes it all possible - without sacrificing quality or polish.”

Unlike conventional HD live control rooms in which many boxes are wired together and a team of operators is needed, the new Slate HD systems enable a single operator to create live HD television productions at a fraction of the cost. They streamline workflow by inputting and outputting all popular formats and aspect ratios, and adding files of graphics, animations and clips that are created within the switcher or imported. For example, QuickTime clips from edit bays can be sent over a gigabit network into the switcher’s up to one Terabyte of hard-drives, just minutes before air-time, and then self-cue when taken to air. For the ultimate “one-man band,” the system can control audio mixers, robotic cameras, and video servers. Slate switchers gracefully expand for team use when required.

About Broadcast Pix Broadcast Pix is the leader in integrated live television production systems that are more powerful, easier to use, and far more cost effective than a traditional control room of individual components. Broadcast Pix Slate switchers streamline workflow with edit bays, and enable a single operator or small team to create compelling live video. Broadcast Pix is based in Billerica, Massachusetts, with offices throughout North America and in Europe. Customers include over 600 leading broadcast, web-cast, pod-cast, cable, entertainment, mobile, corporate, education, religious and government studios in 50 countries. See Broadcast Pix and Slate are trademarks of Broadcast Pix, Inc. Patents pending.

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Editor’s Note: Color product photographs are available upon request.

Robin Hoffman
Pipeline Communications
277 Valley Way Montclair, NJ 07042
Ph: 973.746.6970
Fx: 973.746.6701