Published in August 2004

AV Helps Keep IPA/PS Fleet Flying
By Jim Stoke

On-air talent can ontrol all functions necessary for recording from a dedicated wireless touchpanel in the studio. Camera and lighting presets, source and prompter routing, and MPS control for realtime video-over-IP interviewing are programmed into macros for on-the-fly control while broadcasting.

 
IPA's Master Control Room supports webcasting, non-linear editing, ENG archival, realtime interviewing (via the VTC/MPS), Chroma Key and live press distribution. All local and remote AV network sources are available to the operator.

Technology helps the world’s 11th largest airline keep informed.

      Thanks to AV, Independent Pilots Association (IPA) pilots can safely navigate their planned routes and deliver United Parcel Service (UPS) shipments successfully.
     Daily webcasts from IPA’s Louisville KY headquarters and timely information regarding global events assist pilots during flights around the globe, including territories that currently are experiencing the unstable conditions of war or revolution. As IPA executives track the state of different countries and negotiate air-travel space, the technology-enhanced AV infrastructure at headquarters allows the pilots to complete flights without incident.

AV System Overview
     IPA is the collective bargaining unit for the 2500 professional pilots who fly the 268 heavy jet UPS fleet. IPA pilots fly more than 1890 UPS flights every day to multiple points over five continents. In addition to being the world’s largest transportation company, UPS is also the world’s eleventh largest airline. IPA’s newly constructed, technology-driven Louisville headquarters is the first building in the Fern Valley Business corridor. The 16,000-square-foot corporate development provides office space to local businesses for lease. In addition, it provides the community with a high-tech AV facility.
     PSG Systems in Louisville provided the AV/IP integration, with Steve Ross the design engineer. Taking a technology overview of the project, a Cat5e UTP AV network infrastructure dynamically connects and provides control of a broadcast/webcast studio, digital production suite, CATV headend and a mobile presentation system (MPS) with 12 faceplate locations throughout the building. Specifically, the Cat5e matrix delivers transcoded S-video plus left/right audio over the AV network along with LAN and VOIP (voice over IP) connections for support of videoconfer-encing and AMX Netlinx master-to-master control. An AMX wireless touchpanel system controls all studio and MPC functions including studio lighting with AMX Radia dimming.

Time-Sensitive News
     “The pilots are flying all over the world every day,” explained Joe Haysley, IPA’s media resource director. “Their news is time-sensitive. They really need to know up-to-the-minute what’s going on with the airline industry and with UPS. That’s what led us to this means of communication.” He noted that IPA produces a daily internet broadcast, which runs from five to seven minutes. It’s compressed, archived and put on a private website for crew members to access at their convenience. There’s also the capability of doing live broadcasts via a telephone interface system, which allows crew members to call in or send emails to IPA headquarters to find out what’s going on with the executive board, negotiations and other topical issues. Answers to questions are recorded, compressed and uploaded to a website, “so crew members can ask a question during a flight and have the answer once they land on the ground.”

The MPS (Mobile Presentation System) is a turkey presentation and audio-and videoconferencing system. Quad-windowing hardware and wireless control allow even the technologically challenged user to display or share any local or remote AV source from anywhere on the AV Network. The custom hardwood unit is engineered so movement to and from AV network-enabled rooms can be accomplished easily by one person.
   

AV LAN
     “The facility is set up on an AV network,” added Haysley. “We can send and receive audio and video throughout the whole building. We record meetings that are going on up on third floor as well as send video to them from the headend or from the studio.”
     “Our idea, which is a bit unique, was to develop a parallel AV LAN,” pointed out design engineer Ross, “so we’re not running video and audio across their data LAN.” Via Cat5e twisted pairs, information can be taken from any of the 16 AV LAN drops in the building and sent back to the headend where it can be sent wherever in the world the signal has to go. AV access is very flexible. “For instance, the IPA president could wheel our Mobile Presentation System (MPS into his office or into the boardroom or any number of conference rooms, the broadcast studio or the control room,” said Ross. All audio and video goes through an Autopatch 20x20 Cat5 router.

‘Boardroom in a Box’
     According to IPA’s Haysley, the MPS “gets used every single day. It has everything but a coffee maker!” PSG’s Ross described the Mobile Presentation System as a “boardroom in a box” because of its AV versatility. “This is the first master-to-master AMX configuration we know of where the second master was mobile. In other words, the NetLinx master controller in the presentation cart can be plugged into any one of the 16 AV LAN drops.” The custom hardwood cart was customized by Ross Wuletich in Louisville.
     Specifically, the MPS capabilities include audio- and videoconferencing as well as VHS, CD and DVD. Laptops can be hooked up for PowerPoint presentations as well as connected to the AV network to send and receive video. The cart has a dedicated 50-inch Panasonic plasma panel that’s fed off an RGB Spectrum QuadView processor, which simultaneously displays up to four images from different sources on the plasma panel. The four window displays are scaleable as well. The information viewed on the MPC would include interviews, videoconferencing, presentations, teleprompter notes and real-time video from the IPA president’s office.
     There’s a drawer at the bottom of the MPS with four Shure boundary mics that can be put on a tabletop. Audioconferencing and processing is done through a ClearOne. Audio reinforcement is done through the cart’s plasma speakers. In addition, a ClearOne integrated VTC codec handles the videoconferencing.
     Ross noted that the AV LAN drops have a two-gang wall plate with four Neutrik RJ45 connectors. “That’s important because their RJ45 locks like XLR, so it doesn’t break off. They’re very easy to plug in and they’re all color-coded. The Cat5e cables were color-coded as well for easy identification by the electricians when they pulled cable during installation.

Broadcast Studio
     “We use a Sony Edit Station as our editing system,” said IPA’s Haysley, describing studio production aspects, “and we have green-screen capabilities. We also out-source, so the studio is used fairly steadily. We do news for other airlines and promotional videos for local companies. We also do a lot of training videos.” The studio as well as everything else on the AV LAN is S-video and stereo audio. The bulk of the studio and control-room equipment was existing from IPA’s former facility, relocated and re-used at the new studio.
     However PSG supplied two large S-video monitors in the new studio. And PSG worked with Auralex Acoustics in the acoustical treatment of the studio. The main acoustical challenge was that the studio space was smack in the middle and, explained Ross, “It’s office building space. No provisions were made in the original design for any kind of acoustic treatment or sound isolation. We added neopreme rubber sound blocks to keep air from entering the walls. Then we built another wall inside and filled that with acoustic material fiber. It dampens beautifully. You can’t hear anything [outside of the studio]. We treated the studio’s dropped ceiling similarly; we laid mineral fiber and neopreme rubber across their ceiling tiles.”
     PSG also provided the studio lighting with AMX Radia dimming. “We opted for broadcast-grade fluorescent lighting. There was going to be a problem balancing the HVAC if we used traditional incandescent lighting because of the heat.”

Multiple Functionality
     Ross pointed out that the broadcast studio acts very much like a traditional TV network studio, except on a smaller scale. That is, there are real-time graphics to lay in the background via the MPS. “For instance, you can set the cart’s plasma display behind or next to the talent and get what looks like a medium shot PIP [picture-in-picture].”
     The technology also allows for real-time interviews, which is an extensive management process in the network TV broadcast world with satellite time and technicians on the far end and studio end of the interview. However, with this IP videoconferencing solution and “boardroom-in-a-box” presentation system, those issues are handled automatically. There’s echo cancellation in videoconferencing and S-video doesn’t need to be synchronized because the signal is on vertical interval, which is digitally encoded across the AV LAN. “It works out perfectly,” said Ross. “They’re able to do real-time interviews for a minimal amount of money.”
     PSG furnished completely new equipment for the head end. Mounted in Middle Atlantic racks are the AMX NetLinx master controller with a 15-inch video-enabled touchpanel interface, the Autopatch 20x20 Cat5/UTP router, a DVD/VCR combo deck, Drake RF equipment for the cable TV system and DSS receivers. “We put a commercial-grade antenna on the roof and their DSS provider provided the receivers,” said Ross.
     “We also did the internal cable TV distribution system. Any two sources from the AV LAN can be modulated across the cable TV system that goes throughout the building.” Break rooms, common areas and the lobby have JVC 27-inch S-video TVs with DVD/VCR combos. Sources would include DSS, notifications, a message from the president’s office or a PowerPoint presentation.

PSG Systems LLC
     
PSG Systems LLC, Louisville KY, was formed in February 2002 by a small group of career professionals united behind the common goals of providing superior customer service and excellence in design. Virtually everything PSG does is design/build. The firm distinguishes itself providing innovative and cost-effective solutions to customers from a diverse array of professions.
    Clientele include theatrical, corporate, educational, houses of worship, industrial and museums. PSG offers professional audio and sound reinforcement, lighting, video presentation and production equipment, video teleconferencing, CATV/DSS distribution and advanced remote control design and programming.



Equipment


1 AMX ABS Axlink buss strip
1 AMX ACRK Rack Kit
1 AMX AXB-DMX512 Axcess DMX interface
1 AMX AXB-VOL3 Axcess volume interface
1 AMX AXD-MSP8 8-button wall-mount entry station
1 AMX NXI Netlinx integrated controller
1 AMX NXI-CPNW NetLinx viewpoint package
1 AMX NXI-CPNW NetLinx viewpoint RF package
w/ME260 master card
1 AMX RDA-ENC4 Radia enclosure
2 AMX RDM-SWM switch modules
1 AMX UPC20+ AC power interface
1 AMX VTM-D15/AS multimedia system w/TPI-VID card
3 Auralex DST422 12/96, boxes
1 Auralex DST422 6/48, 1/2 box
6 Auralex Foamtak spray adhesive, can
14 Auralex RC-8 resilient isolation channels (24/box)
4 Auralex Sheetblok 4x30 RL sound barriers, 10 RL
26 Auralex studio-grade mineral fiber 2" (6/box)
12 Auralex 2x2 T’fusors
1 AutoPatch Cat5 transceiver pair
1 AutoPatch Cat5 transmitter, BNC3/T to UTP/Cat5
1 AutoPatch custom Cat5e SVID/ST aud 20x20
router w/transcoder pairs
1 Baird B3-34x40 non-pen roof mount for 1.0M antenna
1 Baird pad for B3-34x40 mount
1 Clear-Com 820022 rackmount for MA4
1 Clear-Com MA4 IFB control panel w/mic
1 Clear-Com PIC-4000B IFB centralelectronics
1 Clear-Com PS-464 power supply
4 Clear-Com TR-50 IFB monaural talent receivers
1 ClearOne V2200 V-There Integrated VTC codec, IP
1 ClearOne XAP400 audio matrix
1 CSI Scan-Do scan converter w/rack mount
1 Drake 4-way RF splitter/combiner
1 Drake 8-way RF splitter combiner
1 Drake DAR8642 RF amp
2 Drake MMTS20 stereo audio encoders
1 Drake PC1201 passive combiner
1 Drake RMM4 rack-mount/PSU
2 Drake VMM806AG RF agile modulators
4 ETC A Edisons
4 ETC PARNel variable fresnel
2 Furman AR-PRO AC voltage regulator/conditioners
2 Furman PL-8 power cond + lights
7 JVC AV27320 27" monitors w/S-video
2 JVC AV36330 36" studio monitors
9 JVC HRXVC1 DVD/VCR combos
5 Kramer 401C YC to composite video transcoders
1 Kramer PT102V 1x2 Video DA
Liberty Wire & Cable CATV cable, coax, accessories
6 Light Tech LT255DMX dimmable CFL studio lighting
fixtures, accessories
1 Middle Atlantic CLB-10 10' ladder rack
1 Middle Atlantic MRK2426 24RU gangable rack
1 Middle Atlantic MRK3726 37RU gangable rack
1 Middle Atlantic WRK-24MDK presentation enclosure
1 Ocean Matrix OMX-4005 1x2 VGA/XGA distribution amp
1 Ocean Matrix OMX-6004 video TX coder
1 Ocean Matrix OMX7008 composite video/balanced
audio distribution amp
2 Panasonic TH-50PHD3U 50" plasma panels
2 Panasonic TY-SP50PHD3W stereo speakers for plasma
1 Panasonic TY-WK42PV1 tilt wall mount for plasma
5 Premier PP-5 6X6 ceiling mount plates
Rapco cables, accessories
2 RDL PS24A power supplies
3 RDL RU-DA4D 1x4x2 audio DAs (studio)
1 RDL RU-DA4D stereo audio DA 1x2 (DSS)
1 RDL ST-UBA2 audio transformer unbal to bal
stereo/mono sum (press)
1 RGB Spectrum 920 6994 rack kit
1 RGB Spectrum Quadview Plus
1 Ross Wuletich custom hardwood presentation cart
1 Saturn SD-50555 dual DSS LNBF
4 Shure. MX393/C cardioid boundary tabletop
mics w/cables
3 TecNec FSL-1 on-air high voltage lights
4 TecNec RB-CKG72 72"x1YD fire-retardant grn
Chroma Key cloths
1 Yamaha YST-MS8B multimedia powered speaker (pair)

List is edited from information supplied by PSG Systems LLC.


Jim Stokes, a Sound & Communications Contributing Editor, has been involved in the AV industry for 33 years as an AV technician and recording studio designer among other areas.

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