G4 Gets Its Game On With Studer Vista 8

May 24, 2007

LOS ANGELES -- As the burgeoning console and computer gaming community found its online voice, Comcast – the cable giant behind E! Entertainment Television – responded to the need for a TV channel dedicated to this increasingly popular obsession by creating G4, which in 2006 ranked as the fastest growing network on television.

Comcast is currently in the process of building a brand new production control room at its Los Angeles facility on Wilshire Boulevard for G4, the centerpiece of which will soon be a Studer Vista 8 live production and broadcast console. “We expect great things from this digital console,” enthuses E! Entertainment Director of Engineering David Gaudino, who is supervising the installation project. New Jersey-based Diversified Systems is handling the system integration for Comcast, working to infrastructure designs developed by Gaudino and E! Entertainment/G4 staff.

Originally devoted to the world of video games and its related lifestyle, G4 has now expanded its focus to also include general-interest programming targeting the highly sought-after 18-to-34-year-old male demographic. “We are available in more than 60 million cable and satellite homes throughout the United States,” Gaudino explains. “G4 offers a mixture of acquired material and both taped and live programming from our in-house studios – the latter of which will be handled by the new Studer Vista 8-equipped production control room.”

The facility’s existing control room also boasts a Studer digital production console – in this case, a D950. “We almost went with another D950 for the new audio/video control room,” the director of engineering recalls. “But as soon as we saw the Vista 8 with its Vistonics™ interface at last year’s NAB Convention, we were sold. By the time we finally struck our deal with Studer USA, we had no doubts that the Vista 8 was the best choice for us.”

Studer Vista 8 for G4 / Add One

“We require the flexibility and re-assignability of a digital console, plus easy-to-use control and system operation,” Gaudino stresses. “We are very excited about our 40-fader Vista 8 system, and look forward to getting some shows under our belt.”

The new all-digital production system comprises the Vista 8 control surface, DSP Core and D21m input/output rack, plus a monitoring frame and CPU. G4’s new Vista 8 can accommodate 32 analog microphone, 32 analog mic/line and 48 AES-format digital inputs, with routing to user-configurable analog and digital outputs. “We also plan to use the Vista 8’s built-in audio router to handle I/O selection,” Gaudino says. “Our main router currently only handles video connections, so that function within Vista 8 will be very useful and is sufficient for our needs.” In addition to analog sources, the facility is equipped with Sony Digital Betacam (DigiBeta), 360 Systems DigiCart replay systems and a disc-based server that replays audio and video sources.

The Vistonics user interface is designed to dramatically reduce an operator’s learning curve. Channel controls comprise a screen with integral rotary controls and buttons, plus a touch-screen area immediately below. Channel-specific controls – fader, mute, on/off buttons and so on – are arranged above and below the TFT screen to form an instant overview. Unlike competitive designs, Vistonics provides a simple-to-understand paradigm: “Where you look is where you control.”

G4’s new audio/video control room will be used eight to ten hours a day, five days a week to prepare a number of pre-recorded shows as well as the hugely popular Attack of the Show, which screens live each weekday at 7:00 p.m. EST, with a repeat three hours later to Pacific-zone viewers. “With that type of live and pre-recorded schedule,” Gaudino reasons, “we need high reliability in a console. Studer has always responded quickly to our service and support requirements. Plus, the company has a sales office close by in Northridge, so we can be back up in less than four hours, should something untoward happen to the console.”

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