Primetime Emmys Prove New Grass Valley Kayenne Workflow

The Grass Valley Kayenne production switcher allowed three technical directors to use it at the same time during the Primetime Emmys.

Production switchers like the Grass Valley Kayenne continue to become more capable, opening up new ways for production companies to streamline technical operations without compromising the quality of the production. The latest proof?

The 64th Primetime Emmy Awards that were produced out of NEP Broadcasting’s Sweetwater COBALT and its JOECO 5000EX “B” unit truck. COBALT was outfitted with a single Grass Kayenne switcher frame with 3 independent control surfaces that were tied to that Kayenne, which was the true star of the show. The Kayenne not only handled the broadcast but also video for the scenic elements in the theater, and the live feed of multiple boxes on screen that each has a shot of the different nominees.

Tech Manager Keith Winikoff was at the center of those efforts for the eighth year.  Keith is heavily involved with making sure those in the theater have an experience that rivals that at home. Historically in-venue video could be handled by mid-level equipment like less expensive media servers, smaller production switchers, and low-cost graphics devices. But that is no longer the case, especially when the video in the theater is so closely tied to the video being shown to viewers at home.

“Lip sync and latency are very critical when you are showing the nominees in a category so you need to use an EVS or K2 server,” says Winikoff. “But for graphical needs media servers are very acceptable.”

Winikoff says the Kayenne allows for the maximum utilization of available resources and also cut down on engineering and set up time as once the 50 + sources were tied to the Kayenne frame they were available to all three of the control surfaces and could be used as needed. Operating parallel to the A unit was a B unit with an effects Technical Director, a Chyron Deko, the Mobius screen graphics system, and the screen switching control system.

“It offers efficiency and economy of scale as in the past the entire [in venue] screen system would need additional parallel inputs,” he explains. “But the screen controlled portion of the Kayenne with 2.5 mix effects is perfect for our needs and wasn’t underpowered.”

For example, effects control surface portion of the Kayenne could perform a “seven box” in which one channel had a background image and then seven live video feeds of the nominees would play within that image.

“It has plenty of fire power using all the Kayenne’s resources,” he adds.

Auxiliary bus transitions also came in helpful, allowing for a ripple effects to be sent across the plasma screens in the theater when nominees were announced.

Greg Huttie, Grass Valley, director of technical marketing, says that the ability to operate the switcher in a separate suites mode and share resources allows a technical director involved with one aspect of the production to not fear stepping on another technical director’s work.

“The ability to do auxiliary bus transitions instead of just cuts adds to the creativity and beauty of the production,” he says.

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