Z-HD5500 Cameras from Hitachi Kokusai Help Boitnott Visual Communications Impress Discerning Live Event Clientele

January 12, 2021

Flawless handling of LED backgrounds and native 1080p acquisition elevate IMAG and archiving quality for live event production experts

Woodbury, NY, October 14, 2020 — Virginia-based Boitnott Visual Communications (BVC) provides turnkey design, staging and live production services for corporate meetings and special events across the United States. When the company upgraded its camera technology last year to meet increasing client expectations, they chose Z-HD5500 cameras from Hitachi Kokusai Electric America, Ltd. (Hitachi Kokusai) to deliver the visual quality gains and operational benefits they sought.

BVC serves clients ranging from small businesses to large Fortune 50 corporations and organizations such as the Richmond Forum, which hosts high-profile events featuring speakers including past U.S. presidents, sitting heads of state, and leaders from the sciences, arts, and business. The premium nature of many of its projects makes the quality of its productions extremely important.

“Clients like the Richmond Forum are very particular about the quality of their events and related video productions, as they should be since their attendees are paying for the experience,” said A. Keith Sturtevant, video department head at BVC. “Another of our clients, a financial services company, is also well known as a technology leader, so they want top-notch quality for their live event video even if it’s only for their own internal use.”

With clients requesting higher visual quality, BVC began evaluating new camera options in mid-2019. “The cameras we had been using were getting long in the tooth,” explained Sturtevant. “They were native 720p, and we were upscaling them to 1080i. We needed to get cameras that were technologically capable of directly supporting the higher resolution and better quality our clients were asking for, so we wanted to upgrade to 1080p.”

Systems integrator Digital Video Group (DVG) pointed BVC towards Hitachi cameras, and the ability of the Z-HD5500’s global shutter sensors to flawlessly shoot against LED backdrops proved compelling. “We were using LED walls not only as a main source of IMAG display, but also for backgrounds,” said Sturtevant. “The Z-HD5500 was able to handle that setup, so the LED wall wouldn’t play havoc in the background of the video. Hitachi Kokusai is also a well-known player in the live event space with a great reputation, and you get a great camera with a lot of features for the price of that particular model. It became pretty much a ‘no-brainer’ at that point.”

BVC purchased three Z-HD5500s from DVG alongside upgraded flypacks that also feature a Ross Video main switcher; a Blackmagic Design secondary switcher for streaming; AJA distribution routers and recorders; and Behringer audio mixers. BVC typically deploys the Hitachi cameras and flypacks for larger live events with audiences ranging from 2000 to 5000 attendees, where the equipment powers large IMAG (image magnification) displays and recording for archival purposes.

The Z-HD5500s immediately delivered the quality boost that BVC was aiming for. “The Hitachi cameras have performed wonderfully,” said Sturtevant. “They provide nice, clean, crisp, bright images and great color reproduction even with just the default settings, and regardless of which video walls we’re shooting against.”

Sturtevant also noted that the Z-HD5500’s SMPTE fiber connectivity has simplified setup compared to the multi-cable requirements of BVC’s previous cameras. This combines with the cameras’ ease of use to speed on-site setup. “The new cameras have reduced our setup time, and we can now go into larger venues without cable length challenges,” he explained.

As a service provider, BVC has also enjoyed an additional benefit of the Z-HD5500’s technically-advanced appearance. “The Hitachi cameras look great both inside and out,” Sturtevant said. “You can tell they’re a true broadcast-grade camera just by looking at them, so when we roll in with them, people are impressed before we even turn them on.”

When asked to summarize his experience with the Z-HD5500s, Sturtevant was effusive. “I’d tell people ‘you need to get you some,’” he praised. “I have been nothing but happy with the Z-HD5500s since we acquired them.”

The improved visual results have also been noticed by BVC’s clients, which ultimately is the most important benefit. “Our large clients were very excited to see us step up our game, and they are impressed with the picture quality compared to our old cameras,” Sturtevant concluded.

About Hitachi Kokusai Electric Inc.

Hitachi Kokusai Electric Inc., headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, is a company that manufactures broadcasting systems, security and surveillance systems, wireless communications and information systems. For more information on Hitachi Kokusai Electric Inc., please visit the company’s website at https://www.hitachi-kokusai.co.jp/global/en/index.html.


CP Communications Names Lowell Beckner as General Manager

January 12, 2021

Broadcast engineering and management expert will oversee all functions within the company’s headquarters, and drive launch and growth initiatives for its new in-house studio operations

St. Petersburg, Florida, October 13, 2020CP Communications, a leader in innovative solutions and services for live event productions, has appointed Lowell Beckner as General Manager, effective immediately. Reporting to CEO Kurt Heitmann, Beckner will focus on growing CP Communications’ in-house production business for broadcast and AV projects at its St. Petersburg, Florida headquarters, anchored by the new company’s soon-to-launch Red House Streaming Studios. He will oversee the final stages leading up to the studio’s launch in November, and create a cohesive operations entity to ensure continued business growth.

Beckner joins CP Communications with more than two decades of engineering, sales, and management in the broadcast industry. His experience in broadcast engineering and military communications provides him with extensive knowledge of RF and IP technologies and systems, the latter of which is a core part of the Red House Streaming Studios workflow and infrastructure. He will also oversee all general St. Petersburg functions, and serve as the primary interface for CP Communications’ executives across sales, engineering, IT and operations.

“CP Communications has been the leader in live content acquisition and event production for sports and live events for many years,” said Beckner. “The opportunity to lead the company’s new in-house production initiatives and general business operations is an exciting opportunity for an engineer that values technical innovation, and understands the importance of strategic direction to ensure growth and success. I’m looking forward to working with the entire CP Communications team up through the executive level, and establishing a roadmap for future expansion.”

Beckner’s broadcast career began in the military with tours at the Joint Special Operations Command and the White House Communications Agency while serving in the U.S. Air Force. He spent the next 20 years as a broadcast engineer with TV stations in the southeast and with broadcast media network groups, taking on roles of increasing responsibility with Media General, Cox Media Group and E.W. Scripps. He shifted his focus toward IP networking in 2017 as Product Manager, IP Systems for Integrated Microwave Technologies; and as Regional Sales Manager, Live Production for Vislink. His valuable hands-on experience across the entire broadcast ecosystem includes engineering creative solutions for newsroom, playout, transmission, and IP/bonded cellular systems.

“Lowell brings a uniquely diverse and rich background to CP Communications that will drive organization across all key business operations – an integral responsibility of the General Manager position,” said Heitmann. “Lowell will provide day-to-day guidance and decisions that harmonize our teams and initiatives as we work toward the launch and future success of Red House Streaming Studios, and grow our business into interesting new directions. We welcome Lowell to the CP Communications team.”

About CP Communications

For more than three decades, CP Communications has provided high-quality, cost-effective live event production solutions to major broadcasters, sports leagues and teams, and event and production companies. Our solutions include access to experienced professionals, state of the art equipment, and innovative technologies and techniques for wireless audio & video content acquisition, transport and delivery. Our culture of innovation, coupled with the highest quality assurance standards and passion for customer service, promote collaboration with our clients to determine the best custom solution for each live event.

Atlona Introduces Long-Distance USB Extender Kit

January 12, 2021

AT-USB-EX100-KIT offers cost-effective extension of USB signals beyond traditional cabling limits

SAN JOSE, California, October 12, 2020 – Atlona, a Panduit company, has unveiled the AT-USB-EX100-KIT long-distance extender kit for USB signals. Available immediately, the new extension solution supports the transmission of USB 2.0 data up to 330 feet (100 meters) over a single, cost-effective, Category-type twisted pair cable.

The USB-EX100-KIT enables point-to-point extension for USB 2.0 devices across distances exceeding the limitations of traditional cabling. It is ideal for popular video conferencing applications such as Zoom® and Microsoft® Teams®, where USB components including laptops, cameras, microphones, and speakers are often located in different areas of a room. It is equally well-suited to classroom environments for extending USB signals between a touch-screen interactive display and the instructor’s laptop, or from a USB camera at the back of the room to the lecture capture system in a rack.

“Multiple Atlona switchers and extenders already support USB extension alongside high-quality AV signals, but we havealso seen significant demand for a dedicated USB offering,” said David Shamir, VP of Product Management, Atlona. “The USB-EX100-KIT provides an affordable, straightforward solution for applications where only extension of USB signals is required – for example, connecting remote USB cameras or expanding existing AV systems that do not have native USB support.”

The USB-EX100-KIT includes transmitter and receiver endpoints. The receiver features four USB type A ports for peripheral devices, while the transmitter offers two such ports for peripherals plus one USB type B interface for connection to a host computer. Compact enclosures and included brackets allow the locally powered devices to be discretely mounted in furniture, behind displays, or above projectors.

The USB-EX100-KIT is available immediately through Atlona’s global network of authorized channel partners and includes the company’s award-winning 10-year limited product warranty. For more information, please visit atlona.com/at-usb-ex100-kit.

About Atlona

Atlona, a Panduit company, is a leading global manufacturer of AV over IP distribution, connectivity, and control solutions. The company designs and engineers innovative, award-winning products for a diverse range of residential and commercial AV and IT markets. Backed by an award-winning 10-year warranty, Atlona’s products are developed to enable our customers’ ability to connect and collaborate with simplicity. More information about Atlona is available at atlona.com.

About Panduit

Global connectivity leader Panduit Corp. creates innovative electrical and network infrastructure solutions for applications across the enterprise. Headquartered in Tinley Park, Ill. and operating in 112 worldwide locations, Panduit’s technology leadership and robust ecosystem help support, sustain, and empower business growth in a connected world. panduit.com

USSI Global Appoints Anthony Morelli as COO

January 12, 2021

Transformational services leader will guide worldwide growth strategy, including diversification of USSI Global’s professional services for broadcast, satellite and digital signage

Melbourne, Florida, October 8, 2020 — USSI Global announces the appointment of transformational services leader Anthony Morelli as Chief Operating Officer (COO). Reporting to CEO and President David S. Christiano, Morelli oversees all daily USSI Global business operations and drives global growth strategy for the Broadcast and Network Solutions, Digital Signage Solutions, and Electronic Business and Consumer Solutions divisions.

Morelli joins the USSI Global executive team with 25 years of broadcast industry experience, and has taken on roles of increasing responsibility over his career. His career began in finance with Harris Corporation before transitioning to key customer-facing roles, including Vice President of Professional Services and Global Customer Care. He was responsible for all service revenue and warranty support worldwide in this position, leading 340 employees and nearly 100 contractors across five continents. He subsequently held VP and C-Level service and sales positions at Artel Video Systems, Avid Technology and Imagine Communications.

Morelli’s success in managing global organizations, and expertise in service-driven business strategies, were influential to landing USSI Global’s COO position. He looks forward to diversifying USSI’s service offerings by launching new “as-a-service” initiatives across all three businesses, while increasing the company’s global engineering footprint to address changing operational environments.

“We are growing our global RF footprint to address the diminishing talent pool of broadcast engineers, and guiding our customers through challenging business model transformations,” said Morelli, emphasizing the FCC-mandated transition of satellite broadcast services from C-Band spectrum as a current focus. “We also see strong opportunity to grow our managed services portfolio to better service our broadcast and digital signage customers. Additionally, my experience inprofessional services and logistics for equipment repairs and customer care brings a depth of experience and vision toour consumer electronics division. We continue to add talent and increase our reach to serve our consumer market. I am excited to join a company with such a strong brand reputation, and look forward to introducing new value-added services to our customers.”

“USSI Global is a service-oriented organization with global warehousing and logistics, turnkey project management capabilities, and a support center that handles 122,000 service calls annually,” said Christiano. “Anthony’s service-driven experience and strong reputation as a transformational leader will support our growing business through new and innovative ideas and services. We welcome Anthony to USSI Global, and are excited about the leadership qualities and entrepreneurial spirit he brings to our executive team and the entire company.”

About USSI Global

USSI Global has provided high-quality, customized network and digital media solutions around the globe for more than 35 years. As part of our turnkey project management initiatives, USSI Global recruits and manages a specialized network of local partners and employees to fulfill every project phase and customer need, from initial site planning through to systems integration, commissioning and post-sales support. Front and back office services including a global network of field engineers and service providers, and a 24/7 call center to manage warehousing, logistics and repairs. Our proven history of managing technically challenging and time-critical projects has resulted in USSI Global’s excellent reputation with customers operating in three core industries: Broadcast, Digital Signage, and Electronic Business and Consumer Solutions. Visit www.ussiglobal.com for more information.

Renewed Vision ProPresenter Enables Engaging Interactive 4K Presentations at the ASTROLab

January 12, 2021

Robust software enables smooth, high-resolution media experiences at astronomy activity center

ALPHARETTA, Georgia, October 7, 2020 — Located in the stunning landscape of Mont-Mégantic National Park in southern Québec, the ASTROLab offers visually-rich, interactive presentations designed to engage and educate visitors about astronomy. When the ASTROLab upgraded its theater to 4K projection last year, it turned to the ProPresenter live presentation software from Renewed Vision to provide smooth and reliable playback of video and images from the center’s vast media library.

The ASTROLab hosts thousands of visitors every year in its 95-seat auditorium for informative presentations about topics including cosmology, space exploration, light pollution, and more. While portions of the sessions are pre-scripted and delivered linearly, what sets the ASTROLab apart from other museums and astronomy activity centers are its human interaction and audience participation. A live, on-stage presenter is teamed with an operator who controls multiple computers and AV components to trigger supporting images and video – including visuals from telescopes and probes around the solar system — in response to visitor questions.

Two years ago, the ASTROLab began a project to upgrade its production and presentation capabilities to 4K. To realize its vision of delivering a high-impact visual experience, the ASTROLab required a software solution that would allow it to quickly recall video and images from its large collection of media files and seamlessly present them on the theater’s 27-foot by 18-foot screen.

“The solution we had before was not up to the task of showing all of this multimedia at 4K resolution at 60 frames per second the way we wanted,” explained Guillaume Poulin, a science communicator and technician at the ASTROLab who helped design the theater’s new workflow. “We needed software that let us categorize our content library, then during presentations let us quickly select a media file for immediate display with super-smooth 4K playback and transitions.”

Poulin’s research led him to Renewed Vision’s flagship software. “ProPresenter is the only software we found that could do what we wanted in full frame rate 4K,” he said. “It lets us go into our very large library, select the appropriate media related to attendees’ questions, and put it on-screen quickly and smoothly. And it handles cross-fades between videos and images beautifully.”

The ASTROLab runs ProPresenter on a Mac Mini computer with a Blackmagic eGPU graphics accelerator. The system’s HDMI output is run through a Teranex Mini converter that transforms the signal to 12G-SDI for routing with a 40×40 Blackmagic Design Smart Videohub 12G. Dante Virtual Soundcard software brings eight-channel uncompressed audio from ProPresenter onto the theater’s audio-over-IP network, where it is picked up by a Biamp sound processor.

The ASTROLab’s ProPresenter-powered 4K playback has impressed both Poulin and his audience. “Visitors are often blown away by being able to immediately see visual resources for the answers to their questions,” he said. “For example, they might ask about a particular black hole or nebula, and within seconds there’s a corresponding image on the screen – sometimes even before they finish asking the question.”

When the COVID-19 pandemic forced the temporary closure of the ASTROLab, Poulin used ProPresenter to conduct streamed presentations from home. He received questions from the public via Facebook Live, and used ProPresenter to show corresponding media much as he would have in the theater. The ASTROLab facility has subsequently re-opened to the public with reduced attendee capacity, and Poulin plans to add a second instance of ProPresenter in a smaller theater at the nearby Mount Megantic Popular Observatory when it too re-opens.

Overall, the theater’s 4K upgrade has significantly increased the ASTROLab’s presentation quality and made its educational experiencesmore engaging. “Having very gorgeous images helps instill visitors with a deeper appreciation of astronomy,” said Poulin. “Being able to display very high-resolution visuals, such as those from the Hubble Space Telescope, is very powerful. It’s amazing the impact that can have on our visitors, and ProPresenter is an important part of that.”

About Renewed Vision

Founded in 2000, Renewed Vision’s mission is to offer reliable, purpose-built production software that enables organizations—spanning from churches to corporations—to create dynamic media experiences that enhance worship services, meetings and other special events.For more information on our product lines, including ProPresenter, ProVideoPlayer and ProVideoServer, please visit our website at www.renewedvision.com.

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