Industry Insights: Teleprompting and the control room of the future

By NewscastStudio

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Last year saw an immediate shift in many broadcasters’ studio workflow due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We’re looking at how the lessons from work from home and reduced staffing will impact future productions.

In this installment of our Industry Insights roundtable, our experts from the field of broadcast prompting look at the control room of the future. What new technology and workflows are coming to teleprompting in the age of IP? Keep reading to find out. 

How do you envision prompting workflows in the control room of the future?

“There are two halves of prompting: on-camera units, and operators. In the past they needed to be in the same facility. That is no longer the case. Any prompter can be controlled from any site, given the right credentials. While this was technically true before, thanks to the IP infrastructure, it hadn’t been put to the test; the necessity for remote prompting has shown that there are really no limits,” said Michael Accardi, president of CueScript.

“This may also mean that traditionally dedicated prompter operators can be more flexible with hours, and not be tied to single studios or productions, but can theoretically work anywhere without exiting their front door,” said Robin Brown, a product manager for Vitec Production Solutions, which owns Autoscript and Autocue.

“Network talent support functions will be coupled seamlessly with camera operation. A single CAT-6A cable will provide control to the cameras, pedestals and robotics; data to the talent assist devices (tally, clock/timers, talent monitors), scripts as data direct from the news department and digitized in the prompter monitor, and operation of these devices from anywhere,” answered Howard Rothstein, director of U.S. sales and marketing for Tekskil Broadcast Products.

What other trends should we be looking for in the year ahead?

“The home studios and home operators are not going away. This adoption of remote prompting will only expand, changing the way we do sports, location shoots, satellite studios and more. Stations now understand how to leverage their existing systems and in turn we will see prompters in more places than ever before,” said Accardi.

“More remote access, more shared resources, more remote collaborative working, less people in buildings—and the demand and value of network engineers going through the roof,” Brown told us.

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“The industry is quickly transitioning to satellite micro-production. It’s akin to the move from centralized mainframes and workstations to laptop. Work-from-home will expand its footprint in production operations as media businesses continue to leverage the cost and efficiency advantages. Robotics in the studio is going to be the new norm for production,” said Rothstein.

“With today’s smaller and lighter camera systems, the need for an operator to stand behind a big box studio camera and lens on a big studio pedestal doesn’t make fiscal sense. A single camera operator in the control room can remotely control 3 or 4 of the PTZ cameras instead,” Rothstein added.

What new developments on the horizon for your prompting products?

“We continue to strive to be the leaders in productions workflows and with the change in the landscape in how productions are using our systems, our CueVoiceiT–voice-activated prompting application is increasingly of great interest to productions,” responded Accardi.

“We are always looking at ways of making life easier and giving tools to talent, engineering and production. This year will be no different, with some very exciting products on their way,” Brown said.

“We’ve already integrated Z and X positioning for the PTZ camera enclosure and provided a single user interface that controls the cameras and talent support equipment over the network – future development will focus on compact, networked automation scaled to micro-studios,” said Rothstein.

Participants

Michael Accardi, CueScript
Robin Brown, Vitec Production Solutions
Howard Rothstein, Tekskil Broadcast Products