Case Study: Tekskil provides unique ceiling mounted prompter for Fort Myers ABC

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The new studio for Waterman Broadcasting’s ABC 7 in Fort Myers, Florida, mixes storytelling with automation.

WZVN launched its overhauled studio in late 2020 with a design from FX Design Group.

Inside the studio, Panasonic PTZ cameras are suspended from the ceiling grid and are on floor pedestals with Tekskil telepromoters

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WZVN

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“You’ve got to ensure the talent is able to maintain viewer eye contact while being assisted with scripts, timers, tally lights and aux displays – intimate, confident communication is absolutely critical,” said Bob Hannon, senior production engineer at WZVN. “The Tekskil/Panasonic solution meets our needs. It’s the ideal setup all the way around.”

Tekskil notes their prompting system works “hand in glove” with Panasonic’s cameras, allowing easy control. 

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“Capital cost of the solution was much less than other offerings and annual support fees a fraction of the 15-20% of the purchase price typically charged,” notes Tekskil. 

To adapt to the unusual ceiling mounting of some cameras, Tekskil built an automated platform and customized firmware in less than a month to ensure prompter control.

 “There can’t be a single point of failure. The best technology in the world isn’t worth a cent if the operators can’t use it. That’s what I like best about Tekskil/Panasonic system; if the control computer goes down, I can still drive the Panasonic cameras, I have memory control on the pedestals, and I can get them where I need them and still do a newscast,” said Hannon.

WZVN is co-located with Waterman’s WBBH, the market’s NBC affiliate, with each retaining a separate control room and studio.