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Faster than figured

AT&T Digital Media Centers' Los Angeles facility recently converted its 1,800-square-foot Studio One (where National Enquirer TV produces its daily magazine show Exposed) from analog to cutting-edge digital. Bob Daines, of Heart To Heart Communications, Marina del Rey, Calif., was the communications-systems integrator; Larsen Cottrell, of Connect Design, Burbank, Calif., did the construction; and Sony Systems Integration was the original integrator for the facility three years ago.

"In 1998, we built Studio One as an analog studio, as a cost-saving method, because we had existing equipment," recalls Glenn McJennett, director of engineering, AT&T Digital Media Centers. "Knowing we'd go to digital in the future, we made some innovations with the original Sony Systems integration project to allow for an easy, rapid conversion. We had muxes and demuxes already in place to handle distribution within the plant. With those innovations in place, we planned the conversion in about three weeks and executed it in about 14 days."

AT&T Digital replaced an analog switcher and analog video effects with a Grass Valley 4000 digital video switcher and Grass Valley Gveous digital video effects. "We converted our Sony BVP 90 analog cameras to digital, and we also added two digital Ultimatte 400s for compositing and effects. We also integrated the studio in an all-digital manner to the rest of the facility."

In addition, Studio One contains a Chyron Infinit character generator, a Leitch still store, a Yamaha 3500 mixing console and eight Sony Digital Betacam decks with router connectivity to the rest of the facility and the outside world.

The AT&T Digital Media Center contains three other studios, seven Avid editing rooms (five Macintosh and two Windows NT), a digital online edit suite, an analog online edit suite, a digital Protools 5.2 online suite (recently upgraded to Rocket Networks connectivity) and network origination for two networks. "Between all the Avids and Protools, we are connected with a TransSoft Fibre network to allow sharing of files, with more than a terrabyte of storage," McJennett adds.

"This studio, which has been online in its current configuration since September 2000, can handle any long- or short-term production," says AT&T Digital production engineer Rick Greyerbiehl. "There's room for easy expansion, if a client has upgrade needs. This conversion eliminated many analog studio problems, such as timing issues and analog level shifts."

AT&T Digital Video Centers are full-service facilities offering studio production, post-production, channel/network origination, and uplink and distribution worldwide 24 hours a day. The AT&T Digital Media Centers in Denver and Hong Kong were built as digital; New York has gone from analog to digital in some areas.

"As we go forward with the Los Angeles facility," McJennett explains, "our plans include utilizing our relationship with AT&T to enhance client new-media needs with streaming video and interactive TV—bridging the gap between data and video in this era of convergence."