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Video switch hitter

Being able to switch only 36 sources for a sporting event wasn't enough for Cleveland-based Classic Worldwide Productions'Galaxy mobile unit. But with the recent acquisition of Grass Valley Group's Kalypso Video Production Center, Classic's truck can switch 60 or more sources, according to Classic President Jerry Patton.

When the Kalypso reaches full capacity, "It will be capable of switching 80 inputs. Everything takes a key source and a key fill," says Patton, explaining that special effects and extra cameras may be required for location productions.

"You also have additional boxes such as the FOX box for the logo, scores and ads that go in. Or it could be an ESPN box or station logo, and you have to be able to do it quickly. The four keyers on each mix-effects bank are a good thing because you can change the source that is cutting as it relates to different backgrounds."

According to Mark Narveson, Grass Valley Group's product marketing manager for Kalypso, the production switcher sells for $215,000 to $350,000 depending on the options. He notes that the standard-definition CCIR-601 digital product is especially geared for mobile production, taking up only 15-rack units, compared with previous 40-rack-unit models-a plus given the limited space.

"You can switch many different parts of the show on a single M/E because you can have it preset," Patton adds. "And if you need to do a clean feed for other purposes, you can remove the key from an output source so that it is not seen. You can do this selectively."

The Kalypso is designed to make it easy for technical directors to get up to speed, he notes. Some spend as little as a half hour or 45 minutes with the Kalypso before being ready to cut most kinds of programs.

Systems integrator Synergistic Technologies, based in Canonsburg, Pa., which recommended Kalypso, was able to install it in less than a week so that Classic could be used to cover a Major League Baseball game between the Cleveland Indians and Boston Red Sox.

The most difficult part of the initial setup, Patton recalls, was pulling a larger number of cables, because of the number of inputs that are now available. "But the design was so straightforward," he notes, "that it was easily set up."

GVG's Narveson points out that Kalypso has a built-in still store with 100 stills and a hard drive for library storage and animation capability, which typically would require an external box. Up to six channels of video key DVE is built into the unit.-E.R.