WINK-TV Plans Second HD Studio

After launching a local HD newscast in October 2007 and upgrading its studio from standard-definition to HD, the Fort Myers, Fla., CBS affiliate WINK-TV is preparing to build its second high-definition studio and control room.

Fort Myers Broadcasting, which owns WINK-TV, hopes to break ground in April on an underground parking lot next to its headquarters. After its completion, the company plans to build a new wing that will more than double the size of the existing building.

The eight radio stations currently housed in the existing building will move into the new space, freeing up space for a second HD capable studio and control room.

The new studio, which is expected to go live in 2009, and the existing studio that was upgraded to HD last fall will serve WINK-TV and The CW affiliate WXCW, which is owned by Sun Broadcasting and operated by WINK-TV.

Many of the other vendors that supplied equipment for the HD upgrade of its existing studio will also be used in the second studio, Stuhlmann said.

“When we bought the Kahuna switcher and Ikegami cameras [in 2007] it was part of a long term plan to use them for the second studio,” said Keith Stuhlmann, WINK-TV director of engineering.

Stuhlmann said WINK-TV had used standard-def Ikegami cameras for years and eventually decided to buy four Ikegami HDK-790EXIII with a Canon Digi Super 25 XS Lens for the HD upgrade.

Key reasons included “the depth of field and color rendition,” Stuhlmann said.

“When we looked at the other big names they had great pictures but they weren’t as good as the Ikegamis,” he added.

For the HD production switcher, they chose the Snell & Wilcox 4 M/E HD Kahuna System. A key factor in this purchase was the fact that “you can cross convert any digital signal coming in,” thus eliminating the need to buy a lot of external converters, Stuhlmann explained.

In terms of graphics, the station is currently using WSI HD Weather Graphics System, VIZRT HD Graphics System, ScreenWriter HD Graphics System and Beat The Traffic HD Graphics System in its HD studio.

Other HD equipment includes two Tektronix WFM7000s, Evertz HD9084 HD Caption Encoder, Avid HD Thunder and Apple Final Cut Pro.

The October 20, 2007 launch of an HD local newscast made WINK-TV the 12th CBS affiliate to offer local HD newscast and WXCW the third CW affiliate.

While it plans to use many of the same vendors for the second studio, Stuhlmann said WINK “will be taking a hard look at the new advances in studio lighting.”

In the current HD studio, Stuhlmann estimates that florescent lighting supplies about 80% to 85% of their needs, with the rest coming from incandescent sources.

“We want to look at the new LED lighting sources for the new studio,” he said. “It might give us a chance to test them and if we go in that direction, we may want to migrate the LED lighting back to the existing studio.”