Broadcast Pix Slate Gets ‘Fluent’ With New Software

Broadcast Pix Slate integrated live-video-production systems are getting “Fluent” with new workflow software that exploits the system’s unique video and file integration to improve functionality and performance.

Three new Fluent options will be available, including a new 2-M/E Soft Panel that enables a 1-M/E Slate system to upgrade to 2 M/Es using GUI control. This is ideal for space- or budget-constrained operations, as the 2-M/E Soft Panel opens in a Flash-based user interface that can be controlled from a Web browser on Slate or a PC or Mac. It is a very cost-effective way to add a second M/E, including an additional output and up to three more keyers.

New standard Slate features are Fluent Watch-Folders that streamline import of clip and graphic files, and Fluent Macros that play out combinations of switcher effects and files. New Fluent options include a 2 M/E Soft Panel, Shared Router software, and connecting Microsoft Access databases to on-air graphics with CG Connect.

“Since our first integrated production systems, Broadcast Pix has been known for simplifying live production workflow,” says Ken Swanton, president of Broadcast Pix. “Now Fluent workflow software enhances the integration between components and with other content in the studio to enable high-impact live video to be created by minimal staff with minimal hardware.”

Innovative new Fluent Watch-Folders software enables digital assets to gracefully flow into Slate. Unlike conventional switchers that take only video inputs, Slate systems can take file inputs as well from its built-in clip and graphic stores. Now, with Watch-Folders, content can be sent over a TCP/IP network from edit stations and graphic systems to these stores for immediate access, even during the middle of a production.

Watch-Folders can direct content to specific stores in specific shows, such as into the second channel of clip store in the 6:00 news show. Data flows in without taking time to do file conversion, as Slate handles many HD and SD native formats. With more than 1 TB of storage capacity, Slate accepts large clip files.

Unlike conventional switchers that can recall only switcher moves, new Fluent Macros can also recall specific clip, animation, and graphic files, as well as camera positions, which enables the creation and instant playout of complex combinations for highly compelling productions. Macros can be recorded in sequence at the press of the desired buttons and then edited using the new on-screen Macro editor to adjust timing and file selection. For example, a macro can create an animated graphic transition with sound by recalling a specific logo file and audio file. Or a macro can position and zoom a camera, bring it to air, and fade in its associated graphic title.

CG Connect, a popular option for Slate that automatically fills in Slate’s on-air Inscriber CG using content from an XML database, now accepts data from Microsoft Access databases (.mdb) as well. Great for live-sports applications or any production with lots of graphics, CG Connect produces lower-thirds and other graphics instantly, without the user’s having to type information, which saves time and reduces potential errors.

Shared Router software allows larger Slate systems that have an integrated 32×32 router to share that router with a second, smaller Slate system. Not only does this simplify wiring and reduce installation costs, but it allows separate control points for simultaneous production of two different programs using a common group of cameras and other sources, such as for producing simultaneous live coverage for broadcast television and Internet distribution.

Broadcast Pix will offer demonstrations of all the new Fluent workflow software at Booth SU2617 during the 2009 NAB Show, April 20-23 in Las Vegas. Fluent software is available now, except for Fluent Macros, which are expected in June.

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