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Techtel Pioneers Australian Legislative VOD Market

Techtel was recently selected by an Australian state government (end user details withheld) to build the country’s first digital, file-based video-on-demand service for parliamentary proceedings. Techtel’s solution was based on the design from consultancy firm, Australian Systems Integration and installed midway through 2017, giving rise to a new front runner in legislative broadcasting in Australia.

Parliament members, broadcasters and journalists from around the globe are now able to remotely log in to a secure online portal from Actus Digital, where they can view the live feed of proceedings or search for past material, then transcode and download the footage from either house of parliament in both high and low resolution. Prior to the installation of the new system, the state parliament had no in-house video recording capability so it represents a vast improvement for those requiring access to content.

Adding to the system’s ease-of-access, journalists can search for material based on a range of metadata fields such as the speaker’s name, date range, bill subject matter, party and electorate. By comparison, journalists interstate are either required to record the parliamentary material themselves or request specific content if they know exactly what time the material they require was recorded.

“They have managed to do what no other Australian parliamentary facility has done, in their deployment of a video-on-demand system that is truly customer driven”, commented Mal Chandler, Techtel CEO. “We are excited at the potential this system has for other parliaments across Asia and Oceania and we look forward to seeing more and more similar facilities embrace the same system.”

Techtel’s parliamentary broadcast solution is based largely around the Telemetrics suite of camera control solutions, including custom development by the US-manufacturer that gives the in-chamber clerk unprecedented control over the live-to-air output. The purpose-built Telemetrics Clerk control panel is designed for non-technical users and provides the clerk with the necessary tools to enable or disable the various output signals when necessary, as well as providing them with visual monitoring of the final live program output on the panel. In the control room, the Telemetrics RCCP-1 panel gives the director the ability to control a number of Panasonic AWHE130 HD PTZ cameras which were painted custom colours to match the building interior, ensuring compliance with building regulations in the 134-year-old heritage-listed building. The Telemetrics system is also responsible for triggering graphics that it automatically generates and updates on-the-fly as a result of full integration with the parliamentary Hansard reporting system. The project also represents the first time that Telemetrics has controlled audio levels as they are received over IP into the BSS virtual audio mixer.

The cameras, vision mixer, and lower-third graphics can operate in three different modes; fully automatic, semi-automatic or manual, which can be adjusted based on operator availability and house mode, whether it be question time, estimates, and so on.

The parliament’s production systems have been designed and deployed in a fully redundant configuration so that either house can be controlled from any of the control rooms, while the controls themselves can be seamlessly swapped between rooms in case of failure in either signal path. All failover processes are actioned automatically via the central automation system.

The new broadcast facility also features TVLogic monitors, LYNX Technik’s yellobrik DAs and converters, Spectra Logic Verde NAS storage, Apantac signal processing equipment, Panasonic’s AVHS450E vision switcher and highly-customised desks from TBC Consoles.

The install is now complete following technical handover of the system and training of staff. Techtel will provide ongoing support for the parliament’s production systems.

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