ITN’s sound team to work with AXON’s Cerebrum

Earlier in the year, ITN approached AXON to explore if they could provide a graphical control solution that would offer sound supervisors an easy to use touch screen interface to monitor and configure the large intercom system at their Gray’s Inn Road studios. The ITN communications system comprises of 4 x matrixes with around 200 ports per matrix which daily provides the worldwide communications for the ITV, Channel 4 and CH5 News.

The task was to create touch screen panels to be displayed on the existing audio consoles PC screens that would simplify the day to day control of the system and additionally allow complex set ups, such as an election configuration, to be automated and simply and quickly executed at the push of a button.

AXON proposed the use of their Cerebrum Monitoring and Control system to provide the customisable screens for the sound operators. The Cerebrum software can monitor and control any type of third party equipment as well as AXON’s own products such as the Synapse range of modular processing cards. Using the designer programme that comes with Cerebrum users can create their own control or monitoring system views, customising the look and feel of the information they see to match their own workflow or house style.

For this project ITN staff collaborated with AXON designers by providing a list of tasks they wished to have monitored and controlled asking AXON to create screen designs that would offer the sound supervisors a much richer and clearer view of the system then was currently possible. Within a few weeks AXON showed the first screens which they demonstrated to the ITN crews to see if they met the operational requirements. A few additions and tweaks were made based on feedback from the sound crew with some further changes from AXON’s Product Manager, Jelle Wesseling who, putting his graphics training to good use, introduced a common look and feel to the screens in order to create panels that are easy to understand.

The result is a package that can configure any aspect of the intercom system and show its status at a glance. The package can also be used with any intercom system as it is not manufacturer specific, Adrian Richmond AXON’s Director of Sales in the UK explains, “The concept was to produce an intercom tool kit within the Cerebrum family that could be used to control any manufacturers Intercom. It is important for a control system like Cerebrum to be manufacturer agnostic so the aim was to create a set of screens that could be used as a basis to configure and monitor any system. Additionally using internationally accepted Intercom terms and signalling conventions make the interface highly intuitive.”

In addition to more traditional control screens Cerebrum can present the operator with views that are less conventional. For example Cerebrum can provide views such as a graphic of a race track with camera icons that can be used as buttons to speak to the cameraman. Another possibility is the use of a photograph to represent the person you wish to speak with.

ITN broadcast support senior team leader Steve Luck, “We are impressed by the speed with which AXON developed this software for us and by creating a tool specifically designed for ITN’s needs Cerebrum has made it much easier for the sound team to visualize and control the communications system.”

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