RTV Noord Netherlands seeks greater efficiency with Ross robotics
RTV Noord is a regional Dutch broadcaster based in Groningen, delivering local news, sports and entertainment to the Northern province of the Netherlands. With just over one hundred employees, RTV Noord is publicly owned and provides TV, radio and online content to six hundred thousand citizens, with the TV channel reaching around 20% of that population weekly.
Anyone who has ever worked for a regional TV station will testify that life can often be challenging, requiring a fine balance between ambition and budget. For Tim de Vrij, broadcast engineer with RTV Noord, a key word continues to be ‘efficiency’.
“Public broadcasters always have to be sensitive to cost, and opportunity cost in particular. Every piece of capital expenditure comes at the expense of something else, so we have to pay close attention to return on investment and cost of ownership. Value matters, and fortunately for us Ross is a company that clearly explains and demonstrates the value it can bring to its customers – that’s very attractive”.
First on the list of priorities for RTV Noord was an upgrade to HD, followed by a root-and-branch review of how best to operate their 360-degree studio. “Our viewers expect to see high-quality productions, and we’re operating in a competitive market”, notes de Vrij.
“Content consumers have so much choice now and we’re up against flagship national channels and the web. We know that our audience likes our ‘regional touch’ but we still have to produce content that sits comfortably (in terms of production values) alongside alternatives from larger providers”.
As part of this review of studio operations, RTV Noord issued a tender for the refurbishment of the main studio which was won by Sealander Visions, a long-standing partner of Ross Video in the Netherlands. “Our studio is 360° and we have to create news, weather and game show content so we agreed with Sealander that a robotics solution would be ideal for us”.
A Furio rail-based camera motion system was subsequently installed and Tim de Vrij is delighted with the results. “We previously needed three cameramen in the studio, but we’ve now been able to redeploy those resources and use them elsewhere, and that’s a big efficiency gain for us.
Also, the Furio system has enabled us to get more dynamic camera shots, so our content is visually more exciting”. As an existing Ross customer – RTV Noord was an early adopter of the XPression real-time motion graphics platform and has used a Carbonite Black production switcher for a number of years – the integration of Furio robotics was quick and painless, but de Vrij is still very quick to compliment the SmartShell robotics control system.
“We certainly looked at robotics solutions from other manufacturers but the control interface from Ross made all the difference. Configuration was fast and straightforward, and our operators have found the control system intuitive and very easy to work with”.
Another key area for de Vrij is technical support. “We’re a modestly-sized broadcaster and it’s important for us to have fast support. We did have a couple of teething issues when we first started broadcasting with the Furio robotic system, but Ross absolutely took these issues seriously and dealt with them very quickly. I’m very happy to say that Ross is a company that builds high-quality products you can trust!”