It's safe to say that this year has been critical to TV stations and production companies as the digital TV switch takes effect. There is a lot of redesign happening not only within TV stations, but private production companies as well. The transition was a good reason for CCI to upgrade facilities and equipment.
CCI is proud to announce our new HD and SD Mobile Production Truck System. The new truck was retrofitted in early summer and can be used for either HD or SD small to medium size live production events including news features, entertainment and sporting events. It also has been built to support side-by-side work for additional stations or networks or multi-language feeds at large events.
"The key here is not simply revamp, but examine every aspect of the production chain. This extends not only to cameras, monitors, switchers and mixers, but also to the system's entire backbone like routers, servers, storage, archives, hubs, communications, acoustics, lighting, floor plans, etc., " says Jim Lewis, President and General Manager of CCI. "You will see we have made some significant improvements. It has been an exciting adventure to make the major investment in the new production truck and equipment. It is really noticeable when you compare our old truck to the new one," says Lewis.
CCI's old truck was an SD analog/digital truck, but primarily built with analog equipment. With the HD production growing, it did not make sense to build another truck with analog gear. This meant much of the equipment had to be replaced. Click Here for a comparison of the two trucks.
"So, while we still have many SD only customers that we have to be able to provide service, we also needed to be able to provide HD services when needed," says Lewis.
"We are all faced with the digital transition. Analog architecture will not support digital and most SD gear will not support HD. And it is hard to offer SD production cost effectively when buying it and using only HD gear. What we found was that manufacturers and suppliers are very aware of this dilemma facing the production community, but only few offer real affordable solutions. CCI has a variety of production and project needs for our various types of clients, so we really needed to consider flexibility," says Kermit Bramblett, Engineering Coordinator for CCI.
How CCI addressed the needs of current SD customers and current and future HD customers is evidenced throughout the truck. For example the video switcher for the new production truck, is a new state of the art switcher Vision 3 HD or SD switcher manufactured by Ross. The 2.5 Mix Effects (MLE) accepts up to 48 HD or SD inputs and provides 16 HD or SD outputs including several levels of clean-feed and simultaneous HD and SD outputs. Additionally, the switcher is equipped with five up or down HD / SD cross-converters. The converters are managed by patented Ross process call "Smart Convert" that automatically routes signals to converters to match the production process. So, if you are producing an HD show but some SD feeds and cameras are still needed the Smart Convert automatically up converts the signals to HD; if you are producing in SD Smart Convert automatically down converts any incoming HD sources; or if you producing in 720P HD and some sources are provided in 1080i Smart Convert again automatically cross converts the signals to match the required production format. The new LCD Monitors in the monitor wall are another example of how CCI's new truck meets the needs of both SD and HD customers. New monitors from Interface Technology Group (ITG Labs) were selected as the ITG offered robust metal frames and high resolution panels that reconfigure from switches on the front panel. All primary monitors in the CCI truck switch between HD SDI and SDI and 16x9 and 4x3. Again, these are but two examples of how CCI is meeting the needs of both current SD clients and current and future HD clients.
For a complete list of the truck specifications click here. The new production truck is available for mobile production shoots throughout Florida and the Southeast. CCI has already produced two live broadcasts with the new truck with one client reporting it was "their best broadcast ever." So please contact us at our Cape Canaveral office for your next production, (321) 783-5232.
CCI Shoots Sunshine State Conference Basketball Championships
CCI was honored to produce taped coverage of the Sunshine State Conference Tournament Championship in early March. CCI drove the production truck down to South Florida to Nova Southeastern University where the championships took place.
Keith Smith, Communications and External Operations for Nova Southeastern University explained:
"This was the first year Nova Southeastern University hosted the Sunshine State Conference Men's and Women's Basketball Championships in our brand new University Center, so the University was responsible for getting the games televised. We started out working with another company, but as the deadline drew closer that company had yet solidified a contract for coverage. That is when we turned to CCI. Jim Lewis and his team jumped into action and in under two weeks, Jim had the games scheduled to air on Comcast Sports Southeast. During their site survey, the semifinals and finals games, the CCI team was very organized and everything went off without a hitch. NSU and the Sunshine State Conference were very pleased with the coverage and exposure they got us for NSU. CCI, Jim Lewis and his crew were extremely professional, knowledgeable and timely in helping NSU and the SSC get the most television exposure possible for the basketball tournaments and we look forward to developing our relationship with them even further in the near future."
The crew at CCI had ENG camera operators to highlight the semifinals games. A full crew was then used to tape the Men's and Women's finals the next day. About 30 crew members were used to set-up and shoot the game. CCI used 7 cameras for production shoot. For audio, the production crew used 2 mult boxes at the announcer table and scoring table.
"The shoot went very well. CCI always does a site survey before we shoot an event, so we know how to plan the set-up. This production shoot was very well planned and coordinated. When you're as organized as our crew, it makes everything from set-up to the actual production shoot run much smoother. It was an exciting game," says Dan Jones, Photographer.
The games featured Sid Champagne for play-by-play, NBA great Kenny Anderson for color commentary and Jared Swartz with highlights and courtside interviews with coaches.
Florida Southern claimed its second straight win with a 77-76 overtime victory over Rollins College. The games aired on Comcast Sports Southeast and Bright House Networks Sports.
ON THE WEB
Check out the new website at www.space-coast.com
In late May, The Brevard County Tourism and Development Commission (TDC) introduced a new website thanks to the hard work of the web team at CCI and the TDC.
"The website needed an update so when the bidding came up for redesign our web team really brainstormed to come up with ideas and improvements that we actually have now built into the new site. It gave us a chance to be really versatile with CCI's web tools, which allow TDC Partners to keep their part of the website current. Also, the new tracking tools we incorporated will give us the data we need to to really move forward with Search Engine Optimization (SEO). We competed against at least 5 other companies. Once we won the project we immediately began design team meetings with the TDC. CCI set up the new look to match the new TDC marketing and branding theme. We think the final product turned out very well," said Tom Affeld, Web & New Media Manager at CCI.
Rob Varley, Executive Director of the TDC concurs: "The team CCI showed a real interest in the project and have been very responsive to our feedback and input throughout the project. They have delivered a website that is way superior to our previous site. The new site is loaded with many new features to engage our visitors and help us better track results. We feel CCI is more than just a vendor. They are a partner in our success."
Debra Green, General Manager of the Hilton Cocoa Beach Oceanfront Hotel and member of the Cocoa Beach Hotel Association served on the TDC web committee throughout the project. Debra commented further that: I have been very impressed with Tom Affeld at CCI. He is knowledgeable and creative. During all of our planning sessions for a new web site Tom was organized and I appreciate that he is a very good listener.
Some of the new website features include a hotel booking engine, live text chat, interactive maps, and streaming video. There is also a database of local restaurants, hotels, and area attractions. CCI also produced a series of man-in-the-streets that are now streamed on-demand on the site. The random interviews from tourists took place at local hot spots in the county such as the Cocoa Beach Pier, The Kennedy Space Center, and Port Canaveral. You can find those interviews on the home page of the new www.space-coast.com website.
The new hotel booking engine developed by JackRabbit systems is able to connect any hotel reservation system and automatically display up to date room rates and availability on the all the participating hotels in the space coast area. The Live Chat feature allows visitors to chat with a real person and ask questions about the area. The site serves as an excellent resource for information about the space coast. It includes listings for events, attractions, places to stay, dining, fishing, beaches, and media resources.
For the second year in a row, the CCI A/V Rentals department provided technical support for the big NCAA Big East Tournament at Bright House Field in Clearwater Beach in May. The company wired stadiums for the 3-camera shoot, provided a TriCaster switcher and assisted with live feeds to SIRIUS XM Radio and JUMPTV for a live webcast. CCI not only provided 1100 hundred feet of cable, but also an intercom system.
"The new trend for businesses is to purchase a lot of small production gear, but when you want to produce a bigger event, such as the Big East Baseball Championship, you really want professional equipment," says Andrew Marcus, AV Rentals Manager for CCI. "For baseball you need long cable runs from all the cameras to the switching equipment. CCI has special multi-cables that have several audio and video outputs and connectivity so that not only you get video from the camera to switcher, but also you can get audio and intercom."
The weather in late May was stormy and often rainy, but CCI was able to do a quick AV support installation in the wet weather.
"Many small production set-ups don't have intercom, so they rent intercom systems from us. CCI has plenty of belt packs and master stations. Long cable runs can cause the video signal from the cameras to be reduced, so we supply video amplifiers to make sure each camera signal is correct. What I did for the Big East was help run all the cables and then go through and check out the gear and set-up all the levels properly. In the wet weather, sometimes it was a challenge," said Marcus.
CCI also provided technical support for the NCAA Big East Tournament. The company provides 24/7 AV support for all rental clients.
"I want to take this opportunity to thank CCI for your efforts…there's a reason why I was inclined to stick with CCI this year; his (Andrew Marcus, AV Rentals Manager) attention to detail and willingness to help cannot be overstated," Said Ben Fairclough, Director of Marketing and Web Development, Big East Conference.
Louisville took home its second straight BIG EAST Baseball Championship title with an 11-3 win against Connecticut in the week long tournament. Louisville becomes the first team to repeat as the BIG EAST tournament champion since Notre Dame won five straight titles from 2002-06. CCI has provided equipment for not only sporting events, but also corporate meetings and events. For more information on how CCI's AV Rentals Department can help you, contact Andrew Marcus in Cape Canaveral at
(321) 783-5232 or in Orlando at (407) 903-9730.
CCI Takes Home Several Addy Awards
In March, CCI won 6 ADDY Awards® from the Space Coast Chapter of the Advertising Federation (SCAF).
CCI won awards in the following categories:
- SILVER Addy, Interactive Media - HTML/Other
Berman Hopkins Website
- GOLD Addy, Advertising for the Arts and Sciences – Broadcast, Interactive
Space Coast Art Festival Website
*Also won Best in Show in the Electronic Division
- SILVER Addy, Public Service – Broadcast, Audio Visual
Susan G. Komen for the Cure Central FL Affiliate video
In addition CCI's advertising and PR partner company, Media INK Corp., also won in the following categories:
- SILVER Addy, Consumer or Trade Publication – Campaign, Four Color
Florida Eco Safaris Creative
- SILVER Addy, Interactive Media – Website, HTML/Other
Florida Eco Safaris website
CCI was also honored with the award for "Best in Show" in the Electronic Division for designing and hosting the Space Coast Art Festival website: www.spacecoastartfestival.com.
The ADDY Awards are the advertising industry's largest and toughest competition, representing the true spirit of creative excellence.
About Communications Concepts, Inc. (CCI) is a Florida-based, audio/visual Communications Company headquartered in Cape Canaveral with facilities at Universal Studios in Orlando. The company provides video production, Web Site design, new media, and A/V rentals. For over 30 years CCI has provided services for regional and national sporting events, entertainment programming, corporate and other special events. For more information visit: www.cciflorida.com.