The January DC Section meeting was held at the studios of WETA-26, Washington's PBS station, home of "The Newshour with Jim Lehrer", and other television programs. The station recently completd a major upgrade to HD with the help of integrator Communications Engineering, Inc (CEI).
Chris Lane, WETA VP of Engineering, opened the meeting with an overview of the transition requirements and war stories about keeping the nightly live show on the air while doing a major upgrade in the 40-year-old building. The unexpected discovery of a critical roof water drain in a wall, and the need to run HVAC ducts through a second-floor office, added to the installation challenges. In addition, some of the equipment being replaced was many decades old and required extra adaptation time for operators.
CEI's engineers Joe Strobel and Tom Hackett then described the physical process of building the new HD control room and shuffling equipment within a central machine room that was already well-filled. Floorplans and a 3D architectural "walk-through" were shown and participants were able to tour the new control room and the rest of the facility. Extensive pre-planning by WETA and CEI, as well as the ability to have production staff practice with the new equipment by "mirroring" the live production, resulted in a transition with no disruptions to the on-air experience.
The DC Section would like to thank Chris Lane and WETA for their hospitality, Lew Zager for making introductions, as well as CEI and Omneon for supplying refreshments.
-Eric Wenocur, Section Manager and Program Chair
CEI President & CEO Larry Brody with Bart Palmer, Sr. VP - Media Engineering, Discovery Communications LLC at the WETA studios.
Chris Lane, WETA's VP of Engineering, describes their long-term upgrade