Zanus RoboProd system starts live broadcasts from the National Assembly of Serbia
Zanus Production Robotics launched RoboProd system, intended for the production of live broadcasts. RoboProd is a flexible and modular system that can control broadcast cameras, PTZ cameras, robotic pan-tilt heads, motorized pedestal and motorized dollies from different manufacturers. The system is very modular and can be easily upgraded with as many cameras as needed. The controller allows the operator to easily manage a large number of cameras at the same time.
On August 1, 2022, Radio Television of Serbia (RTS) successfully did a live broadcast of the constitutive session of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia using the RoboProd system.
The production system in the Parliament of Serbia consists of 4 Canon CR-N500 PTZ cameras and 3 Panasonic broadcast cameras with Canon full servo broadcast lenses. One of the broadcast cameras is mounted on a robotic PT head Pauli and two other broadcast cameras are mounted on Pauli heads and the Raise motorized pedestals. The broadcast camera with a fixed height is oriented towards the President of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia, and the other two broadcast cameras are oriented towards the members of the National Assembly. Four Canon PTZ cameras are intended to cover long shots that are necessary for live television broadcasting. Orientation of the cameras in the assembly hall is shown in Figure 1.
All cameras are controlled by a server computer with Zanus RoboProd software on it. Communication with robotics is done over an IP network. In addition, the server gets an SDI feed from the currently active camera. This is achieved by controlling an Aja SDI switcher over IP. Schematic representation of the overall system is shown in Figure 2.
In this way an entire team of seven cameramen is taken over by a single operator. Another technician is responsible for the camera control unit (CCU) of each camera in the system.
The camera operator uses Skaarhoj PTZ Extreme joystick and a touch screen for driving all of the robotics. The system allows to store a large number of presets related to each MP and to store additional relevant information for each preset, so it is very easy for an operator to recall a preset for a given MP. Additionally, the system allows the use of presets with multiple cameras and preset arrays – sequences of presets with predefined execution times. Joystick sensitivities are the same for all robotics despite the fact that they are from different manufacturers. This is achieved by a special sensitivity harmonization function implemented in RoboProd system. The camera control workstation is shown in Figure 3.
CCU control is done with Skaarhoj PTZ Inline joystick and the two operators can synchronously make changes on different cameras without interfering with each other. The CCU control workstation is shown in Figure 4.
During the system integration, we have very good collaboration with broadcasting engineers and technicians of Radio Television of Serbia (RTS), which resulted in the system working flawlessly during the constitutive session of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia. The building of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia was built in 1907 and is under the protection of the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments of Serbia, which required very close collaboration with engineers from RTS and from the national Assembly.
During the system integration of the RoboProd into the hall of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia, a very strong lens flare appeared in all four PTZ cameras. Several limiting factors have led to this problem. The members of parliament complained that the light went directly into their eyes during the parliamentary sessions.
To solve this problem, lighting technicians could not install HMI fresnel lighting where they need it, but where they are allowed, because the building of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia is under the protection of the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments of Serbia. PTZ cameras do not have a lens hood as the lenses of professional broadcast cameras, so Zanus produced a custom-made lens hood for the PTZ cameras, which solved the problem. The custom designed lens hood is shown in Figure 5.
Over the course of two months, fifty RoboProd operators from Radio Television of Serbia successfully completed the training. Intuitive design of the application and controller allowed for the minimum time necessary to be spent for the operator to start using the system.
So, what are the main advantages of using the RoboProd system in the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia?
– RoboProd system controls one operator and it replaces 7 cameramen during one shift
– Zanus RoboProd system provides the possibility to use both broadcast cameras and PTZ cameras in the same system
– There is a possibility to separate the job of operator RoboProd system and camera control unit (CCU) technician, which was the request of the client, which was successfully fulfilled
– When the President of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia gives a certain deputy the right to speak, with the cameraman it takes time to spot the deputy and separate him from the group of deputies. With RoboProd presets, the frame of a certain deputy now appears in the live broadcast almost instantly, much faster than when the cameraman did it.
– There is no longer a need for the cameraman to be in the hall of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia, but all the employees who do the live broadcast are in the control room of the Radio Television Serbia