Tennessee General Assembly’s House of Representatives Provides Complete Government Transparency With Telemetrics Robotics
For the Audio-Visual department at the Tennessee House of Representatives, located in Nashville, providing the public with transparency in their state government proceedings is of paramount importance. With the House in meetings four days a week, all 99 representatives are recorded as they speak and their images distributed live via Nashville Public Television as well as over the Internet.
Mary Power, A/V Production Specialist for the State of Tennessee General Assembly for the state’s House of Representatives, said they now cover the proceedings with a Telemetrics Robotic Camera Control Panel with Studio software and two Telemetrics HP-S5 Pan/Tilt heads supporting Panasonic HD cameras and Fujinon lenses. The panel also precisely controls four other cameras (and lenses) to cover all 99 members, with each camera and Pan/Tilt head networked via an Ethernet switch and controlled by the Telemetrics RCCP panel and a single operator.
Power said they have set up presets for every member in the Chamber and the Telemetrics robotic control system can handle over 400 presets if necessary. The controller is also used to shade the cameras so that their outputs match.
“We had another controller for a few months but we quickly used all of the available presets,” she said. “With the Telemetrics controller, we can do so much more and it’s very easy to use. We’re exploring what more we can do in the future.”
The robotic camera controller is located in the state’s Cordell Hull Building and controls cameras that are across the street in the State Capitol. Each proceeding is captured with the system, typically operated by Andre Carpenter with Power pitching in to handle on-screen graphics to help identify the representatives. Setting up a preset takes just two button pushes on the control panel, while a Crestron system adds titles for each member as a particular camera appears on-air. As a member begins to speak, the control panel operator manually selects the camera that’s best positioned to cover that member using the system’s complementary large touchscreen monitor.
With a totally user configurable control surface, and high-end processors to support complex automated moves—as well as snapshot thumbnails for shot presets and live video preview—a single operator can maneuver multiple cameras with the RCCP control panel. With it Power’s team now has flexible and natural control over what were once complex camera moves.
The PT-HP-S5 Robotic Pan/Tilt head features Telemetrics’ field-proven Advanced Servo technology that provides smooth motion and quiet on-air operation, and typically leads to improved production values. A fully integrated servo motor supports quiet and fast (up to 100 deg/ sec) camera moves with a Pan/Tilt load capacity of up to 40 pounds. It also includes built-in cable management, making installation quick and easy.
“We couldn’t do what we do without robotic cameras, it would be impractical,” Power said, adding that the STS software running on the controller is customizable and allows them to work in the way that they prefer. “The reliability [of the robotic cameras] has been great and it’s working exactly like we need it to. We only use the controller for two cameras in the chamber, but we could do more in the future.”
Getting back to Power’s main mission, the most important thing about the robotic camera system now in place is that it is providing an unfiltered view of what the government is discussing, which has become invaluable to the citizens of Tennessee.
“Our department covers government meetings without any commentary,” Power said. “We simply present the proceedings of the House of Representatives. We want the public to see and hear the conversations as they happen.”
The multi-camera robotic system was recommended and installed by Telemetrics partner and local A/V system integrator Diversified within a few weeks in the fall of 2018 and continues to operate flawlessly. For the people of Tennessee, that’s a great thing.