Off the Air

A collection of press clippings, special projects or appearances including Garrison Keillor.

Everything You Wanted to Know about Converting Radio into Moving Pictures (But Were Afraid to Ask)

February 3, 2010

It is fast setting in that we have little over one day left to complete the transformation of our little radio show into the HD Cinematic experience we promised.

Lenny Laxer, the VP of All Mobile Video and the guy in charge of the ginormous gunmetal gray 53-foot Triple Expando HD Mobile Unit truck named Resolution (which is now wedged in the alley behind the Fitz and stretching out the entire width of the theater), gave us a peek behind the veil, and a private tour of "Mission Control" to explain how the radio show will get translated into an HD visual experience beamed live to more than 500 theaters across North America.

In our case, you start with 10 Sony HD Cameras along with 14 Sony HDCAM vtrs and connect them with more the 20,000 feet of various cables that coil in, around, and through the Fitz out to Resolution with a Sony HD switcher & Studer audio console.

And from there, the cabling serpentines their way over to the HD Satellite uplink truck equipped with 5.1 surround and AC3 encoding in HD 1080i, which then takes the video signal and beams it some 27,000 miles straight up (and slightly over) to a Ku-band geosynchronous satellite, (named AMC-5), which currently (and we hope continues to) orbit at 79 ° W (coverage map). AMC-5 then processes and redirects our signal and propels the HD sound & image back down to planet earth and straight to your neighborhood theatre or performing art center, that has the equipment and capability to receive it.

No small feat — and we're fortunate that there is a competent crew of 20+ folks that know how to make it all come together!

As truly impressive as Resolution is, Lenny tells us the next addition to their fleet will be a mobile unit capable of transmitting 3D images. We may not be quite ready for that, 2 dimensional video images has been a big enough leap ... but who knows? Maybe next season.

Tour of the Resolution truck»

List of production equipment (A/V Nerds only)»


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