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Associated Press partners with KIT Digital for HD transition

KIT Digital BSI has completed Master Control Room (MCR) upgrades in Ramallah, Gaza and Cairo, among other places.

KIT digital, Inc. a video management software and services company, announced that its Broadcast System Integration business (formerly Megahertz Broadcast Systems) has delivered a large number of high definition upgrades for The Associated Press.  AP and KIT Digital BSI signed a framework agreement in 2011 for systems integration work in AP’s international bureaux.

As a global news agency, AP has news bureaux in more than 300 locations around the world. In recent months, KIT Digital BSI has been upgrading key facilities to HD and has completed Master Control Room (MCR) upgrades in Paris, Rome, Johannesburg, Moscow, Jerusalem, Ramallah, Gaza, Cairo, Tokyo and two sites in Beijing.

Each site is reportedly different to ensure it meets the local needs of the newsgathering operations in the region. All are based on a number of incoming and outgoing feeds, both satellite and fibre, with facilities for monitoring, recording and editing. Each MCR has a central router that can be controlled from London. Most include camera points around the building, and some have a studio operation.

 “The advantage of a long-term relationship with a technical partner like KIT Digital BSI is that we can turn around requirements quickly,” said Dave Hoad, AP director of global video technology. “We have worked with the engineers in Ely for long enough now for them to know the details of what we expect in our technical infrastructures. We know that we will get a highly reliable, highly functional solution from them, whether it is for a fixed installation or a satellite newsgathering truck (SNG).”

KIT Digital BSI has recently completed a new HD SNG unit for AP, being built at its workshops in Ely, UK. Based on a VW Transporter van with up-rated air suspension, it carries its own on-board generator as well as air-conditioning and a small mast. The production equipment includes a radio camera link, fibre link, VTRs, vision mixer, audio mixer, router and monitoring.

While most of the equipment is new, the uplink antenna is from an existing AP unit and will be refurbished by engineers at KIT Digital BSI. Previous SNGs built for AP by KIT Digital BSI have been located across Europe. This new unit, will be based in the Middle East.

“This has been an exciting time for AP projects, and we have very much relished the challenge,” said Steve Burgess, technical director of KIT Digital BSI. “We have been able to take a core design for the bureau MCRs and adapt it to each location, meaning we could deliver a top quality HD facility quickly and cost-effectively. We look forward to the opportunity to work on more sites in the coming months.”