The unique video call-in service lets TV broadcasters take live video calls directly on air without control room support
Clear-Com®, a global leader in real-time communication solutions, brings innovative intercom solutions to help the Video Call Center (VCC) connect live TV broadcasters with viewers on webcams. VCC’s system lets broadcasters screen and engage real-time video callers on air without the need for a broadcast production control room. Clear-Com’s Eclipse HX matrix intercom system and Agent-IC mobile app are important tools to enable the production workflow among the VCC staff and with viewers.
Essentially a television version of the popular radio call-in show format, VCC uses IP video technology, innovative broadcast studio design and proprietary production/automation software to connect with viewers who have video chat capable devices. Viewers with webcams, smart phones or tablets can make live video calls to VCC-enabled TV programs, where the production team can screen the callers and the talent can directly switch between the calls themselves. Because VCC eliminates the need for a separate control room, and otherwise drives efficient workflows, the cost of producing “video call-in” shows is dramatically reduced for broadcasters.
Eclipse HX provides the communications backbone for VCC’s production team, and also integrates the audio from inbound “video calls” into the studio intercom system. It enables screeners and producers to not only communicate seamlessly with each other, but also with callers before they are connected with the program host and go live on the air.
Linking with the VCC’s mix-minus return audio for each caller, the Eclipse HX provides producers the ability to interrupt the return audio feed to speak with individuals callers through their individual interrupted fold back (ifb) preventing echo. This means that callers do not need any additional technology beyond their normal computer/mobile device’s video chat capability to speak with the TV show’s host(s) and producers.
In addition, VCC needed a mobile intercom solution for their remote and mobile production staff. VCC producers may operate out of remote locations, away from the main studio, and some production staff need to move freely about the VCC facility. With Clear-Com’s new Agent-IC mobile app, team members can simply connect with anyone on the Eclipse HX intercom network via iOS mobile devices such as iPad or iPhone as long as there is internet access.
Superior reliability and ease-of-use are the hallmarks of this Clear-Com deployment and complement the VCC’s own patent pending work to improve significantly the ratio of dropped video calls on air, now at about 1% (like talk radio), down from 40% when the project started its test programs nearly three years ago.
“Being able to unite our close knit production team, keeping them in communication with each other, with the program host, and with in-bound video callers is essential to our mission,” said VCC Senior Advisor Larry Thaler. “Delivering crisp, clear voice communication throughout the studio and with remote locations, plus the added benefit of mobility, makes Clear-Com’s technology a key ingredient in empowering our production teams as they create a whole new level of interactive video programing.”
To date, VCC has produced more than 120 hours of interactive video call-in programming, including 27 half hour programs broadcast over TEGNA Media’s KUSA-TV Denver. These shows include the news special “Balance of Power: You Make the Call” following the Republican Presidential Primaries Debate in Colorado, “Theater Trial” a crime series chronicling the July 2015 trial of the Aurora, Colorado theater shooter, and the Denver Broncos pre-game series “Broncos Tonight: You Make the Call.”