One Size Fits All – Good or Bad?

All of us here at Compix have a very singular focus and passion. We make state of the art, broadcast quality and extremely affordable character generators for video applications. Some companies have begun to combine stand-alone, discrete devices into single, multifunction systems. In the broadcast and multimedia production arenas, character generators (CGs) are among the discrete systems now being offered in multifunction platforms.

Because CG system developers straddle two worlds, bringing together computer-based graphic arts and the technical aspects of working with live video for real time play to air, CG systems must offer simple user interfaces and straightforward functionality to facilitate the creation and playout of electronic graphics. These systems must then allow flawless playout of complicated graphic effects required for modern on-air broadcast quality CG graphics.

In trying to be all production things to all production environments, some combined solutions can fail to do any particular thing well. When, for example,a single system is required to provide robust CG functionality while also servingas a video mixer, multi-channel video server, audio  mixer, and camera control system, its operation becomes much more complex, even overwhelming.

Intuitively, this “all-eggs-in-one-basket” approach seems to make complete sense as a cost-saving technique. However, what many broadcasters and other organizations are finding, is that purpose-built systems like CG’s provide higher levels of reliability, functionality, and ease of use.

The majority of most productions rely on staff, students, and volunteers who must be familiar with the CG system and get up to speed quickly. Stand-alone CG systems make this possible, and in many cases the tools they provide can allow users to create graphical overlays and other CG-based enhancements to the video project without the need for the complications and cost of video switchers or OB vans. For example, template based sports scoreboard graphics can create real time lower third game scores, stats, and frame accurate shot clock information automatically. These are duties the modern purpose-built CG can easily deliver at an incredibly affordable price point.

The independent operation of stand-alone CG systems is valuable also within the educational environment, where the use of discrete devices gives students the best opportunity to learn specific production skills. Equipped with a practical understanding of how to use CG technology effectively, those students can then enter the working world in a production facility and be prepared to work either with a discrete system or to make sense of and take better advantage of a combined solution.

Used independently or as part of much larger installations, today’s stand-alone CG systems make it easier and more cost-effective than ever for users across the broadcast, sports, military, government, education, and house of worship markets to create more dynamic, engaging, cost effective, and revenue enhancing video productions.

It very well may be that the promise of a “one size fits all” or a “station in a box”, may in fact turn out to be a box full of empty promises and false economy.

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One response to “One Size Fits All – Good or Bad?

  1. Pingback: [4.21.11] After NAB 2011 | CompixTV

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