Griffin Going Green With New Tulsa Digs
When searching for a sign of a rebounding broadcast economy, one need look no further than Tulsa, Okla., where Griffin Communications is completing a 57,000-square-foot HD broadcast center on a three-acre site to house CBS affiliate KOTV, CW affiliate KQCW and their more than 185 employees.
Begun a year ago and set to go live next Jan. 19, the building is a model of "green" technology. It features geothermal heating and cooling and LED studio lighting that runs cool and uses less power.
“The LED lighting instruments on our set will reduce our lighting power requirement alone by over 90% from previously-employed incandescent and fluorescent fixtures,” says David Griffin, CEO of Griffin Communications, which also owns KWTV Oklahoma City.
At the heart of the facility is 5,400-square foot studio, equipped with four Grass Valley LDK 4000 Elite HD cameras. It will be used to produce a wide variety of programming, including 39.5 hours of local news each week.
The studio is highly sound-proofed, using multiple layers of sheet rock and sound insulation in the walls and ceiling, according to Gerald Weaver, the station’s director of engineering. The audio infrastructure is all digital.
The news set was designed by FX Design Group. FX's Glenn Anderson said the set is unique, explaining that it is constructed in a circle within the rectangular studio. “It’s pretty close to 360 degrees or beyond,” he says. “By beyond, I mean it does not follow the studio walls. There is a multipurpose area behind the set that can be used for bands or other kind of shoots.”
The set includes a window behind the anchor desk that allows shots into the adjoining 7,000-square-foot newsroom.
The choice of LED lighting — which include Litepanels 5600K 1x1 panels and Sola 4 and 6 Fresnel fixtures — positively affected the entire project, including the air conditioning, studio height, foundation and structural steel usage.
And with LED lighting, the set should keep its good looks longer, Anderson says.
“Sets use plastic laminates. Temperature and humidity changes have a drastic effect on those.... They can expand and contract. Some studios can vary by 20 degrees in a given day and it can cause the set to bubble. That won’t happen here."
For the presentation of video and graphics, the set has embedded 55- and 35-inch Samsung LCD panels and 65- and 46-inch NEC LCD panels.
“We would like to use technology to our advantage and have a quicker, flashier newscast,” Weaver says.
The Rygan Corp.’s high-performance Geo Xchange geothermal system should be able to heat and cool the building with the exception of the technical cores, which will still use conventional air conditioning. The entire facility will use 110 tons of air conditioning capacity.
The system includes 32, 500-foot wells in a geothermal field under the employee parking lot.
The system circulates water from the building into the geothermal field, where it’s always 64 degrees. In the field, the water is either heated or cooled to 64 degrees before being pumped back inside the building and into overhead heat exchangers.
Because of the wells, it cost twice as much as a conventional system to install, but only half the cost to operate.
The plant is a mix of old and new gear and software, according to Weaver.
“All of the production equipment is new,” he says. “The switcher is the new Grass Valley Kayenne. Audio is a C10 digital console by Solid State Logic. All the routing and the majority of master control is new, with the exception of the file servers, which are Grass Valley KT servers, and the Miranda NV5100MC master control system. We are already using it to deliver HD syndicated programming and commercials.”
For graphics, the station is using a Vizrt Trio in production control and Vizrt Ticker3D in master control, Weaver says. “We’ve had the Vizrt gear for two and half years, but have been using it in SD mode.”
The WSI weather system needs a simple software upgrade, he says. “We may add new weather facilities before the HD launch, but I can’t talk about that yet.”
In the newsroom, the Avid Isis editing system is new, he says. “Most of the existing gear there is already HD capable. It will just be a matter of switching the gear to the HD mode, rather than the 16 x 9 SD mode being used now.”
The newsroom has also added two Grass Valley K2 Summit 3G server frames and several terabytes of storage capacity to its existing complement of K2 servers that have been in use for several years. The new servers will be used in tandem with a Harris ADC playout automation system to handle incoming and outgoing programming and news feeds as digital files.
The facility, which includes a heliport, is located at 303 North Boston Avenue in the Brady Arts District and is part of a renaissance of downtown Tulsa.