SYDNEY, 15 February 2011 — Magna Systems and Engineering today announced that it has supplied and installed the Australian Parliament’s Department of Parliamentary Services with seven independent multi-camera robotic camera control systems (six fixed and one portable) consisting of 42 camera robotic heads to accommodate the Parliament’s new Camera Robotic Control Solution and supporting production equipment.
Magna Systems and Engineering Product Manager David Clemesha said, “This is the largest and most prestigious camera robotic installation of its kind across the Asia Pacific region and we are honoured and delighted to be the supplier of choice.”
The Department of Parliamentary Services (DPS) is the service department for Australia’s national Parliament, providing services and facilities that enable Senators and Members of the House of Representatives to work and communicate with each other, with their constituents and with the community. DPS facilitates the Australian Parliament to the Australian community and to the world.
The initial tender was one of the most comprehensive Magna Systems had seen according to Clemesha who said, “It required a major solution to be designed and installed in the House of Representatives, Senate, Committee Rooms and the Great Hall. There were many logistical and technical issues to overcome so a great deal of work went into our response.”
The Camera Robotics Solution designed with Cambotics and supplied by Magna Systems provides advanced robotic camera management to single and multiple operators tasked with the complete vision direction, production and technical direction process for an event within each of the Parliament chambers. It also supports the control of any group of up to eight robotic camera heads and integrates and controls new Sony HD cameras and Fujinon lenses via new Sony CNUs.”
“The initial tender was one of the most comprehensive Magna Systems had seen according to Clemesha who said, “It required a major solution to be designed and installed in the House of Representatives, Senate, Committee Rooms and the Great Hall. There were many logistical and technical issues to overcome so a great deal of work went into our response.”
Clemesha continued, “The initial tender was very clear, we had to provide an intuitive, ergonomic user friendly multi-Camera Robotic Control System for the remote operation, management and monitoring of Robotic Camera Heads in the chambers, committee rooms and special event locations within Australian Parliament House. Thus the Camera Robotic Control Solution we have supplied and installed also provides operators with a real time, efficient user-friendly interface for the operation of a defined group of cameras from within each Production Control Room (PCR).”
The Magna System solution is based around Cambotics robotics heads and control system, a company devoted exclusively to manufacturing automated heads and pedestals for television broadcast stations. The products within the solution represent the synthesis of the proven technologies of the past, together with contemporary mechanisms and architectures. The result is efficient automation, delivering the most-asked-for features with better production control.
Clemesha added, “Our solution includes the Cambotics Series 600 robotic heads and the custom writing of software to interface to microphone triggers, Video Character Generators and Camera Control Units (CCU). The software works on triggers so when a Member of Parliament speaks, the mic sends a cue to the robotic system which, in turn, identifies the member’s position and instructs the robotic heads to pan, tilt and zoom towards the speaker. The graphic system is also triggered pushing the relevant graphics to air. It really is a very efficient system.”
The Cambotics 600PTZ robotic head is available as a stand-alone product for post, tripod mounting, or with an elevation column. Its 57kg capacity easily carries today’s typical studio configurations with teleprompters and preview monitors. The elevation column adds extremely smooth on-air quality vertical moves to the production. The Cambotics 600PTZ robotic head has a top pan/tilt speed of 90 degrees per second and a top elevation speed of 12.7 cm per second.
David Clemesha said, “APH and DPS tenders are often the most comprehensive we come across. Our product solution was very detailed and our proof of concept involved 4 robotic heads, software and a mocked up desk all of which had to be fully functional for 10 days to satisfy all operational requirements.”
At Australian Parliament House (APH) there are operators in any PCR who use a joystick and touch screen User Interface to trim any required shot.
Clemesha explained, “We have customised the joystick to include CCU functions and also customised the heads to meet all APH OH&S requirements. The Cambotics User Interface is a networked Windows PC based system used to control Cambotics robotics devices and has a redundancy feature which allows for a fully redundant system configuration just by adding a second control point. The UI makes setting up a shot as easy as selecting a camera, framing a shot using the joysticks and a focus knob then storing it by touching the screen. The control system also uses a trapezoid to plot any move and by having a significant number of points to plot, it makes the system one of the smoothest available on the market today.”
As part of Magna Systems winning the initial tender, Cambotics Product Specialist Miles Spellman was flown over from their California HQ to help demonstrate the robotic heads, control systems and joysticks to key APH and DPS staff. Clemesha said, “Again the tender was very specific on service and support levels. Critically we have ensured that the relevant Magna Systems personnel based in Sydney are fully trained and proficient in the installation, operation and repair of the Cambotics products.”
Clemesha said, “APH and DPS tenders are often the most comprehensive we come across. Our product solution was very detailed and our proof of concept involved 4 robotic heads, software and a mocked up desk all of which had to be fully functional for 10 days to satisfy all operational requirements.”
Magna Systems also refitted existing PCRs with new desks which involved the removal and reinstallation of current equipment. This, alongside the full Camera Robotic Control Solution, had to be done during very precise timeframes working within the 2010 and early 2011 parliamentary sitting dates.
Clemesha concluded, “In total there are six PCRs aligned with the House of Representatives, Senate and Committee Rooms. Parliament’s schedule means we installed the larger systems last to avoid any disruption. This was a very big job which required us to draw on experiences from our previous successful installations at Australian Parliament House at each stage. I would particularly like to thank all at APH and DPS for their help and support and I would also like to pay a special mention to our Installation Manager Kurt Hauselberger and the entire Magna Systems and Engineering team, all of whom worked so diligently on this project.”
Magna Systems’ installation of Australian Parliament House’s new Camera Robotic Control Solution went live on 8 February 2011.