It began with Don Imus (or maybe even before that), but the idea of having cameras in a radio studio to deliver live video is nothing new. One product we got to see at the NAB show in Las Vegas is an attempt to automate the whole process.
Rather than having a staffer handle video switching when a radio show is being streamed on the Internet (or live on cable like Imus), Netia has integrated camera switching into a new tab for its Radio Assist 8 automation system, called CamDirector. Of course, you have to be using Radio Assist, which is more commonly in use in Europe than in the US. France-based Netia is hoping that the studio camera automation software will be a feature that helps it sell more in the US market.
The way it works is that camera switching is automatically activated by sound being detected on a mic. The software can be programmed to give priority to a particular mic – say, the primary host or an important guest – but by switching around as different people in the studio speak, the camera angles add variety to the videocast. You can also adjust such settings as to whether to cut away or fade away from a particular camera.
So, the producer or host can decide ahead of time how the video switching should be handled, then let the automation system handle the task while the show is live. Isabelle Michoux of Netia told us the system is designed to work equally well with serious news discussions and wacky morning shows.