Radio World: What is your video strategy?
Mirosław Ostrowski:Radio Wrocław is a pioneering station. We ran the first stereo transmission; we were transmitting regular quadraphonic programs in the 1970s as one of two stations in Europe (a German station in Cologne was the second). We also run regular RDS services in Poland, and some years later we started the first DAB+ trial transmission in the country.
Mirek Ostrowski at work.
We try to see what’s happening outside and where our listeners might be. And we try to follow them — or be in some places before them :). That was the foundation upon which we built our new platform — video streaming, where we deliver live video broadcasts from our two studios. We also use our video system to prepare video materials (video podcasts) that are presented on our web portal.
RW: Are your strategies generating revenue?
Ostrowski: Our activities in this field are not focused on the money. We, as a public radio station, want to deliver our listeners attractive services on various platforms — radio, analog and digital, as well as video streaming, video podcasts, mobile applications and an attractive portal with fresh, good and verified news; which makes us a source for our local newspapers. [We’re] a must-listen by newspaper journalists every morning.
RW: What kind of technical tools are needed to help a station bring live or automated video to their audiences?
Ostrowski: We use intelligent automated video systems made by French company MultiCAM Systems. They are in use in two of our studios, which broadcast two 24/7 programs. The system is user friendly and fully automated so there’s no need to employ a technician. Of course, we can take control over the system and manage it manually, but thanks to its features and capabilities, we generally use the automatic mode.
RW: What terms and technologies should prospective radio video creators know?
Ostrowski: We’ve seen many stations where technicians or video engineers are needed to control video tools and cameras, but because of the expense, they are employed only on occasion, like for example when significant and notable guests appear in the studio. It resembles bad television rather than improved radio.
Lighting control devices are now part of many studios.
We prefer smart automation of such transmissions or recordings, even if the system makes some framing mistakes when the guest changes position. It is possible to correct this manually, but sometimes there’s no time to do that.
Critically, the MultiCAM system works with the digital mixing consoles in the studios and knows which microphones are open and which person is speaking. The video system then prepares the cameras and changes the on-air video shots according to its pre-programmed setup. There might be many such shots, which makes the video output signal attractive from the viewers’ point of view.
The video system is integrated with all the tools needed to stream a video signal; it also makes it possible to record some video extracts for later use or publication on the radio station’s website. MultiCAM also allows us to carry out live broadcasts on Facebook.
In addition, I have to pay particular attention to proper lighting of the people in the studio. We consulted on that with a specialist from the film and TV industry.
RW: Describe your video facility or projects.
Ostrowski: We use the two MultiCAM video systems in two studios. One is installed in our new broadcast studio for Radio Wrocław, the main regional program. Here is a link to a live video stream and some pictures of the studio.
The second installation was placed in the new studio for digital-only programs being broadcast in DAB+. The name of the program is Radio Wrocław Kultura. Here is the live video stream and pictures of the studio.
We run both video systems in automatic mode and they work with DHD 52 digital mixing consoles.