fbpx

Viz Mosart helps AVROTROS streamline daily show’s studio operations

The broadcast studio automation software is being employed to save costs and deliver greater consistency from production to production.

AVROTROS - Viz Mosart Studio Automation

Delivering an increased range and quantity of programming without adding unduly to operational costs and complexity is a challenge confronting many broadcasters around the world.

But, when the broadcaster in question is a public services organization – like Dutch radio and television broadcaster AVROTROS – the pressure to minimize costs and maximize efficiencies and quality is, inevitably, even more important.

It was precisely this need that drove AVROTROS’ recent decision to integrate Vizrt’s Viz Mosart studio automation software for its popular daily current affairs program EénVandaag (which translates as OneToday) as part of a major studio refurbishment project.

Having assessed its control room and studio operation for the show, the production team saw an opportunity to automate several repetitive tasks and activities – enabling a significant increase in show consistency and reducing reliance on hiring in extra freelance staff in a time where there is a talent gap.

An operator using Viz Mosart Studio Automation at AVROTROS
An operator using Viz Mosart Studio Automation at AVROTROS

John van de Molengraft, Senior Producer at AVROTROS and the person responsible for the look and feel of EénVandaag, who also served as Technical Lead for this project, recalls: “The primary focus was cost efficiency as we’re publicly funded. The reality is that our costs increase every year but our budget stays roughly the same so we must be careful with spending. We looked at our control room and saw several manual processes that could be automated.”

“We knew that studio automation would make [shows] more consistent”

The other primary objective behind the investment – which followed a period in which Vizrt introduced AVROTROS to several existing Viz Mosart customers – was production consistency. “On a day-to-day basis, you could see which Director was directing the show, based on their style and the way they worked. We knew that studio automation would make this more consistent show-to-show and Director-to-Director.”

‘Everyone picked it up really quickly’

Despite the lack of experience with automation technologies among the in-house and freelancer pool, Viz Mosart proved extremely easy to get to grips with, recalls van de Molengraft:

“I was really surprised at how quickly everyone picked it up. We trained our Studio Manager and some IT staff first, and then we gave everyone three days of training, plus three days of dry runs – so only 6 days in total – and then we went live. I was really surprised at how smoothly it went.”

There was very little resistance to the new method of working, apart from some inevitable initial concerns about flexibility and restrictions on creativity – for example, whether Directors could take back control once the show was templated and running.

Rene van Brakel, Editor-in-Chief and Project Owner for this project, recalls: “We explained that everything is possible – you just need to think about how you want it to look and then make the change in Viz Mosart.”

Ultimately, the team decided to automate the lighting, LED panels, graphics playout, and audio, although an audio technician is still on hand during the shows to manage levels and incoming connections. Robotic cameras were considered, but it was determined that a more traditional approach would be best to avoid the significant potential costs and “retain the human flexibility and experience that robotics doesn’t have.”

The custom keyboard AVROTROS made for their Directors using Viz Mosart studio automation
The custom keyboard AVROTROS made for their Directors using Viz Mosart studio automation

For day-to-day operations, a custom keyboard mapped to the Viz Mosart GUI gives users tactile control at their fingertips, thereby enabling lightning-fast control of the system. So straightforward did this prove to be that the project leads even invited the company CEO to try out the system – within a few minutes he was able to operate it and see how easily shows can be run and managed.

‘We wanted to enrich our story presentation’

While automation and consistency were the driving forces behind the upgrade, Viz Mosart is by no means the only element of the Vizrt portfolio in which AVROTROS has recently invested.

Alongside Viz Mosart, the EénVandaag team is also using Viz Pilot Edge to plan its shows and Vizrt graphics including Viz Trio, Viz Engine, Viz Artist, and Graphics Hub – the full graphics production software package – for its augmented reality (AR) and LED panels. The desire to integrate augmented reality into the show was especially critical here.

There was very little resistance to the new method of working, apart from some inevitable initial concerns about flexibility and restrictions on creativity – for example, whether Directors could take back control once the show was templated and running.

Rene van Brakel, Editor-in-Chief and Project Owner for this project, recalls: “We explained that everything is possible – you just need to think about how you want it to look and then make the change in Viz Mosart.”

Ultimately, the team decided to automate the lighting, LED panels, graphics playout, and audio, although an audio technician is still on hand during the shows to manage levels and incoming connections. Robotic cameras were considered, but it was determined that a more traditional approach would be best to avoid the significant potential costs and “retain the human flexibility and experience that robotics doesn’t have.”

For day-to-day operations, a custom keyboard mapped to the Viz Mosart GUI gives users tactile control at their fingertips, thereby enabling lightning-fast control of the system. So straightforward did this prove to be that the project leads even invited the company CEO to try out the system – within a few minutes he was able to operate it and see how easily shows can be run and managed.

The custom keyboard AVROTROS made for their Directors using Viz Mosart studio automation
The custom keyboard AVROTROS made for their Directors using Viz Mosart studio automation

‘We wanted to enrich our story presentation’

While automation and consistency were the driving forces behind the upgrade, Viz Mosart is by no means the only element of the Vizrt portfolio in which AVROTROS has recently invested.

Alongside Viz Mosart, the EénVandaag team is also using Viz Pilot Edge to plan its shows and Vizrt graphics including Viz Trio, Viz Engine, Viz Artist, and Graphics Hub – the full graphics production software package – for its augmented reality (AR) and LED panels. The desire to integrate augmented reality into the show was especially critical here.

“We went from one of the most traditional studios around to one of the most innovative and ambitious”

“We wanted to enrich the way we presented our stories,” says van Brakel. “[In particular] we really wanted to use augmented reality to tell better stories. We present a lot of data in our shows, and we wanted an easy and flexible system that would make it possible to integrate this data and display it through interesting graphics. And we wanted to partner with a vendor whose systems all integrate well with each other. We went from one of the most traditional studios around, to one of the most innovative and ambitious.”

“We started the process of looking into how we could improve our shows, and then we saw Vizrt’s stand at the NAB show in Las Vegas in 2018 and were like, wow, what they’re showing now is what we want – this is exactly what we want to be doing. You need to see it for yourselves to really understand how it works and what it can do for you. You need to be inspired.”

‘We were quite ambitious’

“We broadcast 6 days a week, 52 weeks of the year, so we had a set amount of time to complete the whole project with a hard deadline”, commented van de Molengraft. “Building a new studio inside the existing space, working with systems integrator, Qvest, to implement and set up Viz Mosart and the graphics tools, training everyone, and building a new show.”

The new studio and show went live with the new augmented graphics workflows in September 2021, with the Viz Mosart studio automation workflows coming 9 months later. “We were quite ambitious… perhaps a little too ambitious!” notes van de Molengraft, referring to the decision to delay the Viz Mosart element by 9 months. “Vizrt arranged for us to visit existing customers so we could fully understand how they were using studio automation, which was a big help and made us decide it was too ambitious to do it all at once. Postponing gave us time to properly plan and prepare, to do a lot of testing, and to get everybody involved fully trained. The final go-live for the studio automation workflows went very well as a result.”

‘The shows are more consistent’

Automating much of the studio operations has enabled the program to rely less on a large team of operators, “so we know we’ve saved significant costs per show”, says van de Molengraft.

In terms of errors and inconsistencies, “we can clearly see that the shows are more consistent. Previously, you had human errors such as a Technical Director [Vision Mixer] pushing the wrong button, but that doesn’t happen anymore because it’s all programmed in. There are also fewer errors due to miscommunication because the Director is controlling the show and doesn’t need to speak to someone else to press a button – they do it themselves.”

AVROTROS Studio - Viz Mosart Studio Automation2
AVROTROS Studio - Viz Mosart Studio Automation

Whilst confirming that the show’s transformation is “an ongoing project and we still learn every day, particularly regarding augmented reality graphics”, it’s beyond doubt that studio automation has freed up resources to concentrate more on the actual production: “Editors and Directors work together on the show’s look and feel beforehand, creating more complex, polished shows that are consistent from show-to-show.”

Moreover, the directorial vision is still integral to the overall show. “We still very much need the Directors to bring their creativity and knowledge to the show,” confirms van de Molengraft. “…Viz Mosart just makes it easier for the viewer to see their creativity in the best possible way.”

‘Our directors are really happy’

The benefits don’t end in cost reductions and quality improvements, either. According to van de Molengraft, “our directors are really happy. That’s the biggest shift in feelings that we’ve had – they were slightly fearful at first about how it would affect their creativity and flexibility, but now they understand how it’s improving the show and with the graphics options as well it’s really letting them push for better and better shows.”

Want to learn more about how Vizrt’s studio automation and graphics capabilities can help you improve quality and tell more engaging stories? Talk to a Vizrt specialist, today!

Mosart 5.1 on a laptop

Revolutionize Your Live Productions:

Unlocking Three Surprising Benefits of Automation

Case Studies

Automation

Automation via Vizrt helps GB News do more with less

The free-to-air channel scales new heights with unique Viz Pilot Edge, Viz Mosart, Viz Flowics and NDI set-up

A dynamic solution, for a dynamic newsroom: Sky News Arabia sets up studio automation with Vizrt

Long-time Vizrt client Sky News Arabia adopts market-leading studio automation software Viz Mosart as it moves away from a manual process-based approach in its newsroom

Viz Mosart helps AVROTROS streamline daily show’s studio operations

The broadcast studio automation software is being employed to save costs and deliver greater consistency from production to production.

Drive quality through automation

As broadcasters increasingly need to produce more with the same resources, deploying production automation becomes a given and not an option. Getting the best of simplified operations and advanced device control, great production automation provides high quality output and increased speed to air while eliminating mistakes and lowering operational costs.

TV 2 NEWS in Denmark launches new studio and galleries with Viz Mosart

The upgrade includes two new control rooms, and a studio with a 24 meter video wall.

Sky TG24 redefines news storytelling with a new studio and custom Vizrt workflow

Sky TG24 has revolutionized their workflow by giving the journalist full control of on-air content.

China’s SBS Empowers News Production With Advanced Graphics and Studio Automation Technology From Vizrt

Israel Lottery streamlines TV drawings with Viz Opus

For Israel’s Channel 2, producing the telecasts of the country’s lottery presented a unique set of challenges.

Ready to learn more about Vizrt?
Take your production to the next level with the right tools.