79 Crystal Vision logo keyers used in UK Houses of Parliament distribution system upgrades

parliamentpressphotoCrystal Vision was selected by UK systems integrator Techex to supply 79 MultiLogo logo keyers as part of a prestigious project to provide a new annunicator TV head-end system at the Houses of Parliament in London. Selected primarily due to their high packing density and advanced audio functionality, the modular three-layer logo keyers are providing a new information alert system to all MPs, Peers and staff in the Houses of Parliament and surrounding Government buildings.

Lying on the River Thames in central London, the Palace of Westminster is the meeting place of the House of Commons and the House of Lords, the two Houses of the UK Parliament. The project came about due to the requirement to upgrade from an analogue distribution system to a digital distribution system in order to provide better quality and more channels, resulting in 75 channels now being distributed to more than 2,500 receiver points across the Parliamentary Estate and 20 Government departments in the Whitehall area.

75 MultiLogo V132 logo keyers and four MultiLogo V432 logo keyers are being used to create the information alert system. These logo keyers each provide 4 GB of internal storage for up to 250 still or animated graphics and can show up to three graphics on a screen at once, with the V432 suitable for use with live graphics as well as pre-prepared graphics which works well for this project.

MultiLogo can store and recall up to 256 presets, and the boards have been supplied with six different presets ready to provide visual and audio alerts to everyone on the Parliamentary Estate. The alerts focus on informing MPs and Peers when a vote will be taking place within the House of Commons and also if a vote has been cancelled. The graphics are being played out on the screens within offices, meeting rooms and in some areas around the Estate.

A sound effect is also played to alert them when the message appears. MultiLogo’s audio features were therefore crucial for this task. It can embed up to four audio groups into its video outputs, with audio mixing allowing this output audio to be generated from a mix of the audio embedded on the video input and a voiceover or sound effect sourced from either the two internal audio stores or (on the V432) from an external AES input. The voiceover or sound effect can be faded in and out and have its level adjusted, while the main program audio can be partially or fully dipped allowing it to be either mixed with or replaced by the voiceover.

Physical space is at an extreme premium within the Parliamentary Estate – another reason that made MultiLogo ideal for this project. The 4 x 10.5 inches module allows 12 logo keyers to fit in just 2RU of rack space. Other useful features include numerous key processing controls, look-ahead preview, clip recording and trimming, Quick Text and relay bypass protection.

Dominic Foulkes, Technical Manager at Techex said that “Techex selected Crystal Vision’s logo keyers for this project due to their relative density compared to other solutions available and their unique ability to handle the Houses of Parliament’s audio insertion requirements.”

GPI control is the main mechanism of control for the MultiLogo boards and Techex has also deployed remote telemetry tools to centrally monitor the cards’ inputs and outputs. The replacement alert system will be working alongside the original division bell system.

Phase one of the project was completed during the summer recess in August 2014, and additional phases would be possible as and when more channels need to be added to the system.

Techex provides the broadcast industry with simple, efficient and intelligent ways of moving live video around the world. The company was founded in 1972 and is an industry-leading supplier of IP video solutions with its UK headquarters based in Bracknell, Berkshire.

Based at Whittlesford near Cambridge in the UK and with an office in the USA, Crystal Vision provides digital keyers and a full range of interface equipment including converters, synchronizers, distribution amplifiers and audio embedders to the professional broadcasting industry worldwide.


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