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Video Production System Provides Live Webcasts, Improves On-Site and Distance Learning

SEATAC, WA, September 8, 2010 – Lawyers in the state of Washington must take continuing education courses to maintain their license to practice. Until recently, the majority of those course offerings were in Seattle, requiring travel for many lawyers. However, a video production system designed and installed by premier systems integration firm Advanced Broadcast Solutions (ABS) in the Washington State Bar Association’s (WSBA) new 145-seat conference center in Seattle provides live, multi-camera webcasts of classes that allow lawyers to “attend? remotely from wherever they are while enhancing presentations for on-site participants.

“We were pretty cautious about taking this approach,? said Chad Clark, the WSBA’s continuing legal education online product specialist. “Frankly, many other bar associations have tried to combine live classes with distance learning, and the results haven’t been that good. Typically, one group ends up being treated as ‘second class,’ whether it is because the presentations work best locally, or because the presenter is so focused on the Web audience that the local students are given less attention. We’ve tried to create a hybrid experience where both audiences are distinct and yet equal. The design of the conference center helps us achieve that.?

The overall goal of the project was to eliminate the need for lawyers to travel – without turning the conference center into a TV studio and compromising the quality of on-site presentations. Since the new facility opened in June, attendees online have logged in from 32 states and 12 nations.

“We understand how our clients work, so we can a craft the right solution at the right cost,? said Mark Miller, ABS sales and design specialist.

In the conference center, two ceiling-mounted Christie LX650 XGA LCD projectors provide image magnification (IMAG) for two Da-Lite Advantage screens, which are mounted on either side of the stage and retract into the ceiling when not in use. Video is shot using a ceiling-mounted Panasonic AW-HE100 robotic PTZ HD camera, along with two manned JVC GY-DV550 cameras. Audio is captured using Sennheiser and Audio-Technica podium and lavalier microphones.

A control room is located at the rear of the conference center and looks into the main room through a glass window that can be opened so staff in the control room can become part of the in-house audience. It features a Broadcast Pix Slate 100 video production system, which includes inputs for PowerPoint presentations and DVD playback in addition to the cameras, and a Symetrix SymNet audio processing system. The setup allows the operator to provide a different video switch to the Web than the IMAG screens. “We designed the master control to be an intimate, professional space,? Miller said.

“The ABS system ensures that both audiences are well served,? said Mark Sideman, WSBA director of education and outreach. “Meanwhile, the signals that we get from these cameras are pristine. It is far better than what is usually sent out for distance education. The result is that our continuing education classes look and sound professional – and that keeps our students engaged.?

Once the project was in progress, Clark was impressed by the professionalism and patience of ABS. “There were times when the project specs were suddenly changed,? he explained. “The ABS staff never complained or became impatient with us when this occurred. They stayed focused and dealt with whatever we gave them.?

“This new system is definitely allowing us to do a better job of teaching our members, while giving them the quality of education that they expect,? Sideman said. “Remember, lawyers spend a lot of time in classes and lectures when they are earning their degrees: They know when a course is effective or a waste of time. They also appreciate it when a course is useful, engaging, and even entertaining. Thanks to the installation that ABS did for us, our members give us top marks on all of these items – both in our conference center and watching on the Web.?

About the Washington State Bar Association:

The WSBA is part of the judicial branch, exercising a governmental function authorized by the Washington State Supreme Court to license the state’s 33,900 lawyers. The WSBA both regulates lawyers under the authority of the Court and serves its members as a professional association – all without public funding. As a regulatory agency, the WSBA administers the bar admission process, including the bar exam; provides record-keeping and licensing functions; and administers the lawyer-discipline system. As a professional association, the WSBA provides continuing legal education for attorneys, in addition to numerous other educational and member-service activities.

About Advanced Broadcast Solutions:

Based in SeaTac, WA, Advanced Broadcast Solutions (ABS) specializes in personalized broadcast services such as consulting, project budgeting, workflow analysis, feasibility studies, project management, system and architectural design and engineering, equipment specifying, procurement and installation, maintenance support and training. ABS boasts a technical staff with over a century of practical experience in television operations, automation, traffic implementation, multiple program stream management and signal distribution by fiber, microwave and satellite. ABS clients include: Fisher Communications, Cowles California Media, Real Networks, Cisco Systems, and Microsoft Studios.

For more information about ABS, call 206-870-0244 or visit our Web site at www.advancedbroadcastsolutions.com.

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