SWOCC Studios

Eric Angott Video Interview Link
SWOCC Studios
The UltraNEXUS digital broadcast server provides a flawless workflow for this multiple city, four channel broadcast studio in eastern Michigan
Using LEIGHTRONIX technology, each city provides viewers with unique programming through cable and the Internet
Eric Angott, video operations manager
Coordinating the production and programming for four unique cable channels became easy when Eric Angott, SWOCC studios operations manager, upgraded to the NEXUS series digital broadacst servers.

In an effort to combine resources, staff, and funding for the cities of Novi, Farmington, and Farmington Hills, the Southwestern Oakland Cable Commission, SWOCC, was formed for the three Michigan cities. The combined resources provide each of them with a government access channel and community focused public access channel. All programming is produced at SWOCC studios and is overseen by a six person board that provides the regulations for the studio.

The studio's operations manager, Eric Angott, works to keep everyone’s efforts moving in a positive direction for all three cities.

“I oversee the operations for all three cities, and in my duties I schedule all of the production staff, I oversee each of the city’s channels to make sure that they are aired and aired correctly, and I work as a liaison between SWOCC studio’s staff and the cities,” Angott said. “My main job is more on the mechanical side of things, though. I do all of the engineering here in the studio.”

Always looking for viable solutions to make the studio's workflow more efficient, in 2004 Angott decided to turn in the towel on the complex server solution the studio had purchased just four years prior.

“In the year 2000 we spent well around $200,000 on a system that had three computers all networked together with some RAID storage,” Angott said. “It was a very complex system that had to all be integrated in order to do the playback on all four of our channels. We had issues right from day one with the system. It was a Windows based system, and we had to have service technicians come out on a regular basis.”

It was Angott’s negative experience that pushed him towards the ease-of-use of the LEIGHTRONIX NEXUS after seeing it during a trade show.

“I saw the NEXUS and I thought, that’s a good system, it’s a relatively inexpensive system, and it can do everything that our $200,000 system was doing for a fraction of the cost,” he said. “So for me, it was an easy choice.”

UltraNEXUS servers in the SWOCC equipment rack
UltraNEXUS servers automatically transfer digital media to the studio's streaming video-on-demand site.
SWOCC PEG Central Page
PEG Central, the studio's video-on-demand streaming site, allows viewers to access media through named file folders or by a keyword search capability.

After getting the system upgrade approved by the studio's board, Angott purchased and installed two NEXUS digital broadcast servers.

“The beauty of purchasing the NEXUS was they ran flawlessly,” Angott said. “I have never had any issues with a NEXUS series system.”

Angott soon took notice of the LEIGHTRONIX UltraNEXUS solution that offered the ability to dual encode digital media for a convenient way to offer viewers a streaming video-on-demand option. Having already received requests for a streaming service from representatives at each of the cities, he knew the integrated system would be just what the studio needed to fill the void of an Internet presence.

“Getting their programming on the Web was a big issue for them,” Angott said. “So when the UltraNEXUS came around and PEG Central was introduced with that product, I knew it would be an easy sell to my board. I also know that the price of this service is way under what some of the competitors are charging for the same or similar services.”

Before implementing PEG Central, the LEIGHTRONIX hosted streaming video-on-demand service, one of the cities was using YouTube® to offer residents online programming, which had come with its own problems.

“YouTube was a problem because most of our stuff is not ten minutes in length, so we had to re-edit, export it up to YouTube, and even then there were problems such as advertisements popping up on videos, and people’s ability to leave comments if the channel wasn’t set up right,” Angott said.

Having a system that integrated all four of the channels, with content produced for three different cities, into two digital servers that allowed for content to then automatically transfer to PEG Central, made the transition from cable to Web a breeze.

“It’s a well thought out and produced product,” Angott said. “PEG Central, along with the UltraNEXUS, has been for me, as an operations manager, a simple and easy product to use at our studio without any flaws.”

Being a multi-city operation, the studio has to keep an integrated workflow in mind when purchasing any product.

“One of the biggest pluses of the UltraNEXUS is its ability to handle our workflow very easily,” Angott said. “We used to have a playback operator who operated all four channels, but currently with our new system, we are able to automate a lot of this stuff and it decreases the amount of time it takes to schedule things into each channel, allowing him to focus on other aspects of production.”

The system's integrated workflow allowing all four channels to be scheduled within the same software application was just one reason Angott choose to purchase from LEIGHTRONIX.

“There were two other factors,” he said. “One was the free upgrades and the other was the technical support. I was able to tell my board that if we buy a NEXUS server it comes with free upgrades. We are constantly having to go to them for upgrades on other products. So anytime you can tell a board that you can get more and not have to spend a penny, it makes for an easy sell.”

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SWOCC studios story

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