The Icelandic National Broadcasting Service – Ríkisútvarpið, or RÚV for short – is an independent public service broadcaster comprising television, radio and online services. With over 260 employees, its main objectives are to inform, educate and entertain, and this triple role is reflected in its mission to Iceland’s 350,000 inhabitants with reliable news service and culture and entertainment content of the highest quality. RÚV’s history spans over 80 years, with the first regular radio service starting in 1930, television broadcasts beginning in 1966 and the website RUV.is going live in 1996. 99.8% of Icelandic households receive RÚV´s broadcasts and the broadcaster’s weekly reach is around 80%, so it’s safe to say that RÚV is an important part of the country’s daily life.
In August 2000, the television service moved to a brand-new Broadcast Centre facility in the South East of Reykjavik. At that time there was only one production studio that was shared by news, sports and several other programs and, as the broadcaster increased its output, it became a challenge to juggle these different programs within the one space. Late in 2017, RÚV made the decision to renovate this studio and began to look at ways of using the space more effectively. As an existing Ross customer – RÚV was already using Ross production switchers in both its studio and OB van – RÚV called on the services of KUKL, Ross Video’s long-time partner in Iceland – to discuss options.
Fast-forward to September 21st of this year, and the newly-refurbished studio returned to air with OverDrive, the world’s most popular production automation system, and an updated Carbonite Black production switcher. According to Ragnar Santos, RÚV’s Project Manager who oversaw the work, the change has been remarkable. “We now have a fully automated studio for our News, Sports and Weather content, as well as producing our ‘Kastljos’ current affairs and debate show here too. We’ve known about Ross for some time – the company’s switchers are the de facto standard here in Iceland – but we hadn’t really considered production automation until we discussed it with KUKL. We were initially a little concerned about complexity – OverDrive looked complicated when we saw it for the first time – but we received fantastic end-to-end support from KUKL and Ross and the system has been running almost flawlessly its implementation.”
Implementing an automated production system brings significant benefits in terms of flexibility, efficiency and consistency of production. However, training and support are obviously vitally important, and Santos is quick to highlight the trainers from Ross Video. “I believe when you purchase from Ross you can be confident that you are getting high quality products and excellent support if you ever need it. The service we received, and the general spirit of the Ross family, have been really remarkable. Looking back, I think the best part of this project was our Ross trainers. Integrating automation into our system has been a huge step for us, and we have had to change some of our thinking and workflows. However, our trainers (Travis and Harry) provided us with excellent help and we were incredibly well prepared.”
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