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Crews upgrade Burbank City Council chambers with latest broadcast equipment

Burbank public information officials are aiming to have the city's updated council chambers up and running before the end of the month.

Since Nov. 20, city meetings have been relocated to the Community Services Building to allow Key Code Media, a company that specializes in live-production equipment, to install new audio and video equipment inside the council chambers to bring the facility up to date.

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The old Panasonic cameras are being replaced with new high-definition cameras, and the television monitors are now 50 inches, said Nareg Garabedian, an administrative analyst with the Public Information Office. Also, all of the wiring has been replaced with newer equivalents, and the city staffers who produce each live meeting will be using a new production switcher.

With the exception of the television monitors, Garabedian said most of the previous audio, video and production equipment was from the late 1980s and early 1990s.

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"We've moved on from the dinosaur age to the new age," said Simone McFarland, interim public information officer for Burbank. "Key Code has been terrific in helping us get everything set up."

In October, the City Council unanimously approved an agreement with Key Code to install the new broadcasting equipment in the council chambers. The project was estimated to cost about $342,000 to have the vendor design, purchase and install equipment, as well as provide training for the city staffers who will be using the new tools.

McFarland said the project is being paid for by the city's Public, Education and Government funds and not through the General Fund.

The upgrades include small monitors at each spot for council members and electrical plugs for laptops and phones.
The upgrades include small monitors at each spot for council members and electrical plugs for laptops and phones. (Raul Roa / Burbank Leader)

On Thursday, members from Key Code were busy working on the wiring for the new video monitors that each council member and several staff members will be able to use during meetings.

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Garabedian said that having the smaller high-definition monitors in front of City Council members will allow them to view presentations more comfortably, rather than having to look up at a large television screen in the distance.

He added he's excited about the new Ross production switcher he and his production staff will use during meetings. The new device is much smaller than the old console, which used to take up a lot space in the small room just past the entrance of the council chambers, where all of the audio and video equipment is controlled.

"The old equipment took up so much room, especially with the old CRT monitors," Garabedian said. "They literally only had a few feet of space on each side to wiggle around. The new [switcher] will make the room cleaner and [a] more ergonomic working space."

In addition to its smaller size, the new switcher system will allow the production staff to preset camera angles for specific council members and city staff, Garabedian said. With just a tap on a touchscreen, the cameras will automatically move themselves to the right position, which in the past could only be done manually.

Another upgrade is the new microphone and audio system that will be utilized during meetings. Depending on how softly or loudly someone speaks into a microphone, the new system will automatically correct the volume levels, Garabedian said.

McFarland said the installation of the new equipment should be finished by Jan. 15, when city staff members hope to test out the new gear, become familiar with it and find any bugs before officially using it the next day.

Twitter: @acocarpio

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