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WSC Selects FOR-A HANABI Switchers To Produce Video Of Medical Education Surgeries Live From Operating Rooms

FOR-A HVS-500 HS 1-M/E HD/SD Switcher Chosen for Customized HD Video Flypack (July 06, 2007)
DMN Newswire--2007-7-6--Worldwide Satellite Communications (WSC) chose the FOR-A HVS-500HS HANABI 1 M/E HD/SD switcher to produce live video programs of surgical procedures as they’re performed from the operating rooms of some of the country’s top hospitals. To accomplish this demanding application, WSC devised an innovative, custom solution that incorporates the FOR-A HVS-500HS HANABI switcher into a HDTV Flypack that consolidates all of the functionality of a HD-equipped studio into six cases of gear that can be moved, set-up, operated, and transported with utmost efficiency and reliability.

Produced for OR-Live, the HD video programs are distributed via satellite and streamed over the Internet to a large audience of medical professionals seeking to broaden their skills or obtain CME [Continuing Medical Education] credits. Following the live broadcasts, the videos are archived on OR-Live’s Web site,, and accessed on demand by medical professionals and consumers alike, including patients seeking information about medical procedures that they themselves might undergo.

“The challenge for our video crew is to get the HD cameras in close enough to capture every aspect of very complex, advanced medical procedures. While we’re striving to deliver a polished presentation, we must remain unobtrusive and never interfere with the medical process or environment during the surgery,” said Viveca Stock, president, CEO, and founder of WSC. This eight-year-old company specializes in corporate communications, including video production of employee meetings, product announcements, investor relations, Webcasting, and teleconferences for many industries, including medical, pharmaceutical, and petrochemical–delivered via satellite, fiber, Internet, or DVD.


“Since these surgeries involve the latest techniques and medical advances, I felt it was imperative that we provide this medical training in High-Definition to offer viewers exceptional image clarity,” continued Stock.  “Before buying the FOR-A HVS-500HS switcher, we looked at many HD switchers on the market,” Stock added. “But a large switcher carrying a six figure price tag was simply out of the question for our application.  With the exception of the FOR-A HVS-500HS switcher, no other HD switcher offered comparable features and capabilities in such a compact, rugged frame at this affordable price-point.”

“Because of its extremely compact, full-featured, rugged design, the FOR-A HVS-500HS switcher has proven to be an invaluable, critical component that enables us to provide this production service with uncompromised quality very cost-efficiently,” said Stock. 


The HVS-500HS is an economical, compact, and self-contained switcher that accepts analog and digital HD and SD formats —with no external conversion required. One of the major innovations of the HVS-500HS HANABI is its variety of input/output interfaces including SD-SDI, HD-SDI, Analog Component SD, and Analog Component HD.  It can also connect to HDV cameras or PCs using component video break-out cables. The switcher is multi-format in HD for 1080/60i, 50i, 24p, 720/60p, and is switchable from NTSC to PAL.


WSC’s FOR-A HVS-500HS switcher is transported in one of six cases that comprise its HD Flypack. The other five cases hold four Canon XL H1 HD cameras, one 37-inch Westinghouse 1080p HD monitor, a Zandar Multi-Viewer and scopes, an audio mixer and processing gear, DVD authoring and record decks, as well as gaffer and support gear.  The crew includes a producer, director, engineer, audio technician, and camera operators.


“When I started offering this medical video production service, my goal was to devise a HD video Flypack that could go from the loading dock of a hospital to full set-up in the OR within three hours. While this goal was ambitious, today we accomplish this set-up in just two and a half hours, which is remarkably fast,” said Stock. 


The set-up is an elaborate procedure that includes wiping down all the equipment, control panels, cases, and wheels to clean and sterilize them before rolling it all into place in the OR. Since space is very limited in most ORs, it’s advantageous that the entire “ad hoc HDTV production studio” take up only 16 feet of space, with the six custom-built cases in a row.   Once in place, the front and back doors of the cases are popped off enabling easy access to the equipment inside, all of which rests on 19-inch rack/shelves. The switcher is compact enough to fit on one 19-inch shelf.


WSC’s switcher is configured for eight inputs, including each of the four Canon XL H1 HD cameras’ HD-SDI signals; and a laptop PC which is used to create PowerPoint graphics and lower third supers, (in lieu of a HD character generator), that the switcher keys over live HD video. Another HD-SDI source is a Folsom Image Pro HD vision mixer that pre-selects between three different sources in order to maximize a single input on the FOR-A HVS-500HS HANABI switcher. These sources are realtime data displays coming from medical devices, such as EKGs, Echocardiograms, Fluoroscopes, and IVUS (Intravascular Ultra-Sound), that are switched into the program whenever the surgeon mentions them to illustrate patient vital signs during surgical procedures.


Among the surgeries that OR-Live has recently offered for medical training include:  defibrillator implantation, aortic aneurism repair, removing cancerous brain tumors, robotic heart surgeries, as well as titanium hip and knee replacements.   The live HD video is either connected to a Ku-Band satellite truck parked outside the hospital for live signal transmission or to an Internet video encoding rack co-located with the HD flypack inside the hospital for encoding and live transmission directly to the Internet.  WSC provides HD video production services to OR-Live anywhere they’re needed.

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