I am at the end of my Monday proof of a million dollar TV studio and control room. I run into snags every week and today is not any better. Here are some examples for this day: I can’t get the Deko character generator computer to turn on until I go through a special power up process. It finally does power up very clean. Camera one is divorced from the camera control unit because someone turned camera control lock off which means we have no way to communicate between CCU and camera head. I find the switch and set it correctly. All the camera head intercoms have been turned off. I turn them on. Camera two has talent tally light turned off. I set the switch correctly. The mouse for one of the in/out sources to the video switcher lost its mouse so I had to come up with a solution. Well I am at the end of the proof process where I record on to video tape and computer hard drive output from the Grass Valley Kayak DD switcher and Yamaha D1000 audio board. I just want this proof process to end and go and get my Starbucks Zebra drink and call it a day. Everything gets recorded perfectly during this record test but I notice that I can not dissolve from preview bus either of the Ingest computers. I can dissolve from the preview all studio cameras but not from Ingest one or two! As I try to do more with the switcher its capabilities rapidly diminish. This just does not make sense. I have never seen this before. As I look down on the switcher control head I see the lights on the rows of push buttons go out. The switcher is going down! Customers will come in any moment and productions start in two hours. I do reset on the control head and later on the main frame computer. I reattach each connector that runs between the control head and main frame. The LAN connection does not look pristine. I do notice that the LED light that normally flashes next to the Ethernet LAN connector is out. Looks like the two boxes are not talking to one another. The main frame LED lights all show which is good. Both main frame fans are functioning. I call Grass Valley start a ticket and ask for Art N, an authority for Kayak DD switchers. He is not in. About 45 minutes later Dave G. calls me and starts to tell me to check item after item. I simply love Grass Valley technical support. It soon becomes apparent that we have a major failure. The customers will be walking in any moment and final semester productions are this week. We talk the options over. We discovered that the control head display fails to show the main frame on its menu. I tell Dave that I noticed that the LED LAN does not light up. Dave tells me of a secret method of forcing the main frame computer to communicate with the control head. I am to turn the main frame off and then on again. I am to rush over to the control head and watch for the Home and User 4 buttons to flash. When they flash press down WHILE they are flashing and keep my fingers pressing down until the control screen shows. This did not work. Dave tells me that a bad LAN cable is a low probability for failure but he has seen it happen. I tell him I will check my stock to see if I have an Ethernet cable and call him back. I luckily have a Ethernet cross over type cable. I install it and nothing happens. I power down the main frame and power it up again. I rush around from behind the equipment racks to the control head and wait for Home and User 4 buttons to start flashing. They flash, my fingers press down on those buttons, and then the control screen starts to light up on the control head and the switcher begins its boot up process. I stand back and watch. It happens slowly but switcher buttons start to flash and light up. Preview monitor shows image because I had a key set up prior to the switcher going down. I look down and Black button on both preview and program are lit! A lot of other buttons are illuminated! I am getting excited. I press camera 1 and see an image. I am ecstatic. I press camera 2 then three then Ingest 1, then Ingest 2. I do dissolves between all sources including test and the switcher is working perfectly! it was a LAN cable that went bad as I watched the switcher fade down and out – remarkable.
The lesson for me is buy American or Canadian. Buy from a company where technical support speaks English. Buy from a company where technical support will not charge you. Buy from a company where technical support really know their stuff. Grass Valley is all that. I love Grass Valley products! Their technical support could easily be used as a ruler for all others to be measured.
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