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What's News? - February 2012

Iowa House Installs Automated Video Camera System


IRC recently installed an automated video system in the Iowa House of Representatives. The system includes roving cameras, a fixed camera, character generator, and multiple software components to manage all of the activity. The video system works in tandem with IRC’s Voting and Request to Speak systems. The tandem operation permits the video system to not only move cameras around automatically, but also to immediately caption the video. The level of automation is such that the Iowa House is operating the system with existing staff, without a need to add personnel.

In automatic mode, the video system tracks the member speaking based on their microphone being turned on and automatically sends the appropriate camera to the preset for that member. The video system then determines that the camera has arrived at the location and instantly captions the member speaking with their name, party affiliation, and the County represented.

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Since members of the Iowa House speak from their seats, often with a second member involved in the debate, this presents 100 different locations from which members can be speaking. When two members are engaged in a debate, the videos of the two members are shown split-screen side-by-side with their member information captioned below.

During many static video segments of the front dais, of members speaking, and of votes in progress, the voting system forwards the bill number, short title, and amendment number that are being considered to the video system to caption the video with current item information. During voting, running totals are shown over the top of the video of the front dais. Special messaging modes are also tied in, allowing the Clerk to display informational messages over a wide angle shot of the House floor for when it is adjourned or recessed.

Although the Iowa House does not have full-color LED displays, this would be an instance where the video feed could be shown live on the displays to significantly enhance the experience of visitors to the House Chamber. (Click HERE to see the Virginia House as they utilize this capability.)

The final single stream of captioned video and audio is continuously output to a third-party encoder where the video and sound are made available for live streaming on the internet.

We are excited to have been involved in providing a video system with such a high level of functionality and automation to our friends in the Iowa House of Representatives and look forward to meeting their future needs when it comes to all things of a voting and legislative management nature.


 

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