VCC is a private company that has developed patented technology to create television content based on the world’s 2.5 billion smartphones, with editorial control and run by a host without a production control room.
VCC creates specialized software, systems, and knowhow to create editorially screened broadcast quality video content based on smartphones and produced through Host Assistive Automation.
1. VCC licenses a full software toolkit and individual tools within that toolkit all to create live, broadcast-quality content efficiently based on video smartphone callers and for distribution by any means.
2. VCC sells production services using its toolkit, facilities, and know how for shows, series, and idea incubation.
3. VCC licenses live shows it has developed using its toolkit.
Stars from their homes in Malibu, experts on five continents, reporters down the street or across the country, and viewers anywhere joining the conversation, all connecting by smartphone, laptop or other IP video device. The VCC enables callers to be on the air from where-ever they are: At home, in a stadium, in a car, boat, airplane or bicycle.
The global growth of video smartphones is inexorable. Each can transmit and receive video. Each caller is a video crew in her/himself. And each caller—where reporter, expert, star, personality, or the rest of us, can be an important part of what VCC calls “Video Caller Television”. This is the first new genre of content in a generation (since reality shows in the ‘90s). Subjects can be broad, or targeted at a specific platform or distribution niche. Topics are unlimited. Programs are defined by the creativity of the producers, and a platform’s need for always new, always original content with fresh faces. And, unlike conventional TV remote production, every one of the caller-participants can see each other and the host to enable game playing (dating game, anyone), live descriptions over other video, and truly conversational communications.
All consumer applications including YouNow, HouseParty, Google Hangouts, Blue Jeans etc. are designed to let consumers video chat with their friends, and in some cases, share the chat on the internet. They are not designed for professional video production – e.g. how does a production team pre-screen and control who gets on the air? How do you manage quality of connections? How does the host control while keeping thoughts about the content. They are all built for amateurs. Also since the applications are really web conferencing tools, they do not produce the high-quality mix-minus feeds a correspondent needs to be on-air.
The VCC is different. We leverage applications like these, wrapping them with our own proprietary workflows, patented technology and services to permit broadcasters like yourselves to create high-quality programming leveraging the same kinds of IP improvements these applications are based on. In other words, it’s the difference between buying a food processor and leveraging a stocked kitchen full of tools and experienced chefs ready to create your next meal.
No show produces itself, and Video Caller shows are no exception. You still need to make sure you have subjects, host content, video and still inserts as needed, and, if desired, experts, stars, and others to set the tone of your show.
While other approaches warn that call-outs are the only way to protect air, with VCC’s patented Caller Acquisition Technology CAT(R) and Caller QueueTM tools, anybody, anywhere in the world can call, but is physically blocked from air until approved by a call producer who is looking for the 4Cs: a good Connection, Content appropriate for the show, caller Coherence, and Clothing.
Each caller is managed in priority by a Producer’s screen and once screened, given a lower third that contains their name, location or whatever customized information the producer wants for a given show. If the producer wants only the caller’s name on the lower third, they are still able to see the caller’s topic, comment or question, on a producer screen that is constantly updated by the call producer.
VCC’s creators spent years in broadcast network and local station control rooms handling live feeds. When participants were known in advance, there was no problem getting the lower third IDs right. But when there were late additions, inevitably, the names and locations would get mixed up. VCC is built to handle dozens of callers a hour, where, often, non will be known before air. VCC’s patented system creates the lower thirds within the call computers, under control of the call producers, thereby avoiding downstream mistakes in the control room…. or allowing the show to be produced efficiently, without a production control at all. Each VCC call computer carries a full character generator that can handle PNG backgrounds and any TrueType font.
VCC’s suite of tools provide multi-dimensional editorial control and five layers of protection for programming:
1. Legal – Caller QueueTM requires callers to sign-in and approve terms and conditions before each air appearance. Agreement is stored in a database and a report can be printed for each show.
2. PreScreening – Images of callers and in-queue prescreening helps to filter callers
3. Live Call Producing – The Call Producing process helps to reveal the intentions of callers and can be used to verify identity.
4. Kill Switch – The entire team including Call Producers, Line Producer and Host have the ability to take one or all callers off the air with a single button push.
5. BleepITTM – In case anything gets through, BleepIT adds customizable live profanity delay that enables the team to remove the problematic content before it ever reaches air.
VCC can handle dozens of video callers an hour from about anywhere on the planet using about any IP Video app (including FaceTime, Web RTC apps, Skype™ and many others). Anybody an put a couple of Skype™ calls on the air, but to do dozens, with constant turnover during the show, is difficult. VCC builds in editorial call producing, and can allow literally thousands of callers to call in at the same time without jamming up the system. Because of the call producing process, people can call in—unlike Skype™ systems, where companies selling the Skype TX boxes often recommend only call-outs to protect the air.
Additionally, the VCC system is designed to permit use of conventional control rooms, but also use VCC’s extremely efficient Host assistive automation, which lets the host drive the program including adding callers, video clips, and stills, without a production control.
The VCC is a toolkit of workflow tools to manage IP calls, Skype TX is a single technology.
You absolutely can just use Skype TX. But in doing so, you give up the opportunity to use tools to allow random callers to call into your show, you will not have the ability to editorially and technically screen your callers before air and lastly, you forfeit the ability to take in callers with any other IP video service. Not everyone is willing to use Skype. With the Video Call Center, you can take in callers using any IP video service.
If they have a mac, they can call us with FaceTime! True to Google? They can go ahead and connect through G-chat. Totally a newbie to video calling? Not a problem! They just type Gruveo.com into a web browser, type “custom phrase” and press start video call! No download, no hassle. The technology at the video call center allows the callers to come to you on their own terms.
Note: Skype and Skype TX are registered trademarks of Microsoft and Skype. G-Chat is a trademark of Google.
No. Facebook Live is a distribution methodology that can handle a single smartphone, or be fed with switched video productions. VCC combines many video callers (some of whom may be using Facebook Video Chat) into a video program with a host, the broadcast quality output of which may be distributed by Facebook Live (as VCC has been doing with its own workshop programs during 2016). For Facebook Live distribution, VCC provides a massively more professional, broadcast quality production that gives Facebook Live the look of broadcast television, but with the additional of all of Facebook’s social media tools.
Just about any IP video application that runs on EITHER a PC or MAC, including FaceTime, Skype, Facebook, Google RTC approaches, and Citrix and Cisco apps as determined by the producer based on features, quality, and terms and conditions.
NO! VCC can handle video calls by FaceTime and many other IP Video applications, including ways for both iPhones and Android devices that don’t require any downloads.
My Spouse Has an iPhone and likes FaceTime. Does My Spouse Have To Use Skype™ with VCC?
VCC believes that if you don’t do it live, you can’t make it work reliably. Therefore every VCC development, code change, and hardware modification has been used in live programs until it is proven, and then its use continues on a regular basis in the shows VCC produces. VCC has aired hundreds of programs ranging in length from a half hour to two hours, on the broadcast television stations of partner TEGNA, TEGNA web sites, and VCC’s own workshop platform, TalkCenterAmerica®. For those program, VCC’s call producers and hosts have successfully handled thousands of separate video calls, with an on-air call drop rate now under 1%. VCC’s team comes from a combination of web video and live broadcast television backgrounds.
Yes, VCC is very efficient. Using VCC’s patented Host Automation Technology HAT(R), one or two on-air hosts select the callers and start the conversation which proceeds automatically so the host can concentrate on the content, but also can add and eliminate callers and pause the automation while inserting stills, clips and on-the-fly web material
VCC has what it calls “Never Look Down” technology for bringing in calls. It uses a patented approach and specialized monitoring so the host’s hand always finds the right keys to bring in the correct caller, even while the host is looking at the camera.
VCC’s Caller Cloud (TM) provides screened calls into an existing production control for integration into switching and audio systems.
Yes, it is both. When its Call Acquisition and Host Assistive Automation technologies are combined into the Full System, VCC is an extremely efficient way to produce full video programs for broadcast, cable, or the web, without a conventional control room. When just the Call Acquisition Technology is employed, VCC provides a method of bringing in callers from anywhere in the world and screening & producing those callers for programs produced via a conventional, fully staffed control room.
With the Full System in a facility, efficient program content can be created for some day parts, while the Caller Acquisition portion of the system can be used to enhance existing news or sports programs using existing personnel for call producing.
There are two basic VCC software tools:
Caller Acquisition Technology (CAT®) to manage, screen, and prepare IP video calls, and
Host Automation Technology (HAT®) which provides the assistive automation that permits a Host to drive the program including starting caller automation, and adding video clips and stills.
Associated software tools include:
VCC’s patented approach puts caller identification info into lower thirds as the calls are screened, avoiding mistakes downstream. Each call computer has a built-in fully-functional CG with logos and transparency to match your show’s look.
In addition, our centralized databases permit everyone on the team to know who the callers are before they go on-air.
The Video Call Content Incubator facility 30 minutes from Midtown Manhattan can be used to produce pilots and full series on a work for hire or, in some cases, co-production, basis.
Our system has the ability to be completely remoted to any location in the world. We can call screen in New York, send the signal and the control to you and voila! We have a show on your airwaves.
We can also provide systems for installation in your facilities.
Yes. 99% of the hardware in a VCC system is off-the-shelf. For organizations that want to “build it themselves”, VCC takes the “Avid Approach”, providing specific information on products, models, configurations, and operating systems and other third party software.
The full toolkit and hardware are a fraction of a conventional studio and control room. Components parts are less. Pricing of software and services depend on market and use.
There are three ways that you may save money with VCC when compared with conventional pickups and production:
1. Using video smartphones to replace field crews and live hardware.
2. Using IP video calling to replace satellites and LiveU subscriptions.
3. Producing full programs without conventional control rooms.
Not an issue, a full facility with host-control and call producing can be condensed to just one rack of hardware.
Call producing as a service can be done in just a few rack units.
The Video Call Center, LLC is jointly owned by TEGNA Media and Wolzien LLC.
Wolzien LLC, founded in 2005, created VCC as a wholly owned unit in 2014. TEGNA became a Member of the LLC in 2015.
VCC and Inventor Tom Wolzien were granted US Patent 8,767,031 in 2014. Additional US and international patents are pending. VCC has registered numerous trademarks including HAT® (Host Automation Tool), CAT® (Caller Acquisition Technology), and its workshop program platform Talk Center America®. The company holds copyrights on its software and has extensive trade secrets that have permitted it to reduce IP video call drop rates while on air to under 1%.
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