Evanstonians may soon be able to watch their City Council in action in high definition.

The aldermen tonight are scheduled to vote tonight on a $43,167 contract with AVI Systems of Bensenville to replace the video cameras and control equipment in the City Council Chamber at the Civic Center.

City officials say the old three-camera system is “obsolete and failing.”

The new four-camera system will include a camera on the west wall of the chamber, behind the podium where the aldermen sit, that will be able to capture the faces of people speaking at the center podium.

When the podium was moved to the center from the side of the room several months ago, the current camera system was unable to show anything but the back of the heads of people speaking from the podium, which is used for citizen comment and staff presentations.

Only one bid was received for the new video system, which also includes a video mixer, remote controls for the cameras and 14 new microphones.

AVI Systems says it has provided similar video systems for the Village of Skokie, the City of Warrenville and Cook County government within the past two years.

City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz says the new high-definition cameras should provide clearer pictures on the city’s cable channel, but viewers won’t get the full high-definition effect there because the channel itself will remain standard definition.

To see the full improvement, Bobkiewicz says, viewers may have to watch the video replays on YouTube.

Top: A Panasonic AW-HE50SN camera to be used in the new video system.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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