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YOUR FREE APAC INDUSTRY MAGAZINE ISSN 1448-9554
Being a News Cameraman Filming the Hong Kong Protests ... page 22.
REGULARS 02 EDITOR’S WELCOME 04 NEWS Malaysia Completes Analogue Switch-
Off; Belden to Sell Grass Valley; Animal Logic Backs Up with Alibaba Cloud; Mediahouse. PH and SES Launch CLUBTV DTH Bouquet; Dish TV India Partners with Broadpeak for WATCHO OTT; Qvest to Set Up in Australia for Nine Network Sydney Project.
FEATURES 10 THE CHANGING FACE OF TV IN INDIA 12 ACQUISITION Sunil Patel Flies High with
Sony VENICE; FUJIFILM Launches FUJINON Premista Telephoto Zoom Series and Pro 4K Lens for Blackmagic URSA; ARRI ALEXA Mini LF Camera; New RED Sensor Options; more new cameras, lenses and accessories.
16 SPORTSCASTING Sky NZ Trades Shares for
Rugby Rights; The Switch Delivers China’s Henshui Lake Marathon; Sky Racing Oz Goes OTT; SES Delivers UEFA to Indonesia; All-Angles Audio with Sennheiser’s AMBEO; Ross Video on Side for APAC Sports; Wnited Women’s Football; Australia’s NBL Streams on Twitch.
22 NEWS OPERATIONS Filming the Protests
in Hong Kong; i-CABLE Trials 24-hour Live News OTT App.
26 MEDIA IN THE CLOUD The Changing Face
42 CONTENT+TECHNOLOGY ISSN 1448-9554 PP:255003/06831 Broadcastpapers Pty Ltd (ABN 34 095 653 277) PO Box 165 Surry Hills, NSW 2010, Australia www.broadcastpapers.com PUBLISHER: Phil Sandberg Tel +61 (0)2 4368 4569 Mob +61 (0)414 671 811 email@example.com
of Service Provision in the Media Industry; Former Head of IT with Animal Logic, Alex Timbs, Takes on Unstructured Data with Dell.
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30 POST-PRODUCTION Grading Chasing the
Dragon II; VFX Action in John Wick; Siggraph Asia Preview; In Conversation with WETA Digital’s Matt Holmes.
35 AUDIO China’s Shanxi Television in Takes
Second Calrec Brio; Nagoya Broadcasting Network Boosts IP Capabilities with ClearCom; plus new monitors, mics and software.
39 RADIO Vietnam Gears Up for DAB
Trial; Densitron and Sonifex Announce Collaboration; Getting Burli in the Newsroom; New technology from Wheatstone, LAWO, Tie-Line.
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We’re Away from Our Desks (Watching Videos) By Phil Sandberg
MOBILE VIDEO VIEWING CONTINUES to dominate the industry, but the loser is not the loungeroom widescreen TV, it’s the humble desktop computer.
And it’s not only the desktop that has waned. The dominance of Apple’s iOS on mobile devices has eroded in the past year with video viewed on Android devices are now more prevalent in four regions, versus iOS devices dominant in only three. Globally, Android smartphone share has increased to 68 percent from 59 percent one year ago, with iOS remaining dominant for tablet plays. Android use is highest in APAC, where 92 percent of video plays are on Android phones and tablets. Europe is the next highest with 70 percent of video plays on Android devices. Only Japan/Korea continues to see growth in iOS.
See the full report at https://www.brightcove. com/en/video-index Unlike the viewers of video, the C+T crew won’t be away from their desks as we use the end of year holiday period to tweak new offering, new platforms and new forms of content for launch in 2020. In the meantime, thanks to all our readers and advertisers for supporting us, and have a prosperous New Year. Thanks for reading Phil Sandberg – Editor/Publisher firstname.lastname@example.org +61(0)414671811 03:00
According to Jim O’Neill, Principal Analyst with Brightcove, “Leveraging mobile video continues to be crucial for OTT providers, as they look to not only reach younger viewers – who traditionally have been mobile first – but also older viewers who have discovered that mobile video is a convenient way to consume content outside the home. The amount of content being consumed on mobile devices has more than doubled over the past year. This is largely due to the fact that content owners and distributors are making premium content available to consumers anywhere, any time, and on any device. This
Continuing a recent trend, long-form video (21-40 minutes) and ultra-long-form video (41+ minutes) saw faster growth in the share of “time watched” on every device, from connected TVs to smartphones. Ultra-long-form content took the highest total share of “time watched” across all devices, despite short-form video (0-5 minutes) having the highest number of assets published. 23:00
Smartphones saw the highest growth, to 45 percent from 38 percent only one year ago. In the Asia Pacific (APAC), mobile is king, where a whopping 84 percent of all plays were on mobile phones, and with Japan/Korea at 58 percent. In the Middle East and Africa, smartphone share was 57 percent. In every region but the Americas (U.S. and Canada), mobile devices took share away from desktop computers.
According to the recently published the Q2 Brightcove Global Video Index, 53 percent of global video views begin on mobile devices, smartphones, and tablets, taking away share from traditional desktop computers.
it without enough data – and ongoing analytics - can be fatal. Knowing who your customers are, how they watch video, the devices they use, and even when they watch will help you monetise, personalize, and thrive in the OTT market.”
growth will continue as more content – especially high-value sports content – becomes more prevalent and easily accessible on mobile devices.”
According to the Brightcove Global Video Index, the increasing quality of delivery to mobile devices, cheaper data plans, and more affordable Android smartphones from China have had a significant impact on how content is consumed. “Launching an OTT service can be a daunting experience,” adds Brightcove’s O’Neil. “Launching
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Animal Logic Backs Up with Alibaba Cloud ALIBABA CLOUD, the data intelligence backbone of Alibaba Group, and Animal Logic, one of the world’s leading independent creative digital studios, have announced a partnership to meet the growing and demanding requirements of media production. Animal Logic has started backing-up its on-premise production content onto Alibaba Cloud’s world-class computing platform. Through this partnership, the parties hope to drive efficiencies of media production by utilising more cloud computing technologies. As one of the world’s most recognised digital production studios, which has created animation and visual effects for award winning films including Peter Rabbit, The LEGO Movie 2, Captain Marvel and Happy Feet, Animal Logic requires a high-performance cloud storage platform that can quickly scale up for backup requirements, especially during peak production periods, in which 150TB of data can be generated in a 24hour period. Animal Logic required a partner that could not only provide them with secure data protection capabilities, but also secure backup
solutions for the increasingly large amount of data generated within a short period of time. “Our partnership with Alibaba Cloud will provide us with the best technology to secure our content more efficiently,” says Darin Grant, Animal Logic’s Chief Technology Officer. “With Alibaba Cloud, we have the capability to backup large amounts of data and in turn, operate seamlessly even during our busiest times.” Alibaba Cloud says it will meet the demanding requirements set by Animal Logic by providing its first-class storage solutions. To protect storage safety, and enhance the approach to Disaster Recovery, Alibaba Cloud has designed a comprehensive storage gateway for Animal Logic and created private networks to minimise disturbance during data transfer. The data during transfer will also be encrypted to enhance the level of security. Alibaba Cloud and Animal Logic will continue working on future cross-regional storage and backup projects, large scale rendering farm
requirements and migration of legacy applications to the cloud. These projects will support Animal Logic’s multi-cloud, whilst retiring a number of critical legacy applications, and ageing on-premise hardware. “Alibaba Cloud is thrilled to announce our partnership with Animal Logic, in which we will bring increased efficiency and safety to the artists at Animal Logic and in turn, push the boundaries of animation and VFX to a new level,” said Raymond Ma, General Manager for Alibaba Cloud in Australia and New Zealand. Alibaba Cloud’s cross border network covers 20 regions and 61 availability zones globally. It is also the first Cloud provider to fulfil the additional requirements of Germany’s Cloud Computing Compliance Controls Catalog (C5) and has more than 70 security and compliance accreditations worldwide. Visit www.alibabacloud.com and www.animallogic.com
Belden to Sell Grass Valley BELDEN INC. HAS ANNOUNCED the outcome of a comprehensive strategic portfolio review, including an intention to divest itself of the Live Media business (“Grass Valley”) and a new broad-based cost reduction program that is expected to result in USD$40 million of annualised savings.
Excluding Grass Valley, adjusted revenues totalled $533.1 million, decreasing $20.9 million, or 3.8%, compared to $554.0 million in the third quarter 2018. Excluding Grass Valley, adjusted EPS was $1.18 compared to $1.29 in the third quarter 2018. Adjusted results are non-GAAP measures, and a non-GAAP reconciliation table is provided as an appendix to this release. John Stroup, President, CEO, and Chairman of Belden Inc., said, “Revenues were near the midpoint of our expected range excluding Grass Valley. Consistent with our expectations, demand trends remained softer in some of our key Industrial markets in the third quarter, but we are encouraged by the improving trends in our Broadband business.” Subsequent to the end of the third quarter,
the Company says it has made the decision to pursue the divestiture of Grass Valley. Based on the approval of Belden’s Board of Directors to divest this business and the probability that such divestiture will be consummated, Grass Valley’s financial results will be presented as discontinued operations in Belden’s fourth quarter and full year 2019 financial statements and prior periods will be recast for consistency. Mr. Stroup remarked, “We completed a rigorous strategic review of our portfolio of businesses, and today’s announcement marks an important outcome. We concluded that it is in the best interests of our shareholders, customers, and employees to separate Grass Valley from Belden. This will enable Grass Valley to more effectively execute its strategic plan and pursue growth opportunities. Further, this separation will simplify Belden’s portfolio and improve organic growth and revenue visibility.” For its part, Grass Valley says the move is a positive one for its business, its employees and customers. In a separate statement, Grass Valley said it is “… a market leader in the media technology business and a profitable operation with top quartile EBITDA performance. Grass Valley is
the world’s leading media technology supplier with uniquely strong customer and partner relationships. This makes Grass Valley an attractive investment to those interested in the media tech space and Belden has been actively discussing options with interested parties during 2019. “Grass Valley does not expect this announcement to disrupt its current operations and will continue to focus on meeting the needs of customers, partners and employees. In response to Belden’s announcement that it will begin reporting Grass Valley as a “discontinued operation” on its income statement, Grass Valley said, “It is important for Grass Valley that the market understands that the phrase ‘discontinued operation’ does not, in any way, imply that Grass Valley is going out of business. The term ‘discontinued operation’ is a standard accounting term used when a corporation decides to exit a portion of its overall business. It is a way to differentiate such a portion of the business from other continuing operations.” Visit www.grassvalley.com
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In a statement, the company said its revenues for Third Quarter 2019 totalled $620.3 million, decreasing $35.5 million, or 5.4%, compared to $655.8 million in the third quarter 2018. Net loss was $(297.0) million, compared to $85.9 million in the prior-year period. Net loss included a $337.0 million after-tax non-cash impairment charge related to Grass Valley. EPS totalled $(6.70) compared to $1.80 in the third quarter 2018.
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Mediahouse.PH and SES Launch CLUBTV DTH Bouquet MILLIONS OF HOMES IN THE PHILIPPINES will be able to enjoy new international TV channels thanks to CLUBTV, a new thematicallyfocused TV platform launched by Mediahouse. PH, a division of Magistan Media, a project management firm specialising in television operations and advertising, on SES’s satellite SES-9. Starting with six channels, CLUBTV offers a wide variety of genres that will bring additional choices and popular thematic topics that interest young Filipinos: GINX Esports TV, HealthWellness, Pet & Pal, Luxe&Life, My Cinema Europe and Motorvision TV. The platform will allow the channels to address existing audiences of pay-TV operators, including Cignal TV as of December, bringing a new selection of content to subscribers at no additional cost. Mediahouse. PH serves as the aggregator and marketer of the TV channels. Projections show TV households in the Philippines increasing to 20.7 million by 2024 from 18.7 million in 2019. For TV households, satellite Direct-to-Home (DTH) TV is the fastestgrowing TV reception mode against terrestrial and cable TV in the Philippines, with the number of satellite TV households estimated to be 3.7 million by year end and forecast to increase to
5.8 million in 2024. SES will provide both satellite capacity via SES-9, located at orbital location 108.2 degrees East, and managed media services such as ad insertion, encoding, monitoring and multiplexing. SES has established a strong presence in Asia Pacific via its premium video neighbourhood at 108.2 degrees East, which currently broadcasts channels to over 17 million TV homes across the Philippines and Indonesia. “We are very excited to deliver these channels with a razorsharp thematic focus to the Philippines,” said Ralph Siebenaler, CEO of Magistan Media/ Mediahouse.PH. “With this new platform, we are delivering new content cost-effectively, and in excellent technical quality to millions of households. This platform is also an excellent opportunity for global content owners or TV channels to enter the Philippine market or extend their reach.” “As the video landscape is increasingly competitive in the Philippines, pay-TV operators
Australia’s Foxtel Loses Teledifusão de Disney Content Ahead of Macau in Cooperation Streaming Launch with Zhuhai Media
NOVEMBER IS THE LAUNCH MONTH for the Walt Disney Company’s directto-consumer streaming service Disney+ in Australia and New Zealand and the reclaiming of content by the House of Mouse has begun with Australian pay operator Foxtel issuing a n otice to its subscribers that Disney Movies and Binge channels will be removed from the platform come November 7.
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Disney+ will launch in Australia and New Zealand on November 19th, priced at AUD$8.99 per month (or $89.99 per year) and NZD$9.99 per month (or $99.99 per year), respectively. By contrast, in Malaysia, the iflix streaming service comes in at 8 Malaysian Ringgit per month and PCCW’s Viu at RM10.
A Disney representative has told C+T that further territories in the region will be added over the course of 2020-21. The company has said it has reached global agreements with nearly all the major platforms, including Apple, Google, Microsoft, Roku, and Sony, to distribute the Disney+ app across partner mobile and connected TV devices. In terms of CDN provider arrangements, the company has also told C+T it is not sharing any details at this time. Visit https://preview.disneyplus.com/au/
TELEDIFUSÃO DE MACAU (TDM) has entered into a Strategic Cooperation Agreement with Zhuhai Media Group Co., Ltd. TDM Board Member and Executive Committee Member John Lai signed the agreement which includes news exchange, programme collaboration, new media, and human resource exchange. TDM has maintained a close collaborative relationship with Zhuhai Media Group Co., Ltd. over the years. John Lai said TDM will fully develop the opportunities created by the development of the Greater Bay Area (including Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau), strengthening collaborations with local media, including Zhuhai Media Group Co., Ltd. Meanwhile, Teledifusão de Macau has rebranded its “TDM HD” Channel to “TDM Entertainment” as all of its channel now broadcast in high definition. Visit https://port.tdm.com.mo
need to differentiate themselves by offering new content to their audiences, and this new TV platform aims to help them achieve just that. It is also an excellent example of how SES goes beyond leveraging the power of satellite to partnering with local players, and jointly building a future-proof media ecosystem that can meet the growing demands of TV audiences,” said Soo Yew Weng, Vice President, Sales & Market Development, Asia-Pacific at SES Video. Visit www.ses.com
Sabah and Sarawak Complete Malaysia’s Analogue Switch-Off
MALAYSIA’S HISTORIC CESSATION of the analogue TV transmission to the myFreeview digital TV DVB-T2 transmission platform saw its completion in Sabah and Sarawak on the night of 31 October 2019, marking the end of analogue TV transmission in Malaysia, which has been provided for free since 1963. The final phase of the transition follows analogue switchovers in the country’s Central, Southern, Northern and Eastern regions, which were done in phases from 30 September 2019. According to the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), the myFreeview digital TV platform provides sharper images, high quality sound and interactive TV services that will spur future economic, social and educational needs of the country and its people. Viewers can also enjoy a myriad of TV channels, radio and new applications such as online shopping, interactive learning and more via 15 TV channels and six (6) radio channels including TV1, TV2, TV3, NTV7, 8TV, TV9, TV Al Hijrah, dan Bernama News Channel (BNC). DVB-T2 was officially launched in Malaysia in June 2017. Branded myFreeview, it today offers 13 television channels, six of which are in HD, along with six radio channels. myFreeview is run by MyTV Broadcasting Sdn Bhd. There are a total of 44 transmitter sites covering the country, with two headends, the Digital Multimedia Broadcasting Hub (DMBH) and the Disaster Recovery Centre (DRC). The services are delivered in two multiplexes. Visit https://www.mytvbroadcasting.my
Dish TV India Partners with Broadpeak for WATCHO OTT Service
BROADPEAK, THE PROVIDER OF content delivery network (CDN) and video streaming solutions for content providers and pay-TV operators worldwide, has announced that Dish TV India, the world’s largest single-country direct-tohome (DTH) operator, has deployed Broadpeak’s solutions for its OTT service, Watcho. Broadpeak’s BkM100 video delivery mediator and BkS350 origin and packaging server enable Watcho to deliver 100+ channels and thousands of hours of library content, including live, on-demand, time-shift TV, and catch-up TV, to Android and iOS mobile devices, guaranteeing a high quality of experience (QoE) for end-users and increased scalability for the operator. HB LLP served as the system integrator on the project, ensuring a smooth deployment.
services via the cloud. The BkS350 is flexible and scalable, allowing Dish TV India to use a combination of internal (e.g., RAM, SAS, and SSD) and NAS storage for cost optimisation and enhanced performance. Broadpeak’s BkM100 video delivery mediator continuously monitors the popularity of content based on usage patterns, automatically pushing popular content to the edge servers while long-tail content remains in the larger central library to reduce Dish TV India’s storage costs. “Having an OTT offering is a must for operators
looking to drive business growth, and Watcho will help Dish TV engage with its existing DTH subscribers more effectively, and pull in new subscribers,” said Jacques Le Mancq, CEO at Broadpeak. “At Broadpeak we have established a strong ecosystem with trusted partners, taking the guesswork and complexity out of launching OTT services. Not only are our CDN solutions for video streaming efficient and cost-saving, they also guarantee exceptional quality experiences on any screen.” Visit https://broadpeak.tv
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“We knew that if we wanted to deliver on-thego, snackable content on connected devices, the quality of experience had to match that of our traditional DTH service,” said V. K Gupta, CTO, Dish TV India. “Broadpeak’s OTT delivery solutions are pre-integrated with key ecosystem vendors, enabling us to launch Watcho quickly and seamlessly. Thanks to the scalable nature of Broadpeak’s server and CDN manager, we can deliver highquality content to more than 23.9 million existing subscribers and reach new customers too. ”Dish TV India is using Broadpeak’s BkS350 origin and packaging server to record linear services in one format and dynamically package the content into HLS and DASH formats for time-shifted TV
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BANGLADESH PAY TV PROVIDER Beximco Communications Limited (BexCom), has selected Irdeto to securely deliver content through its Direct-toHome (DTH) service, AKASH. As the only active holder of a DTH license in the country, BexCom says it launched its new platform using Irdeto Cloaked CA to ensure the highest levels of security for its premium content. Visit www.irdeto.com
MALAYSIA USERS OF THE ASTRO GO service can now record all their favourite shows simultaneously with the new cloud recording feature. Astro GO users will be entitled to record and store up to 200 hours for free and easily manage, book, and watch their recorded shows from their devices. The cloud feature allows for unlimited simultaneous recording on Astro GO. Visit astrogo.my
THE WORLD TELEPORT ASSOCIATION (WTA) has announced that Primacom Interbuana has achieved full Tier 3 certification of its teleport in Jakarta, Indonesia, under WTA’s Teleport Certification Program. Other WTA-certified teleports in the APAC region include Optus, Singtel, Speedcast and Telstra.
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“We strongly believe that WTA’s certification will enable us to continuously improve Primacom communication infrastructure and service to meet our customers’ needs,” said Director of PT Primacom Interbuana, Domy K. Santoso.
ASIA PACIFIC NEWS
JAPANESE TELCO KDDI has picked Ericsson
ERICSSON HAS BEEN SELECTED by Bharti Airtel (Airtel) to deploy its 5G-ready Cloud Packet Core in Airtel’s Pan India core network. The deployment will consist of solutions like Ericsson virtual Evolved Packet Gateway (vEPG) that follow ETSI standards. The deployment will enable the network to address the rapidly growing demand for high-speed data services. Visit www.ericsson.com
as the primary 5G vendor for next-generation network deployment in Japan. KDDI expects the first commercial live 5G services to be available from March 2020, with more than 93% coverage of 5G base station areas specified by Japan’s telecom regulation body by the end of March 2025. KDDI Corporation has also selected Nokia as a primary partner to upgrade its 4G network to 5G with Nokia’s radio access solution AirScale, which supports both 4G and 5G operations.
AUSTRALIA PREDOMINANTLY metropolitan-based Seven West Media Limited is to merge with regional broadcaster Prime Media Group Limited through a 100% scrip-based Prime scheme of arrangement. SWM has also agreed to divest its Western Australian radio assets (Redwave) to Southern Cross Media for cash consideration of AUD$28 million. The company is also selling its Pacific Magazines division to Bauer Media for a cash AUD consideration of $40 million.
Astro, True Digital and FPT Television.
AMAZON STUDIOS HAS ANNOUNCED that its series based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s iconic fantasy novels The Lord of the Rings will shoot in New Zealand. Pre-production has started, and production on the series will begin in Auckland in the coming months. Set in Middle-earth, the television adaptation will explore new storylines preceding J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring.
VIDEO ADVERTISING platform provider Telaria has announced ABS-CBN Corporation will use Telaria’s Video Management Platform (VMP) to manage and monetise its OTT video inventory across all screens. With the signing of ABS-CBN, Telaria now works with all the major Southeast Asian OTT video platforms including
Sample shown is WEATHERSCAPE Scenes, Typhoon track, Glass style.
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PEOPLE ON THE MOVE
WENDY FENG has been appointed to the role of Marketing Manager – China for LiveU. She was previously Marketing Communications Manager with projectbuilders.eu, a VideoHouse division, one of the members of Euro Media Group. Prior to that, she held the position of MarCom Manager, APAC with Grass Valley SUNIL LULLA has been named as Chief Executive Officer at BARC India. He was previously Group Chief Executive Officer with Balaji Telefilms Ltd.
Dutta Named Head of Cartoon Network/POGO in South Asia ABHISHEK DUTTA has been named Senior Director and Network Head – Kids, overseeing Cartoon Network and POGO in South Asia. Based in Mumbai, his responsibilities include programming, channel operations, acquisitions and promotions, as well as the content direction for the two brands. Siddharth Jain, Managing Director of WarnerMedia Entertainment Networks in South Asia, said: “Abhishek brings with him a strong kids industry experience and I am confident that he will raise the bar of the kids’ portfolio and capitalise on the opportunities that lie ahead of us. I welcome Abhishek to the WarnerMedia family.” Abhishek will also be working closely with and under the direction of Leslie Lee, VP of Kids Content, WarnerMedia Entertainment Networks APAC. Abhishek has more than two decades of experience and expertise in the media and entertainment industry. He has been a part of four successful TV channel launches as well
PATHMAN PALANIVELOO has been appointed as ASEAN Business Lead - Edge Services at Amazon Web Services (AWS). He was previously ASEAN Business Lead - Media Services. He is based in Singapore. ANDREW PEARCE is now Senior Director of Sales - Asia Pacific at QSC. He formerly held the role of Director of System Sales – APAC with the company.
as a digital platform focusing on kids in India. Besides his creative and programming skills, his technical skills include sound recording, voicing, music mixing and editing. Abhishek added, “The kids TV category has become more exciting than ever before. With my new role at the helm of Cartoon Network and POGO in South Asia, I am looking forward to driving the current business through its next phase of growth. This set of brands are not only first movers, but also the most established kids brands in the country.” His career includes stints at ALT Balaji, Discovery Networks India and, most recently, was Senior Kids Programming Director at Viacom18, a company he joined in 2016. His various roles have included programming, channel operations and management, content development and acquisitions, and animation development. Visit www.turner.com
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PHABRIX Qx and TAG IP An unbeatable solution for next generation hybrid IP/SDI environments
MICK BENNETT has been appointed Global Sales Director, Broadcast and Defense at RFS - Radio Frequency Systems. He was previously Global Product Line Manager, Broadcast and Defense; Director of Engineering, Broadcast and Defence; and Line Manager - Broadcast and Defense Systems.
APAC Boost as Clear-Com Expands Global Sales Support
CLEAR-COM HAS ADDED additional Global Sales Support staff as the company continues to experience strong growth, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region. Following five years working at several Chinese AV companies including Instec, Clear-Com’s authorized service partner in China, Jason Hao joins Clear-Com as an Application Engineer based in the company’s Beijing office, which recently relocated to a larger office space to meet the needs of an expanding team. Dalton Ong joins Clear-Com as APAC Technical Support Associate to assist customers across the region. Ong is based in Singapore and has spent more than five years working in the event support and projects departments at the Esplanade Theatres on the Bay, the National Performing Arts Centre of Singapore, which provided him extensive real-world experience with Clear-Com systems. These two appointments come in response to a significant uplift in the number of system sales and growing customer base across the Asia-Pacific region in all market sectors. Visit www.clearcom.com
Irdeto Names Dario Choi Head of Sales, North and South East Asia IRDETO HAS ANNOUNCED That Dario Choi has been appointed to the role of Head of Sales, North and South East Asia. Mr Choi joins Irdeto from Huawei, where he was Vice President of Digital Services, Cloud and Data Center, and responsible for assisting its global customer base with their digital transformation strategies. In his new role, he will be responsible for driving sales growth in the region.
“This is a very exciting time for the media and entertainment industry in Asia as it undergoes a rapid evolution, driven by advances in technology and changes in consumer needs,” said Mr Choi. “I have been in the broadcast and media industry for almost 20 years and Irdeto is a leader when it comes to security. I am truly excited to join Irdeto to drive sales growth across North and South East Asia.”
“As the media industry continues to evolve in Asia Pacific, service providers and rights holders face the continuing challenge of an increasingly competitive landscape combined with piracy and cybercrime threats,” said Bengt Jonsson, Senior Vice President of Sales and Services, Irdeto. “Irdeto is committed to helping its customers all over the world overcome these challenges and Dario’s expertise and experience will be invaluable as Irdeto further grows its business in this diverse and dynamic region.” Visit www.irdeto.com
iflix Names Kevin Liu as CTO of Ads SOUTHEAST ASIA STREAMING ENTERTAINMENT SERVICE, iflix, has announced it is doubling down on its digital advertising business, iflix Advertising, in response to the growing demand for premium programmaticallytraded advertising solutions in the OTT space. The company has appointed industry veteran Kevin Liu as the new Chief Technology Officer of Ads to spearhead the programmatic strategy and lead an engineering team specifically dedicated to the advertising business. Prior to iflix, Liu led product architecture and SSP products at FreeWheel, where he developed multi-layered domains of ad technology, and brings with him world-class expertise from China and the United States. In his new role, Liu will accelerate the development of iflix’s programmatic tech stack, which already features partnerships with industry-leading SSPs (including FreeWheel, SpotX, and Xandr), and DSPs (DV360 and The Trade Desk), as well as key reporting and attribution services, including Oracle’s MOAT and
Nielsen DAR, that verify the high engagement of iflix’s audience. Mark Britt, iflix Co-Founder and Group CEO, said, “iflix advertising connects premium brands with premium audiences on premium content. As this industry continues to evolve, iflix is committed to helping brands and our agency partners navigate this exciting opportunity on OTT with best-inclass programmatic solutions. We are delighted to have Kevin lead this exciting endeavour. His proven track record in developing video ad technology and programmatic strategy will be a key driver in propelling iflix advertising to new heights.” “What iflix has achieved in less than a year with its advertising products is remarkable. The digital advertising ecosystem may be a fragmented one, but I look forward to building on the company’s success and empowering forwardthinking marketers who want to reach highly engaged audiences,” added Liu. Visit https://advertising.iflix.com
GLOBECAST, THE GLOBAL SOLUTIONS PROVIDER for media, recently announced it has promoted 18-year company veteran Shakunt Malhotra to Managing Director, Asia. In his new role he will spearhead operations across Asia and manage four key areas of focus: teleport services, media management services, channel operations and engineering, and new technologies. Philippe Bernard, Chairman and CEO, Globecast, said, “Shakunt’s distinguished leadership and ability to drive a multi-faceted business in Asia are what make him perfectly suited for the role of Managing Director. We know his knowledge of these vibrant markets we serve will continue to be an asset to our customers.” Prior to his promotion, Shakunt was VP-Asia Operations, where he successfully delivered projects involving international satellite and fibre links, facility expansion, playout, field transmission, and company acquisitions. Since joining Globecast in 2001, Shakunt has held various titles, working with high-profile customers on innovative solutions for service delivery, including recent transmission-ready workflows for cloud-based playout services. He also heads up Globecast’s Technical Governance Group, which is responsible for the synchronisation of global teams and their readiness for new technology. Malhotra commented, “I’m excited to take my career with this dynamic company to the next level, ensuring that Globecast keeps heading in a positive direction with its innovative solutions for customers, helping to constantly increase their ROI. We are pushing across the market with our media service solutions, designed to help our customers in Asia get their content from where it is to viewers, wherever they may be and on whichever devices they use. With our use of virtualisation and increased deployment of the cloud, we are at the forefront of reshaping the industry.” Visit www.globecast.com
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Prior to his role at Huawei, he held senior management positions at Asianet, Harmonic, Avid, Harris Broadcast and Ericsson. With extensive experience in the technology and media and entertainment sectors, Mr Choi will strengthen and expand Irdeto’s substantial customer base across this market.
Shakunt Malhotra Promoted to MD Globecast Asia
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The Changing Face of TV in India
By Sunder Aaron, Co-Founder and General Manager of Q India MOMENTUM IN THE GLOBAL PAY-TV MARKET is slowing as more and more consumers cancel their traditional cable and satellite services in favour of live and on-demand streaming options. The 2019 Grabyo Global Video Trends Report, a survey of close to 10,000 consumers across seven countries, revealed that over 50% of consumers are choosing to pay for online video service rather than pay-TV services. As the number of cordcutters continues to grow globally, traditional pay-TV providers face a number of challenges which they will need to address and overcome in order to remain relevant. Yet India is bucking these wider global trends. Already one of the world’s largest pay-TV markets, India’s pay-TV revenues are projected to rise by an enormous eight percent CAGAR to hit $16 billion by 2023 according to a 2018 report by Media Partners Asia. Currently at 200 million Pay TV households, we expect the market to continue its growth to at least 250 million households over the next few years. Pay-TV will remain a dominant medium for years to come. However, just because India’s pay-TV market is flourishing, it doesn’t mean broadcasters and operators should be complacent when it comes to attracting and retaining subscribers, particularly the high-value and tech-savvy ‘Young India’ demographic. YOUNG INDIA One unique characteristic of the Indian market is that it is home to the greatest number of millennials anywhere in the world. With over 400 million millennials – accounts for a third of India’s overall population – the influence of this growing demographic is changing how brands approach and reach out to their audiences. Raised in the digital era, the high value Young India market comprises of a generation of tech-savvy, alwaysconnected, always-on consumers. They are driving the rapid growth in digital consumption and expect to be able to watch digital content whenever and wherever they are. They don’t just watch TV; this generation watches and streams video content on platforms such as YouTube and Snapchat on a daily basis. YouTube alone has 225 million monthly users in India, with the country now acting as YouTube’s fastest-growing global market. India is an incredibly valuable market, in large part driven by this tremendous demographic. In fact, a surprisingly substantial portion of the recent US$72 billion acquisition price paid by Disney for News Corp. was ascribed to the Star India business, by many accounts it was valued at more than US$10 billion! DEMAND FOR PREMIUM SHORT-FORM CONTENT For pay-TV to continue to be relevant to the Indian market and meet shifting consumer demands, broadcasters and operators need to ensure they are investing in the right content and formats. To attract and retain consumers against a backdrop of potential content overload, it is important to offer curated offerings that best serve Young India’s tastes. For instance, a trend we are seeing in amongst this demographic is the rise of short-form content consumption. As demand continues to accelerate and more consumers get used to used to ‘bite-sized’ videos – largely driven by social media platforms such as Instagram and YouTube – TV service operators will need to evolve their services and content formats to remain appealing. Tata Sky and Jio TV are recent examples of TV broadcasters in India who have already taken steps to make sure their services remain relevant to younger audiences by bringing expertly curated web-first content to their services. Another example is the launch of Watcho by Dish TV India, created specifically with Young Indians in mind and primarily focused on short-form content. Watcho as well as Airtel Wynk have recently added The Q India to its line up to boost its offering to more than 1,000 hours of short-form content, including original shows, movies and short films.
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SHOWCASING REGIONAL TALENT
Local content creators, influencers and a burgeoning number of undiscovered, underground talent will all play a huge role in this region moving forward – they represent the types of content that caters for and resonates with today’s Young Indian audiences. They are helping broadcasters to take a fresh and innovative approach to their programming
and driving their engagement and subscription rates. Some of the biggest influencers in India include Kanan Gill, who has quickly grown his following on YouTube with his intelligent humour, Tanmay Bhat, known for his entertaining Snapchat videos and for producing the comical success show All India Bakchod, and Shirley Setia, said to be the next Bollywood sensation with her well-loved musical covers. Media and entertainment services looking to inject more originality and variety to their content libraries should be using this as an opportunity to discover what’s popular with Young India, and which trends, such as eSports, are taking the online world by storm. These insights will help them to identify which local influencers they should consider working with and how they might help them to maximise audience engagement. MOBILE-FIRST PROGRAMMING To remain relevant with Young India, TV service providers must enhance their mobile offerings. Today’s consumers are already engaging with multiple platforms simultaneously, with India representing the world’s second largest smartphone market. At a time when young Indians are spending over an hour a day on their smartphones, primarily watching short-form video content, there is a huge opportunity for broadcasters and TV service providers to capitalise on this by creating mobile-first programming. For example, we are already starting to see offerings which allow audiences to watch shows created by and featuring A-list stars, and designed to have the same big budget feel as a global smash-hit such as Game of Thrones. The key difference is the content is condensed into six-eight minute segments so that it is more suitable for mobile consumption. This idea has been pioneered by Movie mogul, Jeffrey Katzenberg, the founder of Quibi. Katzenburg’s company promises to disrupt the market by offering high-end, short-form content which is tailored to mobile lifestyles, featuring work from leading Hollywood directors including Sam Raimi and Guillermo del Toro. For media and entertainment companies seeking to grow their footprint in India, it represents an enormous opportunity to deliver content that is highly compatible with the viewing preferences of the country’s rapidly expanding young audiences. As India’s pay-TV market continues its impressive growth, it’s vital for broadcasters to evolve their offerings in response to the changing demands of Young India. After all, it’s fast becoming the country’s dominant age bracket. Young India has a relentless thirst for fresh, on-trend content – but in order to capture their imaginations and to turn their interests into real engagement, broadcasters must also deliver platform-specific experiences that are able to showcase this highly personalised content in the best possible light. Visit https://qyoumedia.com
FOLLOWING AN ANNOUNCEMENT by Australia’s Nine Network that it will bring in Qvest Media to oversee the relocation of its Sydney operations to North Sydney in mid-2020, the German company has confirmed it will establish an Australian branch to support the project, which will include on-air graphics, newsroom systems, post-production, network and infrastructure, and live studio elements. Nine says it is taking the opportunity presented by the move from its Willoughby broadcast centre to 1 Denison Street, North Sydney, to overhaul its technological broadcast stack, moving to SMPTE 2110 Standard for Professional Video Delivery Over IP Networks. According to Konstantin Knauf, Director Consulting, Qvest Media, “We are happy that Nine Network put their trust in us to be part of this innovative and ambitious project. This is a huge acknowledgment of our expertise as one of the leading consultants and system integrators for future media technologies and infrastructures in the media world. “As a globally operating company, we are able to realise projects nearly anywhere in the world. Depending on the requirements, projects can be implemented with or without a local branch. In the case of Nine Network, we have decided to install a local branch.” On the company’s experience with projects based on SMPTE 2110 standard technology, Knauf says, “It is true that we have already designed, installed, and realised numerous all-IP infrastructures for customers across Europe and the Middle East. We never solely rely on our experience, though. We incorporate state-of-the-art technical innovations, best-practice solutions for the creation of workflows, and aspects like change management for a high employee acceptance into our holistic approach. Considering market developments that are expedient and profitable for our customers is our focus at all times.
Konstantin Knauf, Director Consulting, Qvest Media.
Interoperability between providers and COTS-based networks are examples that still play an important role in designing All-IP system architectures.” According to Konstantin Knauf, the company’s consulting is based on a “best-of-breed approach”. “That means our first step in a project is performing a detailed requirements analysis with the customer. Subsequently, the best available products and solutions for the technological and commercial realisation will be determined within a market analysis. Our approach to this technology selection is global which can cover Australian companies, for example, too. As far as the project implementation and integration are concerned, we have made many positive experiences cooperating with local companies.” With a mid-2020 delivery date for the new station, Knauf says, “A detailed project plan and schedule is currently being developed and adopted in tight cooperation with Nine Network’s project team.” Visit www.qvestmedia.com
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Qvest to Establish Australian Branch for Nine Network Sydney Project
ACQUISITION & LIGHTING www.content-technology.com/acquisition
Indian DoP Sunil Patel Flies High with Sony VENICE IT’S CERTAINLY A FIRST FOR INDIA if not the world – a full-length feature film that revolves around a kite flying competition. The makers of Gabru Gang have even submitted the film to the Guinness Book of World Records to have it recognised as the first film in the world on kite flying. Produced by Omsuraj Production and Amritsar Talkies, Gabru Gang is a Punjabi romantic comedy. Written and directed by Sameer Khan, it features Abhishek Duhan, Srishti Rode, Brajesh Tiwari and Abhishek Sharma in the lead roles. When Director Sameer shared the script and storyline with Sunil Patel, a Director of Photography, Sunil instinctively recognised the film’s potential and the camera he should be using. A highly-regarded DoP, Sunil cut his teeth doing TV commercials before shooting Bollywood movies. His film credits include Back Bencher, Happy Phir Bhag Jayegi, Bang Bang and Murder 3, among others Familiar with Sony cameras, he recently worked with Sony’s F65 CineAlta camera for Bang Bang and was pleased with the results. It was while filming the end credit song for Happy Phir Bhaag Jayegi that Sunil first had the opportunity to test the VENICE, Sony’s Full Frame Digital Motion Picture Camera System. “I was absolutely delighted when I saw the gorgeous footage shot on Sony’s VENICE at the DI studio,” said Sunil. “I knew instinctively that I had to use VENICE for my next movie, and along comes Gabru Gang.” Shot entirely in picturesque Amritsar over a hectic 35 days, Sunil says he found VENICE extremely easy to handle. “I love the look and feel of the VENICE. Sony has got the ergonomics spot-on with this fantastic camera. We used the VENICE as our principal camera for Gabru Gang,” Sunil added. VENICE’s user-friendly design, clear and simple menu navigation allowed Sunil to focus on his craft, and not on the camera. “VENICE had the fastest booting time of five to seven seconds after which
Camera Control for RED DSMC2 on Cine 7 Monitors
CREATIVE SOLUTIONS HAS ADDED more functionality for cinematographers to its SmallHD Cine 7 line of on-camera touchscreen monitors. A new software license enables real-time configuration of RED DSMC2 cameras directly through the Cine 7’s touchscreen interface. Camera control on Cine 7 allows cinematographers to use the monitor as a control interface as well as a creative viewing monitor. Camera menus appear as an overlay on the Cine 7 screen, offering multiple options to configure the camera to changing production requirements. In addition to standard parameters like white balance, resolution, and filename, the new software license provides deep-level menu control, including output overlays, image pipeline modification, and power settings.
The Camera Control license for RED DSMC2 is now available as a bundle that includes an active camera-control cable and software upgrade license.
With 1800nits of brightness, 100% DCI-P3 colour, and a 1920×1200 resolution display, the Cine 7 monitor combines razor-sharp image clarity with powerful camera control features and the ease of touchscreen access. All Cine 7 monitors also provide deep integration with Teradek RT wireless followfocus systems and are available as either a standalone monitor or with an integrated Teradek Bolt transmitter or receiver module. Visit www.smallhd.com
DoP Sunil Patel on location in London. Photo Courtesy of Ridhiin Pancchmatia.
you’re ready to roll. The entire range of motorised ND filters (eight built-in) allowed us to control the exposure easily. Our Version 2.0 firmware was upgraded to dual ISO which added an additional 2500 base ISO to its earlier 500 base ISO.” For Gabru Gang, Sunil combined the VENICE with Zeiss compact prime zoom 15-30mm, 28-80mm, 70-200mm and Optimo 24-290mm lenses. The camera equipment was provided by Mumbai-based rental house Uni10 Media Pvt. Ltd. Sunil was so impressed with VENICE’s wide latitude, colour gamut and velvety-smooth picture quality that he has again opted to work with this game changer for an upcoming Hindi language movie Pagalpanti. The romantic comedy which will be shot in London, England features a stellar cast including John Abraham, Anil Kapoor, Illena D’Cruz and Arshad Warsi. For Pagalpanti, Sunil will be deploying two units of VENICE and teaming them up with a combination of Zeiss and Leica Summilux lenses.
Hitachi Kokusai 1080p CCU and Camera Adapter DESIGNED TO MAKE FULL-HD, 1080p60 video acquisition more economical, Hitachi Kokusai has unveiled the new CU-HD550 camera control unit (CCU) and CA-HF550 camera adapter. The CU-HD550 and CA-HF550 are compatible with all Hitachi 1080p and 1080i Z and SK-series HDTV cameras, but are particularly compelling for use with progressive-scan models. The new accessories combine with Hitachi Kokusai’s 1080p60-native studio and field production camera heads – including the Z-HD5500 and recently-introduced SK-HD1800 – to form robust camera systems with fully-progressive signal paths for maximum visual quality. The CUHD550/CA-HF550 combination offers a lower-cost entry point to progressive production for customers who don’t require the advanced expansion options and extra I/O connections of the flagship CU-HD1300 CCU series. Compatible with both the new CU-HD550 and existing Hitachi CCU models, the CA-HF550 transmits video, audio, power and control over SMPTE 304M fibre between the camera and CCU. Two HD-SDI connections on the CA-HF550 provide video output at the camera end and can be switched between camera, prompter and return video. The CA-HF550 also provides ample AC power at the camera head to drive both a prompter and floor monitor through the fibre cable. At the other end of the chain, the fibre-connected CU-HD550 combines multi-format SDI inputs and outputs with intercom, return video, teleprompter, tally and remote-control interfaces in a heavy-duty 2RU form factor. An RJ-45 network port enables IP-based control, including integration with Ross Video’s open DashBoard control platform. Visit ww.hitachikokusai.com
ACQUISITION & LIGHTING
ARRI Introduces Orbiter Ultra-bright LED Point Source ARRI HAS INTRODUCED ORBITER, a new LED luminaire that the company says is poised to change the way the industry looks at digital lighting. An ultra-bright, tuneable, and directional LED fixture, all systems in Orbiter are completely new and have been designed with versatility in mind. Orbiter’s new six-colour light engine delivers a wide-colour gamut and outstanding colour rendition across all colour temperatures along with industry-leading, smooth dimming from 100 to 0%. With its changeable optics, Orbiter can transform into many different types of lampheads including projection (profile), open face, and soft light. Additional features include a fast processor, ample memory, expanded connectivity, a built-in array of sensors, and weatherproof housing. Orbiter’s versatile design makes it an optimal lamphead for today and for the future, with endless possibilities for updates, configurations, and enhancements.
ARRI SPECTRA SIX-COLOUR LED LIGHT ENGINE Orbiter is an extremely bright and powerful, directional LED fixture with an output similar to that of the corresponding HMI systems. Its new high output, yet tunable, ARRI Spectra light engine can create hard shadows with defined edges. Including a red, green, blue, amber, cyan, and lime LED, the ARRI Spectra six-colour light engine translates into a wider colour gamut, more accurate colours, and most importantly, higher colour rendition across the entire CCT range. Skin tones look amazing and natural, and hues are precisely reproduced. Orbiter has a larger CCT range of 2,000 to 20,000 K with ultra-high colour rendition across all colour temperatures. Using a combination of three dimming techniques, Orbiter’s cutting-edge electronics provide smooth dimming down to zero without colour changes or jumps.
LiOS – A NEW LIGHTING OPERATING SYSTEM Orbiter is able to take advantage of more than five years of software development for the SkyPanel. Its new software called LiOS (Lighting Operating System) includes all the innovative and groundbreaking features of the SkyPanel plus others, making Orbiter one of the most fully-featured luminaires on the market. LiOS’s eight-colour modes include CCT, HSI, individual colour, x/y coordinates, gel and source matching, lighting effects, and the new colour sensor mode that measures ambient light and recreates it through Orbiter’s output. Other new features in LiOS include simplified DMX modes, performance-enhancing operational modes, over 240 slots for favourites to be stored, optics recognition, multi-language support, a custom boot screen, and many more still to come.
REMOVABLE CONTROL PANEL With a 4-inch full-colour display, quick navigation buttons, and integrated sensors, the Orbiter control panel allows for easy use with a graphic user interface. Simplified menu structure and re-imagined user interfaces provide one-glance operational views and uncluttered screens. This intuitive design makes changing the colour or finding a setting easier than ever before. In addition, the control panel is removable and can be used handheld with the aid of a five or 15m control panel cable.
ENHANCED CONNECTIVITY Including a full suite of input and output connectors, Orbiter is prepared for digital communication – today and tomorrow. Ethernet daisy chaining is now possible with two EtherCON ports supporting Art-Net 4, sACN, and TCP/IP. Two USB-A ports are used for LiOS updates and connection of thirdparty peripherals such as Wi-Fi USB dongles. LumenRadio’s CRMX solution is included, allowing for wireless DMX. Two 5-pin XLR DMX ports used for conventional DMX and RDM communication in and through, and a 3-pin XLR DC input for 48V power station. An SD Card slot enables future expansion of the software. Finally, a USB-C port is available for computer communication and servicing.
FULL SUITE OF SENSORS Included in Orbiter is a colour sensor for measuring the ambient light, a 3-axis accelerometer and magnetometer for sensing the pan, tilt, roll, and heading of the fixture, heat sensors for keeping the LEDs and electronics at exactly the right temperature, and an ambient light sensor for automatically dimming the control panel display. All these sensors make for a better user experience and increased control over the fixture. Available data improve workflow also in postproduction and service.
ROBUST, WEATHERPROOF HOUSING The outer design of Orbiter meets the demands of heavy, daily usage. A new weatherproof housing enables outdoor application by using an aluminium cast body with bumpers made of reinforced plastic. The handle makes transport comfortable and allows for handheld operation due to perfect balance. Orbiter’s wide range of optics and features allows the fixture to be used in a great variety of applications without compromising quality. Markets such as film and television production, broadcast, theatre and live entertainment, and even still photography are just some examples of environments where Orbiter can be deployed. Visit www.arri.com
Changeable optics is the core innovation in Orbiter. With a wide variety of optics to choose from, Orbiter transforms into the perfect light for your application without sacrificing beam, output, or colour quality. The Quick Lighting Mount (QLM) in Orbiter allows for optics with vastly different properties to be attached to the fixture. The high-output, directional beam of the open face optic is ideal for throwing light long distances. The high precision of the projection optics creates a perfect circle of light that can be shaped with cutters, focus, and gobos. The dome optic provides omnidirectional, soft light, great for illuminating large spaces, and a universal QLM adapter creates a direct mounting point for Orbiter-specific Chimera and DoPchoice products. With versatility built in, there is great potential for creating additional optics for different applications.
ACQUISITION & LIGHTING
FUJIFILM Launches FUJINON Premista Telephoto Zoom Series and Pro 4K Lens for Blackmagic URSA FUJIFILM HAS LAUNCHED THE FUJINON Premista 80-250mmT2.9-3.5 (Premista 80-250mm) telephoto zoom lens with a focal length of 80250mm which will be available in December 2019. It is the second lens model in the Premista series of cinema camera lenses which deliver the full benefits of a large format sensor with stunning optical quality. The Premista 80-250mm can be combined with the already-released FUJINON Premista 28100mmT2.9 (Premista 28-100mm) standard zoom lens to form a kit that covers the most frequently-used focal lengths of 28-250mm, accommodating a broader variety of requirements. In recent years, cinematographers have increasingly started to work with cinema cameras equipped with a large format sensor for motion picture and commercial production and they wish to achieve a natural and pleasant bokeh effect with shallow depth-of-field and wide dynamic range. Although there are prime lenses in the market compatible with the large format sensor, there has been a demand for zoom lenses covering a wide range of focal lengths offering versatility at the highest optical quality. The Premista 80-250mmT2.9-3.5 is a telephoto zoom lens covering an 80-250mm focal length. Thanks to the adoption of a large-diameter aspherical lens and a new focus/zoom system, the Premista achieves stunning optical quality from the centre to the corners, allowing the cinematographer to capture the feeling and texture of the subjects. The lens design contributes to wide dynamic range by suppressing unwanted flare and ghosts thanks to Fujifilm’s
original optical calculation software. The Premista 80250mm can be combined with the Premista 28-100mm to form a kit that covers the most frequently-used focal length between 28mm and 250mm, accommodating a variety of scene changes. They share a common front element diameter and threering gear positions, allowing users to use the same accessories such as matte boxes and follow focus. This eliminates the need to readjust accessory positions when changing between these lenses, streamlining operations in frontline video productions. FUJIFILM has also launched the FUJINON LA16x8BRM 2/3-inch Professional 4K lens designed specifically for the Blackmagic URSA Broadcast camera. The LA16x8BRM is compact and lightweight and provides the Blackmagic URSA with 4K and HD resolution. The lens only weighs 1.6kg thanks in part due to its rear focus mechanism design. It also features a new single button electronic flange adjustment with a macro switch function which adds convenience when shooting and performing zoom operations providing a faster and more efficient operation.
The FUJINON Premista 80-250mmT2.9-3.5.
The LA16x8BRM’s macro function allows for closer shooting than MOD up to 0.05 metres, by using the lens’ unique focus ring, and enables spectacular close-up images at 4K resolution. The new lens’ size provides optimal balance with the Blackmagic URSA Broadcast camera and along with 4K performance boasts a 16x zoom ratio suitable for EFP, news and studio shooting. Designed for handheld shooting the LA16x8BRM reduces the weight burden for the camera operator and provides excellent usability. The use of FUJINON accessories enables precise control of the zoom and focus while on a tripod which in turn again enables efficient studio or field-style shooting. Visit www.fujifilm.com
Anton/Bauer DIONIC 26V Batteries
ANTON/BAUER RECENTLY INTRODUCED the DIONIC 26V series of cinema batteries. Developed for cinematographers, rental houses, and content creators, these 26V Li-ion batteries offer up to 240 watt-hours of reliable, safe, and efficient power for higher-power-draw cinematic cameras and LED lights. Featuring Anton/Bauer’s new Gold Mount Plus mount, the DIONIC 26V range includes 98-watt-hour and 240-watt-hour batteries, as well as a quad charger, a quad discharger, and a range of mounting plates for connecting to industryleading cameras and LED lighting fixtures.
The DIONIC 26V series has been designed to drive high-power cinematic cameras such as the ARRI Alexa LF, SXT, and 65, and will also support mobile power for popular LED panels, including Litepanels’ Gemini Soft panels and ARRI’s SkyPanel series. With their lighter weight and more compact form factor, the DIONIC 26V batteries offer greater mobility for camera operators and more versatility for LED placement over tethered power sources
such as AC or block-style batteries. DIONIC 26V batteries can be used as a hot-swappable backup power solution for gear that is using AC power, such as VCLX block-style batteries, eliminating the need to power down cameras or LEDs to change power sources. The DIONIC 26V charger offers rapid charging for both 14.4V and 26V batteries – charging the 98-watt-hour in around 1.5 hours and the 240-watt-hour in around 3.5 hours – a sharp contrast to competing dual-voltage or hybrid batteries that require as much as two to three times this amount of charge time. The DIONIC 26V series also offers a dual-bracket solution that enables up to 480 watt-hours of power (combining two DIONIC 26V 240 batteries), delivering many hours of untethered lighting power for LED panels. Like the other batteries in the Anton/Bauer DIONIC product family, the DIONIC 26V series features ultra-high-strength ABS polycarbonate blend construction that protects the battery and ensures peak performance even in the most
demanding conditions – including extreme heat, humidity, and cold. The battery’s native 26V configuration balances cell usage and reduces the number of circuit boards packed on top of the cells for reduced heat and maximum cycle life. As a result, the batteries can be recharged many more times than other batteries for superior return on investment. The DIONIC 26V’s built-in LCD indicator gives users the confidence to know, down to the minute, the exact runtime and remaining available power for the camera and accessories being powered. In addition, the DIONIC 26V series introduces an all-new Gold Mount Plus mount that not only ensures a durable and secure battery connection, but also prevents users from connecting a 26V battery directly to a 14.4V camera or accessory. The DIONIC 26V 98 watt-hour battery is IATA-certified, making it easier to pack, carry, and transport on an airplane than tethered, block-style batteries. Visit www.antonbauer.com
ACQUISITION & LIGHTING
ARRI ALEXA Mini LF Camera Ships – Inspires Cinematographers Worldwide AFTER EXTENSIVE TESTING, ARRI quality control has approved the final production software for the ALEXA Mini LF. Cameras featuring this software began shipping duringSeptember. Owners of preproduction cameras can download the updated software and install it on their cameras. “Large format is taking off now,” says Stephan Schenk, Managing Director of ARRI Cine Technik and responsible for ARRI’s Business Unit Camera Systems. “In 2018, when we introduced the ARRI large-format camera system with the ALEXA LF camera, ARRI Signature Prime lenses, and LPL lens mount, the production community was excited to try something new. By now, many have worked with the ALEXA LF and are appreciative of the unique large-format look of our LF sensor. Now that the ALEXA Mini LF is officially shipping, we can offer the perfect team of tools. Together, the fully-featured, high-speed ALEXA LF and the small and lightweight ALEXA Mini LF can tackle any job.” Both cameras share the same large-format sensor based on technology used in all ARRI digital cameras. Therefore both share ARRI’s best overall image quality with the highest dynamic range of any production camera, as well as ARRI colour science for natural colorimetry, pleasing skin tones, clean VFX, and easy colour grading. However, the LF sensor has twice the area of Super 35 sensors for that unique large-format look, increased sharpness, higher contrast, and smoother images combined with a lower noise floor for higher usable sensitivity. The ALEXA Mini LF manages to fit that huge sensor in a Mini-sized body, with many new features like a media bay for the new Codex Compact Drives, a new high-contrast and high-resolution viewfinder with an additional flip-out monitor, internal motorised full spectrum
ND filters, built-in microphones, additional accessory power connectors, genlock sync, and much more. The ALEXA Mini LF records Apple ProRes or ARRIRAW in-camera without any add-ons and runs on 12 or 24 Volts. Since it is almost the same size and weight as the ALEXA Mini, the ALEXA Mini LF is compatible with most ALEXA Mini mechanical and electronic accessories. The LPL lens mount is suitable for ARRI Signature Prime lenses as well as for other manufacturers’ large-format lenses, and the PL-to-LPL adapter allows the use of all PL mount lenses. Using the stand-alone ARRI Wireless Video Transmitter WVT-1, the ALEXA Mini LF can become part of the full ARRI wireless video system. Marc Shipman-Mueller, Product Manager Camera Systems at ARRI, adds: “After we announced the ALEXA Mini LF, demand was so great that we decided to make pre-production cameras available before the official shipping date. We are happy that the pre-production camera’s performance has met our customer’s expectations. ALEXA Mini LFs have been on some spectacular high-end feature films, commercials, and TV series already, and cinematographers are very pleased with the results. All that we have learned from those productions has, of course, been incorporated into the final production software.” Owners of pre-production ALEXA Mini LF cameras will be happy to hear that there have been no
changes to the hardware from pre-production to production. They can download the production software from Arri’s website and update their cameras at any time. Here is a selection of projects that have used or are using the ALEXA Mini LF already: • 1917 – Cinematographer Roger Deakins • Dune – Cinematographer Greig Fraser • Kung Fury 2 – Cinematographer Tom Stern • Chinese Women’s Volleyball – Cinematographer Zhao Xiao Shi • Outlander Season 5 – Cinematographers Stijn Van der Veken and Alasdair Walter • La Bonne Épouse – Cinematographer Guillaume Schiffman and camera operator Benoit Theunissen • Qantas 100th Anniversary commercial – Cinematographer Jeremy Rouse and director Kiku Ohe • Nomad – Cinematographer Kevin Garrison Visit www.arri.com
RED Adds HELIUM and GEMINI Sensor Options to RANGER Camera Line
All three sensor variants of the RED RANGER system include the same benefits of the compact, standardised camera body, weighing around 3.4kg (depending on battery). The system can also handle heavy-duty power sources to satisfy power-hungry configurations, and boasts a large fan for quiet, more efficient temperature management. The RED RANGER camera system consists of three SDI outputs (two mirrored and one independent) allowing two different looks to be output simultaneously, wide-input voltage (11.5V to 32V), 24V and 12V power outs (two of each), one 12V P-Tap, integrated 5-pin XLR stereo audio input (line/mic/+48V selectable), as well as genlock,
timecode, USB, and control. Both V-Lock and Gold Mount battery options are supported. As with all current RED cameras, the RANGER can simultaneously record REDCODE RAW plus Apple ProRes or AVID DNxHD or DNxHR at up to 300 MB/s write speeds. It also features RED’s colour management and post workflow with the enhanced image processing pipeline (IPP2). RED now offers two separate but equally robust product lineups that give content creators more creative choices. The DSMC2 ecosystem continues to provide the most dynamic and modular cinema camera for users who value maximum flexibility, allowing their imaginations to run wild with configuration options. RED RANGER is the perfect option for those that prefer a less complex and more standardised alternative.
RANGER HELIUM and RANGER GEMINI ship with: • New production top handle. • Shimmed PL mount. • New LCD/EVF Adaptor D with improved cable routing when used on the left side of the camera. • New 24V AC power adaptor with 3-pin 24V XLR power cable, which can also be used with 24V block batteries. • Lens mount shim pack. • Compatible hex and torx tools. Visit www.red.com
RED DIGITAL CINEMA recently announced that its HELIUM 8K S35 and GEMINI 5K S35 sensors will be incorporated into the RED RANGER camera ecosystem. These two new alternatives create a robust lineup for creators who prefer an integrated, all-in-one system to the more modular RED DSMC2 camera. The RANGER HELIUM 8K S35 and RANGER GEMINI 5K S35 is available now via RED’s global network of resellers, participating rental houses, and directly through RED.
SPORTSCASTING Sport coverage worldwide
Sky NZ Includes Equity in Rugby Broadcast Rights Deal
NEW ZEALAND RUGBY (NZR) and Sky NZ have agreed to a revolutionary new broadcast deal that will see Sky deepen its investment in all levels of rugby and NZR become a shareholder in Sky. NZR and Sky announced the new broadcast agreement which extends Sky’s existing SANZAAR broadcast rights to 2025. The fiveyear agreement includes:
• The rights to broadcast rugby in New Zealand from 2021 to 2025 • A record investment in New Zealand and SANZAAR rugby • New Zealand Rugby becoming a 5% shareholder in Sky The broadcast rights include exclusive coverage of all Investec Rugby Championship, Steinlager Series, Investec Super Rugby, Mitre 10 Cup and all New Zealand’s other domestic competitions, including women’s competitions like the Farah Palmer Cup. NZR Chief Executive Steve Tew said they were delighted with the new agreement which clearly signalled that Sky and NZR had a strong commitment to grow the game. “This is a great result for NZR – we not only have a vastly experienced broadcast partner, but we have a partner prepared to work and invest with us in initiatives that will help grow the game over a prolonged period of time. “For rugby in New Zealand, this is a hugely significant agreement that secures the long-term
financial health of our game.
“I would like to thank Martin and his Board for the confidence they have shown in NZR with this investment and we look forward to continuing to build our long standing and deep partnership as we both face the challenges and opportunities that a rapidly changing broadcast, entertainment and sporting world presents,” Steve Tew said. Sky CEO Martin Stewart said Sky was thrilled with the new partnership and what it meant for Sky’s customers, investors, staff and other New Zealand sport partners. “We are delighted to have secured this superb rugby content for our customers to the end of 2025. Our commitment is to deliver rugby to all New Zealanders in ways that work for them, including streaming, broadcast over our satellite and free-to-air on Prime. “This partnership with NZR cements our shared commitment to nurture and grow the game across all aspects, from grassroots to high performance, and for women, men, boys’ and girls’ rugby. “A special part of this deal is the 5% equity stake that NZR is taking in Sky. We have long known that there is mutual benefit when each of us succeeds, and we’re pleased that NZR is becoming an investor in Sky. “Rugby is a core and significant part of our offer as the Home of Sport. We know it attracts customers to Sky, who then also discover and enjoy the deep range of local and global sport
Sky NZ CEO Martin Stewart.
that we offer. Our renewed partnership with NZR brings value to all of our sport partners, and we’re delighted to have them continuing as part of the Sky family,” Martin Stewart said. Visit www.sky.co.nz
The Switch’s Network Reach in China Delivers Hengshui Lake Marathon
THE SWITCH WAS PIVOTAL in delivering uninterrupted live linear TV broadcasts and online streaming of the ninth Hengshui Lake International Marathon in September, leveraging its extensive network in China to bring the event to audiences around the globe. Working in partnership with Chinese media production and content packaging company New Force Media, The Switch utilised its established experience and the global reach of its transmission network to deliver flawless coverage to international broadcasters – as well reaching marathon fans worldwide via live streaming websites.
The long-distance race was the second event in China that The Switch has brought to audiences around the world in recent months, after supporting the global broadcast and streaming of the Lanzhou International Marathon in June. The popularity of long distance and marathon running in China is exploding, with the number of races increasing more than tenfold since 2015; it is expected to drive growth in the sports gear market to $18 billion by 2020 – doubling its value in five years.
Set in one of China’s national nature reserves, the 2019 Hengshui Lake International Marathon attracted some 20,000 professional athletes and running enthusiasts across the full 42km marathon, the half marathon and the 3.1mile fun run on September 22. The Switch coordinated with the event’s broadcast rights holders to deliver content to audiences in China and abroad. In addition, the dedicated over-thetop (OTT) channel for the event was managed by The Switch, which handled everything from set-up to inserts from its Los Angeles control room. “The Hengshui Lake International Marathon shows how The Switch can simplify the production and delivery of broadcast and over-the-top content, taking one live stream and seamlessly building out traditional linear and OTT deliverables,” said Nicholas Castaneda, Senior Vice President of Sales at The Switch. “This is the second marathon in China that we have collaborated with New Force Media on and we are looking forward to working with
them again on more live events. Both projects demonstrate the value of The Switch’s 30 years of experience in bringing connectivity to places others can’t. We have nodes in every major city in China and can help broadcasters and event organisers reach the widest possible audience, anywhere in the world.” Mike Mu, Media Manager at New Force Media, commented: “Sports fans – whether they are following a soccer match or a marathon, watching on a TV or mobile phone – demand first class video images and uninterrupted coverage. Working with The Switch allows us to benefit from their live production experience and robust network performance – regardless of location – to ensure a flawless feed and smooth delivery to broadcasters and online platforms. This is a partnership we value and look forward to continuing as the popularity of international sporting events such as marathons continues to grow in China.” Visit www.theswitch.tv
Tabcorp Streams in HD with Sky Racing Active App AUSTRALIA’S TABCORP HAS LAUNCHED the Sky Racing Active app allowing live streaming of race fixtures in HD, as well as VOD replays, the ability to create “playlists” and to receive alerts. The Sky Racing Active is compatible with Apple iPhone, iPad running iOS 9.x or later, and Android operating system version 6.x or above. It gives users access to Sky Racing’s live and on demand racing content across Thoroughbreds, Greyhounds and Harness, including coverage from New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia, Tasmania and International racing. It also includes TV programming, as well as race replays and historical archives on-demand. Due to rights restrictions, Victoria and South Australian Thoroughbred racing is not included in Sky Racing Active. The app and its content is also geo-blocked and restricted to Australian access only due to underlying rights restrictions. App features include: • Favourites – allowing users to follow their favourite racing events • Playlist – shows fixtures users are following for next 48hrs • Users can swipe between different live racing channels • There is also a “Sky Active Channel” featuring a curated “best of” the day’s racing across scheduled content, codes and markets. In between live scheduled races, users will see information for the upcoming race on each channel, the top right corner of the screen will show the number of minutes until the next race start. The Sky Racing Active app will send users an in-app alert based on their Playlist items, four minutes out from scheduled race start time. They can join the stream in progress at this time or come back later to enjoy the race action. Race Replays are available approx. 10 minutes after the completion of a race event and will be available in the Playlist section. According to Dennis Dovale, Senior Manager Technology (Media Division) at Tabcorp, the app’s development was prompted by a desire to take advantage of OTT delivery. “We’re looking to get into the OTT space,” says Dovale. “For us it’s an emerging market. Digital is king and we thought we needed to lead the way with regards to what we do and how we do it. So, we’ve launched the new app. It’s currently running eight different channels of content. The advantage for us is we can split our time. So,
the advantage of what we do now is we actually give everyone a bit more time across the app. Each code receives a lot more time pre the race and post the race. Traditionally, it would be 90 seconds out before a race and ride out 30 seconds. So, we’re running now 10 minutes in, 10 minutes out across some of the codes depending on what’s on. “The app also then has a lot of really rich data for us. We’re a wagering business, but what makes horse racing cool is the fact that it uses a lot of data for people to make value decisions on making bet. They do a lot of research. And, so, the app is full of really valuable information. You can go back and look at the last five runs of horses, you can identify horses, jockeys, types of racing or the venues that you like and you can mark them as your favourites and then it will notify you. “You can go through the day, look at what you want to do, identify the racing or the tracks or the horses or the jockeys you want to watch and then the app will call you five minutes out. You’ll be able to click on the link and it’ll take you straight into the streams.” In delivering the app, Sky has drawn heavily on technology from Vizrt. According to technology consultant Tom Kennedy, Sky was looking to leverage existing automation to power the new service. “We’re using two dual Viz quad box solutions which are driving the eight-channel stack. These are two Quad P6000s with Matrox HD video codec cards. It gives us both SDI and IP outputs times four across each engine and, of course, gives us eight channels of full frame data with CG and live video input and DV effect as we need. “We obviously have a range of Viz scenes for our markets and our racing data that you’ve seen on traditional channels and they flow through into our OTT channels as well. And we have a custom software workflow that the team has
developed with the broadcast team. Then that feeds into our application middleware stack which is all in AWS, which essentially is a lowbalance product using various traditional tools that house both our linear vision that comes out of our broadcast environment, marries it with the data flow and the scheduling, marries it with customer playlist management and then delivers that individually to the customer’s device through that process and the customers come in through their various device layer, and Akamai are CDN as we go through.” “We’re also looking at adding multiple channels,” adds Dennis Dovale. “We’re working really closely with our partners at the moment and this app’s really built around our relationships with our partners, being able to offer them much more time that we can’t do across our other channels, give them the ability for them to feature their own racing and to feature parade rings, all of that sort of stuff, and post-race interviews and jockey talks. So, we’re really, really happy with what we’re doing, where it’s going and we’re really looking forward to what it’s going to be.” Visit www.skyracingactive.com.au
IHSE and EVS Enable Slo-Mo for Esports
Designed in collaboration with EVS, the new extenders enable real time recording of 240Hz gaming streams for later review and analysis of events. To achieve solutions using standard broadcast equipment, computer generating 1080p 240Hz gaming signals are recorded in four parallel 60 Hz SDI streams
on EVS XT-VIA servers for super slow-motion playback. In addition to super slo-mo action replay, the new devices enable direct broadcast of esports events via on-air transmission and online and social media distribution. The signals are compatible with large screen display video processors and can be switched using the Draco tera KVM matrix switch to create the ideal arena videowall management system to provide dynamic control and raise the level of excitement during live events. Visit www.evs.com and www.ihse.com
IHSE HAS RELEASED new KVM extenders with 240Hz to 60Hz synchronised sequential frame rate conversion for esports events, enabling live screen display, broadcast and super slow-motion replay direct from gaming computers.
Sennheiser’s AMBEO Covers Audio from All Angles IT MAY LOOK LIKE SOME floral-inspired sculpture, but Sennheiser’s AMBEO Sports Microphone Array is set to revolutionise the capture of match audio from the field. According to Renato Pellegrinni from Sennheiser’s AMBEO team in Switzerland, the array, “… is meant to capture the sounds from the field of interest like the ball kicks, what the referee said, the points of action without all that crowd noise. So, it’s all about getting rid of crowd noise in the stadium situation.” Currently in prototype, the system has been trialled with soccer/football, basketball and American football (NFL), and will easily translate to other sports as well. “Now what this microphone array will do for you is it will capture the sound automatically based on tracking information already available on the field,” says Pellegrinni. “We do have trackers that, for all the stats. We know where the player is, know where the ball is. We take that information in and what you output from this array is one single channel with ball kicks, another channel with the referee’s talk, a third channel with points of action. Typically, in soccer, they use a tracking system based on camera tracking that will identify each and every player, identify the ball just from the image of it.” The system comprises a circular arrangement of 31 MKH 8070 long shotgun microphones, each featuring extreme directivity and a pronounced lobar pick-up pattern. “The reason to be circular is because you get seamless quality in all directions and the quality will not change depending on what angle you’re pointing at,” says Renato Pellegrinni. “Whereas, in today’s world, you have shotguns surrounding the field and you might have the action is right in front of one shotgun, you’re good, or you have your action between two shotguns, you’re bad and your sound has deteriorated heavily. “You would want to have three of these placed
around the field, two each behind each goal and one on the middle line just opposite your camera one because usually you have this one camera that actually faces the field with a shotgun on top of it. That one shotgun already follows the action. On the opposite side, where you don’t have a camera, you put one of these. So, with a total of three, you should be able to cover a full soccer field. For a rugby field, you might end up having four or five because we are talking a more sizeable field. That’s all you need.” Following the pre-amp stage and some A/D conversion, as well as an amount of digital signal processing, captured audio undergoes a “post-processing step” in real time which further reduces the diffused field sound. The resulting audio consists of mono feeds with metadata
Ross Video on Side for APAC Sports Oscar Juste is VP of Sales for EMEA, Asia and Latin America with Ross Video. Here he talks sport with Phil Sandberg.
“WE HAVE OUR VERY WIDE sports offering that allows us to basically provide a solution that is all encompassing. We can provide solutions for the control room, so for the main display output of the production of any game. But, we can also provide the control of the LED displays. So, we are able to provide dynamic graphics on any LED displays - all the ribbons, all of the displays in any place in the venue. As well as we’re able to control other things that span beyond the broadcast, the traditional broadcast outlet. We can trigger any other event, lighting or anything else that happens at the venue.
“We made two acquisitions earlier in the year, one of them is Piero. So, Piero is basically a sports analyst graphics company. We acquired that from Red Bee back in end of March, so just before NAB. Piero has a strong footprint mainly in EMEA but also in some customers in Asia.” And it’s very strong amongst football/soccer?
“Soccer is very big and, in fact, most of our sales have been in soccer applications but we can do other sports, mainly team sports, any other team sport we can do and we can provide sports analysis for including baseball which his popular in some areas in Asia as well, like Japan for instance.” What about cricket? “Cricket. We can do a lot of sports analysis on most of the team games that exist, even on individual games but we try to focus on the team games because you can get more value out of what we provide. “We acquired another company earlier this year. It’s kind of a KVM super charger, if you will, and the product is pro-xi.” How do you see the APAC market in terms of adoption? “We’ve been growing steadily in the broadcast market, particularly in Asia. We have grown by 17% over the last 28 years now on average per year, and we’re growing fast in other regions. So,
which tells the engineer the position of the original sound. With that information, the audio can be fed into an object-based mix such as Dolby Atmos. Alternatively, using MPEG-H, viewers can choose what angle they want to watch the footage in, which picture, what camera they want to watch and make the sound match that perspective. In a live situation, the onsite, or even remote, sound engineer would choose feeds from the system using a tablet device which is receiving the camera tracking information. There is also the option of selecting audio from positions not being tracked by the camera. Sennheiser’s AMBEO Sports Microphone Array is currently in prototype with a product release expected in 2020. Visit https://en-sg.sennheiser.com/ambeo
APAC or Asia, to us, is a growing market. We have our office in Singapore. We recently opened an office in Beijing, and we keep adding resources. We want to be as local as possible when it comes to Asia. “At the same time in Asia, there are other markets that are opening up, particularly sports and e-sports, which is a growing trend. So, the e-sports market is growing rapidly and we have solutions.” How much of an opportunity is the Olympics next year? “It’ll be an opportunity for us. We can help on the stadium side of things. So, we can do the sports solutions. We can also help broadcasters with things like infrastructure, switchers, graphics. So, we have our full portfolio for production. And then we have another product which is called Inception News which basically allows broadcasters to quickly spin up required services that are in the cloud to be able to tell their stories more efficiently and faster.” Visit www.rossvideo.com
Sony Expands IP-based Remote Solutions with Nevion
SONY HAS UNVEILED its latest line-up of IP Live production solutions, including two new IP extension adapters – one for cameras and another for camera control units (CCU). Sony has also introduced two new remote-control panels for Live Element Orchestrator, as well as a SMPTE ST 2110 interface board for its PWS4500 4K/HD live production server. In June 2019, Sony entered into a strategic partnership with Nevion AS, a leading provider of virtualised media production solutions and the two companies will be on hand to showcase the next level of IP-based production environments. This new partnership and line-up allow Sony to continue to help customers realise the unique benefits of IP for remote production and effective resource sharing. Working with broadcasters from across the world Sony has created advanced IP Live Production solutions and delivered more than 60 IP live studios and OB trucks to date. These include Euro Media Group, NEP Australia and SIC Portugal. Advanced line-up of Remote Integration Solutions The new addition to the line-up of Live Production solutions now includes two new IP extension adapters that transform the current HDC series of SDI system cameras into IP cameras with an SMPTE ST 2110 interface.
Through their compact rack size, one third of the standard width, the new IP extension adapters allow advanced IP Live Remote Production and Resource sharing, implementing new workflow patterns for the existing HDC system camera series. • HDCE-TX30 – enables direct remote production capability for any of the HDC2500, HDC-3100 and HDC-3500 camera heads, by offering instant SMPTE ST2110 IP Live Network connectivity, including all necessary production functions, such as IP Tally and remote-control capability. • HDCE-RX30 – a complementary solution to HDCE-TX30, offering native SMPTE ST21101 IP Live Network connectivity. It allows users to route any camera head to any HDCU2500, HDCU-3100 or HDCU-3500 CCU. It also provides SDI and IP mixed system configurations as well as 4K/HD, HDR/SDR mixed operation based in SDI. This helps users to manage equipment across multiple studios, control rooms and machine rooms centrally. The solutions enable the use of IP technology in traditional SDI environments, which provides greater resource sharing benefits.
Sony has also revealed two new remote-control panels that further strengthen the reliability, speed and accuracy of commands through Live Element Orchestrator: • MKS-R4020 – a remote control panel that comes with 40 assignable LCD buttons that allow users to change configurations, including monitor input, remote control panel (RCP) assignment and multi-viewer layout. In addition to being compatible with the Live Element Orchestrator, it can also control routing on the IP Live System Manager. • MKS-E1620 – a remote control panel with 16 encoders that can adjust various parameters of live equipment including system camera’s HDR colour and contrast and is exclusively used with the Live Element Orchestrator. Sony has also introduced a new optional interface board: • PWSK-4509 – offers SMPTE ST 2110 support for the 4K/HD live production server PWS-4500. The addition of the interface board allows the server to seamlessly connect with an IP live production environment and enables it to receive and transmit multiple video and audio signals with 25 GbE (SFP28) via an IP network. Visit https://pro.sony
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UEFA and Europa League Live Via SES-9 Satellite FOOTBALL FANS IN INDONESIA are now able to watch their favourite European teams compete in the UEFA Champions League (UCL) and UEFA Europa League (UEF) live on TV screens in highdefinition courtesy of a partnership formed by media group Surya Citra Media (SCM), satellite direct-tohome TV provider Nex Parabola, and satellite operator SES. SCM has secured the exclusive broadcast rights for the 2019/20 football seasons of UCL and UEL which will be delivered to Nex Parabola customers via the SES-9 satellite. The two European football channels will be packaged together with exclusive content from SCM Group. These new channels include
Citra Cinema, Citra Drama Plus, Citra Muslim and Citra Dangdut.
SES-9 is co-located at 108.2° East orbital position with SES-7 and provides coverage over all 17,000 islands in Indonesia, as well as locations in South Asia, Northeast Asia, Australia and the Middle East. The 108.2° East neighbourhood is targeted for video services and ensures extensive coverage over all corners of the country for SES-9. This, coupled with SES-9’s high-powered wide beam design makes the satellite ideal for local broadcast services. “With SES-9, we are able to maximise our reach and deliver an unparalleled viewing experience in premium HD format to audiences across the country, whether
Australia’s NBL Games to Stream on Twitch THE HUNGRY JACK’S National Basketball League (NBL) will become the first Australian sporting league to stream games live globally on Twitch, the streaming video platform owned by Twitch Interactive, a subsidiary of Amazon.
Under the two-year agreement, all NBL games will be streamed globally on the NBL Twitch channel. They will also be able to be costreamed, allowing users to provide unique commentary on their own Twitch channels. There will be other features including stats and polling implemented across the channels, making for a richer user experience. The Twitch stream of the Illawarra Hawks versus Perth Wildcats game at the recent NBL Blitz in Tasmania had 184,000 unique viewers.
NBL Commissioner, Jeremy Loeliger said, “Our partnership with Twitch is truly revolutionary for Australian sport and reinforces the NBL’s status as a global entertainment product. Not only does it take our product to an entirely new audience all around the world, but by allowing our games to be co-streamed by members of the Twitch community, it also delivers those games in a new way that is more engaging for that audience.
“People who have never heard of the NBL before will be logging in to see their favourite streamers presenting our content. It’s a very exciting development.
the broadcast more than ever before. Delve into live stats, chat with other viewers and with the host of the stream, participate in live Q&A and competitions, and even buy merchandise all without having to leave the live game. “There is huge global interest in the NBL. We are already broadcasting games around the world into the USA, Europe and Asia with a potential reach of 130 million people. Twitch will further extend that reach.”
“People who have never heard of the NBL before will be logging in to see their favourite streamers presenting our content. It’s a very exciting development.
Head of Sports Verticals at Twitch, Eric Brunner said, “Extending our basketball content to include the next full season of one of the top professional leagues in the world is an exciting way to further engage with what is proving to be a very strong and growing fandom on our service. It’s awesome to work with the NBL as the first sports body in Australia to truly understand the power of building a global community on Twitch.”
“Equally as innovative is that you’ll be able to do more to engage with
Visit https://nbl.com.au and www.twitch.tv/nbl
they are watching us on their home TVs,” said Junus Koswara, President Director of Nex Parabola. “Our partnership with Nex Parabola is testament to our satellite fleet’s capabilities of delivering prime international content to viewers around the globe in the best quality possible, wherever they are. We are pleased to help Nex Parabola expand their audience reach using satellite in the most cost-effective manner, and remain committed to delivering satellite services for broadcasters, content providers and companies across the country,” said Yew Weng Soo, Vice President, Sales and Market Development, Asia Pacific of SES Video. Visit www.ses.com
“With SES-9, we are able to maximise our reach and deliver an unparalleled viewing experience in premium HD format to audiences across the country.
Red Bee and Spring Media Announce Wnited Women’s Football SWEDISH SPORTS RIGHTS AGENCY Spring Media is partnering with Red Bee to launch Wnited – the world’s first global OTT service dedicated to women’s football. Launching in Q1 2020, Wnited will aggregate high-level multi-camera content from top tier leagues in Europe, Asia, and the Americas, as well as national team matches to global audiences. With both free and paid subscription-based consumption options, Wnited is set to include 300+ live matches and a multitude of VOD content in 2020. Wnited is launched on the Red Bee Managed OTT Platform. “Women’s football has reached a turning point when it comes to both viewership and media interest and we believe we’re just at the beginning of a steep growth curve”, said Tobias Osmund, CEO, Spring Media “We are now launching a streaming service with access to some of the world’s best women’s football content, and
with the Red Bee OTT platform we are sure to deliver the highest quality viewing experience to football fans as they visit the new home of women’s football.” Wnited will include a free adsupported viewing option as well as a subscription-based offering. The service is developed and hosted on the Red Bee Managed OTT platform which supports high-end viewing experiences on all devices, global reach and ultralow latency live feeds. “We are very excited to be a part of launching Wnited with Spring Media”, said Steve Nylund, CEO, Red Bee. “This is a perfect example of how our managed OTT services can and should be used, reaching global audiences with high quality ultra-low latency live feeds and on-demand content, creating the best possible viewing experiences on any device.” Visit www.redbeemedia.com and https://springmedia.se
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Dejero Goes the Distance with IRONMAN Australia
IRONMAN is one of the leading mass sports brands in the world, consisting of over 260 events across 44 countries including long (IRONMAN and IRONMAN 70.3) and short (Sprint and Olympic) distance triathlons, mountain bike stage racing, road cycling and running, both marathon and trail. One of those events is the IRONMAN Australia, which takes place yearly on the Australian east coast.
The 2019 IRONMAN Australia took place in the New South Wales centre of Port Macquarie and captured not only local attention, but also a worldwide social media and live streaming audience, who joined the local spectators to watch the athletes live and in-the-moment, across various social channels. Live webcasting and streaming specialists Next-Up Digital were tasked with finding a solution for IRONMAN Oceania who is the team responsible for covering the event creative and production. They landed on Dejero’s EnGo mobile transmitter and a 4-channel WayPoint receiver to help them tell their “Anything Is Possible” story!
Stephen Kane, production manager of IRONMAN Oceania in Australia and New Zealand, is responsible for organising, arranging and delivering all forms of video production for all the sports and events. “Our events have been broadcast on various channels over the years, and we currently distribute content through many international TV networks, local domestic television networks and largely on Facebook Watch/Live,” noted Kane. “IRONMAN Australia has the added challenge of a large field of nonprofessional athletes all competing on the same course at the same time,” added Stephen. “Our live coverage focuses on the lead males and females, which include roughly 40 athletes at peak times, but you need to take in to account the 3,500 other athletes that are out there too. The safety of our athletes, staff, and crew is of primary concern. Broadcast is secondary but is also equally important. Having a well-planned out process is obviously required.” ALL TERRAIN BROADCASTING There’s no doubt that Dejero’s EnGo mobile transmitter had a place to shine in this case given its Smart Blending Technology which offers blending solutions in cellular, Wi-Fi, and satellite networks. This format allows production teams to reliably broadcast live and on the go, minimising any impact of poor network coverage or other interferences (e.g. poor weather). A Dejero exclusive solution, the Smart Blending Technology’s claim to fame is the ability to blend multiple IP connections into one high-throughput virtual network and manage the fluctuating bandwidth and latency interferences in real-time to deliver footage with speed and reliability. “Knowing we were always going to be working within a mobile broadcast environment, the most important thing for us was the technical delivery
and access to a network that could support our needs,” Stephen explained. “Prior to the event, it was imperative that we went into this production knowing where our coverage issues may appear, as we were widely relying on mobile networks. Moving through various mobile coverage zones, repeaters and antennas was always going to be a challenge and Dejero helped us overcome these with ease.” Dejero solutions include equipment featuring the Smart Blending connectivity software, connectivity services, and access to Dejero’s virtual network. Everything is managed in the cloud and backed by industry-leading support. Given the nature of broadcasting and content production, it’s quite attractive to know that in addition to fast and reliable solutions, there is a team of experts readily available to connect for support, 24/7. For Stephen, choosing Dejero was the right decision made by Next-Up Digital to offer a more reliable output in a more cost-effective manner for the IRONMAN Oceania team. “Using Dejero was easy, I sat back and watched the magic happen. If there were challenges, the team overcame them and when our crew needed further assistance, it was comforting knowing that we had the support of Dejero themselves, 24 hours a day, to add an additional layer of technical support.”
The IRONMAN course is not only daunting for athletes – who need to swim 3.8km, bike 180km, and run 42.2km but also demanding for the production team who have to follow and capture live coverage of moving athletes. They needed a solution that allowed for reliable, highquality, and mobile live content capturing.
“Dejero has helped simply by its reliability,” concluded Stephen. “Mobile broadcasting has come a long way over the years and it will become more and more of a need for our business, as will Dejero. Dejero is stable, reliable, and flexible and it delivered beautifully during IRONMAN Australia.” The live broadcast of IRONMAN Australia reached over 1.5 million viewers in the first day and grew as the world woke up to the event. Visit www.dejero.com
The IRONMAN course is not only daunting for athletes – who need to swim 3.8 km, bike 180 km, and run 42.2 km – but also demanding for the production team who have to follow and capture live coverage of moving athletes. They needed a solution that allowed for reliable, high-quality, and mobile live content capturing. Traditional forms of broadcasting, such as RF and microwave, would not be a reliable solution for the crew with over 10 hours of live racing to cover through various terrain. This also applied to the technology needed to deliver footage live to Facebook’s live streaming platform, Facebook Watch, which gained over 1.5 million views. The team wanted to give viewers the best live viewing experience possible and these traditional forms of broadcasting just wouldn’t cut it.
NEWS OPERTAIONS OPERATIONS www.content-technology.com/newsoperations
For 13 days, cameraman Rob Koenig-Luck (left) covered the Hong Kong protests, often needing to wear a mask as protection from tear gas. (ABC News)
What It’s Like to Be a News Cameraman Filming the Protests in Hong Kong By ABC Cameraman Robert Koenig-Luck
I’d been waiting for this call for 30 years. I’m a news and documentary cameraman based in Perth, Australia, and surprise phone calls deploying you to a breaking news event happen frequently. But, this was the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s International desk in Sydney ringing. IN THE MIDDLE OF FILMING a local news story, I’m asked if I can be on my way to the airport in 14 hours with camera equipment, safety gear, gas mask and a helmet. I’ll be covering the Hong Kong protests.
While I’ve travelled overseas to shoot feature stories before, this will be my first international assignment covering a big, unfolding news story.
TRAVEL LIGHT, FILE FAST After four hours of packing gear, a night’s sleep and a quick farewell
conversation with my lovely wife (we have a lot of these in this job), I am on a plane with my mind racing. There are a lot of technical requirements to covering news in this fast-paced era. You need to able to quickly adapt to changing situations and this means being very mobile, particularly when covering street protests. The thing I’ve learnt from years of demanding assignments is that if you can’t carry all your kit between two people, it’s too much gear. When filming documentaries there is
no impending deadline, you can take your time. News, on the other hand, demands up-to-date content, delivered as quickly as possible to different platforms and programs. There are always multiple looming deadlines. When I started at the ABC in 1989, there were no mobile phones. Now we can file 24/7 anywhere there is a mobile network. The technology that exists today allows us to buy local sim cards with
data, put them into a “magic box” called a LiveU, and send vision or even go “live”, with a slight delay of around 1.5 seconds, from anywhere in the world. This technology has been a gamechanger. Ten years ago, this kind of newsgathering was only possible with portable satellite equipment weighing 200kg. LiveU weighs only five kilos, has a battery that lasts for about six hours and can go anywhere there is a mobile signal. continues p24>>
i-CABLE Trials Hong Kong’s First 24-hour Live News OTT App FOR OVER TWO DECADES, Hong Kong’s i-CABLE News has been upholding professionalism and objectivity in news reporting, earning widespread recognition and appreciation with numerous awards. The i-CABLE Group, which launched the first 24-hour Cantonese news channel in Asia, has launched Hong Kong’s first 24-hour HDR live news OTT (over-the-top) App, i-CABLE News OTT App trial version, which is now available in Apple App Store and Google Play. According to i-Cable, Hong Kong viewers can now obtain first-hand news at the frontlines with the best quality at all times. Mr William Fung Tak-hung, Executive Director of i-CABLE News Limited, said, “With the rapid development of information technology in recent years, different kinds of information seem to be easily accessible. Yet Hong Kong citizens have always pursued objective, reliable, accurate and credible news. i-CABLE News always adheres to the professionalism of news reporting, and orchestrated the introduction of Hong Kong’s first 24-hour HDR live news OTT App. To tie in with the Group’s strategy of developing cross media platform services, we deliver authentic and first-hand news reports to the public from television and MTRC In-train TV platform to the new media.”
Major features of i-CABLE News OTT App trial version include: • Hong Kong’s first 24-hour HDR live news OTT App enables users to enjoy even better watching experience with clear and colourvibrant HD resolution. • The i-CABLE News OTT App trial version supports both iOS and Android devices. Users can enjoy HDR live stream broadcast of CABLE News and CABLE Financial News plus the ondemand content by simple registration. • Registered users can enjoy the on-demand function delivering numerous award-winning programmes such as Cable News Features, China Reports and News Lancet etc. Users can watch all content anytime anywhere.
• A hashtag feature enables users to browse and track relevant news topics and information. • Users can share the quality information provided by i-CABLE News with friends on social media through the sharing function. • A ‘CABLE Reporter’ function is specially designed to enable users to make instant reports to i-CABLE News, and report to police directly in case of emergencies. The i-CABLE News OTT App is in trial version until 31 December 2019. The full i-CABLE News OTT App will be officially launched in early 2020, and soon be available on Smart TV platforms. Users will be able to watch CABLE News on cross platforms with mobile devices and Smart TV. Visit www.i-cablecomm.com
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ABC Journalist Kathryn Diss did multiple live crosses from the airport protest. (ABC News: Robert Koenig-Luck)
ABC Journalist Greg Jennett at work as the portable LiveU unit feeds out footage via the mobile phone network. (ABC News: Robert Koenig-Luck)
>> from p22
IT’S HOT AND HUMID I land in Hong Kong at 3:00pm and hit the ground running, meeting our South-East Asia correspondent Kathryn Diss at Wan Chai to film a piece-to-camera.
We catch our breath. We stop to make a new plan. We check when’s our next deadline.
After a four-hour standoff with police, there are no significant clashes.
Protesters have used improvised materials to block the roads feeding into a five-way roundabout.
I can see already that staying hydrated is going to be very important.
I go to bed about 1:00am.
Our personal safety is always our top priority and you have to think ahead in these kinds of volatile situations.
A few minutes later she’s woken up – the audio’s failed to send and the producer at AM had no choice but to phone.
We are constantly scanning the surrounds for images that best describe what is happening, best tell the story.
Back to sleep. It’s the calm before the storm.
I am in my element – the scenes are a visual feast.
The next afternoon, we travel to Tai Po, about 50 minutes from central Hong Kong, closer to the Chinese border, to follow a big march.
We are scheduled to do 10 live crosses into ABC 7pm News bulletins in every capital city but the signal is poor because of the large number of people in the arrival’s hall and users on the mobile network. We quickly scramble to higher ground where the signal is better but it’s still not strong enough. It’s already 6.30pm Australian Eastern Standard Time, so we
CHAOS ERUPTS ON THE STREETS
Because of our live cross demands, we’ve got extra gear. We walk two kilometres with the marchers and then set up on the side of the road in the shade. Kathryn knocks off another 10 live crosses and just as she’s finishing up we see a large group of protesters moving to the metro train station nearby.
It’s all over as quickly as it began.
STAYING SAFE WHILE COVERING THE STORY
When we arrive, things have escalated.
Kathryn stays up until 2.30am cutting a radio current affairs piece for ABC Radio’s AM programme before hitting the sack.
Under pressure she delivers, describing the scene before us.
We hail a taxi and Kathryn files radio copy on the way.
Then, we head back into the city to cover the evening protests.
Camera operators and photographers look at the world in a different way to others.
The signal starts to improve and we manage to shoot half of the crosses live.
Our local fixer, who is monitoring social media, has discovered that the group is heading to Tai Wai, about 30 minutes away.
I’ve been to Hong Kong on holidays, but not for work, and trying to move 25 kilograms of gear around the busy streets, in 33° heat and 90% humidity, is a challenge.
Day two and we are at the airport where three days of planned protests start.
quickly shoot a piece-to-camera (known as an “as live”) and feed it back on a 20-second delay.
We learn that the protesters have moved on to Nathan Road police station and we jump in a taxi to follow. The next scene is unbelievable.
Kathryn and I quickly don gas masks and helmets.
The protesters have blocked a busy road in a major luxury shopping district.
There is already a cloud of tear gas in the air and we find a safe place to the side of the melee where I can get shots.
As shoppers walk by with bags of expensive purchases, tear gas canisters are fired into the group of protesters.
The scene before me is surreal!
Protesters and shoppers flee.
Bursts of tear gas, police with riot shields, protesters dressed like ninjas with yellow helmets and gas masks, and laser pointers cutting through the gas clouds.
We find a safe vantage point.
After a few minutes, I find it’s not easy to shoot with the gas mask on in the heat and humidity. To be effective, the mask needs to make a tight seal on your face. Being hotter in this environment is the last thing you need but it’s better than breathing in the gas or being hit in the face by a projectile. Kathryn does three PTC’s back to back.
With the mask still on, Kathryn does another PTC, delivering a great summation of the scene before us. I say to Kathryn: “Hey, this place is literally a riot!” We both laugh. It breaks the tension for a moment. A few minutes later, I am filming police arresting citizens on the street. About 50 news crews are all trying to get the same shot of a women being arrested, it feels like I’m playing hooker again in the
ABC Journalist Kathryn Diss editing a radio story on the run in the back of a taxi. (ABC News: Robert Koenig-Luck)
been reported attacking the media.
It’s close to midnight.
We arrive to learn that violent scenes erupted at Causeway Bay just after we left.
We need to get back to our hotel and start editing and feeding vision. About 2:00am we are done and head to bed.
We head back into the subway and follow a large group of protesters on the move.
PROTESTERS CONSTANTLY ON THE MOVE
As we are about to exit the Tai Koo station, all the elevators are shut down.
It’s pretty much the same unpredictable chaos in the following days. This is a very difficult story to cover as the protestors break up into smaller groups and are constantly on the move, travelling around on the metro train service.
We walk three steep, 30-metre flights of stairs. Just when you think it can’t get any crazier, it does! Three vans come speeding up the road, riot police pour out and start firing tear gas at protesters.
The only way for us to keep up with them is to follow on foot and by train.
Here we go again.
We strip back our gear to lighten the load.
The next day, Monday, the protesters head back to the airport for a huge sit-in.
One day, we follow the protesters on the metro for hours, visiting five different locations all over Hong Kong. We learn that for the first time, police have used tear gas inside a metro station 40 minutes away.
PRIVILEGE OF TELLING IMPORTANT STORIES
Tensions are high after the violent clashes with police over the weekend and there is a rumour they may enter the airport with tear gas. We don’t believe it but can’t completely discount it.
the fatigue, but reinforcements are on the way – Greg Jennett is flying in from Canberra and China correspondent Bill Birtles and cameraman Steven Wang are travelling from Beijing - and we’ll work with them for a few more days. Kathryn and I take the opportunity to wind down and enjoy a relaxed meal together but as long as we are here we remain on alert. This means when you sleep, the phone is never on silent. Before you go to bed, the camera gear is charged and laid out ready to go, you choose the clothes you’ll wear tomorrow, you check how much credit is on the pre-paid local sim card and when it expires. You eat well, drink plenty of water, get as much sleep as you can. The intensity of living at this pace is amazing and a little addictive. The highs and lows are extreme but great colleagues keep you grounded. They become your work family. Kathryn and I laughed that we’d spent more time together over the course of two weeks than we usually do with our partners at home.
We try to get there but trains are stopped.
I take a video of the crowd from our high position and tweet it.
We hear there has been a clash at another place, Causeway Bay, and we make our way there but there’s nothing happening, so we go to another location, North Point, where pro-Beijing supporters have
The 10-second video gets over 30,000 views in the next couple of days.
But when you get to tell important stories, and share the experience with great mates, it’s the best job in the world.
The airport sit-in goes on for another day.
* This article was first published on ABC
Kathryn and I are starting to feel
Sometimes the job is literally a riot.
We learn that the protesters have moved on to Nathan Road police station and we jump in a taxi to follow. The next scene is unbelievable. The protesters have blocked a busy road in a major luxury shopping district. As shoppers walk by with bags of expensive purchases, tear gas canisters are fired into the group of protesters. Protesters and shoppers flee.
front row of a rugby scrum.
MEDIA IN THE CLOUD, STORAGE & MAM Outsource – Insource: The Changing Face of Service Provision in the Media Industry. By Julian Wright, Blue Lucy founder
As another production and media content supply chain operator files for bankruptcy, and with some big names rushing out of the market, we examine what went wrong for outsourcing in media and broadcast, and what the emerging business models look like. The Rise of Outsourcing Outsourcing is the slightly ugly portmanteau of ‘outside’ and ‘resourcing’ which has sadly, and probably wrongly, become synonymous with large, private firms making lots of money by providing services to publicly funded government bodies. Actually, it’s unlikely that these outsourced capabilities would be any more cost effective if they were managed internally as a public service function, but broadly there is the perception that the outsourced service provider has the best end of the deal.
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In our industry, broadcasters started outsourcing the linear playout function in the 90s – leading to a significant number of service providers springing up or divesting from the bigger broadcasters. These new service providers could make a simple economies of scale business case to investors – because playout is largely the same for broadcaster A as it is for broadcaster B, by centralising the function they could provide services to both broadcaster A and B without a proportional rise in cost.
This model also offered the potential for external service providers to increase their earnings by providing additional services, particularly mandated services – including subtitling, audio description and visual signing. The unspoken view was that once broadcaster A was signed up for a five-year term for playout, they would also be locked in for the provision of as-yet unforeseen, and crucially, un-priced ancillary services which may be mandatory in the future. This opportunity has grown significantly in recent years with commercially motivated ancillary services from ‘red button’ to OTT becoming an increasingly important part of the broadcaster’s offering. The outsourcing model quickly spread further up
the production chain – to content preparation, compliance, versioning, format conversion etc. – and the industry perception was that these service providers had a lucrative business model. But now, as more operators flee the market or go into administration, the question is why did such apparently robust, indeed lopsided business models fail, and what is replacing them?
An Overly Competitive Market Many of the problems stemmed from the basic issue that the supply-side of the market rapidly became too crowded, and is therefore now overly competitive. The broadcasters, aware they have the upper hand in the service tendering process, are able to drive down the price to barely sustainable levels with one hand, whilst setting out punitive measures for transgressions of operational service levels (which they were unable to achieve when they directly owned the operational function) with the other. Perhaps relying on the promise of the ancillary services up-sell opportunity and economies of scale, the service providers accede to these pressures and agree to deals that have an attractive top line, but a dangerously openended set of costs. Not only do the service providers sign up to tight-margin deals, they also allow their broadcaster customers to dictate the technology that is to be used in the provision of service. This has resulted in facilities being forced to run different playout engines and different transmission automation systems for different clients. This completely negates the economy of scale business case and actually drives up costs for resourcing and training. Some of these costs are passed back to the broadcasters so the model in part represents an equipment financing package.
Rushed Implementations = Sub-Optimised Workflows = High Operational Costs Invariably the contract negotiations and award run late, but the commencement of service date does not move – either for a new operation or migration of services. This puts extraordinary pressure on the service provider who can either agree to a compressed implementation schedule or risk losing the deal. Having spent potentially tens of thousands on the bid process already, invariably the service provider will convince themselves that by ‘throwing resources’ at the problem they can get the operation on-air in time. The first casualty of this approach is always the operational business modelling in the context of people, process and data mapped to the services that have been sold. Without a service and operating model there is a rush to buy kit due to those (false) long delivery lead times. But without an operating model, the only way to build an operational workflow which can service the contract is with humans. Potentially lots of them. The stance on this is that “we will build properly defined and automated processes as soon as we are in operation and generating revenue, the staffing level is only temporary”. In reality, having spent money to get into service, there is reluctance to spend more on what is seen as re-engineering, particularly if this highlights that some of the equipment purchased only weeks before is inappropriate. The staff – usually experienced and therefore fairly expensive contractors – are retained, and the business model is further compromised. The operation enters service with the provider on the back foot. Then the real pressure starts. Genuine Partnerships are More Effective than Asymmetric Master/Servant Relationships A modern broadcast operation, from raw material arrivals through to consumer delivery,
MEDIA IN THE CLOUD, STORAGE & MAM
in genuine disarray
names cutting their
losses and leaving the market, filing for bankruptcy
protection or in full administration. As
with most failures
there is no single cause
We have an industry in genuine disarray with long-standing names cutting their losses and leaving the market, filing for bankruptcy protection or in full administration. As with most failures there is no single cause. The overused and somewhat glib term ‘management failures’ fits as well here as it did to the manufacturing industry in 1970s Britain, in that apportioning blame is complex, and that new and robust business models are evolving from the maelstrom.
Emerging Operating Models
This year we have delivered a number of projects that are not just concerned with a technology refresh – a new MAM and new storage architecture – but with implementing new business and operational models. These are true operational transformation projects which are based on operating models that may indicate a new approach in the industry. These projects concern either media operators and broadcasters who are bringing an operational function back ‘in-house’ using SaaS platforms or service providers who, in addition to managed services, are providing PaaS (Platform as a Service) on a self-service basis. These emerging hybrids of outsourced technology and in-house operational resourcing are increasingly common, and afford a number of significant
operational and business benefits. Broadcasters and content owners are taking back control of their operations, principally to gain flexibility which was stymied in the fully outsourced model. In a self-service PaaS model, workflows can be built and proven in a few hours and any additional operational costs are quickly forecast and only incurred when the workflow is in service. Overall the contracts are looser, in a helpful way, and allow a model in which services can be migrated in a controlled manner. The approach means that operators can start small, prove the concept and operational flow, then transfer services incrementally. This greatly reduces risk and contrasts markedly with signing up to a five-year term on the basis of the operational needs of the day the contract is signed. Similar to the fully outsourced service model there is no need for the broadcaster or content owner to invest in infrastructure and costs are incurred in cyclical billing, or, better still, on a per-use basis. Most cloud-based platforms are constantly evolving so operators benefit from access to the latest technology, and integration with other on-line service platforms is also straightforward and, therefore, rapidly proven. In cases where the service provider is offering a self-service PaaS, they may augment this by providing additional managed and resourced services to cover specific functions (like promo production) or to extend scale – such as providing editing capabilities during sports events. By operating on the same platform as the self-service provision, the service provider contribution is transparent and can work directly alongside the broadcasters’ internal teams.
2020 and Beyond There are very clearly significant problems with the outsourced business models in media and broadcast. Perhaps this was the case from the very beginning and the issues were previously masked with cheap debt. More broadcasters and content owners are bringing media operations functions in-house but utilising third party provisioned SaaS and PaaS to facilitate the technology.
Audio Network Harnesses Artificial Intelligence with Singapore’s Musiio AUDIO NETWORK LIMITED, one of the world’s largest independent creators and publishers of original high-quality music for use in film, television, advertising and digital media, has signed Singapore-based startup Musiio to equip it with an added interface to its existing search platform, and enhanced the discoverability of its catalogue of over 170,000 tracks. Musiio is an artificial intelligence company which uses machine learning technology to focus on B2B audio reference search, automated tagging and playlisting tools for the music industry. Established by Briton Hazel Savage and Swedish CTO Aron Pettersson, the company was founded in June 2018. Musiio provides a new way of ‘listening’ to music at scale, easily searching up to one million tracks in under two seconds and supercharging a team of music researchers to increase their efficiency in responding to music briefs. “AI has been on the fringes of the music industry for the last few years, with talk of labels signing algorithms. But recently, more commercial and practical uses of this powerful computing technology have begun to surface,” explained Musiio CEO and co-founder, Hazel Savage “This deal demonstrates how AI and technology companies like ours can work with a company like Audio Network to protect everything that is great about the music industry, the personal touch, the knowledge of experts, and also to create tools that let the team step up to the challenge of a huge and fast-growing industry.” Being able to search an entire catalogue of music in seconds lets a company like Audio Network keep up with demand. In addition, searching deeper within a catalogue helps maximise track usage, to bring an added layer of opportunity to the artists and composers creating the recordings.
With broadcasters managing the people and process while data and technology are outsourced, maybe the 2020s will be more equitable for both media owners and service providers.
“Audio Network approaches artificial intelligence carefully with regard to music. We view machine learning and AI techniques as instruments for extending human creativity, not something that replaces it,” said Matthew Hawn, Chief Product Officer at Audio Network. “Many AI tools for music are clever technology hacks in search of an actual problem to solve, but our partnership with Musiio for extending music search and recommendations is about solving real problems for our customers. Blending Musiio’s technology with our expert human curation will mean our artists’ and composers’ music is more accessible to more customers globally.”
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is increasingly complex. But the contracts between the broadcaster and service provider don’t accommodate the changing nature of the industry or the inherent risk associated with ‘leading edge’ consumer experience. With the broadcaster’s operational margin also under pressure and all costs closely monitored, service managers run their contracts tightly, but account management is adversarial in too many cases. Frankly, the broadcasters need to recognise that outsourced operations need to be managed as true partnerships, or else more operators will exit the market – which will ultimately hurt the broadcaster.
We have an industry
MEDIA IN THE CLOUD, STORAGE & MAM
Alex Timbs: Data Animal After 15 years with global VFX leader Animal Logic, Alex Timbs is tackling the world of unstructured data. By Phil Sandberg. ALEX TIMBS HAS BEEN A PIONEERING force in the evolution of technology in Australia’s media and production sector. From his early days with DDB Advertising to 15 years with Animal Logic, Timbs has helped to shape tools and workflows used on some of cinema’s biggest VFX blockbusters. Now, he is taking on the world of ‘unstructured data’ with Dell Technologies in the role of Senior Business Development Manager. “Essentially, the role is a global role where I’m really focusing on trying to maintain and establish new relationships in the media and entertainment space, bringing to bear my experience at Animal Logic, and prior to that in advertising, hopefully, being well placed to understand the unique challenges of the vertical and the workflows that go with it and be able to map that to appropriate technology. And, also help educate the sales organisation as to the unique elements of the media and entertainment space and how they’re a very diverse range of workflows that require different approaches – and also trying to tell the story, the media and entertainment story, and really being an evangelist for that particular vertical. Hopefully, my total of those 19 years in the media and entertainment space will assist me in that endeavour.” You would have seen in that 19 years quite an evolution? “Yes, a huge evolution. I suppose the greatest of which was probably the Internet and the digitisation of everything. It was definitely a big swing between early 2000 and up to around 2010 away from SD and analogue-based distribution of content and generation of content. And that facilitated an evolution, I suppose, almost a mini-industrial revolution within media and entertainment so things could be produced a lot quicker, distributed further and easier and it fostered new workflows as the old world gave way to the new.” And when you went to Animal Logic?
MEDIA IN THE CLOUD, STORAGE & MAM
“Animal Logic was just pioneering its first fullfeatured animation when I started, Happy Feet, and was a very different environment in terms of its intensity, the complexity that goes with producing a full-feature animation, that pipeline, the tools and techniques that have to be explored and constantly evolving – every day. It was much more intense, much more creative in many ways and a much more diverse environment so incredibly stimulating. It was essentially like a country boy going to the big smoke.”
In many ways, Animal Logic would have been inventing the wheel? “Certainly, for almost every animated feature I think that I’ve had the privilege of working on with amazing people, I think it is really about reinventing the wheel. There’s certainly a lot of re-use of approaches, obviously people and brain work but the reality is unless the film is to look like it’s a
sequel and to look pretty much identical, which is never really the case because everyone wants more – better, higher resolution, better effects – there’s generally a constant evolution occurring. No production that I’ve ever worked on is the same but certainly Happy Feet was a big step up for Animal Logic. “I think when it started it was around 100 people in total that were working the business and certainly during production that ramped up fairly quickly to around 650 working seven days a week pretty much 24/7 to get that film made. Looking at that film today, it’s still just as relevant visually, particularly the effects, the snow, the ice, etc., so I think that film was a huge achievement based on the technology and techniques that were available at the time.” And recent years would have seen you consumed by Lego-related production? “Yeah. Look, I’ve had a good five years of exposure to lots of bricks and the Lego films were, again, a very unique property and production process. The fact that they were all real bricks that we used taken from the Lego brick library and used in 3D space, essentially placed in three-dimensional space using procedural tools, it’s just mind blowing. These weren’t matte painting, these weren’t 2D images, these were real Lego bricks that were interconnected and locked together using the official bricks from the brick library from Lego. Amazing tools, amazing team and I think visually it speaks for itself. People still tell me and argue with me that it was stop motion and I think that’s just testament to the amazing techniques and tools we developed to make those films visually stunning.” So, where does the world of unstructured data come in? “Unstructured data comes from a lot of different
places. Certainly, in an animated feature you’re generating vast amounts of data automatically or elements that go on to produce data. At Animal Logic we tried to structure that data by using a very advanced visual asset management system, that was proprietarily developed over many years and that generated either automatic metadata that was associated with an element, or an artist could create some metadata that was associated with that element and so that gave it a bit of structure. Certainly, there’s vast amounts of data that are either render data, it could be free-form areas where artists are coming up with some concepts, it could be scratch data, it could be very large files that make up fixtures for a scene, it could be massive point clouds that represent fur on a creature or some biometric information.
“So, I think that the unstructured nature of media and entertainment, particularly in the animated and hybrid space, is only going to get greater and greater. I think the paradigm of storage requirements doubling every three years is not going away any time soon.”
“And while the asset, at a high level, may have some kind of metadata around it, a lot of the renders only read a part of that file or a bit of that information. Certainly, there’s not the level of granularity or structure with that data that we would consider that structured. There are vast
MEDIA IN THE CLOUD, STORAGE & MAM
“There’s also a lot of more recent techniques, including initiatives that were pushed heavily by Animal Logic, including universal scene descriptor (USD), and those approaches and techniques generate vast amount of small files ultimately leading to more efficient pipelines and much more embedded and compatible applications and platforms pipeline, but in the process it does generate potentially large amounts of very small files. “So, I think that the unstructured nature of media and entertainment, particularly in the animated and hybrid space, is only going to get greater and greater. I think the paradigm of storage requirements doubling every three years is not going away any time soon.” In your new role with Dell, are you a bridge between the world of IT and M&E? “No, I wouldn’t say necessarily the bridge between pure IT and the media and entertainment space. I think I do see my new role as being an industry evangelist, so I’m really preaching what’s unique about the media and entertainment space within Dell Technologies, so actually trying to explain how important it is, how it’s a growth industry, how it’s always evolving, how it’s exciting, so there’s a bit of selling internally in a way. And then, there’s really educating the potential clients or existing clients on the reasons behind Dell Technologies being the Mediaproxy_Ad_C+T_Asia_2019-02-04.pdf 1 4 Feb 19 6:03:53 pm right partner.”
How challenging is bringing together the scalable and commodified world of IT and the bespoke world of production? “It’s challenging and that’s why, I think, more than ever that the media and entertainment space needs partners, good partners. It needs partners because the complexity is going up, the amount of resource required to produce a lot of this content is going up and quite often the budgets are going down. So, media companies are having to answer the question about how am I going to produce a whole lot more with a whole lot less? And, I think to be able to do that effectively and while the media space has some incredibly dedicated and capable people, I think that more than ever relationships with key partners such as Dell Technologies is required more than ever. It’s not just about buying a bit more storage or buying another couple of servers, it’s coming up with completely new ways of working at, potentially, a much greater scale to produce art at an industrial scale.” On-premise or in the cloud? Where do you think all that sits? “My personal view is it’s going to be hybrid, the hybrid world. There’s a lot of factors that dictate on-prem making sense certainly for the foreseeable future for a lot of media companies, particularly the larger ones. There’s a whole lot of questions I think you need to answer, or ask yourself, before you can really answer that question. One of the first is, I suppose, what’s your size and what’s your budget and what’s your time frame and they’re questions that are generally asked on almost every production. “It’s complex to answer the whole cloud on-
Does any of the above apply to your current broadcast compliance system? If yes, join the hundreds of broadcasters around the globe who rely daily on Mediaproxy’s uniﬁed software solutions for monitoring, analysis, multiviewing
prem question. I think these workflows, these techniques and tools that are used, particularly in the animated, hybrid and visual effects space, they rely on very low latency, high throughput, high i-ops responsiveness from storage. Now, most of the cloud paradigm is based on object, and cloud providers can often be located a long way away from a facility. “So, unless your pipeline is completely virtualised, containerised and the cloud only-model, then I think you’re always going to have a fairly significant amount of on-prem technology that’s dictated purely by the physics, the speed of light, latency, responsiveness, throughput.” What other storage and MAM issues do you see facing M&E in the future? “I suppose the size of the amount of storage that’s required for a lot of these productions driven by increases in resolution, the constant push for better looking films or photo-realistic films or better special effects, that will obviously push data requirements up. Things like volumetric point clouds, obviously being able to do virtual steps and the flexibility that comes with that, I think that’s going to be pushed and adopted by a lot around the world and those point clouds, based on my experience point clouds are big so growth in storage requirements is not going away “So, I think it’s really just growth and how you’re going to grow your storage, increase your performance and be able to cost effectively do that is the next challenge of the media space.” Visit www.delltechnologies.com
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MEDIA IN THE CLOUD, STORAGE & MAM
amounts of ever-growing unstructured data being generated in the M&E space for the production of films, both hybrid, animated and visual effects, and you need somewhere to store that, access that.
POST PRODUCTION www.content-technology.com/postproduction
Chinese Blockbuster Chasing the Dragon II Graded by RGBworks Studios with DaVinci Resolve Studio
the 1990s Hong Kong.
tone of the character’s face, Wong also created multilayered complexity, producing rich tones in gradation to enhance the image.
BLACKMAGIC DESIGN HAS ANNOUNCED that the Chinese film “Chasing the Dragon II: Wild Wild Bunch,” was graded by colourist Sun Wong with Guangzhou based RGBworks Studios using DaVinci Resolve Studio and DaVinci Resolve Advanced Panel. Directed by renowned Hong Kong directors Wong Jing and Jason Kwan, starring Tony Leung, Louis Koo, Gordon Lam and Simon Yam, “Chasing the Dragon II” is a feature film based on real life crimes that terrorized Hong Kong in the 1990s, where notorious Chinese gangster Cheung Tze Keung masterminded the abduction of Hong Kong magnates and ransomed over two billion Hong Kong dollars. RGBworks Studios, founded by Hong Kong director Andre Ho, and consisting of veteran post production experts from Hong Kong, has worked on many Chinese hit films and television shows. RGBWorks set up its first facility in Guangzhou, the Guangdong Hong Kong Macau Greater Bay Area, with thirteen seats of DaVinci Resolve suites, with the goal of bringing the Hong Kong expertise and resources into mainland China. RGBworks Studios has recently provided professional colour grading services for films including Chasing the Dragon II and My Kickass Wife, and TVCs for well known brands such as Carlsberg, Dongfeng Nissan, P&G and Amway, and hit variety shows including The Sound 2019 and Amazing Voice. For Chasing the Dragon II, the directors required colourist Sun Wong produce a look reminiscent of
“I think the so called ‘1990s Hong Kong’ look comes from the Hong Kong films produced in the 90s. The unique look of these films resulted from the filmmaking techniques and technologies, as well as other resources employed at the time, giving viewers a retro style,” said Wong. “When grading the film, I took the lighting layout adopted in the 90s and the film look as reference to reproduce that look.” Wong noted that a colourist must be familiar with the colours, light and shadow in the images they handle when creating a look. “Light rays coming in different directions will affect highlights and shadows in different ways. The colourist not only has to know the contrast, but also what is affecting it. Colours, likewise,” he says. “With Resolve’s tools, I balanced the highlights, mid-tones and shadows throughout the film, and from there I created colour tones for difference scenes.” The directors wanted different looks for certain scenes that included different protagonists. When creating the looks, besides crafting the skin
“Balancing highlights, mid-tones and shadows is the most basic work, but it’s never been easy to get it right from an artistic perspective. Resolve’s tools and UI design are great because its simplicity and intuitiveness has minimised the complexity of adjustments,” he said. “Some of the tools, such as tracking, have freed colourists from repetitive work. For example, there were many car chase scenes. I wanted to enhance the colours and textures of the cars, so the cars could stand out, but it was so fast paced that it would have been difficult and time consuming to track the cars if I had had to do it manually. Fortunately, Resolve helped me by automatically tracking the cars.” “Each decision to be made in colour grading is worth creative efforts. Resolve’s automated tools allow us to focus on creativity instead of repetitive work,” Wong concluded. Visit www.blackmagicdesign.com
Method Studios’ Invisible VFX Fuel Action in John Wick: Chapter 3
THE THIRD INSTALMENT OF Liongate’s high adrenaline franchise, John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum, finds super assassin John Wick (Keanu Reeves) on the run with a $14 million price tag on his head. Hotly pursued by bounty hunters, Wick must pull out all stops from his deadly bag of tricks. Re-teaming with Director Chad Stahelski, Method Studios Melbourne helped amplify the film’s action, using digital artistry to raise the stakes and shatter a ton of CG glass in the process. Method VFX Supervisor Glenn Melenhorst worked closely with Production VFX Supervisor Rob Nederhorst to craft complex sequences that seamlessly unfold at breakneck speed.
“This film carries the distinct John Wick look throughout most action scenes in how the muzzle flashes, blood spatter, bullet holes, clothing squibs and such are stylised, and we drew from that established visual language for our work,” Melenhorst explained. “Having previously established Chad’s
aesthetic for those elements, we were able to focus our attention on tackling challenges inherent to working with a complex environment made largely out of glass. We had a lot of fun on this project and loved collaborating with Rob.” To keep the visuals authentic and grounded, a small amount of practical glass was used on-set when safe, including a sequence in which Wick faces down would-be assassins in a corporate highrise. Augmenting plate footage shot on location, Method digitally inserted an extended New York skyline, which is composited into many layers of practical reflections, removed crew reflections, and added digital doubles to blend shots or for more dangerous manoeuvres. The team also completed a considerable amount of shattering CG glass, which was fundamental to the glass office block sequence and key to achieving Wick’s intimate knife fight in a narrow hallway.
“For safety reasons, the cabinet glass and knife throwing scenes were done in CG, though production wanted to maintain a high level of tension. Choreographing the knife-throwing sequence was surprisingly involved and required a lot of planning. We had to figure out where the knife would land and also determine which panes of glass to break and how,” said Melenhorst. Method also helped create a fully CG New York alley, and the urban chase sequence, during which Wick races down a traffic-lined bridge on horseback while pursued by a gang of sword-wielding motorcyclists. While Melenhorst and his Method team are known for awarding-winning CG horse work, their efforts for this sequence focused on removing safety rigging and protective barriers used to film a practical horse as well as adding CG motorbikes and riders, and CG vehicles. Visit www.methodstudios.com
Conference 17 - 20 November 2019 Exhibition 18 - 20 November 2019 Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre, Brisbane, Australia
REGISTER ONLINE TODAY & hear from top CG, VFX and interactive techniques professionals at the regionâ€™s largest CG gathering this November!
VFX and Animation Luminaries Line Up for Siggraph Asia SPOTLIGHTING SOME of the foremost innovators and pioneers in the computer graphics and animation industries today, SIGGRAPH Asia 2019 will be held in Brisbane, Australia, at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre (BCEC) from 17 – 20 November 2019. The featured sessions at SIGGRAPH Asia 2019 are going to involve keynotes, panels, and luminaries in the industry, and will span conversations about the making of some of the most famous animated films today, through to full dome experiences, and the technical aspects of creating, and securely protecting, mixed reality technology. Highlights of the Featured Sessions include: Staging the Endgame – Weta Digital’s Animation Supervisor, Sidney Kombo-Kintombo, will break down iconic scenes in the movie, to reveal how Weta’s animators leveraged new animation toolsets and extensive experience in the MCU to portray the inevitable fate of The Avengers. Making of Pixar Onward - Set in a suburban fantasy world, Pixar’s “Onward” introduces two teenage elf brothers who embark on an extraordinary quest to discover if there is still a little magic left out there. Star Wars: Over Four Decades of Storytelling with Innovation – Rob Bredow, SVP, Executive Creative Director & Head, Industrial Light & Magic will highlight some of the most innovative visual effects in the Star Wars series, spanning forty years of work. Analysis and Execution: How Weta Digital Created Junior for Gemini Man – Weta Digital’s VFX Supervisor Guy Williams will present how Weta Digital created a completely digital character, Junior, who is a younger clone of Will Smith’s character Henry in the film.
Childish Gambino’s Pharos Real-Time Dome Projection for Live Concert – In late 2018, a dazzling three-day immersive music event was held in a 160-foot-wide inflatable dome in a remote New Zealand location. To create the experience, Weta Digital and 2n Design created captivating 360°interactive visuals for the dome projections.
In Conversation with Animal Logic’s Co-Founder and CEO, Zareh Nalbandian – Zareh, together with Ian Failes, Founder of VFX and Animation Publication ‘befores & afters’, will explore the symbiotic relationship between creativity and technology.
The Story of HoloLens – The story ofHoloLens is founded in the journey to merge the best parts of the digital world with the physical world. The Cyber Security Challenges for Next-Generation Mixed-Reality – Panel speakers will explore potential threats in mixed-reality systems, discuss how to mitigate them and how to better protect end-users moving forward. Proactive Large-Scale Pipeline Efficiency Management – Speakers from large-scale Animation and VFX studios will share their perspectives on how to balance creating amazing visuals in tight production time frames. Bridging the Gap between Education and industry in the VFX, Games and Animation fields – In order to meet the opportunities and challenges in VFX, Animation and Creative Industries Education, most especially the talent pipeline, we need to get Academia and Industry working in unison. Speakers include: Mark Flanagan (Education Partner Manager at Epic Games), Alwyn Hunt (CoFounder of The Rookies), Chris Ebeling (UTS Animal Logic), Anna Hodge (RSP Education/Flinders University) and Lara Hopkins (Industrial Light and Magic) Computer Animation Festival – At the Computer Animation Festival 2019, “You will be able to see a lot of different films, coming from many areas of the world. We got a ton of submissions, and we are putting together a program that represents all the different aspects of computer graphics in terms of animation, visual effects, and advertising, and so on,” says Computer Animation Festival Program Chair, Pol Jeremias-Vila. Two highlights of the Panel and Production Talks at the Festival include: The Making of The Lion King – Elliot Newman, MPC VFX Supervisor, will take us behind the scenes of the film’s computer-generated imagery (CGI) production. Visualising Birth of Planet Earth for Fulldome Theaters, which will feature a panel of speakers including Robert Patterson, a visualisation designer at NCSA’s Advanced Visualization Lab and Associate Director for Production of the eDream Institute; along with Donna J. Cox, SIGGRAPH Asia 2019’s keynote speaker, along with visualisation programmers AJ Christensen and Kalina Borkiewicz.
Sponsors and exhibitors from over 20 countries at SIGGRAPH Asia 2019 will include Adobe Research, AWS, Carpe Diem Solutions, Computational Visual Media, Forum8 Co., Ltd, Foundry, Fox Renderfarm, HTC Corporation, Industrial Light & Magic, PIXAR, Qualisys, SideFX HOUDINI Software, Tracklab, Tsinghua University – Tencent Joint Laboratory, UBISOFT, Unity Technologies, VICON Motion Systems, Weta Digital, Xsens and ZQ Racing, to mention a few. They will showcase hardware and services in the categories of computer graphics, interactive and innovative technologies, highperformance computing, as well as education, training and research. SIGGRAPH Asia 2019’s Gold Sponsor, the NVIDIA Deep Learning Institute (DLI), will also be conducting hands-on training workshops over two days on Fundamentals of Deep Learning for Computer Vision and Multiple Data Types. An additional component within the SIGGRAPH Asia 2019 exhibition is the Start-Up Garage, an initiative that enables small and boutique enterprises to connect with, showcase to, and scale with, brands, investors and senior creatives from around the world. Participating international academic institutions and universities include Lost Boys – School of VFX (Canada); Ritsumeikan University, College of Image Arts & and Sciences (Japan); Visual Computing Center at KAUST (Saudi Arabia); Victoria University of Wellington and the Wellington ICT Graduate School (New Zealand). Participating Australian institutions include the University New South Wales’ School of Art & Design and UQ Centre for Energy Data Innovation. Lastly, the Computer Animation Festival (CAF) at SIGGRAPH Asia 2019 will celebrate how computer graphics have become a medium for storytelling in animation, visual effects, games, and other applications. Across the four days in November, CAF will showcase 41 short films and presentations, selected from 524 submissions. With works created by students to professionals, three prizes will be awarded at the festival. Visit http://sa2019.siggraph.org
Controlling the Flow at WETA Digital Matt Holmes, Supervising Visual Effects Editor with Weta Digital talks pipelines, tech evolution and getting into the industry. By Phil Sandberg regularly. So, you pretty much have to get on to those right away because if the shots been trimmed or it’s been shortened, you don’t want to be rendering out extraneous frames that aren’t going to make it into the film. So, the more we can get on top of those things, get that information up to the company, it can save us time, save us money.
Where does Avid fit into the pipeline then?
“Equally, if something’s been extended, then we need to get back, maybe we need to extend the scan plates, get those turned around as fast as possible and out into the next department there online, which should be camera, imaging department, and then, from there, to whoever it is, compositing or animation. So, editorial’s really the key component, the start of that information flow and then the magic happens elsewhere.”
“It’s our main tool for bringing in editorial information from the client, breaking that down and passing it on to the rest of the company. So, obviously, we receive a sequence, a turnover, if you like, from the client. It contains a number of VFX shots in-situ. So, the sequence could contain drama and visual effects, we’ve got context around the visual effects and some of those visual effects containers, if you like, it could be layers of elements, foreground elements, background elements and our job is to break that down and give it to the company in a way that makes sense to the visual effects artists. So, it’s the start of the pipeline and it’s the end because we’re, at the other end, delivering media back to the client editorial to cut in. That loop of information just carries on through the course of the movie. Any changes that are made, if shots are shortened, extended, we have to know about those as quickly as possible. “Using [Avengers] Endgame, as an example, that towards the end got fairly – as a lot of films do – frenetic with the changes. Updates were coming through, updated sequences coming through
How important is Avid for collaboration, keeping everyone on the same page? Yeah, within the company, it’s not quite as free flowing as it could be. I think we have to do quite a bit of translation of, say, Avid effects into the world of Nuke or Maya, for example. AAF exports can get you part of the way and that’s come on in leaps and bounds - way better than you can do with an old-fashioned EDL. So, we’re able to translate some effects quite easily using that sort of format but sometimes we literally, for retimes, speed change kind of effects, where we’re literally mapping what is in the Avid timeline, we’re mapping that on to the high res – the EXR frames that the rest of the company will be using. So, we’re translating those effects into something
which is then put through the rest of the pipeline and put through a comp and then you translate it into a format that works for WETA. “At a very basic level, people will be eye-matching the reference that we put out from there. If there’s been some kind of effect or a re-size or something’s repositioned within the Avid by client editorial, then at least with what we’ve put out as a template for that shot then can eyeball it and go, ‘Great, how am I going to match that?’
“Using [Avengers] Endgame, as an example, that towards the end got fairly – as a lot of films do – frenetic with the changes. Updates were coming through, updated sequences coming through regularly. So, you pretty much have to get on to those right away because if the shots been trimmed or it’s been shortened, you don’t want to be rendering out extraneous frames that aren’t going to make it into the film.
“Sometimes the editorial, client editorial, have done a great job with the information they provide us and the break down they give us and sometimes we’re dealing with not much at all and it literally is a bit of a no-match situation.”
continues p34 >>
A WETA DIGITAL VETERAN SINCE 1995, Matt Holmes has seen and been a part of the development of modern visual effects that are now essential to the fabric of TV and cinema storytelling. Holmes’ team forms the workflow on-ramp and off-ramp for the VFX pipeline at WETA Digital, and integral to their work are a range of Avid technologies.
POST PRODUCTION >> continued from p33
“Well, WETA’s got quite a good program they’ve instituted over the last few years. They’ll be bringing people, youngsters mostly, from various colleges and technical institutes and design schools and put them through what we call this ATD course, which is an Assistant Technical Director course. From there, they don’t really necessarily get to pick and choose, but that’s a good pathway in for perhaps more technically minded people.
Given the global nature of VFX production, do you take a leading role where you’re coordinating with other facilities?
“More so now than we have in the past. We have to share assets among companies now. We might get an asset from ILM, for example, or Framestore or somewhere like that. Because we’re sharing within the same sequence, we might be doing one portion of the shot and another company’s doing another portion of the shot. We may be doing a creature in it and passing that creature over to another company or vice-versa. So, it’s interesting actually because it didn’t used to be the case but the last few years it’s definitely more sharing of that sort of thing depending on the nature of the movie really.” “Part of the key of sharing some of these assets, a creature, for example, is what a company has done, whatever software was used to create that asset has to be translated into the WETA pipeline so that it looks exactly the same. The dragons, for example, from Game of Thrones, they’re already made and used and well known so we couldn’t go changing the design or anything and the assets will work in our pipeline and then maybe some tweaks along the way just to make them look even better. “With Avid, in that sort of case, we’re still just sharing editorial information, they’re still the basic shot. It may come to us with a version from another company will come in. So, MPC may have been working on a shot. They’ve been sending iterations of that shot back to the client and then they send it to us and it’s come through and it’s got MPC on it and that becomes our template.
For you, what are the notable evolutions you’ve seen in the industry?
“Well, from film to digital technology and then the proliferation of camera formats has just exploded, hasn’t it? You look around and you seem to have half-a-dozen different camera formats in the one show from the Go Pros through to Sony F55s or F5s or ARRIs, REDs, all sorts of things. We’ve got drone cameras as well, DJI, OSMO. You have to deal with them in the same way that you would if you’ve got a really high-end 4K image coming
in off a RED and you’ve got some off a Go Pro, they still have to end up in the same format that the working format, the working resolution that the show is, that being EXR. “Then, of course, stereo and higher frame rates. Those sort of things in terms of the editorial pipeline would be quite big. When I started, we were dealing with digitised VHS tapes with the rushes and we were putting those in for the Lord of the Rings into the Avid on an old beige Mac. And, so, it’s moved on from there, but as we’ve stuck with Avid, they’ve developed as well and come through with incredibly shared storage options from a RAID stack to a LAN Share to a Unity. Now we’re on ISIS 5500. The next step will be Nexis. We’re running Interplay for production management, media, so that enables us to collaborate a little bit amongst the facilities, but editing is still the same. You’ve still got a bunch of images you have to cut together with some sound to tell a story, so that’s never going to change really, but the way we get there certainly has.” How do you view on-premise storage and media management, as opposed to the cloud? “I’d love to use the cloud a bit more at times because, as the media manager for our Interplay ISIS system, I can be juggling things around a little bit with storage and if there’s things that I know won’t be accessed for a while, I’d love to be able to offline some of them into the cloud, or maybe even collaborate more with our clients through the cloud would be amazing. Unfortunately, there’s a level of risk regarding security, even though there’s every accreditation under the sun that the security is locked down and solid, I think there’s still a level of trust that maybe a little bit lacking for us with the cloud at the moment.” OTT platforms are starting to prescribe certain standards when it comes to deliverables. How does that impact on you? “We’ve always had to follow whatever the clients ask in terms of deliverables so that won’t change. There may be more required but, at the very end of the day, we’re delivering the highest possible quality images we can, whether that’s a 2K, 4K, in OpenEXR format, and that gives the client at the other end the ability once they’ve done the conform and the mastering and their grade, they can take that and do whatever they like with it as long as we’re giving them the best possible format - and we are.
really 3.8K standard and that’s been the format they want for deliverables or they require for deliverables and that’s a logical step, it’s a logical evolution, so I can see it happening. I don’t know when and where, but that will happen for sure.” Where do you see the next generation of VFX artists coming from and where do those aspiring artists need to put themselves in order to become part of the industry? “Well, WETA’s got quite a good program they’ve instituted over the last few years. They’ll be bringing people, youngsters mostly, from various colleges and technical institutes and design schools and put them through what we call this ATD course, which is an Assistant Technical Director course. From there, they don’t really necessarily get to pick and choose, but that’s a good pathway in for perhaps more technically minded people. People also starting production as junior production assistants and then branch out into an area that they feel interested in after they’ve been there a while. People can start as runners, also, and with very little knowledge. They just get a foot in the door. I’ve taken a couple over the years, a couple of runners and one of them now is one of my senior VFX editors and he just really forced his way in and did the dirty work. So, you have on the job training and you’re good to go. “There’s definitely pathways in, but there are levels of complexity with visual effects where you’ve got to be up with a PhD to do some of what’s required. When you start developing some of the software that we’re using internally, there’s some very, very, very smart people there. So, yeah, all sorts, but just keep plugging away, you might get lucky. I got in through luck. I knew someone and that’s typical of New Zealand. It’s a pretty small place and I happened to know someone who was the partner of the guy who was the producer at WETA at the time so, yeah, that’s how I started.” Getting back to Avid. Its customer association is unique in generating feedback on feature sets and so forth. What would make your life easier?
There’s a push in Japan towards 8K. Do you see that filtering further afield?
“I find myself sitting there, thinking about this would be quite good and then suddenly it’s turned up. But, having the direct line to some people at Avid who I’ve met over the years, and not necessarily getting on the phone and demanding features, but passing things up through the pipeline and that’s not just me, this is other people in Wellington, like Peter Jackson’s editors. They’ve been probably more vocal than me over the years because their demands probably even pre-dated what I needed, for example, with The Hobbit, the higher frame rates and what have you. So, they’ve been very responsive and just responsive to the industry in general. For a while, it seemed like there wasn’t much development happening and then over the last five years, it seems to have exploded. So, for me personally, this new release is really awesome because the OpenEXR support and the ACES workflow, those sort of things, if we can incorporate those a bit into the pipeline, it’s quite exciting.”
“I can see that definitely. I mean, I think Netflix are probably pushing on for the 4K standard or
Visit www.avid.com and https://www.wetafx.co.nz/
“In terms of editorial stuff, we still do it in the background, DNX, Quicktimes, Pro Res or Avid Media and whatever codec format, bitrate they. That’s been pretty solid over the years and I think I’d be surprised if we had to start delivering multiple formats for other platforms because it’s not really our responsibility at the end of the day, I don’t think. We just have to make sure we’re delivering the highest possible standard we can which enables them to go off and if they want to do an H.264 to play on an iPhone, they can.”
AUDIO Digital soundwaves
China’s Shanxi Television in Takes Second Calrec Brio for New Studio
CHINA-BASED SHANXI TELEVISION has chosen a Calrec Brio36 audio console for its news programming and multi-purpose talk shows. The Brio is installed in a new studio, which was initially used for covering the China National Youth Games, held this August, with more than 10 hours of live broadcasting produced in the studio each day. This is the broadcaster’s second Brio installation with the first installed a year ago.
Shanxi Television is a network in the Taiyuan and Shanxi province that broadcasts in Jin Chinese. For the China National Youth Games, they received
Later this year, Shanxi Television will be working with 4K content and they anticipate that the Brio’s 5.1 capabilities and expandability will make the use of 4K go smoothly.
signals from multiple venues and the hosts and guests adding commentary and comment in the studio. Mr Wu Jie explains that they set up the new studio in 10 days, with five days of training, with the Brio’s clear design making it easy for operators to master quickly. Also, functions like swapping a fader on an individual strip, ALT-input, auto mixing and the fact that labelling channel strips is easy are also
Nagoya Broadcasting Network Boosts IP Capabilities with Clear-Com
JAPAN’S NAGOYA BROADCASTING NETWORK, a broadcasting organisation based in the Chukyo area of Japan, has upgraded its in-house intercom to a system based around Clear-Com Eclipse HX digital matrix frames, taking full advantage of Clear-Com’s IP capabilities. The installation was completed by Clear-Com’s local Partner, MTC Japan. The first part of the system offers a comprehensive room-to-room intercom system that features an Eclipse HX-Median at its heart, with Clear-Com’s new E-IPA interface cards that enable high density audio-and-intercom-over-IP connections. The system also includes over 30 V-Series Panels that can monitor and send communications over AES67 uncompressed audio IP streams, enabling the system to deliver high quality audio from user to user with significantly reduced latency. VHF/UHF radios have also been integrated into the matrix frame to allow for a complete communications solution. The second part of the broadcaster’s installation spans across three studios (A, B, and C), which all connect to an Eclipse HX-Omega intercom matrix frame that has both E-IPA cards and E-FIB cards enabled as well as V-Series Panels. An IP switch is installed on each floor of the broadcast studio, with media converters for long distance cabling. This is useful when broadcasting large special events, enabling all the production team’s V-Series IP panels to easily connect to each floor’s IP switches, allowing for fast, simple connections. The installation also includes E-FIB link cards for fibre connections to the studio intercom frame, offering increased versatility. The entire system connects over 90 4-wire lines. Beyond the wired comms, Nagoya Broadcasting Network also uses Clear-Com’s AgentIC application on mobile devices, connecting field reporters to the Eclipse HX system while they are on location. In addition the broadcaster has a mix-minus system for reporters, and uses IFBs for mobile camera systems.
Wang Yi, Product Manager at RAC Pro said, “There are always time pressures and equipping this studio was no different so the quick learning curve with the Brio was hugely beneficial. Considering its size, advanced functionality and its price, Brio really is the best choice for this new studio.” “Our Brio console is gaining great traction and a stellar reputation in China for its ease of use, reliability, sound quality and price. We’re delighted that Shanxi Television has found our Brio consoles so favourable and easy to work with,” commented Anthony Harrison, International Sales Manager, Calrec. Visit www.calrec.com
Tannoy Gold – Next Generation Studio Monitors
MANY OF THE WORLD’S GREATEST HITS have been recorded and mixed using Tannoys. The long and storied legacy of Tannoy’s studio monitors have endured the test of time and adapted with the evolution of technology. Tannoy is introducing the Tannoy Gold series, the next generation of premium nearfield monitors. Engineered to the highest standards and build quality, the Gold series are designed to provide the most powerful, accurate and uncoloured representation of your music. Whether you’re a seasoned Tannoy user or just taking your first step into a monitor system based on the legendary dual concentric driver, the Golds are your new best sonic friend and most trusted reference for any project. Key features: • Precise and neutral soundstage. • Dual Concentric driver technology. • Front-firing bass port.
Kazuki Hayashi, Chief Audio Engineer of the Nagoya Broadcast Network commented, “We need a communication system that can expand to meet our needs while still staying within our budget. Clear-Com IP connections are scalable and ideal for everything we do. The staff has perfect communication using Clear-Com, and our local Partner, MTC Japan, provided us the right proposal to fit our needs. In the end it was a perfect installation.”
• Titanium tweeter with Tulip waveguide.
• Class-AB system. • Transducer-matched LF and HF bi-amplification. • Dedicated input trim, bass and treble controls • Selectable automatic standby mode.
Mr Wu Jie, Supervisor of the technical department of Shanxi Television, commented, “We have been very happy with our first Brio, which has proved to be intuitive to use, with great sound quality and stability. The last point is very important. The intuitive I/O connections and simple-to-use software and surface helped us save a lot of time during installation in this new studio and with the training, too.”
highlighted, along with the support Calrec partner RAC Pro provided throughout the process.
AKG Lyra Ultra-HD, Multimode USB Microphone AKG RECENTLY ANNOUNCED THE LYRA ULTRA-HD, multi-mode USB microphone. Featuring advanced circuitry based on 70 years of AKG acoustic engineering, the AKG Lyra delivers the highest audio quality in its class, with acoustically transparent, 4K-compatible, Ultra HD-grade 24-bit/192kHz audio resolution. Lyra features the innovative AKG Adaptive Capsule Array, which provides user-selectable capture modes that are optimised for any performance and makes it easy to deliver professional sound for any application. Plug-and-play operation allows creators of all experience levels to get set up with and start recording quickly, while easily accessible controls provide complete control and seamless ease of use. An internal self-adjusting shock mount minimises contact noise, while a built-in sound diffuser and AKG’s proprietary Internal Element Overload Prevention automatically reduces noise, eliminates pops and improves signal levels.
Lyra is designed to work right out of the box. Lyra is compatible with Windows, Mac, iOS and Android devices, so users can quickly record ideas in the studio or on the go. From recording music in a digital audio workstation, to live streaming on Twitch or shooting a YouTube video, using Lyra is as easy as plugging in a USB cable and pressing go-live or record.
The AKG Adaptive Capsule Array uses four capture modes to adapt to performance needs, eliminating guesswork and enabling users to capture pristine audio quality in a wide range of recording scenarios. Front mode isolates the target sound from distracting background noise by rejecting unwanted sounds at the microphone back and sides, perfect for capturing or live-streaming spoken word, vocals, or close-mic’d instruments. Front and Back mode captures and blends together sound equally on all sides, which is ideal for face-to-face interviews and duets. Tight Stereo mode captures audio in true stereo with discrete left and right audio, providing great separation for side-by-side interviews or panel discussions, or for recording instruments like drums or piano. Wide Stereo mode captures audio with greater stereo separation, room ambience, and depth. This is ideal for dynamic situations where users want to capture sounds from all around the mic such as documentaries, field recordings, or spontaneous jam sessions.
Lyra is equipped with a zero-latency headphone jack and headphone volume knob that eliminates the short delay between speaking into a microphone and hearing the signal in the headphones, so creators can stay focused on their performance.
Designed with plug-and-play simplicity, Lyra enables creators to set up and start recording quickly, regardless of experience level. With no assembly, no need for a separate audio interface and seamless software integration,
Inspired by classic studio microphones like the legendary AKG C414, Lyra features a sleek design that combines fast and easy control with timeless aesthetics. Essential functions like capture modes, volume levels and mute are ergonomically placed and easily accessed right on the mic, so users can stay in the moment while always being in control. An integrated desktop stand with built-in cable management makes it easy to position Lyra on a desktop. The mic can also be mounted to a traditional mic stand or microphone boom arm for more flexibility in the studio. Lyra includes Ableton Live 10 Lite recording software, and works seamlessly with all major audio and video production software and online platforms. Visit www.akg.com
Stage Tec Upgrades AURUS/CRESCENDO STAGE TEC HAS ROLLED OUT software release 4.8.1 for its AURUS and CRESCENDO consoles. This update offers interesting features for users in both broadcast and theatre environments. Waves integration is nowpossible in all AURUS and CRESCENDO systems. In both consoles remote control of the Waves multiracks is via snapshot automation. The multirack snapshots can be assigned to the console snapshots at will, even multiple times. The Stage Tec automixer can be extended to eight groups with the new release. Since Release 4.3, the auto mixer has been integrated into the console design of AURUS and CRESCENDO platinum and can be used in all input channels. Eight auto mixers can work simultaneously, independently of each other. The De-Esser was previously available in both AURUS and CRESCENDO platinum consoles as a channel module in each input channel. Now the De-Esser is also available in the channel libraries. AURUS requires a new control cassette for this feature.
NUGEN Audio Announces SigMod Software Update NUGEN AUDIO UNVEIL THE LATEST SigMod Software plug-in update at AES2019. The update allows SigMod to host multiple instances of the Insert module and incorporates hosting support for third-party VST2 and AU plug-ins. This enables users to access a wider pool of plug-ins – particularly in DAWs that support limited plug-in formats – and increases access for creative routing options such as mid/side processing for any stereo or multi-mono plug-in. The company has also implemented a wet/ dry control for the Insert module. This provides further flexibility, allowing users to blend their effected signal with the original sound without use of an AUX send. Improved navigation controls for third-party plug-ins, including a search bar functionality, enables users to filter by name and increases efficiency. NUGEN’s SigMod software provides custom, simple signal architecture with 12 singleprocess modules to enhance plug-in and DAW functionality. It offers new ways to work by allowing users to easily insert, swap and move modules to fit to the correction, conversion and tweaking of audio. Included among the available modules are Mid/side, Protect, Tap, Crossover, Insert – now with VST2/3 and AU, Mute/Solo, Trim, Switch, DC Off-Set, Mono, Phase, and Delay. Several of these modules offer easy access to functionality that is often either missing or difficult to access in some DAWs. With SigMod’s signal routing, the creative options are endless. Available as AAX, VST 2/3, AU and AudioSuite formats in both 32- and 64-bit, and available for Mac and Windows OS. Visit https://nugenaudio.com
Clear-Com Unveils FreeSpeak Edge CLEAR-COM RECENTLY ANNOUNCED FreeSpeak Edge, the latest addition to the FreeSpeak family of digital wireless intercom solutions. The system gives the user more control and customisation options, thanks to advanced frequency coordination capabilities and intuitive design features in the system’s transceivers and beltpacks. Built from the ground up, FreeSpeak Edge is the result of extensive feedback from existing power users, incorporating recent advances in the fundamental technology, leading to a new 5GHz chipset that features an exclusive radio stack development optimised for intercom. FreeSpeak Edge also leverages audio-over-IP developments in its architecture, utilising AES67 connections between the transceivers and the host intercom frame for flexibility in deployment. “FreeSpeak Edge is the future of advanced wireless communication,” said Bob Boster, President, Clear-Com. “While some manufacturers are trying to improve incrementally on existing solutions, we have leapfrogged right to the edge of what is possible with wireless intercom technology today, in readiness for tomorrow’s increasingly demanding requirements. We often hear talk of so-called game-changers, but FreeSpeak Edge is the real deal.” The 5GHz band is suitable for large scale communications, as it can be managed with frequency coordination for reduced interference. and offers the widest range of RF channels available for scalability. Its higher frequencies mean there’s more bandwidth for data which allows for finer control, additional audio channels, more robustness, lower latency and better audio quality. The system takes advantage of Clear-Com’s exclusive RF technology
WHENEVER YOU NEED MORE HEADROOM for any microphone in your podcast setup, recording studio, or live rig, the MIC BOOSTER CT 1 is the tool you need to get a crisp and clean microphone signal in a robust, compact, and simple to use package. The CT 1 can work with almost any dynamic or passive ribbon microphone. Its highquality preamp adds +25dB of gain to your mic pre’s which increases the headroom and allows you to dial in the perfect mic level at a much lower gain setting at the mixer thus leading to a cleaner sound. The simplicity and size of the CT 1 means you can connect it to the end of any microphone in your setup and amplify the signal right out of the mic. This minimises the risk of any potential noise being picked up by long cable runs in between the mic and preamp. It also runs on phantom power so requires no external power source. Visit www.klarkteknik.com
FreeSpeak Edge transceivers and beltpacks offer more customisation and control than before to accommodate complex communication needs. The beltpack’s design includes asymmetrical concave/convex top buttons for identification at a glance and touch operation, eight programmable buttons, rotary controls on both sides, and a master volume control and flashlight. With a mic and speaker for headset-free or desktop operation, the beltpack was designed with today’s production needs in mind. Each ruggedised transceiver supports 10 beltpacks and includes attenuation and external antennas for custom RF zones as well as wall and mic stand mounting options. FreeSpeak Edge is scheduled to ship in January 2020. Visit www.clearcom.com and www.jands.com.au
Anticipated Avid S4 Control Surface Available AVID HAS ANNOUNCED THE GENERAL AVAILABILITY of the Avid S4, its latest audio control surface designed for independent music mixers and smaller audio post and music facilities. The semi-modular Avid S4 offers the power, DAW integration, and visual feedback of Avid’s industry-standard Avid S6 in a more streamlined and compact control surface. Avid S4 also enables budget-conscious media educators to give their students the chance to learn the music and audio post-production workflows they’ll need for a successful career in the media and entertainment industry. EUCON, Avid’s ethernet control protocol, enables Avid S4 to connect and communicate with Avid and third-party audio, video, and monitoring applications. S4 acts and feels like a physical extension of the software, providing an exceptionally integrated experience with any EUCONenabled DAW, such as Pro Tools, Nuendo, Pyramix, Logic Pro, Cubase, and other audio software. S4 also enables engineers to quickly assign and control talkback, listenback, and speaker sources and levels right from the surface, to handle everything from simple cue mixes for music recording to monitoring immersive audio projects. Avid S4 provides extensive visual feedback with the ability to display everything from channel meters, groups, EQ curves, and automation data, to scrolling high-res Pro Tools waveforms, which can be edited from the surface. The semi-modular surface gives users the flexibility to build the ideal system for a specific workflow, from eight to 24 faders, with the ability to add displays, joystick, post, and knob modules. When paired with Pro Tools | Ultimate, S4 brings the most efficient hands-on Dolby Atmos mixing in the industry to any room. “The Avid S4 is what smaller studios have been waiting for,” said Joe Taupier, President of Westlake Pro. “Music mixers and small studios don’t have to compromise power and efficiency as they’re getting the same mixing power as the larger S6 control surface, but at a budget and size that meets their individual needs. The S4 provides the workflow versatility users need to take on any project – whether it be film, TV, OTT media, commercials, or games – and the deep DAW and Dolby Atmos integration required to complete diverse projects on time and on budget.” Visit www.avid.com
Klark Teknik Mic Booster CT1
which provides a robust transport layer that is immune to most interference. FreeSpeak Edge delivers the clearest 12kHz audio quality with ultra-low latency and is highly scalable to support over 100 beltpacks and 64 transceivers. It can be combined with FreeSpeak II 1.9GHz and 2.4GHz systems, providing three bandwidths across a single unified communications system.
Dynaudio Expands Core Range of Studio Monitors DYNAUDIO, THE DANISH STUDIO-MONITOR manufacturer, is adding two new models to the Core reference series, introduced at the 2019 NAMM show. Core 47 is a compact three-way monitor with a 7-inch woofer, a dedicated 4-inch midrange driver and the new 28mm Esotar Pro tweeter. Core Sub is a powered subwoofer with four9-inch longthrow woofers and 2x 500W of power.
festival in 2018, as well as during NAMM 2019. Lessons learned from those realworld tests, in combination with painstaking measurement in Dynaudio’s Jupiter test facility, were invaluable in creating the final products
Core is the most revealing reference monitor series in Dynaudio history offering breathtaking accuracy for when every single detail must be heard in order to make wise mixing decisions. It introduces new technologies in all areas that focus entirely on reproducing the most accurate sound possible – everything producers need to hear.
Core 47 and Core Sub have digital inputs (AES3) and support up to 24-bit/192kHz signals, and the internal DSP operates at the same high level when using the analogue inputs.
“Core 47 fills the gap between the Core 7 and Core 59 models,” says Dynaudio Pro Product Manager, Rune Jacobsen. Its footprint is comparable to Core 7, but it’s a three-way design with a dedicated midrange driver for the absolute highest degree of detail when reproducing sound in this critical frequency area – where, for instance, vocals are located.”
The series is also designed for extremely flexible positioning. Depending on the studio environment, monitors might need to be placed sideways or upside down, which might mean less-than-perfect contact with the surface area. Core solves this issue with four indentations on each side and a set of special pads to fit them. Dynaudio has also designed a bracket for Core 47 for wall or ceiling installation. With the appropriate adapter it can also double as a desk-stand.
It features the same DSP options as the rest of the Core monitors and packs power to deliver SPL that will meet the needs of any producer or sound engineer. Core Sub is tailored to be the ideal low-frequency partner to any Core-based set-up. With four longthrow woofers and 1000W of power it delivers powerful and reliable low-frequency reproduction, regardless of whether it’s part of a master stack, or a surround sound or immersive speaker setup with height and overhead channels.” Prototypes of Core 47’s sister speakers, Core 7 and Core 59, were put through their paces in an active recording environment in the Dynaudio Unheard studio at Denmark’s Smukfest music
Core 47 and Core Sub features Pascal Class-D amplifiers chosen after a series of intensive listening tests. Their high-frequency smoothness, unlimited power resources and stellar dynamics made the difference. The two additions to the Core range couple extreme accuracy with astonishing consistency. When measured precisely, all Core speakers are tuned to match perfectly within a very narrow 0.2dB tolerance.
All Dynaudio monitors are developed, designed, tested and made in Skanderborg, Denmark – and key components, including drivers and tweeters, are made by hand in Skanderborg as well. The Core series is the first Dynaudio Pro range to have been fully developed in the company’s advanced new research and development centre, Dynaudio Labs. Jupiter, its 13 x 13 x 13m measuring room, is a state-of-the-art facility, and is especially beneficial when developing active speakers. Measuring both on- and off-axis performance can now be done in minutes rather than days – letting engineers get on with the work of prototyping and listening rather than waiting for numbers to crunch. Visit www.dynaudio.com
Announcing the CEDAR DNS 8D with Dante
WITH OVER TWO YEARS IN DEVELOPMENT, the DNS 8D is an important new eight-channel dialogue noise suppressor that has been requested by broadcasters and other DNS users worldwide. However, it’s not just a DNS 8 Live with modified I/O – CEDAR has spent that time developing a new algorithm that marries the best of the DNS 8 Live and the DNS 2 dialogue noise suppressors. Offering a slick user interface that includes standard and detailed modes of operation, it provides better control than any previous dialogue noise suppressor, both from the front panel and from almost any web browser that can access its internal remote control software. And, with its near-zero latency and standard 4-pin 12VDC input in addition to
universal mains power, it’s suitable for use in all live situations – not just broadcasting, but also for live sound in venues such as theatres, concert halls, conferences venues, and places of worship. Dante is the de-facto standard for media networking, distributing uncompressed, multichannel digital audio via standard ethernet networks with near-zero latency and perfect synchronisation, so the DNS 8D incorporates a Dante interface in addition to its AES3 audio connections (DB25 using the AES59 pin-out). With fail-safe AES3 audio bypass implemented in the form of hardware relays plus support for Dante’s redundant mode of operation, it can
be installed with confidence in critical paths anywhere within the audio chain. Principal features: • Eight channels of the latest, most advanced dialogue noise suppression. • Quick and easy set up plus a detail mode ideal for permanent installations. • Dante and AES3 audio connectivity. • Fail-safe AES3 audio bypass plus Dante’s redundant mode for critical audio paths. • Web-based remote control for laptops, tablets, and other devices. Visit www.cedaraudio.com
RADIO The original broadcast media
Wheatstone Introduces Glass LXE Virtual Console
Similar in function, feel, and layout to the network’s flagship LXE hardware control surface, Glass LXE is fully functional and studio-ready as a user interface with familiar buttons, knobs, multi-touch navigation and menuing for setting EQ curves, filtering, and other custom settings. As a standalone multi-touch console interface into the WheatNet-IP audio network, Glass LXE can be used anywhere there’s a PC touchscreen or several touchscreens connected over that network. “You can run it on a laptop or on multiple PC screens
Vietnam Gears Up for DAB Trial
VIETNAMESE SYSTEM INTEGRATOR Emico and Scandinanvian technology provider, Paneda, have signed an agreement for the provision of DAB multiplexing systems for the upcoming DAB Trial in Vietnam. The system includes a full system in redundancy including content management for metadata. The system is planned to on-air before the end of the year in the cities Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh. Initially the system will host 18 services and is comprised of a server platform, hosting multiplexer systems with its audio encoders and content management system. The system uses Paneda SMART content seamless switching, providing the redundancy setup for audio switching during failures. According to Lars-Peder Lundgren, Sales Manager at Paneda, “As a DAB lover, it’s satisfying to add a new DAB country to the DAB country list. For this project Paneda has committed to assist in promoting the upcoming trial by sharing our long expertise and knowledge to make the best possible outcome. The process has been long, and has containing both financial and technical evaluations, and we are now pleased that Paneda was chosen for this project.” Lu’o’ng Ngoc Thành, Vice General Director, Director of Technical Center at Emico said: “Vietnam will now start with DAB, initially with a larger trial in the Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi cities. Emico has evaluated different technical solutions and have chosen Paneda for several reasons, Paneda has provided great support and advises during the process, and have also provided a test system to us for learning more about DAB. We are now confident we have made a great choice and looking forward to work together.” Visit www.paneda.no and www.emico.com.vn
from a cloud. Glass LXE can be used alone or combined with the physical LXE surface to give broadcasters full console control anywhere that’s needed, and on a UI that is very familiar,” said Wheatstone Applications Engineer, Kelly Parker. Glass LXE comes with a mix engine to handle mixing and processing as part of the WheatNet-IP audio network. The virtual console is one of several new WheatNet-IP additions this IBC, adding to the hundreds of software and hardware elements that make up the WheatNet-IP audio network, any of which can be connected together for any sized operation or purpose. WheatNet-IP is a complete AoIP infrastructure that includes AES67
compatibility. Glass LXE is modelled after WheatNet-IP’s LXE console, which is known for its flexibility as a reconfigurable, compact control surface available in one main frame or in split-frame configuration for multiple operators. Visit www.wheatstone.com
Densitron and Sonifex Announce A/Vo Display Development Collaboration
DENSITRON, A CREATOR OF human machine interface (HMI) technologies, and Sonifex, have announced a joint technical development initiative designed to tightly integrate Sonifex audio displays with a number of flagship Densitron reference monitors. Densitron Managing Director, Simon Jones said, “Sonifex is highly regarded for the quality of its audio reference monitors, audio distribution, and audio interfaces. We are equally regarded for our display technologies, it makes perfect sense to explore and develop ways that the two can integrate to the benefit of users worldwide.”
CU4 commentary units, as well as its AVN multichannel audio mix engines already use Densitron colour LCD displays.
Densitron’s smartphone-like clarity and in-plane switching (IPS) technology is being modified to integrate with a new range of Sonifex devices.
Sonifex CEO Marcus Brooke said, “We always actively seek opportunities to provide additional benefits to our customers and are particularly excited about sharing our latest audio interface and commentary unit developments with similar enhancements from Densitron. The integration of our respective technologies are significant valueadds to both product ranges.”
However, Sonifex’s new Dante AVN-CU2 and AVN-
Visit www.densitron.com and www.sonifex.co.uk
Tieline Unveils New Gateway Multichannel IP Codec AT IBC2019, audio codec manufacturer Tieline unveiled the new Gateway IP audio codec – a compact multichannel IP audio transport solution for radio broadcasters. The Gateway streams up to 16 IP audio channels with support for AES67, AES3, and analogue I/O. “The new Gateway codec delivers up to 16 mono channels or eight stereo streams of IP audio in 1RU to increase efficiency and reduce rack space requirements,” said Charlie Gawley, Tieline’s VP Sales APAC/EMEA. “The Tieline Gateway interfaces with legacy analogue and AES/EBU sources, as well as newer broadcast plants with AES67 IP audio infrastructure. An optional WheatNet-IP interface
will also be also available.”
Tieline Gateway is suitable for STL, SSL, and audio distribution applications, as well as managing multiple incoming remotes at the studio. Its compact design is interoperable with all Tieline IP codecs and compatible over SIP with all EBU N/ACIP Tech 3326 and 3368 compliant codecs and devices. Configurable through an embedded HTML5 Toolbox Web-GUI interface, the Gateway can also interface with the TieLink Traversal Server for simpler connections and is fully controllable using Tieline’s Cloud Codec Controller. Visit https://tieline.com
NEW THAT THIS YEAR’S IBC conference was Wheatstone’s Glass LXE virtual console for its WheatNet-IP audio network. Glass LXE is a multitouch UI that operates as a standalone virtual console into the WheatNet-IP audio network, a complete IP audio ecosystem of consoles, talent stations, I/O units, accessories and SIP phone and codec distribution appliances.
Burli – the Heavy Lifter of Radio News By Phil Sandberg
that back from your mobile phone and then move onto the next story. From that same mobile phone, you can browse the wire, see what your colleagues are working on at the time. Your colleague spoke to the minister while you were speaking to the protesters? Well, you can grab that sound from the minister from your colleague directly onto your mobile phone if you want to from the field and then add it to whatever you’re working on.
“The boundaries of what is radio are softening.” THAT’S THE WORD from Ian Gunn, General Manager of radio newsroom technology company Burli who attributes this “softening” to the fact radio newsrooms are now producing content for a variety of platforms. According to Gunn, “A journalist will go out and will take a mobile phone with her and she will do a standard radio interview, but then, before she finishes that interview, she will take a photograph on her phone of the person that she has interviewed and then that photograph will make its way to a website somewhere, or it will make a digital story, or get tweeted or something as some part of that process. “Radio content used to be three and a half minutes of a radio interview edited down and then played on the morning breakfast programme, and that’s changing, and so the software is as well.” Burli Software has two core products – Burli Newsroom and Burli NE. Both systems allow radio broadcasters to: gather news from all over the world, in many formats, from many sources. newswires, tweets, emails, RSS feeds, internal stories; edit stories; share stories between workstations, across multiple locations, or post directly to social media; and present the news from a dedicated prompter view.
Burli NE adds advanced capabilities
such as image editing, video and pdf handling, advanced and customisable metadata options, shared multi-track recording, edit while recording, editorial workflow tools, customisable UI, advanced search, offline edit and record, and posting to Facebook and youtube (as well as Soundcloud and Twitter). C+T: Your reporter interviewing out in the field, what happens next, workflow-wise? Ian Gunn: “She has a couple of options. One is she runs back to the office and the moment she’s back in the newsroom with her mobile phone, then that content then moves onto a desktop computer in the traditional sense and gets edited in a traditional audio editor. Obviously, that involves going back to the studios. “From the mobile phone itself, you can send content back to headquarters, either as raw material, use that four-minute interview, somebody in the newsroom pack it up and deal with it, I’ve done my job, I’m moving on to the next. Or, package it while you’re actually out on the mobile phone using an editor. “There is a web app built into the system, so virtually any mobile device capable of opening up a web page can see. You type in the text, you can then attach raw audio or an edited version thereof, send it back to the plant. If you’ve got video, you can send that back. You can take a quick head shot of the person you’re interviewing and then send
“The mobile tools are still a subset of the ones that are available in the newsroom itself, partly just for practical reasons involving the technology, but partly also because you’re one person out in the field. In the newsroom, you’ve got a collaborative team, somebody who’s working on the raw story itself, somebody else who is editing it and somebody else who’s shaping the overall bulletin, those kinds of things, particularly in the larger operations.” C+T: So, the content is sent back. What’s next? “It shows up in the newsroom in a standard client server system shared amongst the two or 200 journalists in the newsroom. And, from that material, you can search on a filter on it, create watches that say show me stories that have to do with sports team X or Sydney Y or geographical area Z, and then from that great pool of material, then the journalist has an editing space where she can begin writing her own content, or you can begin producing a bulletin. “So, there’s a complete bulletin editing system. It assumes it’s a collaborative environment, so 10 people can work on the same bulletin at the same time. It times out the bulletin. This is supposed to be a 15-minute bulletin, you’ve got 17 minutes worth of material, you probably need to cut something. Editorial review is in there; has this been seen by the Chief Editor yet? Does this still need work? Is this safe to air?
“Then, when you move into the studio, the presenter has a complete screen in front of her which shows her the most relevant of the huge pool of information that’s there, the most relevant for the presenter, so he or she then gets to see how much time is left in this item and has your editor substituted out a story two items from now, because there’s breaking news? “And of course, it’s all live connected, so as you’re in the studio, as a change is made centrally in the system where somebody contributes something new, that change is reflected within milliseconds in the studio. And there’s an alerting system, you tell the system; please tell me anytime a story like this changes in the system. And there’s chat, so you can chat in a live kind of a WhatsApp type idea, so somebody sitting in the studio can chat with a journalist out in the field.” How does the system deal with a variety of file formats? “The journalist just hits the send button. Behind the scenes, there’s different servers speaking to each other. Usually at the studio or the newsroom there is an ingest function and as it brings the stuff in, two options; one, it checks it to make sure it really is what it claims to be and that it’s readable. And sometimes the newsroom decides to leave it in whatever format it’s in. More often they will transcode it into some standard format, so it arrives as an MP3 audio file, great, fine, but we’re going to transcode that into PCM audio on ingest, so we know that everything in the central system is all PCM 48K audio. The same with video.” How is Burli positioned in the APAC market? “We are still a minor presence I think in the market. We’re growing. Our friends at AVC, based out of Australia and New Zealand, have in the last three or four years begun to change that significantly for us. We’re working on a couple of significant projects now in Australia, another one in New Zealand. Taiwan is a continuing market for us. It has been for a number of years. In other parts of the region, there’s still lots of opportunity for us, put it that way. But, it’s certainly an area of significant interest for us. Visit www.burli.com and www.avc-group.net
Wheatstone Introduces AoIP Appliance – Multiple Program Streams NEW FROM WHEATSTONE this IBC is an appliance for its WheatNet-IP audio network that addresses the unique challenges of multiple program streams. StreamBlade is a 1RU BLADE unit for streaming applications that features key Wheatstone AoIP, audio processing and codec bandwidth optimisation technology. • Selectable Opus, AAC and MP3 encoders targeting high to low bit rates for reaching a broad range of end user devices and players. • Accepts eight input steams of native WheatNetIP audio directly from a soundcard or AoIP driver as well as RTP sources, each capable of four outputs for a total of 32 total output streams. • AGC, peak limiter and other audio processing designed to optimise the performance of encoded audio content. • Cloud-ready and compatible with standard CDN and streaming platforms, including Icecast, Wowza and RTP. • Metadata support for identifying song title and artist readouts dynamically from all the major automation systems. • 8×4 channels of local I/O connectivity for other than WheatNet-IP audio network applications. “Putting all processing and bandwidth optimisation functions in one box that talks native IP audio just makes sense for studios today that are managing five, six or more streams,” said Rick Bidlack, Wheatstone systems and lead StreamBlade design engineer. Unique to StreamBlade is its five-band AGC with RMS density driven time constants for establishing tonal balance and level consistency between
incoming music sources. Unlike the conventional approach of applying multiband gain control followed by fast compression to build uniform loudness and density from one music source to the next, this AGC is designed specifically for streaming applications and eliminates aggressive RMS attack times that can interfere with codec performance. “Fast time constants (compression) can add intermod sidebands around a sustained note or bass note, which the codec has to spend bits on instead of the signals that are actually part of the program. That can be bad for any stream, but it’s especially bad for low bit-rate streams that don’t have a lot of data bits to begin with,” explained Jeff Keith, Senior Product Development Engineer for Wheatstone’s audio processing line. Wheatstone makes a line of AM, FM and microphone/voice audio processors in addition to WheatNet-IP, a complete AoIP ecosystem of consoles, talent stations, I/O units, accessories and virtual tools used in studios around the globe. Also unique to StreamBlade is a two-band final limiter section made for streaming that removes hard limiting or clipping from the processing chain.
“Clipping creates harmonics that the encoder wants to throw bits at, and much of that isn’t particularly pleasant to the ear,” added Keith. Also onboard is a stereo width management section that produces a perceived stereo field yet eliminates the big swings in dynamic L-R that can skew the codec algorithm as well as bass boost and monaural bass features for optimising the quality of the bit stream. A selectable six-band parametric equaliser with peak and shelf functions, high and low pass filtering for removing noise or hum, and two-stage phase rotator to correct voice asymmetry are also included in StreamBlade. StreamBlade can be configured and managed from a laptop and web browser using WheatNet-IP NAVIGATOR software. It has two ethernet ports, one for direct connectivity into the WheatNetIP audio network on one end and another for connectivity into a WAN for streaming to a CDN or other service provider. Visit www.wheatstone.com
Lawo Debuts Power Core MAX WHAT’S BETTER THAN LOTS OF POWER? Maximum power! Announcing Power Core MAX, the AES67 mixing engine that supports up to four independent Lawo mixing surfaces.
“With the Power Core MAX license pack, a single engine can be controlled by more than one mixing surface,” said Lawo Radio Marketing specialist, Clark Novak. “Project managers are excited about the ability to support two, three, and sometimes even four mixing consoles. This makes Power Core MAX perfect for large multi-studio projects, but broadcasters with medium and smaller facilities can use it as the I/O gateway and mixing engine for an entire radio station! There’s nothing else like it.” Power Core is the very definition of flexibility. Customers can choose from a number of license packages tailored to a variety of operational needs and price points. The new MAX package allows connection of as many as four independent Ruby
mixing surfaces to a single Power Core engine – a unique ability perfectly suited to today’s multistudio radio facilities. Power Core MAX features include: • Support of up to 96 fader channels distributed among up to four physical Ruby consoles or VisTool virtual mixers. • A 1920x920 internal routing matrix.
• ST2022-7 Seamless Protection Switching for dual-redundant AoIP network connections. • ST2110-30 compliance for seamless interoperability of audio and video equipment in combined radio / TV broadcast plants. • All of these capabilities are packed into a 1RU chassis.
• 80 user-definable summing busses and 96 channels of DSP: compression, limiting, etc.
Introduced as a DSP mixing engine and modular I/O
• 128 dual-redundant MADI channels and 128 AES67/RAVENNA channels, standard.
are now using Power Core as a gateway between
system for Ruby radio consoles, many broadcasters
• Eight expansion slots for even more mic, analogue, AES3, AES67 and Dante I/O.
legacy audio formats and standards-based IP
• Dual-redundant front-panel SFP ports for AoIP. Now, broadcasters have their choice of optical or copper network connections, sans the cost of external media converters.
capacity and a flexible license set that helps tailor
media networks, thanks to its abundant I/O capabilities to clients’ workflows. Visit www.lawo.com
Power Core may be the most powerful DSP mixing engine ever conceived for AoIP networks. In addition to giving users incredible amounts of processing, routing and I/O capabilities, Power Core has 96 available DSP channels and the capacity to handle hundreds of analogue, digital and AES67 audio signals.
CONTENT DELIVERY Terrestrial, Mobile, Broadband
Encompass Singapore Optimises Operations with DataMiner SKYLINE COMMUNICATIONS, the global provider of end-to-end multi-vendor network management and OSS software solutions for the broadcast, satellite, cable, telco and mobile industryhas announced that Encompass, a global technology services company that delivers end-to-end video solutions to television networks, broadcasters, sports leagues and OTT service providers, has selected DataMiner to unify its operations and service assurance. “We are extremely proud of the deployment of DataMiner at Encompass. It’s an honor to power its operations in Asia,” commented Jonathan Triboulet, Director APAC Operations at Skyline Communications. “With our local presence in Singapore, we are in a very good position to fully support Encompass’ operations.” The project at Encompass comprises an endto-end DataMiner system that is designed to unify operations across the entire multi-vendor infrastructure. The Singapore business unit also benefits from the DataMiner expertise of Encompass Buenos Aires. Those teams already have long-standing and vast experience in the administration and operation of the DataMiner platform, and built the system without any involvement from Skyline. Rather than deploying siloed EMS systems to manage the new infrastructure elements, DataMiner now also monitors Encompass’ new satellite infrastructure and provides full earth station uplink and downlink management. “With over 160 channels of premium video content
being managed 24×7 in APAC alone, we need to deliver superior quality of service to our clients at all times,” said Mark Wardle, VP Engineering & Operations at Encompass Singapore. “DataMiner offers a comprehensive solution that provides a ‘single-pane-of-glass’ view of our entire complex and diverse infrastructure.” Skyline Communications is indeed deeply rooted in the APAC region. Its office in Singapore opened in 2017, with the purpose to support its continued growth in the APAC region. Expanding its local presence across all regions demonstrates Skyline’s long-term commitment to its current and future customers, which is all about increasing the quality of service and reducing the operational costs.
“We take that commitment seriously. It’s not just about delivering a solution that’s tailored to the needs of Encompass in terms of the look and feel and automated workflows,” adds Jonathan Triboulet. “We also make sure the operations and engineering teams are fully capable and independent through our various activities around the Singapore region. Organizing training that enables our customers to take advantage of all DataMiner aspects and scheduling webinars to share our knowledge is equally important to us. Skyline’s unique expertise plays a huge role in our global success story and facilitates operations teams to manage their entire operations in an intuitive and proactive manner.” Visit www.encompass.tv and www.skyline.be
India’s Network18 Standardises on Grass Valley’s iTX Playout
NETWORK18, ONE OF INDIA’S LARGEST media groups, has deployed Grass Valley’s flexible and scalable iTX integrated playout platform to underpin the transition to a standardised playout model across its facilities. The solution was chosen for its proven future-proof features, and enables the Mumbai-based company to manage and operate multiple playout channels – across multiple platforms – with greater scalability, flexibility and efficiency.
to easily add more channels, deliver services to online and social platforms or support 4K UHDTV content compatible with today’s multi-platform distribution environment. Working with a technical partner that can provide the tools and expertise to meet these demands and deliver the flexibility, scalability and future-proofing we need to evolve our business is critical to getting the system that is right for us. Based on techno-commercial indepth evaluation, we made the choice for the iTX system from Grass Valley.”
Network18 operates a mix of news and entertainment channels in addition to multiple digital products of the biggest names in media, such as News18 Network, CNBC-TV18, CNN News18, Colors, MTV, Moneycontrol, Firstpost and Forbes India. To meet the needs of the changing and growing market, the organisation needed an agile solution capable of handling large-scale integrated playout and over 25 formats and resolutions natively, from SD to 4K UHD, managing content natively as SDI baseband as well as IP, without additional transcoding. Grass Valley’s iTX solution is a highly advanced, integrated playout platform for broadcast television, delivering IP/SDI flexibility and scalability for future readiness, along with workflow tools for greater process automation and lower OPEX.
Grass Valley’s iTX platform delivers an intuitive multipurpose operator interface that provides end-to-end workflow tools, such as file and lines ingest, asset management and preview functions. The Network 18 team gains all the functionality needed, from high-end graphics to subtitling, SCTE, and voice over (VO), in one flexible platform. Network18 also deployed GV ION storage that ensures reliability across applications from playout to news production.
Rajat Nigam, Group Chief Technology officer, Network18 commented: “We at Network18 constantly explore and evaluate newer technologies and solutions aligned with our business objective of value leadership. We look towards standardising the technologies across our group and implement cost-effective solutions and workflows to meet the demand for real-time access to news and entertainment, anywhere, on any device, in the fast emerging digital world. Our system design has always adhered to the fundamental principles of flexibility, reliability and versatility that enables us
Network18 has already gone live with more than 36 channels with iTX, with full migration slated for completion by the end of 2020. This is part of a facility consolidation as all locations pan-India will be brought to a central location having standardised technology solution using iTX. “Broadcasters increasingly have to address a wide range of digital OTT platforms in addition to traditional linear services,” said Somu Patil, Vice President of Sales, APAC, Grass Valley. “Our iTX solution is a workhorse for large-scale integrated playout, encompassing file/live IP/SDI playout, captioning/subtitling, audio processing and graphics branding.” Visit www.grassvalley.com
How Broadcasters Can Transition to an All-IP Environment Incrementally By Olivier Suard, Vice President of Marketing, Nevion
The transition to IP in live production environments is well underway with over 40% of global broadcasters having already made moves towards IP in 2018 according to research carried out on behalf of Nevion. There are several reasons for this move, not least that IP allows broadcasters to do more with less, offers a greater degree of flexibility and is cost-effective. However, before beginning the transition to IP, broadcasters must consider a number of factors.
Currently, no broadcaster operates in an all-IP environment. Rather, it’s likely they will have a mixture of SDI and IP equipment connected to an all-IP network. Even in cases where broadcasters have moved facilities, most of the equipment is likely to remain based on SDI technology for quite some time. While SDI/IP adaption equipment can be used to connect the SDI equipment to the IP core network, connecting a lot of this equipment to an IP network may be expensive. Furthermore, it might not be necessary, as that equipment will often be used together within the confines of a studio or control room. In these ‘baseband islands’, converting SDI signals to IP and back to SDI may be superfluous. The most cost-effective way to distribute signals between baseband equipment may then be to use baseband routing technology. Similarly, signal processing, such as audio embedding onto SDI signals or SDI frame synchronisation, may be best done directly on baseband equipment rather than converting to IP, processing and converting back to baseband. Some may argue that broadcasters should, therefore, keep the existing large Master Control Room (MCR) matrices to handle this. This, however, is likely to be overkill in many cases. Also, if all the equipment needs to be connected centrally, it doesn’t help solve the cabling headache. For that reason, the most costeffective distribution and routing
is likely to be compact SDI routers located within the baseband islands. As these routers take on part of the job done by the MCR routers, they also need to offer a high level of redundancy and include SDI processing capabilities. These baseband islands can then be connected to the rest of the IP network through adaption equipment.
EXISTING FIBRE TECHNOLOGY Traditionally, the transport of baseband signals beyond studios has been handled by fibre, with technology providing the interface onto and from the fibre. As the industry moves to IP, the requirement for high data-rate transporting will continue to grow – with uncompressed HD requiring a minimum of 10GbE data rates. Fibre remains ideally suited to transport signals any distance longer than a typical patch cable. Although IP is transported over fibre, the conversion of baseband to optical links is still a less costly solution than baseband to IP conversions. Hence, if equipment located far away is baseband, it can be a more cost-efficient solution to transport the signals through baseband EO converters. As a result, optical transport technology will continue to be relevant in an IP world and any investment in that technology for the transport of signals today is an investment in the transport network of the future – using fibre to transport IP as well as baseband.
ORCHESTRATION AND CONTROL IN MIXED ENVIRONMENTS While adaption equipment can ensure that the SDI world is connected to the IP world, and vice versa, a crucial issue is how to orchestrate and control flows between the two environments. Most media network management and control systems have been developed for SDI technology and cannot manage IP. Conversely, IP network management systems don’t handle SDI. This is particularly problematic where the preferred option of a broadcaster is to keep some form of SDI routing in the network, for example, within specific studios. This calls for a versatile orchestration and SDN (Software Defined Network) control system that can handle both SDI and IP environments. Such systems hold a complete view of the network and can control both IP and SDI routers, as well as adaption equipment and other appliances. As a result, this type of orchestration and SDN control system can provide deterministic paths through a mixed SDI/IP network infrastructure. In turn, this makes it possible for broadcasters to have the mixed SDI/IP environment most suitable for them. In other words, with the right orchestration and SDN control systems, broadcasters don’t need to go to an all-IP network at once, and they can choose equipment based on functionality and cost, not SDI or IP connectivity. This flexibility makes for a more cost-effective transition to IP.
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BROADCAST CONTROL Production staff are typically used to a specific broadcast control interface and are often reluctant to move away from it. However, popular broadcast control systems are not designed to control IP networks. The solution is to ensure that the broadcast control system can interface with the orchestration layer which is typically done via APIs provided by the broadcast control system and implemented in the orchestration system. A tight coupling of the familiar broadcast control systems and the orchestration layer ensures that production staff can maintain their existing method of working, even as the underlying network technology evolves.
SMOOTH MIGRATION TO IP Realistically, only those broadcasters moving to new facilities and starting with a ‘greenfield’ site have the luxury of building an all-IP network from scratch. Broadcasters who are building out capacity using IP, or adding new IP studios or control rooms, need to maintain their core SDI network, for both practical and financial reasons. Ultimately, the transition from baseband to IP needn’t be an all-ornothing decision for broadcasters. Adaption equipment and orchestration are the key to ensuring that the transition can be achieved smoothly and without affecting production. Visit https://nevion.com and www.magnasys.tv
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CONNECTIVITY AND PROCESSING
Appear TV Launches ZIXI Video Transport Over IP on X Platform APPEAR TV, A LEADING PROVIDER of nextgeneration high-quality video processing platforms for broadcast and streaming, has launched Zixi input and output support on its X platform. The Appear TV X platform is a dedicated solution for high speed video networking, enhanced IP security, video distribution and contribution. Designed for near limitless capacity, extensive video awareness, enhanced security, operational simplicity and exceptionally high reliability, the platform redefines video delivery. “We see an increased demand for modular video transport solutions over IP, providing the flexibility broadcasters and operators require, whilst maintaining ease of use, power efficiency and density,” says Thomas Lind, product management director, Appear TV. “Our partnership with Zixi allows our customers to tap
into the Zixi cloud service for broadcast-quality video delivery over public IP networks, presenting a natural extension to our X platform.” The X platform consists of a compact 1RU – X10 as well as a capacious 2RU – X20 option. The products can both be fitted with a range of input, processing and output modules that enable bridging between commonly used legacy video platforms and an all-IP infrastructure. With support for MPEG TS multiplexing, DVB scrambling/descrambling and high-density/ low-latency AVC/HEVC encoding/decoding, the X platform is ideal for video processing in legacy DVB network such as cable, satellite, terrestrial and IPTV, as well as OTT. The dual IP IO modules provide native 10G uni- and bi-directional port connectivity, and the software-defined hardware allows for a variety of software features to run on identical hardware modules. All modules, power
Brightcove Shines a Beacon on OTT BRIGHTCOVE INC., the provider of cloud services for video, has announced the general availability of Brightcove Beacon, a new SaaSbased OTT platform. According to Brightcove, Beacon empowers customers to deliver captivating OTT experiences on a breadth of devices, with the flexibility of multiple monetisation models to fit any business need. As consumers continue to shift their viewing habits, broadcasters, content owners, and Pay-TV providers are seeking new business models and technology in an effort to stay relevant to their audiences. The continuously expanding list of viewing devices is a challenge for many content owners, and Brightcove Beacon addresses this by allowing customers to launch content to multiple platforms simultaneously. Additionally, with multiple paths to monetization, including advertising, subscription, freemium, and authentication models, Brightcove Beacon helps customers to launch and monetize video content across mobile, web, connected TV, and smart TV all from one platform. Brightcove Beacon allows customers of all industries to deliver content to multiple devices and platforms to increase audience reach. With Brightcove Beacon, new and existing customers are seeing the advantage of quickly launching multiple apps across platforms and devices with the added benefit of staying up to date with the latest app store requirements. Brightcove Beacon also supports flexible monetization models enabling customers to see value from their content in a way that works best for their business and provides more options for advertising partners to reach viewers.
Furthermore, Brightcove Beacon helps customers to scale their businesses cost-effectively, reaching viewers on the devices and platforms they favour faster than ever before. By utilizing Brightcove Beacon, customers can focus on securing the content viewers crave.
“We are excited to see our customers launch content quickly and easily across devices and platforms with Brightcove Beacon,” said Charles Chu, Chief Product Officer, Brightcove. “The OTT landscape is evolving and isn’t a one size fits all category anymore; viewers have increased expectations and appetites for watching videos while consuming content on a growing list of devices. Brightcove Beacon helps customers reach new viewers across more devices and expand their ability to protect and monetize their video content.” Visit www.brightcove.com
supplies and fans are of course hot-swappable. “Zixi is very excited to partner with Appear and integrate with the IP-specific X10/X20 platform, which is unique in the industry,” says John Wastcoat, SVP alliances and marketing, Zixi. “The joint solution provides ultra-low-latency video networking and remote production over IP capabilities that our mutual customers are demanding so we look forward to working with Appear around the world.” The addition of Zixi support, in combination with the recently launched L2TPv3 signalling and PTP time stamping for remote PHY deployments, loudness levelling and 8K encoding and decoding, enables the X platform to carry on solving many of the challenges facing modern broadcast network design today and tomorrow. Visit www.appeartv.com
Densitron to Feature UReady 2U Display at Inter BEE DENSITRON, A CREATOR OF Human-Machine Interface technologies, Broadcast intelligent display solutions, and a global leader in display, monitor, and embedded computing solutions, has announced that it will introduce the UReady 2U full surface rack display unit for broadcast applications in Hall 4, Stand 4414, at Inter BEE 2019. The UReady 2U can be used for signal and picture monitoring; as a control system with multitouch projected capacitive touch (PCT) functionality, or both. The benefit is that at 16.3” diagonal, UReady enables multiple video picture and audio levels to be displayed side by side. Powered by Densitron’s Aurora SBX, a single-board embedded processor, the 16.3” display also features a single row of button-activated functionality that although virtual, ‘feel’ mechanically tactile using the power of haptic technology being pioneered by Densitron for the broadcast industry. Additional display sizes ranging from 6.6” to 28.5″ will be showcased, each offering easy-mount housing and plug-and-play connectivity. Densitron will also feature dynamic information displays from the recently acquired IDS, which in addition to broadening the reach of Densitron’s human machine interaction (HMI) capabilities, enables the company to showcase and deliver state-of-the-art information display and control solutions for the widest range of broadcast, and other, applications. Densitron will also demonstrate the results of a technical alliance with audio experts, Calrec, by showcasing IDS with Calrec’s Brio12, a 48-input, 12-fader small-format broadcast audio console, featuring the same powerful feature set as its larger sibling, the Brio36. Densitron Global Business Development Director IDS Reuben Such said, “Calrec’s Brio range is the most powerful and compact digital broadcast audio console in its class. We look forward at Inter Bee to demonstrating the seamless integration between IDS and Calrec’s acclaimed consoles. “Through an interface with Calrec’s proprietary control protocol during the show, IDS will respond to live commands directly from a Brio12 console, which will highlight the intuitive nature of IDS and provide a real world example of how IDS can harvest technical information from a broadcast network and display critical information in an instant across a studio facility.” Visit www.densitron.com
G&D to Present KVM Highlights at InterBEE 2019 KVM MANUFACTURER Guntermann and Druck (GandD) will be presenting a range of high-performance KVM systems for broadcast and entertainment professionals at this year’s InterBEE in Tokyo from 13 to 16 November 2019. Together with its partners from DIGIcas, GandD will be showcasing its latest innovation for transmission over IP – a KVM matrix for KVMover-IP at booth 4202. GandD will present its ControlCenter-IP, ControlCenter-Digital, and ControlCenter-Compact digital matrix systems. The new ControlCenter-IP enables the extension and distributed switching of computer signals via IP networks. In combination with GandD’s IP extenders, the ControlCenter-IP forms a powerful matrix system. While the network infrastructure takes over the transport of KVM-over-IP by using network switches and routers, the ControlCenterIP contributes the logic. Thanks to the network connection and the option of using standard network components, the application gains even more usability and flexibility. The system can also be scaled easily at all times. On top of this, the ControlCenter-IP removes the limits of dedicated transmission. The transmission length is almost unlimited since two active network components can be connected to each other over a length of
up to 100m via CAT or up to 10,000m via optical fibres. The ControlCenter-IP supports numerous signals thus providing solutions for DVI singleand dual-link, DP1.1 and DP1.2, including real 4K@60Hz over IP. Even at high resolutions, the system delivers optimal, pixel-perfect and latencyfree image quality for the best possible hand-eye coordination. The modular ControlCenter-Digital matrix and the compact ControlCenter-Compact series both offer a wide range of functions and signals, including loss-free transmission and switching of video signals up to 4K at 60 Hz. By using the in-house HDIP compression technology in the latest development stage, Level 3, the systems require less bandwidth to transmit signals – but still provide crystal-clear images and latency-free operation. Dedicated transmission takes place either via CAT cables over distances up to 140 m or via optical fibres up to 10,000 m. The ControlCenter-Compact comes in six
expansion levels providing between eight and 176 ports and is compatible with the ControlCenterDigital as well as all end devices. The modular ControlCenter-Digital matrix system is available with 80, 160 or 288 dynamic ports. Visitors to InterBEE can experience the perfect interplay between GandD systems and traditional broadcast technology at the joint booth of DIGIcas and GandD. The Japanese system integrators will be presenting their best-of-breed concepts for brands such as Ross Video, BFE and Embrionix. GandD’s matrix systems interact with the BFE KSC Core media control system to provide optimum access to Ross and Co servers. Visit www.gdsys.de
100G Media Switching and 4K/UHD IP Technology Solutions
MDX100G SWITCHING FAMILY The new MDX100G switching family addresses the requirements of accelerated IP workflows that are essential to address new network speeds and bandwidth demands. Two versions of the MDX100G switch are available (32 and 48 port) and are designed specifically for aggregating multicast media streams whether compressed, uncompressed, and/or bi-directional. The IP Video Router system from Media Links accommodates up to 1920×1920 HD-SDI cross-points and offers broadcasters the high bandwidth capacity connections for bi-directional signal flow within a hybrid IP/SDI environment, including those that handle a lot of data.
4K/UHD TRANSMISSION Media Links’ 4K/UHD transmission application encompasses several 4K transport solutions, which offer broadcasters a practical upgrade path to 4K/UHD workflows. The MDP3040 is a two channel 4K/UHD TICO lightweight compression encoder/decoder, supporting several configurations. With built-in TICO compression, transmission bandwidth is reduced, delay is ultra-low, and transport occurs without visually noticeable loss or distortion of content. The MDP3040 will also be showcased in the TICO Alliance booth, hall 4, stand 4409. Complementing the 4K transmission application is the MD003 CWDM video transport platform with its new 4K/UHD card incorporating TICO compression. Up to 8 channels of 4K/UHD video signals can be transmitted over one opticalfibre. This multi-channel, multi-service transport system is used for reliable and scalable signal transport over dedicated dark fibre infrastructure. Media Links’ third 4K/UHD solution being highlighted at InterBee is the 4K/UHD Encoder/ Decoder card set for the company’s flagship MD8000 Media over IP system. This card set accepts 4K/UHD video as four separate and timed Quad 3G-SDI video inputs, compresses them utilising JPEG2000 standards, bundles them
into IP packets (SMPTE 2022), and transmits or receives them as a single service over either 1G or 10G interfaces. This 4K card set has already played an essential role in the IP video transport network for global and high-profile sporting events including the World Cup and the Olympics.
HITLESS DATA FOR REMOTE PRODUCTION
For the Remote Production Network workflow application, Media Links will showcase its MDP 3020 IP Media Gateway, MD8000 Media over IP solutions, and ProMD EMS Enhanced Management System software. With increasing demand for various types of bi-directional hitless media and data traffic, including file transfers, video replays, audio, and of course critical video imagery in a variety of formats, the entire network is evolving toward becoming a true SDN – Software Defined Network (MDN – Media Defined Network in Media Links terminology), all capable of being supported with Media Links solutions from edge to core.
SOFTWARE DEFINED NETWORKING CONTROLLER
The ProMD EMS system is an essential multi-user software-based tool used to configure, provision, manage and troubleshoot small to large scale IP video and media transport networks. Media Links will be at InterBEE on Hall 3, stand 3308. Visit https://medialinks.com
AT INTERBEE 2019, hall 3, stand 3308 (November 13-15), Media Links, manufacturer and pioneer in Media over IP transport technology will address a number of key applications including IP Video Routing, 4K/ UHD transmission and Remote Production. The company will show its latest 4K/UHD video transport and new 100G switching solutions that offer the integral technology and functionality for these types of workflows to be successfully implemented.
Telestream Announces Update to PRISM
TELESTREAM RECENTLY ANNOUNCED a new software update (v 1.10) for its PRISM series of hybrid SDI and IP waveform monitors. The latest update supports more advanced tools for HDR (High Dynamic Range) and WCG (Wide Colour Gamut) productions in 4K and HD. While PRISM has been a leading tool for customers making the transition to IP-infrastructures, this software release makes it an equally powerful tool in 3G and 4K Production applications for SDI. This software upgrade is available now for any model of PRISM with the production license to enable the features that support HDR and WCG. “We’ve been working closely with customers who are producing live events and creating content masters in post-production to understand how we can help them simplify their workflow,” said Ian Valentine VP of Products and Strategy for the Tektronix Video Business unit at Telestream. The result of this close work is a complete toolset that includes solutions for HLG, PQ, and Dolby Vision events and projects. This new toolset not only includes additions like CIE Chart, False Color, and STOP Waveform (a new kind of waveform that displays in units of lights as a log scale), but it also includes more familiar tools like Diamond, Vector and a standard percentage
waveform – easing the learning curve when transitioning to these formats.
this information or can clearly show this in a customisable false colour mode.
“Working in HDR and an expanded colour space is new for everyone, but ultimately these challenges will demand a new workflow and we have a role to play to support the industry,” said Tsuyoshi Kitagawa, Product Manager at Telestream.
The PRISM platform is a next generation family extension to the broad range of waveform monitors that Tektronix Video – now a business unit of Telestream – has developed to aid in similar transitions from Analog to Digital and from SD to HD. “We are only getting started with helping our customers create great looking content in UHD, HDR and WCG. We will continue to evolve with our customers and respond quickly with capabilities that meet or exceed the needs of our users. We are confident this new release is another great example of where we intend to invest in the future,” said Ian Valentine.
As an example, the new software update includes a false colour mode that can highlight the area in the picture display where the colours have exceeded the P3 gamut range which is critical in grading and QC’ing projects for Netflix requirements. Other questions that customers have asked such as ‘what percentage of the picture is in the HDR range’ (i.e. above 203 NITS) are now solved with objective tools that display
ControlWorks Advances Live Streaming Workflows with AJA HELO Support
CONTROL SYSTEMS DEVELOPER ControlWorks Consulting has teamed with AJA Video Systems to deliver a new module enabling seamless use of AJAs HELO H.264 streaming and recording device in custom integrator environments powered by Crestron Electronics control and automation solutions.
REST API communication, features recording and streaming controls, and provides access to device presets, and streaming and recording profiles, allowing rooms to have multiple streaming and recording configurations for each unique meeting setup.
The new module allows Crestron users to easily harness HELOs SDI and HDMI I/O capabilities in their workflows, simplifying how video is live streamed to content delivery networks and simultaneously encoded and recorded to a wide range of storage options as H.264 files in custom integration settings. It enables two-way control from a Crestron processor via
• RESTful API communications
Key feature highlights include: • Remote control of streaming and recording • Recall recording presets for automation needs • Input selections ”HELO is an intuitive tool for streaming in custom integration environments, making it a complement to Crestron workflows,”
shared Lincoln King-Cliby, Commercial Market Director, ControlWorks. ”Teaming with AJA to implement their REST API has been fantastic and were excited to get this into the hands of our customers. We look forward to exploring how we might integrate other AJA products with Crestron solutions in the future.” “ControlWorks is driving new innovation in control and automation for custom integrations powered by technology like Crestron, so were delighted to team with them and provide even more systems-wide compatibility to our mutual integrator customers,” shared Nick Rashby, President, AJA Video Systems. Visit www.controlworks.com
Empirix Encrypted OTT Video Assurance and Reporting Solution EMPIRIX INC., GLOBAL PROVIDER of voice, data, mobility, IoT and multimedia service assurance solutions, today announced the availability of a new assurance solution for encrypted OTT video traffic.
Empirix’s new solution simplifies workflow and drill down for faster root cause analysis of OTT video related issues across locations, devices and networks, including content delivery networks (CDN).
The new OTT video package includes the reporting tool Diagnostix Operational Reports (DOR) which provides ubiquitous visibility into encrypted video traffic via a series of out-ofthe-box, pre-defined reports that correlate
video-related QoS parameters to deliver immediate value without custom development. With OTT video use significantly impacting service quality, CSPs must be able to identify and resolve video-related performance issues. However, encrypted content and lack of visibility into third-party content delivery networks (CDN) is making it hard for CSPs to not only identify and correct issues, but to perform intelligent network capacity planning and understand device and network video performance and usage. “Customers want best-of-breed performance with high demand video services but are cost-sensitive, so it’s critical that service
providers have the tools they need to optimise video performance, maximise infrastructure investment and improve customer satisfaction,” shared Franco Messori, Chief Strategy Officer at Empirix. “Because we monitor individual network slices and we are able to isolate control and user plane traffic (CUPS), our microservices, 5G architecture can provide a level of visibility that the competition can’t.” The Diagnostix Operational Reports (DOR) for encrypted OTT video assurance helps service providers remain relevant and competitive in this constrained market. Visit www.empirix.com
Switch Media Unveils Fast-to-Market OTT Platform SWITCH MEDIA HAS ANNOUNCIED the launch of MediaHQ Lite. This is an end-to-end OTT platform that provides a comprehensive feature set at a costeffective price point allowing an OTT service to be delivered swiftly. MediaHQ Lite keeps complexity to a minimum while satisfying core OTT requirements, reducing overheads and providing the opportunity to test new ideas with minimal budget. Premium OTT services have become complex and fragmented. Many broadcasters and content owners struggle with bespoke integrations, finger pointing between vendors, the high costs of app development and progressively increased overhead costs. MediaHQ Lite is aimed at new OTT offerings where time-to-market is critical, and budgets are realistic. The platform provides the ability to extend reach, free up operational resources and adapt to the changing OTT landscape and consumer expectations. Using MediaHQ Lite, an OTT service can be launched quickly and easily without any kind of customisation. Users simply rebrand according to their own brand guidelines. Features include secure VOD and live streaming with DRM, a global CDN
service, analytics reports, comprehensive metadata, high definition ABR encoding and use of the Switch Media applications, or their own apps if they have them. What really sets MediaHQ Lite apart is a full featured server-side ad insertion integration with AdEase providing uncompromised addressable ad experiences.
of MediaHQ Enterprise which uses a powerful workflow engine and houses a flexible suite of modular components that integrate seamlessly with existing systems and are supported by Switch Media’s expert in-house technical team 24/7. Users can upgrade from MediaHQ Lite to MediaHQ Enterprise at any time.
The release of MediaHQ Lite follows the launch
Managing technology through the transition By Chris Sjerven, Vice President of Supply Chain and Operations at Imagine Communications and Dan Walsh, Chief Operating Officer at Fortress Solutions
This transition is not unique. The telecommunications industry went through it two decades ago, and had to work out how to maintain legacy systems – sometimes longer than expected – while the new IP solutions became established. The situation in the media industry is very similar. Typically, broadcasters have significant investments in legacy systems, which must be kept running until they can take the next leap in technology. The challenge comes when they find they cannot get the support they need on legacy systems that are still at the heart of their operations. At Imagine Communications, our slogan is ‘your path, your pace’, which means that we help customers make that transition when they are ready and in a way that works for their business. As we all know, broadcasters need to keep their systems running at an availability rate of five, or even six nines (99.999+% uptime). They need technical support which will achieve that: resources able to address issues in legacy equipment, with parts immediately available to keep hardware solutions running. What the industry needs is a suite of services offering technical support and hardware maintenance that will range from basic return
and repair, all the way up to a managed fleet of equipment where support is provided as a service, according to a defined service level agreement (SLA). Many broadcasters still rely on their legacy equipment as the centrepiece of their operations. Risks to operations are increasing as this older generation hardware is needed beyond its traditional support cycle. Broadcasters need service and support solutions that help them to safeguard their systems until they are ready to make the jump to an IP-based network. Such a service and support programme would make companies more comfortable, enabling them to make a slower, managed transition from a technology architecture standpoint, as well as giving them more control over structuring the investment needed for new technology. Typically, a customer today will have a network which is tuned to their operational requirements. Some equipment may be getting older, and those parts of the system may need to be replaced sooner rather than later. To do that, they must be confident that they will have support for the entire system, not just the newer components. What they are looking for is a contract that will cover the complete platform, throughout the transition. This is a reoccurring message that is being heard throughout the media industry, worldwide. Imagine is a leading vendor of traditional broadcast hardware, and was also at the forefront of the move to software-defined architectures and IP connectivity. But in the real world, media companies rarely have single-vendor solutions. What they need is an approach that provides blanket coverage for the whole of their technology.
As part of its customer-centric approach, Imagine looks at the benefits to be accrued from systems and services, beyond traditional product sales. Fortress Solutions grew out of the rapid rise in IT-powered, IP-connected telecoms, because it recognised the need for a single support service to cover the whole infrastructure. That is where we are in broadcast today, and the fundamental requirement is exactly the same. A partnership between Imagine and Fortress, called Imagine Service Fortress, which launched at the 2019 NAB Show, is a natural solution to meet today’s media industry challenges. Both companies have a global reach and can deliver the required level of support to any broadcaster. The new maintenance package provides multi-vendor hardware support and service for almost any vendor product, through a single point of contact. The goal is to provide certainty around equipment performance. That, in turn, will ensure operational costs are more predictable and will avoid the need to make distress purchases for failing equipment. This measure will help cut costs and allow for better equipment lifecycle management. Meeting this goal provides real reassurance – particularly for the mid-size and smaller broadcasters – that there is a practical path which suits their needs. They do not need to have the budget or resources of a global player to manage a big-bang changeover. They can choose their own route to the inevitable software-defined architectures, do it at their own pace, and be confident in the knowledge that the technology they rely on every day will be secure. Visit www.imaginecommunications.com
THE CONSTANT QUESTION IN MEDIA TECHNOLOGY today is how to manage the transition from existing broadcast technologies to software-defined networks and IP connectivity. Everybody knows that the transition must be made, but for various reasons — for example, existing investments and concerns about the best way to implement new technology — everyone has a different plan for how to get there.
CLASSIFIED + EVENTS
As well as the features below, EVERY ISSUE of Content+Technology contains features on the following: Media in the Cloud
Content Transmission & Delivery
Digital Asset Management
Command & Control – Automation,
Post-Production & VFX
Monitoring, Systems Management.
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