Content+Technology ANZ February-March 2021

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IP-enabled, SMPTE 2110-powered master control at Nine’s new North Sydney headquarters.

A Network’s Network – Nine Connects with SMPTE 2110 Nine Entertainment’s new North Sydney HQ is remarkable, not just for what’s on display as you traverse its nine floors – the TV and print media work areas (with radio in the future), the studios, control rooms, energy-efficient rack-rooms, and ‘spoke and hub’ news centre (see p14) – but also for what you can’t see – its extensive IP network and adoption of the SMPTE 2110 standard. ACCORDING TO NINE’S “sponsor” of the project, Network Director of Broadcast Operations, Geoff Sparke, those looking at implementing 2110 should be pragmatic about their approach. “If you’re doing it to save money, don’t, because you won’t,” he says. “To get an output, you need to have an understanding of exactly what you’re doing. “We had a lab set up and we kept adding to that. So, whenever we were going into that environment, buying from a new vendor or buying new kit, we’ve put it into that lab environment to see if it played with everyone else. We understand everybody’s version of 2110 is slightly different. So, whilst it talks to itself, it may not talk to another supplier. You can’t just buy something and plug it and think because it’s 2110 compliant it’s going to work.


“We’ve done this ostensibly around our news. We’ve built this video broadcast facility around our day-to-day news requirements. Most other [2110] facilities, they’ve sort of broken it up into little bits of playout, a little bit for sport and a little bit of news over there.


“It’s pretty big. I’m not going to say we’re the biggest, but we’re the newest 2110 installation. We virtually doubled our output two weeks before we went on air. It’s all working well and how we designed it.”

Nine’s Network Director of Broadcast Operations, Geoff Sparke.

Despite being forced to adapt to pandemic restrictions on numbers of people and international travel, the Nine team worked/ Zoomed closely with Germany-based system integrator Qvest Media. “Qvest was very helpful in that whole communication piece of understanding workflows,” says Sparke, “documenting it, understanding how to speak with the vendor,

e.g., Avid, and get it nailed down so that it could be delivered within a timeline. “They were terrific with user acceptance training, all of those bits and pieces that can cause an enormous amount of stress to the wrong people. Engineers are very good at engineering things, but when it comes to communication, trying to get transformative workflows in place, as well as acceptance from

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