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Titular noticia Texto noticia
EDITORIAL In this issue we bring you the experience and knowledge of an organization as old and important in the global television landscape as the European Broadcasting Union (EBU). We talked to Dr. Hans Hoﬀmann, Head of Media Fundamentals and Production at the EBU Technology & Innovation department, about the technological roadmap of a public service broadcaster association that operates not only in Europe, but globally. On the other hand, we have shared a chat with an institution in the UK: Paul Clennell, Chief Technology Oﬃcer of dock10. The dock10 studios, located in the old canals of the city of Manchester, are one of the largest and most technologically advanced television facilities in the British lands. Opened in 2012, they have less tradition than an organization like EBU, but we assure you that their years of experience and technological muscle have a lot to tell. In addition, the 43rd edition of the Ryder Cup was recently held at the Whistling Straits golf course in the state of Wisconsin in the United States of America. This now classic competition faces Europe against the USA and it is always exciting. We have been able to interview some of the members of the production team of European Tour Productions (ETP) and they have assured us that golf is one of the most complicated sports to broadcast as everything happens at the same time in very distant places. As if that were not enough, in this edition we oﬀer you the second part of the in-depth analysis that, our great friend and collaborator, Luis Pavia has made on all the possible accessories that can be added to a camera to make it capable of creating the most interesting and spectacular shots.
Editor in chief Javier de Martín firstname.lastname@example.org
Creative Direction Mercedes González
TM Broadcast International #98 October 2021
Key account manager Susana Sampedro email@example.com
Administration Laura de Diego
Editorial staff firstname.lastname@example.org
Published in Spain
TM Broadcast International is a magazine published by Daró Media Group SL Centro Empresarial Tartessos Calle Pollensa 2, oficina 14 28290 Las Rozas (Madrid), Spain Phone +34 91 640 46 43
NEWS Newtek Adventure Series Case study: Russia’s Channel One uses Zero Density solutions for news broadcasting European Broadcasting Union We have called to Switzerland to talk with Hans Hoﬀmann, Hans Hoﬀmann, Head of Media Fundamentals and Production, EBU Technology & Innovation, about the future plans of EBU regarding the technology
dock10 Dock10 is part of an audiovisual complex called Media City. It is also home to the BBC and ITV, as well as the multinational companies Ericsson and Kellogg’s. All of these companies benefit from the presence of dock10, as its infrastructure provides them with one of the most advanced networks in the world.
Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits The European Tour’s production team talk to us about their broadcasting methods, the challenges they face in producing it and the solutions they have created to overcome them.
Camera Accessories II In this second installment we will put an end to our review on accessories for cameras.
Content creation and collaboration can be improved with these considerations
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AJA launches its solution for data analytics and management: Diskover Media Edition The software is based on open source roots and lets media and entertainment professionals search find, and analyze media asset data originating from onpremises, remote, and cloud storage. The software allows users to index hundreds of petabytes of data and make them to take better and more informed data decisions. Characteristics A single master index: files across cloud, remote, and on-premises storage are up to date, and that data access and rights can be controlled on a per-user level. Snapshots in time: it oﬀers history of indexes to compare storage over time and project future growth demands, as well as identify areas of concern. Elasticsearch: scale to any size and type with an opensource core that simplifies asset search and provides insights into associated storage costs. Tagging: use tags to
support workflow actions and approval processes. Analysis: advance media workflows and monetization eﬀorts with access to technical metadata. Support for hybrid environments: run Diskover across on-premises storage solutions and cloud-based storage services. Web-browser UI. Security: read-only access to the file systems and a web-based UI not directly
connected to the storage prevents file corruption, deletion, or unwanted changes to assets. Global asset overview: provide remote teams and individuals with a global view of the assets for each given production, group of productions, or client. Cost analysis tools: Make more informed data-related decisions about time, resources, and investments to reduce operating costs.
NEWS - PRODUCTS
NEWS - PRODUCTS
Aviwest launches PRO460 5G Transmitter for live remote production high-eﬃciency custom antennas to ensure highspeed transmission, the PRO460 provides robust, error-free transmission over any network (i.e., cellular, satellite, IP leased line, or the public internet), ensuring low end-to-end latency, down to 0.5 seconds, thanks to AVIWEST’s two-time Emmy® Award-winning SST (Safe Stream Transport) technology. SST combines advanced network aggregation, adaptive packet retransmission, and Forward Error Correction techniques to enable high network throughput and maximize quality of service.
Aviwest has unveiled its new PRO460, the next evolution of its flagship PRO bonded cellular transmitter series for remote and athome video production over 5G networks. Available in a compact form factor suitable for backpack or V-Mount/G-mount camera mounting, the PRO460 supports 4K UHD and multicamera workflows for up to four high-resolution, fully frame-synced feeds, delivering outstandingquality video and high performance. The features include full control and monitoring of transmitters directly from the studio. The PRO460 supports wireless frameaccurate synchronization and video transmission of multiple cameras to ensure seamless switching in the studio while a highdefinition video return (up to 1080p50/60) is available for confidence monitoring or teleprompting. The solution also oﬀers support for full-duplex intercoms to
optimize communication between field crews and studio operators, and innovative data bridging for remote camera control, tally light management, or control of any IP connected device during a live event. Housing six globally compliant 5G modems and incorporating patented,
In addition, the PRO460 supports the latest generation of H.265/HEVC and the proven H.264/AVC compression standards to accommodate new and existing infrastructures ensuring high-quality video and high performance, with up to 4Kp60 combined with eight audio channels for high-end productions.
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NEWS - PRODUCTS
Vizrt launches XR Venue: its virtual solution for sports Vizrt has recently announced the release of its virtual solution for sports: Vizrt XR Venue. Featuring Viz Arena 5, the XR Venue solution empowers sports broadcasters to enhance content with AR graphics. This solution is now fully integrated in IO platform, Vizrt’s backbone for future sports developments. “Using the world’s most advanced real-time virtual graphics, broadcasters are
able to deliver an extra layer of excitement and more detail with data-driven graphics that are visually second to none,” said Daniel Url, Head of Product Management, Vizrt Group. “And with the unified IO sports platform, using XR Venue or XR Playbook easily adjusts to changing production requirements.”
downstream workflow at
The unified IO oﬀers flexibility and scalability to produce either upstream at the venue or in a
Engine hardware. Finally,
the studio. Also, it oﬀers a flexible choice of playout: fill and key or composite video signal for specific production workflows. The output is able to be added on top of the program feed to the mixer as a separate source. In addition, hardware for XR Venue is consistent with regular Viz XR Venue embraces UHD / HDR in their native formats and supported workflows.
NEWS - PRODUCTS
NEWS - PRODUCTS
Leader announces new features for LVB440 IP Analyzer
Designed to monitor
at multiple locations.
Four new features are
and analyze high-bitrate
Operators gain the ability
now available as standard.
media traﬃc in broadcast
to survey every media
Existing models can be
production studios, OB
transport layer of an IP
updated online to the latest
vehicles, master control
facilities and transmission
allowing issues to be
networks, the Leader
rectified before they impact
LVB440 allows analysis of
the quality of service
SD, HD, UHD and 4K data
experienced by television
flow over media networks
viewers. The LVB440 is
2. Closed captioning
of any size. Housed in a
controlled via an HTML-5
compact 1U chassis, it
web browser and can be
gives production teams
operated by up to eight
the resources needed
local or remote users. Data
to perform real-time
rates of 10, 25, 40 and 50
checks on large numbers
gigabit/s are supported,
of streams and multiple
extending up to 100
4. Rolling packet capture
resolutions in parallel
gigabit/s via dual interfaces.
1. LVB440-SER22 - JPEG XS SMPTE ST.2110-22 compression analysis.
3. Support for 7.1 surround sound, 5.1 surround sound and mix-down to stereo pair.
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Live U Solo allows Australian basketball fans to enjoy the NBL1 league nationwide
The NBL1, Australia’s professional semi-elite basketball league, has implemented LiveU Solo wireless video encoders at arenas across the whole country. That action enables the league to stream every basketball game. To the fans it has supposed that they were able to enjoy 900 NBL1 live games, including final matches and highlights. The cloud-based remote production was powered by Australian broadcast services company, 5stream, online production platform, Cloudmix, and with LiveU’s
local partner, Pacific Live Media, providing the Solo solution and local technical support. “LiveU has been a gamechanger for Australian basketball, enabling us to engage sports fans nationwide with exciting, high-quality live coverage for the best video experience. We had a dream to deliver NBL1 games from states around Australia and LiveU’s 4G bonded IP technology made it possible, enabling us to stream reliably from every venue, at any time, removing our previous
single point of failure issue,” said Dean Anglin, General Manager at NBL1. “The setup has been unbelievably simple, requiring minimal training for our ground staﬀ – one training session with the kits and they’re ready to go! Live streaming the games has strengthened the NBL1 brand and generated a steep rise in interest in basketball. We’ve managed to increase the number of eyeballs online using cost-eﬀective production. Currently, we have 75 Solo units, and this number is set to increase to over 100 for the upcoming season.” The LiveU Solo video solution provides wireless live streaming, directly from cameras or other video sources to online platforms or webs utilizing LiveU’s Solo cloud platform. The main characteristic of this platform is that it is able to merge every network connections in order to increase bandwidth.
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German TV producer Studio Berlin equips a new OB truck with Grass Valley
Studio Berlin, a German TV-production services provider, has trust on Grass Valley to equip its OB truck. It is called U10 it will be used to manage as live shows, such as The Voice of Germany, as live events, such as League Bundesliga matches or several political talk shows. This installation was
designed, manufactured and completed Broadcast Solutions GmbH. “Today’s media landscape is more dynamic and vibrant than ever, and audiences want experiences that are immersive and as good as being there. We need best-in-class technology and solutions that enable us to continually meet
consumer demand,” said Matthias Alexandru, CTO, Studio Berlin. “We’re excited to bring our new truck to market filled with proven live production technology from Grass Valley which the Studio Berlin crew is familiar with operating and takes them to the next level of 4K productions without any compromises.”
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U10 is enhanced to support
Studio Berlin deployed
UHD, HDR, 12G SDI new
24 Grass Valley LDX 86N
to the newest level. We
standards. The Grass
4K cameras ready for
knew we could turn to
Valley solutions that are
traditional native HD/3G
Grass Valley to complete
acquisition, as well as native
the launch of our new truck
going to take part on the OB truck are K-Frame XP Compact Switcher with Karrera, Korona panels and LiveTouch. K-Frame will provide more 4K M/Es,
4K UHD capture. Also, the truck will be prepared to house LDX 150 camera with triple-speed UHD/HDR SuperSlowMotion (SSM)
as we have placed our trust in the company for more than two decades,” added Nick Zimmermann, CEO, Studio Berlin. “Grass
Valley’s experience and
with the Studio Berlin
is fundamental to our
enables multi-angle edition
production crew means
business success so
customers can trust our
and collaborative workflows
at Studio Berlin we are
via virtual shared storage.
constantly upgrading our
services to be eﬃcient and reliable.”
more 4K Keyers and more 4K DVEs. LiveTouch replay and highlights system
collaborative way of working
NEWS - SUCCESS STORIES
Game Creek Video integrates in its OB Truck main unite highlights and UHD/HDR solutions from EVS
Game Creek Video has
oﬀers full HD 1080p
the upgrade of one of
or UHD-4K production
their OB Trucks from
in either HDR or SDR,
its fleet. PeacockOne, a
furthermore the ability to
53’ expanding mobile
make super slow-motion in-
production unit, has
game replays. It leverages
been upgrade from HD
the XT-VIA production
production to full HDR
server to support formats
capabilities based on
and protocols from HD to
EVS’ LiveCeption and
8K, SDR to HDR, and SDI
to IP in a single solution.
The objective was to make
It guarantees up to six
it fast-tracked to support
channels of UHD and
NBC Sports’ delivery of
16+ channels of HD. The
upcoming events in 1080p
LiveCeption system also
provides LSM-VIA replay
and highlights solution. Leveraging the Secure Reliable Transport (SRT) network protocol through certified integration with Haivision’s Maktio X series of video encoders and decoders, the system delivers low latency and quality over any managed network or public Internet connection to let video operators create replays and highlight packages. Game Creek’s PeacockOne unit will integrate live media content browsing,
NEWS - SUCCESS STORIES
to assets from anywhere, facilitating remote collaboration.
control, live edit and playout delivered by EVS’ MediaCeption production asset management (PAM) solution. MediaCeption allows production teams
“As our business has grown, integrating EVS solutions into our roadmap has enabled us to continually adapt to client demands and stay competitive. With this latest investment in LiveCeption and MediaCeption, we’re leading the way in agile HDR sports production and it’s an exciting road ahead
for our teams who can now eﬃciently collaborate wherever they are” Garrett Sullivan, SVP Production & Finance at Game Creek Video, commented. Quentin Grutman, Chief Customer Oﬃcer at EVS, has said that, “Game Creek is a true pioneer in large-scale production and we’re proud of their continued investment in our solutions.”
NEWS - SUCCESS STORIES
Pixotope brings Broadcast AR technology to the 2021 Singapore National Day Parade
Pixotope was used to
there was a constant
360 video samples) to use
generate all of the AR
as reflection maps for the
overlays for five segments
Anomalyst Studio and the
AR content. The goal for
of the large scale TV event,
graphics team for the LED
with the AR elements conceived as part of the show’s main narrative, including notable segments such as five stars rising up from a physical stage prop, transitioning to form
and floor projections. The various animated elements were created in Maya before being imported into Pixotope for playback in the main show, and
the graphics powered by Pixotope was to appear ‘invisibly seamless’, thus designers had to ensure that the displays blended as if they were live stage elements.
after the first pass of AR
The Singapore National
visuals were complete,
Day Parade was Pixotope
the lighting department
and Anomalyst Studio’s first
To ensure visual
sampled their lighting
collaboration on a large-
scale live event.
a virtual display of the Singaporean national flag.
NEWS - BUSINESS & PEOPLE
Viaccess-Orca appoints Sammer Elia as Business Development Director for MENA Region In his new role, Elia will lead VO’s sales and business development for OTT video, entertainment, and content protection solutions, addressing the company’s expanding global presence and helping to ensure superior service for customers in the MENA region. Based in Dubai, Elia brings
a wealth of sales and business development experience to VO from working at multinational companies including Nokia, NEC, Oracle, EXFO, and Orange. Prior to joining VO, Elia was the Sales and Business Development Director, ANZ, at Broadpeak. Before that, Elia spearheaded
the multimedia and APM business unit at ILS Technologies, where he applied visionary strategies to accelerate the company’s success and growth. In the span of four years, he transformed ILS Technologies into an essential partner for OTT and APM across the region.
Adventure Series Following on from the success of NewTek’s ProAV Days and US Adventure series - in November, due to high-demand, NewTek will be tailoring its Adventures Series for the EMEA market. Exploring award-winning solutions, next-generation IP workflows, and looking at how NDI 5 is changing the broadcast technology landscape. The traditional verticals of Broadcast, AV and Video Conference are merging through advancements in software defined, IP Centric technologies. From corporate, to education, to government, to live events such as music and theatre, join us to gain insight into how NewTek has enabled remote production, connectivity and flexibility, to meet the challenges of delivering AV experiences in these rapidly changing times. We will be exploring video solutions for:
Education o User driven AV over IP infrastructure, with infinite reach beyond the classroom. o Learn how NewTek cameras, converters and software defined media hubs can keep education and training alive and interactive, on site, online and on demand. Live venues o Restricted venue capacity doesn’t mean your audiences have to be smaller. o Find out how easy it is to capture video and audio from all angles, recorded and streamed in true hybrid productions, to reach your audiences wherever they are, with NewTek’s integrated production solutions. Government and Legal o Across Europe, legal proceedings need to be captured and
archived. Watch now to find out how cases of public interest can be streamed, and witnesses and legal teams join remotely. Sports. Played Better o Leveraging the full power of NewTek’s 3Play and TriCaster to aid storytelling in your live sports or gaming event. Join us for all the tips and tricks from real field experiences. Corporate – Broadcast Live o Discover how NewTek software defined media hubs with NDI and Dante deliver Broadcast experiences in AV environments to remote and local participants.
Harnessing the power of AV-over-IP with agility and ease The combined power of NewTek’s turnkey software defined media systems and NDI® enables you to step
beyond siloed, separated, services for AV, Broadcast and Video Communications and even integrate with existing traditional baseband and third-party IP technologies to expand your existing systems. As user-led platforms, both NewTek TriCaster and the NDI protocol enable users to help themselves to broadcast quality video and audio, even in full 4K Ultra High Definition. NDI’s Auto Discovery mechanism and human naming conventions free users from the complexities of AV-over-IP. Utilizing as little as gigabit ethernet and simple-todeploy unicast networking, you can start small – delivering multiple feeds of HD, 4K even non-broadcast video resolutions with eﬀortless distribution – and as demands increase scale to encompass multiple rooms, buildings and now even geographies without leaving the protocol. With the NewTek TriCaster integrated media productions systems at
the core of your estates, video and audio can be processed and produced to deliver broadcast experiences; locally, online and to video conference platforms simultaneously. With high eﬃciency lightweight compression and minimal complexity, AV-over-IP experiences can be delivered on dedicated or existing network fabrics to bring AV to spaces and locations that previously would have been both cost and technically prohibitive. NewTek and NDI deliver truly flexible AV-over-IP that can pivot between local, full remote and hybrid on demand.
Compelling stories through dynamic content NewTek and NDI are more than just AV distribution, TriCaster is the market leading production system for creating dynamic content with easy to access tools from Adobe graphics integration, through to green screen chromakeying, and virtual environments
to keep your audiences engaged wherever they may be. Producing high quality video content and communication shouldn’t be complex. With NewTek and NDI you can be free to focus on telling your story creatively rather than being caught up in technicalities.
Performance that continues Live Events, whether concerts, theatre, conferences, townhall meetings can continue whatever is thrown at you. During the last 18 months NewTek customers have had the ultimate toolbox at their disposal to tackle the challenges of remote and hybrid events head on, and most importantly swiftly. Through TriCaster’s integrated live streaming engine, your live and recorded content can reach audiences on all major and even custom content delivery networks, from Microsoft Azure through to Vimeo.
By embracing software
remote source, as if they
more can be delivered
were there in the room.
as simply as custom web
approaches, NewTek users have grown audiences far beyond what a venue can contain – and there’s no going back.
Remote guests, presenters and attendees alike are brought into your AV over IP environment and receive return video and audio of
Lifting restrictions for shows that must go on
the production. Through the creative tools onboard, remote guests
GUI for simplified control from any computer, phone or tablet, through to full automation driven even from a word document loaded into a teleprompter script. As a software defined platform NewTek systems
can be brought into the
can communicate with
Guests can’t travel and
same virtual spaces and
other systems such as
audiences can’t attend? No
relayed to your local
video wall processors,
audiences and attendees
camera robotics, in room
– making even remote
audio processors and much
participants a seamless part
Through TriCaster 2 Elites Live Call Connect, Skype TX technologies and NDI integration through NDI Tools, our approach enables you to bring guests and presenters in as peerto-peer inputs to your production – even with
of your show.
Deliver repeatable, automated, communications and experiences
Whether you are looking to deploy a meeting room, and auditorium, a broadcast studio or classroom, if you’re using video and want to communicate through visual storytelling, you can
What’s more is that with a
shape NewTek and NDI
NewTek at the core of an
to meet today’s world of
We treat video conferences
NDI estate, all these rich
local, hybrid and remote
as we do any local or
media experiences and
To learn more about how we meet these challenges and more; join us for the NewTek Adventure Series of live demonstrations and real-world case studies and make your ideas a reality, today. For more information contact us at www.newtek.com.
Russia’s Channel One uses Zero Density solutions for news broadcasting Over a year ago, Channel 1 in Russia started using Zero Density solutions for preparation and broadcasting news programs. Anton Philippov, the CTO of Channel One Department of information programs Anton Philippov, explains the channel’s studio systems and how the Department has come to a decision in using them. What is the Channel 1’s virtual production capability? Today the “Channel One” Department of information programs has three studios. Two of them are equipped with Zero Density hardware and software. Those are Studio-1, Department’s largest and the Studio-3. Studio-1 broadcasts mainly news programs, including Evening News and Time. Zero Density’s solutions are installed here are two cameras mounted on robotic telescopic Technodolly cranes with tracking based on cranes’ encoders. Also, in conjunction with a large LED screen, the Portal Window solution is used, providing interconnection of graphics objects within a
and Newsroom placed in an amphitheater of the hall (600 sq. m). Zero Density system in Studio-1 is used for both live on-air plus record-to-tape.
videowall with augmented reality objects in the studio. Portwal Window allows the creation of a virtual portal between the studio and the space drawn inside the video wall. Now, the possibilities of Zero Density system installed in Studio-1 are being extended with one extra engine and other products. Production space of Studio-1 consists of a stage of former concert studio (near 165 sq. m)
Studio-3 is another Reality installation and about 136 sq. m. We’ve reconstructed the studio and turned it to a space for combining real and virtual sets. The entire studio space was rebuilt upon new functionality creation: a new cyclorama of a complex G shape and 15×9 m in size was built and equipped with additional Dedolight lighting fixtures. Four studio cameras were equipped with Mo-Sys StarTracker IP tracking system dedicated to position defining and orienting a camera in cyclorama space and gathering lens zoom and
focus data. Each camera is connected to Reality. Studio-3 serves for recording the programs produced using large laborconsuming virtual sets. How does the audience respond to shows of Channel 1 that are enriched with virtual graphics? I can state that I have no specific data on that subject. But we think that visualization of information through virtual space is a demanded solution, and we will continue our development in that direction. Also, I think that those technologies are future-proof. Especially we should keep in mind that
attracting a young audience now is possible not only by smart and presentable anchors, who can professionally tell stories but by what surrounds them in a studio space to support these stories. Furthermore, usage of virtual technologies allows fast-changing of studio sets or adding virtual elements to the existing physical sets. This makes broadcast more appealing visually. When was the first time you heard about Zero Density? For the first time, we got aware of Zero Density in 2017-2018 while attending the industry shows of NAB and IBC. The booth
attracted our attention, like booths of competitors did, however. The idea of virtual technology use was in the talks, and we were interested in taking that direction of broadcast development. The analysis of numerous options and the process of decision-making had taken near two years. Finally, we had chosen Zero Density because, from our perspective, their solution provided the best image quality in combination with control convenience. Game engine usage was also crucial since there are many paid and free virtual objects in digital libraries. Zero Density was a pioneer
in using Unreal Engine in professional TV production. That is the reason behind our decision. When Channel 1 started using its virtual capability? We kickstarted the projects in July 2020. Primarily, the daily programs of Evening News and the Time started broadcasting with Reality. The first three weeks included timid steps, but today, the news programs produced using Zero Density are aired almost daily, both live and recorded.
The question of learning the system is interesting as well. As a young company, Zero Density is flexible and produces many new solutions and software updates. Even within one year, there are numerous new updates. The education in our staﬀ has not stopped. We are modernizing the system step by step and educating our staﬀ on Zero Density products. This area requires a lot of self-education and motivation. From my perspective, I consider Zero Density solutions to stand on the junction of
hardware, software, and the creativity of artists working in Unreal Engine space. I see that Channel 1 specialists explore the system more and more confidently because they trained in across-the-board broadcast mode longer than planned initially. The system itself is fascinating and has vast potential. Since there were people interested in that, such as IT engineers, designers, and directors, I’d say that in general, Zero Density learning process hadn’t been too complicated.
What is installed in the Studios? Generally talking about the solution installed, we use Reality Engine systems as the central platform alongside Reality Editor applications for virtual objects creation and processing. Creating assets on Editor allows us to maximize the exploration eﬃciency of studio space, objects, and virtual sets preparation area. Recently we have shifted to RealityHub and we are sure that was the right step. Now we are waiting for Zero
Density regular updates
to Zero Density, but to
and integrations on Reality
alternative solutions too.
The technical possibilities
What is your recommendation for other broadcasters? It is evident that virtual and augment reality
of today’s systems used in TV production are often a step or even two beyond creative potential TV channels have. That is why I would like to emphasize
technologies will be used
raising the creative level of
widely in TV broadcast.
designers and educating
Based on the experience of
the IT staﬀ. Only this, in
working with Zero Density
conjunction with the high
I’d recommend those
technological level of Zero
thinking over deployment
Density will give the desired
of these technologies to
result. We went exactly
evaluate their creative
that way – educated and
possibilities first. And
keep educating creative
that applies not only
European Broadcasting Union A past and future commitment based in technology
The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) is an international organization of public service corporations grouped within the broadcasting sector. It was founded more than 70 years ago with the aim of improving the radio and television service through partnership. This association was based on three pillars: technological assistance through collaboration, the exchange of content and the defense of its own interests. In addition, EBU operates two of the world’s largest content and information exchange networks: Eurovision and Euroradio. Broadcasting media have been built on technology and, even today, the EBU remains at the forefront of technological innovation. From the very beginning, the corporation was involved in the research and development of color television or was involved in the way in which Hertzian waves were used for television broadcasting. Even during the 80’s it developed together with the SMPTE the technical standardization of digital television through the standard called “ITU Recommendation 601”. These are just samples of the history of technological development that the EBU promoted. In TM Broadcast International, we called Switzerland to talk with Hans Hoffmann, Hans Hoffmann, Head of Media Fundamentals and Production, EBU Technology & Innovation, about the future plans of EBU regarding media technology.
EBU IS AN ASSOCIATION OF PUBLIC SERVICE MEDIA. AND ITS FOCUSING AREA IS NOT ONLY EUROPE, BUT BEYOND THIS CONTINENT.
Hans Hoﬀmann, Head of Media Fundamentals and Production, EBU Technology & Innovation. Photo: EBU.
What is the role of EBU in the transformation and evolution of European Televisions? EBU is an association of public service media. And its focusing area is not only Europe, but beyond this continent. This means that you will find within its organization almost all European public service media operators plus our associates around the globe. We have associates
such as NHK in Japan, KBS in South-Korea, as well as CBC/Radio Canada and more in the US and Australia. We can say that EBU is a globally operating organization whilst the footprint is, of course, Europe predominantly. The role of this organization is serving the interest of their members. As regards technical activities, Technology & Innovation Department represents
public medias’ interest and positions in emerging media technologies. This means that we communicate the user requirements of our members, consolidate the user requirements into clear messages toward standardization or consolidate new technologies, whether this is in production, or in distribution. Also, we engage with the consumer technology industry around how our media content is actually consumed and presented. In addition, there is another area where we
are highly active. The EBU engages with international regulators to ensure that the requirements of EBU members are also reflected in the forthcoming regulations. For instance, the WRC-23 is an event where the topics of spectrum frequencies will be discussed in various forms. I have not yet described all the legal activities we run, the activities in coproductions of our Media department or what the other arm of the EBU, Eurovision Services, is doing, but I think this would too broad for our interview. [Laughs]
the audiences with digital products. When we talk about digital products, we are speaking about everything that is not linear television or linear radio. We are focusing on digital representation. This represents content via applications on any of the devices that already exist, and the devices to come.
There are challenges are in the workflows that creation process has itself, but also in what type of distribution mechanisms we are going to use. Additionally, there are also challenges in terms of how the data is used in order to present the content to the consumer, recommendation engines, indeed.
We certainly know that the smartphone is the device where much of the media is consumed. This knowledge has implications for an organization like EBU.
That is one transformation process that many members have been and are undertaking. This process is not only about technology, but technology
Of course, that will be too much for this interview. Regarding technology, what are the transformation challenges for European broadcasters in the coming years? The digital transformation challenge is expressed by the word “digital” on its own. Public service media operators must be able or have to develop the capabilities to serve
Hans Hoﬀmann at EBU Production Technology Seminar. Photo: Claudio Flocco.
is an important factor in production processes: the move to cloud, the move to IP based productions, etc. More IT and software skills will be required, but also that creative staﬀ, whether they are journalists or just another creative; have to be equipped with the necessary skills to manage the new digital formats. The digital transformation involves workflows, media processes, distribution, recommendation engines, etc. Could you give some extra information about this transformation across the EBU members? How are they making this transformation and at what stage are they?
As we said, the EBU represents a plethora of diﬀerent broadcast organizations. The big ones, of course, will have suﬃcient innovation capacity to be leading the game. Then we have other EBU members who follow developments from a more distant position and will adopt technical specifications or transformation initiatives when they are ready. Let’s concentrate a little bit on the leading broadcasters. What we are seeing is, first of all, media creation process related, that there is a move towards the use of IP-based infrastructures. In order to defend and
have a sustainable investment policy, standardized interfaces and infrastructures are necessary. The SMPTE ST 2110 specification is very important in this context, because it safeguards the investment in live IP infrastructures and the interoperability of systems from diﬀerent manufacturers. But standardization over IP infrastructures is just a first step. The crisis around COVID has shown that remote production and the use of the cloud is a very important evolution on media creation. Immediately, you can edit and prepare this content through remote workforces.
IN ORDER TO DEFEND AND HAVE A SUSTAINABLE INVESTMENT POLICY, STANDARDIZED INTERFACES AND INFRASTRUCTURES ARE NECESSARY.
And these workforces can come from the homes of your employees or from the collaboration between diﬀerent broadcasters. Everything is changing, the workflows that are needed to create and distribute
content are very diﬀerent from those that were in use previously. What is the status of the transition from HD to UHD among EBU members? We have seen a number of significant changes. The most important is that the audience is put into the center of all considerations. Whether it is a sound experience, a visual experience or a content personalization experience, we need to satisfy the demands of the audiences. You have mentioned UHDTV and this is an immersive media experience that normally
requires a large screen, so it’s more for the family enjoyment. But we should not forget that also a modern smartphone or a tablet can give you an immersive experience. UHDTV is not only resolution, but also higher dynamic range (HDR) and wider color gamut (WCG). According to our observations, this is now widely accepted by the industry and it provides much higher impact of experience than only focusing on resolution. HDR in particular is a very important topic. We are currently developing clear recommendations for European broadcasters about producing, exchanging between
broadcasters and distributing with UHDTV and HDR. What are the main advantages for a broadcaster of going over IP and how are they related to immersive media? The reason to change to IP is additional flexibility. You can produce in conventional HDTV. But you can produce HDR content on that same infrastructure and when you decide to produce UHDTV, you can scale to the required capacity without having to replace the whole thing. Broadcasters gain scalability, flexibility, higher eﬃciency, multi-format capabilities, from moving to an IP-based production system. Or, even, to a cloud-based production system. We have several
EBU members who are already transitioned some of their facilities to IP-based production systems. There is the BBC in Cardiﬀ or our associate member CBC/ Radio-Canada, whojust we on air with their new building in Montreal. Will an IP-based system transform into a cloudbased system? I think we will see a hybrid scenario. For some applications you will need to have very hardcore IP-based production infrastructures. For other, we already see that members are using the cloud. The use of one technology or another will depend on the specific application. Also, there will be a wide number of private clouds, not just the public one. There are many considerations which ask
for private cloud, including media cybersecurity, which is an important topic at the moment for discussion. In the old SDI world or HDSDI world, where there was no IP infrastructure, the attack surface was very limited, but today, when we move to IP, when we connect to the public internet, there is a high risk for attacks and members are very concerned How is EBU involved in solving these security problems? We have a dedicated group, which is called the Media Cybersecurity Group. The group joins all the chief security oﬃcers of our EBU members in a confidential conversation and we have created a community. There they share their experiences and
they develop strategies,
example, an awareness
I can give you the simplest
and also, develop
and management of all
example, - don’t write
ports, APIs and other
your password behind the
are partly technical.
potential attack vectors,
Security testing systems
can actually hijack your
This is old fashioned, but it
before you install them
happens really often. Many
in your facility, for
failures are human and not
so that not anybody
screen of your PC. [Laughs]
so much technological. But the broad objective of EBU is to provide guidance. Another very important element is the European activities around cloud and security. The EBU has recently joined the consortium called Gaia-X. It is a European-led consortium that seeks to develop a common response to community members for the use of secure and trusted cloud services. We are the first media association in this big consortium, and EBU
is going to play the role of providing the requirements of media organizations. I think it is a very important milestone for Europe that echoes our demands and feelings. How will 5G communications aﬀect broadcasting? What are the biggest challenges that European broadcasters will face? From the EBU point of view you can find a lot of activities related with 5G communications. We have
started to separate these activities. One is related to the consumer space, business to consumer, a broadcast mode in 5G; and the other one is the application of 5G in production environments, business-to-business. Also, EBU is hosting the 5G-MAG association. There, we try to get industry and users together. On the other hand, we are running a number of EU projects, for example, we have been participating in an EU project called
EBU IS HOSTING THE 5G-MAG ASSOCIATION. THERE, WE TRY TO GET INDUSTRY AND USERS TOGETHER. ON THE OTHER HAND, WE ARE RUNNING A NUMBER OF EU PROJECTS
5G-Xcast, and lately, we are participating in a project called 5G-Records. This last one looks after the professional applications of 5G, business-tobusiness, in order to find a replacement for current production methods in 5G technologies. Do you think our production facilities, systems and infrastructures, are they absolutely going to
change with 5G, or will they be hybrid? Yes, I think it will. The world is a hybrid world. You never have a broadcast organization, which is only 5G-based, that’s impossible. Also, from the business point of view, that makes no sense. But in contribution applications or certain event production applications it can make sense. When you go out to an outdoor event, for example, you produce in a stadium, the application of 5G makes a lot of sense, because you save costs with this new infrastructure, you add flexibility and you can oﬀer new forms of content to the audience. This infrastructure will be driven by putting the audience at the center of interest, plus, in this way, multiple business opportunities will be generated. How does the EBU transform the distribution among its members? I think what we are going to see is that we are going
to still have a strong usage of linear broadcasts, of course, in the European media space. As we all understand, the move to OTT is inevitable, and the move to using player-based recommender systems to deliver content on any end device to users is coming. So distribution is going to change, again, towards a hybrid environment, in which, on the one hand, there is a strong use in those countries that need terrestrial or satellite services, but there will also be a predominant use of OTT. You will see a predominant use also of hybrid environments, such as DVB-I and HbbTV, which is already there. I think this is not to be stopped, is rather to be reinforced. Our EBU members are already deploying these types of IP services in terms of large-scale distribution. If we look at diﬀerent countries, we find diﬀerent formats. Some see their evolution towards an IP-only world, others towards a hybrid world. In both cases you find linear or non-linear channels
together. I think this is definitely the root. We will also see the incorporation of 5G into this model, but, for a long time, we will have terrestrial services available. How involved is artificial intelligence in data processing, and how is EU taking that into account? The use of audience data as well as other data only makes sense if you can process, analyze, and draw the right conclusions out of the data. For this purpose, the use of machine learning and artificial intelligence is important. We have actually several activities and programs running in this context. One of them is called the AI and Data Initiative (AIDI). Also, we develop machine learning algorithms and artificial intelligence tools. But one of the most important topics is to understand, on the one hand, what these tools recommend and, on the other hand, what they actually calculate when they receive the data.
You have to understand the algorithm and how it is designed. You don’t necessarily have to understand the algorithm itself, but you should at least have a broad understanding of the tools. That is why, later at the newsroom, these tools will be used to help fake news detection, for instance. In addition, these tools are used to provide recommendations such as, for example, through our PEACH system, or “A European Perspective”, a translingual news service launched by EBU and our members. These tools are also used in much tougher functionalities, for example, in automation, in detecting whether networks are at the limit of their performance or whether there is a problem that you haven’t seen and is coming. We see a wide variety of applications of AI and machine learning tools, both on the creative side and in deciding hardware infrastructures. We have another project which is called EuroVOX.
This is also a toolset designed to provide realtime translation between languages. One of the main objectives when our Director of Technology & Innovation, Antonio Arcidiacono, came was to overcome the language barriers in Europe. How can you do that? You can use these cloud provider tools on text, which is very suitable for subtitling, or which is good for news and text translations. Then you can even go further and say
Overall, public service media are constantly refining their strategy. And the target is to become data-driven and audience-focused. The audience is in the center and this idea has to feed into all content creation decisions. Next, the focus is on suitable distribution technologies to translate spoken languages. This is a useful purpose for European audiences, and we can get to develop it through some of the tools that we are providing. One last short question, how the EBU is developing this whole guidance across media technical infrastructure? We have several labs in the EBU. We have also digital living room. We have an IP lab, where we study the IP production and cloud-based operations. We are now doing in T&I, much more practical, applied research
reach the audiences with the necessary content at a time that the audience wants it. In other words, put the audience in the director’s seat, so that they can choose when, at what time and where they
tasks together with universities. I am very happy that T&I
want to consume
department and Antonio Arcidiacono actually took this
the content they are
move. Now we have a high commitment to universities
and research labs. So we really are building communities and bringing together science and the art of making better media.
dock10 was born under the pretext of decentralising the BBC’s production facilities. The British feeling that the BBC, the UK’s national broadcaster, was too settled in the British capital was palpable and the intention to have facilities spread across the country was becoming an ambition at the media corporation’s headquarters. Around 2007, the BBC’s general director Mark Thompson, by those days, was in favour of the BBC, in his own words, “to serves and represents the whole country and not just its capital”. The initial plan was to move key elements of the BBC’s television operations, including BBC Children’s and BBC Sport, out of London and into Salford Quays in Greater Manchester. Construction began on the Quays during 2007. Dock10 was ready for broadcast in January 2011 and the facility was oﬃcially opened by Queen Elizabeth II in March 2012. Older history provided by the company details that construction of the Manchester Canal began in 1887 and was excavated by hand over the following six years. The canal was provided with several docks for the mooring of shipping and river transport. In the original plans, an area was foreseen which, in the future, would be dedicated to accommodate another pier for the port of Manchester. The place was going to be called dock10. It never happened. But the company we are talking about has proudly acquired that name. Dock10 is part of an audiovisual complex called Media City. It is also home to the BBC and ITV, as well as the multinational companies Ericsson and Kellogg’s. All of these companies benefit from the presence of dock10, as its infrastructure provides them with one of the most advanced networks in the world. We had the pleasure of speaking with Paul Clennell, Chief Technology Oﬃcer at dock10, and we offer you this interview through his knowledge and experience.
Do you have your own equipment, both human and technical, or does it depend on each project? dock10 is the UK’s leading television facility and our eight permanent television studios and two outdoor spaces are fully equipped to handle any size or type of television production – we recently invested £5 million on technology and infrastructure upgrades. Our permanent studios, HQ1 through HQ8, incorporate some of the latest equipment – including 15 Sony HDC3500 4K cameras. All our television studios are fitted with virtual studio capability and are integrated into our top-spec 200Gbps network that was designed around 4K/UHD television production and allows content to be instantly moved around the facility. We also operate our own MCR (Master Control Room) and high specification hosting for equipment. Our award-winning inhouse post production facilities have over 50 fully-equipped edit
permanent staﬀ of around 160 full-time specialists supported by hundreds of freelancers who work on major projects whenever needed. At any time in the building, we might have ten major broadcast projects and 50 to 100 post production suites working – it’s always busy!
Paul Clennell, Chief Technology Officer at dock10
suites, with Flame and
Baselight capability and
with over 20 global
4K monitoring. We also
network providers and the
have sound suites, VFX
and extensive media
needed for transferring
high-quality video – we’re
Increasingly, we are also set
one of the best-connected
up for remote working – we
sites in the world.
even have a helpline for editors working from home.
Of course, all this technology is nothing
dock10 also manages the
without a talented team
high-speed cross-site fibre
to operate it and we have
network at Media City that
attracted some of the best
provides broadcasters and
in the business! We have a
DOCK10 IS THE UK’S LEADING TELEVISION FACILITY AND OUR EIGHT PERMANENT TELEVISION STUDIOS AND TWO OUTDOOR SPACES ARE FULLY EQUIPPED TO HANDLE ANY SIZE OR TYPE OF TELEVISION PRODUCTION
Speaking about your network, how does it work? Our 200Gbps network was specially developed to meet the demands of 4K television production and is connected to our ten television studios and their galleries, more than fifty post production suites, our ingest, control rooms and the data centre. We built the network to extremely impressive technical specifications, comprising of two interlinked elements with a Control LAN monitoring and managing studio and gallery equipment in real time, while a Production LAN is dedicated to supporting 4K file-based content workflows. A full range of the latest software control tools and detailed analytics constantly monitor the entire network to ensure its stability and smooth running. On top of this, with the industry increasingly concerned about cyber security, the broadcast network is a dedicated standalone network used exclusively for broadcast content and comes
complete with all the latest cyber security safeguards. For our customers, our network delivers spectacular advantages and eﬃciencies. Imagine this: a UHD television show captured in our studios can be made instantly available for editing and then sent directly for transmission from post production, delivering clients exceptionally fast turnaround of UHD programmes. Similarly, the new network allows 4K contributions for live shows to be edited in dock10’s post production and be available immediately for live playout, allowing changes to be made right up to transmission. It’s all made possible by our network! Euro Set
You have 8 multi-camera studios specialized in television production. They are mainly diﬀerent in size, but are there any technological diﬀerences between them? We have eight television studios plus two specialist audio studios and two
outside spaces for live
TV studio at 12,540 sq ft
television shows against
(1,165 m2) and an audience
the impressive backdrop
capacity of 1,000 people –
of Media City. All these
to small studios designed
studios have their own
for 24/7 continuity for
unique characteristics that
dedicated channels. We
enable us to cater for every
have recently invested £1
requirement. They range in
million in a new gallery
size range from HQ1 - the
solution for our smallest
UK’s biggest multi-camera
studio, HQ8 (713 sq ft / 66
m2), to meet the increasing demand for virtual studios and remote galleries. But when you look beyond size, what’s brilliant about our studios is that they all share the same highspec technology. They all have similar cameras and technical equipment, all are
equipped with virtual studio capabilities, all have stateof-the-art galleries, and all are connected to dock10’s unique infrastructure. This is great for customers as our connectivity and flexibility means any studio can incorporate whatever technology is needed – so every production can find the right size and spec of studio space for their production. What about your virtual studios? What is the technological equipment of them? Typically, people think of a virtual studio as a room with green walls and a green floor. But, in fact, dock10 has taken a very diﬀerent approach and all of our studios are ‘virtual’ enabled. However, a single virtual studio can be restrictive in size and space, so by giving all of our studios a virtual capability we can add virtual and augmented elements to any size of show. All the technology is centralised in our CTA and can be deployed to any or all of our television studios
ALL THE TECHNOLOGY IS CENTRALISED IN OUR CTA AND CAN BE DEPLOYED TO ANY OR ALL OF OUR TELEVISION STUDIOS AT ANY TIME SO THAT CREATIVE DIRECTORS CAN CHOOSE THE SIZE OF STUDIO THAT BEST FITS THEIR REQUIREMENTS.
thanks to advanced camera tracking and graphic processing, we can do the whole shot in real-time, live on screen, so the director will see what the viewers will see! These advances are breath taking and we wanted to be in it from the start. Broadcasters like the BBC were early adopters, using our virtual studios for Match of the Day. Then, when the schools closed for lockdown, we created the virtual classroom for BBC Bitesize Daily in record time and have gone on to create a second series with a hugely expanded virtual set enhanced by an augmented reality robot—all in real time. at any time so that creative directors can choose the size of studio that best fits their requirements. It’s a really revolutionary approach and we have been taking calls from facilities all around the world asking us how we do it!
potential to take green
As for the technology, what excited us was the possibilities coming out of gaming. We saw the
put the actor into a green
screen to the next level by using the real-time photorealistic graphic rendering which makes the virtual environment look indistinguishable from the real world. The movie industry has been doing this for years, but they screen for the impossible shot and then add the virtual world in post. Now,
You also oﬀer postproduction services, what technology do you have to perform this work? We are primarily an AVID house operating 50-100 suites across the site as well as providing remote post services across Media City to customers such as the BBC. Our facilities are equipped with the latest technology, including
Avid edit suites with Avid Interplay MAM, Avid Pro Tools audio suites with ISDN and Source Connect voice booths, Baselight and Lustre for grading and the latest Autodesk Flame suites for VFX. We have a 10-person graphics studio and state-of-the-art
dubbing suites operating Pro Tools S6 M40 desks. Our boutique facility ‘The Quay’, has ten oﬄine and two online suites, 4 VFX suites, a motion graphics area and an expanded grade facility with built in projector. We’re very proud to have been named Best
Post Production House 2020 in the Broadcast Awards. What are your control rooms like, can you tell us what infrastructures they cover and how they are equipped?
complicated productions. This gives productions the flexibility and scalability they need. What kinds of productions are made in sound studios and what are the most frequent technical requirements? Our two specialist audio studios are deliberately designed to serve very diﬀerent purposes. HQ9 is a very large (6,382s q ft / 593 m2) specialist orchestral studio seating an audience of 250. It is the dedicated home of the world-famous BBC Philharmonic, one of the country’s finest orchestras. With the feel of a large theatre, it is used by the BBC Philharmonic and visiting orchestras to achieve and capture the grand sound of a full orchestra. Each studio has a dedicated suite of galleries for production, sound and lighting. These galleries are integrated into dock10’s network so that any gallery can control any studio and so that multiple galleries can be linked together for larger and more
HQ10 is designed for a very diﬀerent purpose - a specialist multi-purpose audio studio for recording radio plays and drama. It can accommodate a large cast and seat a 100 strong audience which is great for creating atmosphere. It also features an anechoic
chamber or ‘dead room’ which completely absorbs background sounds for perfect recordings of anything from a pin drop upwards! Having the two studios means we can provide really specialist spaces that are appropriate for very diﬀerent sound requirements. You are celebrating your tenth anniversary in 2021, how has your technology changed over the last 10 years? What are the major renovations you have carried out? When we built dock10, next-generation technology was just emerging and we were able to incorporate it into the design, such as the latest IP network and centralised control room. It was a smart investment that has served us well over the last ten years, but technology never stands still and we are constantly refreshing, updating and upgrading to ensure we keep ahead of the curve. For us, the recent big shifts have been in UHD/ HDR, augmented and
virtual reality, and remote production. Our most recent major upgrade included a £5 million technology investment that supported these advances across our studios, post production, media storage and network. New equipment included 4K UHD cameras, vision mixers, multi-viewer monitors and core routers, as well as our 200GBps network developed specifically to smooth the way for 4K UHD/HDR and VR/AR. It also saw our install of virtual studio capabilities in all of our studios, using gaming and camera tracking technology to extend and enhance real sets in a photorealistic way a powerful creative tool for producers. Remote production was already transforming the way live sports events are broadcast, but it has really come on during the pandemic with live events minimising crews on location, preferring to handle production from galleries in a main studio. To support this,
The Voice UK 2020.
we invested £1 million in a dedicated multipurpose remote gallery that works seamlessly with outside broadcasts and connects to the dock10 network. The last 18 months has proved how well remote production works, with dock10 becoming a hub for coverage of pandemic hit events such as the FA Cup, the Euros, and the Olympics. And beyond the pandemic, I think remote production will still play a big role as broadcasters and producers use it to reduce their carbon footprint and create content in a more sustainable, cost-eﬀective, way.
What percentage of your services is dedicated to international clients? Most of our clients are UK based broadcasters, including all the public service broadcasters – the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, and Channel 5. However, these are all making content for international audiences with premium programmes that are sold all around the world. We are also receiving more requirements from streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon. It’s fair to say that while many of the productions and production companies may be UK based, the content is very international!
OUR STUDIOS HAVE BEEN USED TO MAKE ALMOST EVERY KIND OF TELEVISION PRODUCTION IMAGINABLE.
What kind of television productions are made in your studios? Series, television programs, live broadcasting? Our studios have been used to make almost every kind of television production imaginable. This includes Saturday-night primetime live entertainment such as ‘The Voice UK’ and pre-recorded primetime favourites like ‘Who Wants to be a Millionaire’. We have long running quizzes – ‘Countdown’, ‘A Question of Sport’, ‘University Challenge’ and ‘Mastermind’ - and a host of other entertainment shows including ‘Dragon’s Den’, ‘Naked Attraction’
and ‘Judge Rinder’. Studio comedies include ‘The Wright Way’ and ‘Citizen Khan’ as well as remakes of television classics ‘Are You Being Served’ and ‘Porridge’. We also support more serious productions like ‘Watchdog’ and even live television debates on nationally important topics such as the general election and even the lockdown. We are home to BBC Sport and its flagship football programme ‘Match of the Day’ for which we designed and built a ground-breaking virtual studio set – recently updated for the Euros. And we are also home to loads of children’s television including long-running favourites ‘Newsround’ and ‘Blue Peter’. Our studios have been used for major live events such as ‘Sport Relief’ and ‘Eurovision: You Decide’, recently our virtual studio capability was at the heart of the Esports spectacular Gran Turismo Championships 2020. There’s not much we haven’t seen here! What are the most important projects you have carried out?
I’d say it was the Euros2020 and Tokyo Olympics, both for BBC Sport. For the Euros, Covid guidelines and travel restrictions limited onsite access to match venues, putting greater emphasis on our remote production and a new virtual set we had built for the tournament. We wanted the Euros to push the boundaries of virtual studios, creatively and technically resetting the standard for sports broadcasting. The goal was to use it to help lockdown fans feel as close as possible to the action, like using a circular design that brought the audience closer to the presenters and 360-degree panoramic imagery that gave viewers the immersive sense of ‘being there’, and to really take coverage to the next level. For the Tokyo Olympics, years of planning had to be revised in a major shift to remote production. dock10 became the BBC’s broadcast centre, housing all the ‘on-location’ elements and helping an
army of pre-procured contractors integrate their teams, technology, and workflows into our facility. Fortunately, he said, “we have plenty of space and were able to quickly reconfigure our studios and infrastructure to accommodate everyone. Our HQ3 housed the virtual set and HQ2 became a dedicated post-production area—both connected to loads of overflow areas for social distancing. We even built 30 VO booths! I have to say, it was a credit to our teams who never missed a beat managing a robust, flexible, collaborative space that perfectly handled countless incoming feeds to produce 350 hours of content while enabling the BBC to reduce on-location personnel by 75%”. What are the most interesting challenges you have faced? Actually, the most interesting challenge was probably establishing ourselves in Salford. Moving production outside of London was a major change for the industry –
What are your future plans?
augmented reality into more entertainment shows. I really believe that the next big global format will be using this technology to bring an idea to life that we were told was impossible or too expensive – giving entertainment formats an extra dimension. Let’s say you’ve got a daytime game show, for very little it’s suddenly looking like primetime Saturday night. Or an entertainment show with spin-oﬀ, behind-the-scenes or interview segments where each segment is branded diﬀerently but using the same space and with speedy turn-around.
A major area of focus for us is expanding virtual and
We’ve been working with producers to use the
a generational change in the way television is made. It’s not always been an easy path but there has also been a lot of support along the way. Today, we are firmly established as the UK’s leading television facility, built around the latest technology and attracting some of the best talent in the industry out of London and into Salford. It shows that the BBC’s vision for the regions was well founded and that’s something I think we can all be proud of.
change is coming, we’re ready for it, and we’re going to do all we can to speed it along. Remote post production – enabling post work to be done wherever the customer wants – really took oﬀ during lockdown. We moved our post production team to home working almost immediately
A MAJOR AREA OF FOCUS FOR US IS EXPANDING VIRTUAL AND AUGMENTED REALITY INTO MORE ENTERTAINMENT SHOWS.
Championship to ‘virtual’ life here at dock10 earlier this year was a real boon for
and with minimal disruption – that’s 90 editors working remotely on our system!
But as well as providing a
We’ll also be making
post production solution,
more of our UHD / HDR
we’ve received most praise
capabilities in our studios,
for the support we’ve
really encouraging more
provided through an almost
content to be made in this
format. What we did for the
post call centre – a team of
Euros was truly stunning
some of our best people
and I hope it made more
answering questions by
people stop and think –
email or phone 14+ hours
why is there not more UHD
a day to keep everything
system on a children’s
content? And it’s a good
running smoothly. We
programme, a game
question! Right now, our
were oﬀering remote
show pilot and a live
network, studios and post
post production before
production – everything
lockdown and now I’m sure
and the huge success of
is in place to enable UHD
there is going to be an even
bringing the Gran Turismo
production. We know the
bigger demand for it.
robust and reliable remote
Photo credit: Getty Images.
have a router panel which cut’s the audio and pictures.
Michael Cole, , European Tour’s Chief Technology Oﬃcer
The Ryder Cup runs for three days and golfers compete simultaneously throughout the course. How do you manage to cover all the plays? David Mould, Director of Live Television Content for the European Tour: You can only be at one place live and that’s why golf is one of the hardest sports to cover. We have an area called Submix. It is a plece where the scoring and graphics team, engineering staﬀ and on-course personnel congregates the recording process. We use EVS machines, named Red, Blue, Gold and Brown. Each machine can record up to six inputs and play out at the same time, and you
The Submix director in charge of this area has to talk simultaneously to the Producer, Main Director, EVS operators and camera operators, one of the most complex jobs on the golf and maybe world sports production. What are your workflows? From the moment a golfer makes his swing and a camera captures it until the viewer enjoys the play at home? D. M.: At the Ryder Cup we used a combination of dedicated fibre and satellite to create a robust and secure pathway for the coverage to reach our broadcasters. Fibre links the camera to the OB Truck, OB trucks sends broadcast signal via onsite satellite truck to the host distributer, distributional signal is sent to broadcast customers (i.e. Sky Sports and Movistar). Broadcasters will send signal via satellite or fibre to the customer watching from home.
Have you implemented any technological advances with respect to the previous edition of the Ryder Cup? D. M.: One of the biggest technological challenges is that you are basically in a big field in the middle of nowhere and you have to build a mini TV Town and get the pictures sent out around the world.
AT THE RYDER CUP WE USED A COMBINATION OF DEDICATED FIBRE AND SATELLITE TO CREATE A ROBUST AND SECURE PATHWAY FOR THE COVERAGE TO REACH OUR BROADCASTERS.
How your technology upgrades enhance the viewer experience?
built just for golf, but
What processes are
we incorporate special
performed remotely in
cameras that are used in
D.M.: Upgrades this year were mainly behind the scenes with our virtual graphics being done remotely and addition of data collection through our agreement with IMG Arena, which is now an important part of production.
the plane camera, XMO
D. M.: For this Ryder Cup,
(slow motion camera).
within the live television
What are your real-time virtual reality graphics solutions? What aspects would you like to see incorporated into these graphics solutions in the future? D. M.: We use ball tracking and ball placements on the broadcast. In the future we would like to have the ability to add these graphics on every shot. Do you use any special camera or technology to capture your sport? Will you be using any new implementations for the tracing technology? D. M.: Apart from the Ball tracing camera (TT Cameras) we do not use any specialised cameras
the main areas of remote are graphics / stats and all the augmented reality graphics supplied by ARL who are based in New Zealand.
Cloud editing enabled RCE to be as eﬃcient as possible on-site at Whistling Straits with a full team working from London throughout the week.
Are cloud services an important part of production?
The PGA of America also employed a cloud service for the delivery of all the Ryder Cup press conferences, which we clipped within minutes of finishing and made available to all broadcasters and news outlets via their event media hub.
Tom Jackson, Head of Ryder Cup Productions: From a non-live content production, Ryder Cup Europe relies heavily on a remote cloud editing platform to deliver news and specific website content throughout the week.
Is the 5G network used in any way in the Ryder Cup?
Michael Cole, European Tour’s Chief Technology Oﬃcer: 5G was not used at the Ryder Cup this year but we intend to undertake a trial of 5G at the Acciona Open de España in Madrid in October, with a range of broadcast techniques being trialled over a private and public 5G infrastructure. Successful assessment of the technology could path the way to future usage of 5G across the European Tour and Ryder Cup in 2023 as part of its commitment to increase remote production for broadcast, as well as more sustainable methods for technology
deployment at tournaments. What about COVID-19, did the pandemic change any of your workflows? D. M.: Covid-19 changed our workflows considerably. We did plan to send a team of roughly 180 to America, but we cut that number by 160, so no more than 20 people flew out of the UK to work on the Ryder Cup. We only managed to achieve this due to our strong alliance with the PGA TOUR who provided production staﬀ to help us replace the staﬀ who could not travel.
In this second installment we will put an end to our review on accessories for cameras We begin this second installment by drawing a enঞon to an aspect that in the previous installment we deliberately overlooked : the influence of some accessories on others. This will become apparent with something as seemingly simple as camera mounts. It is not the same to bear a camera only with its opঞcs than to bear also the ba eries, recorders, follow focus or wireless transmission or control systems, for example. Let’s get to it! Text: Luis Pavía
Fixed mounts: Tripods The classic tripod, conceptually unchanged throughout almost its entire history, has nowadays a range of features that we must know in order to be able to, as always, make the most appropriate choice in each circumstance. Because we will immediately see that the options are so wide as to cater practically to all needs that may potentially arise. One of the fundamental decision-making criteria will be robustness; the weight of the set to hold, be it a camera or any other piece of equipment, and, as we already mentioned in the introduction, all the necessary accessories. Naturally, the weight of the set to be held will determine the required robustness of the appropriate tripod, both in the legs and in the mounting plate or quick release plate. Most tripods are made up of these two parts. The usual thing is that the legs have a hemispherical housing in
the upper part in which the hemispherical anchor of the base of the mounting plate normally rests. This type of coupling also makes it easier to directly level the ball joint regardless of the ground where we are supporting it. And, in fact, they are usually interchangeable between the diﬀerent brands thanks to the standardized diameters for those hemispheres; being 75, 100 and 150 mm the most common ones. Practically all the mounting plates will have a damping system to facilitate smooth and fluid movements in their two axes: horizontal for panoramic views and vertical for high or low profile. Control is carried out by means of systems based on simple friction, with springs or with hydraulic compensators as systems for regulating this tension to oﬀset the weight. Obviously, the more robust and precise the mounting plate, the greater its own weight. We must take this into account when choosing the tripod’s right size. Returning to the tripod
itself, in addition to its ability to bear weight, torsional rigidity is also important. That is to say, that it does not present the slightest bending while the mounting plate is moving so as not to destabilize the takes during any shooting. In this sense, both design and materials play a key role in achieving a suﬃciently rigid structure capable of maintaining a
reasonable weight and allowing to transport the tripod with relative ease. Both in mounting plate and in the tripod itself, the weight will be impacted by the construction material. It can be said that robustness and load capacity being equal, we will have an inversely proportional relationship between
lightness and final cost. In this sense, we will find quite a few tripods that have a joining system between the legs as an additional means to increase torsional rigidity (the spreader) which is usually located at medium height. In the delicate balance required between robustness and portability, the diﬀerent manufacturers have developed various solutions aimed at facilitating the assembly and deployment maneuver, but, ultimately, the purpose is to control the opening angle and extension of each leg in the quickest, safest possible way. Depending on our needs, we will have to find a model that will cater to our need for load and smoothness in movements while maintaining both robustness and agility in the necessary assembly and disassembly processes. And these situations can vary greatly, even within the same project. So, it will be diﬃcult (or even impossible) to find all these solutions in a single tool.
Hence, there is such a variety that in many cases it does not even contemplates conventional tripods. From mini supports to work practically at ground level to articulated structures with large suction cups, normally used fro fixation on the windscreens or sheets of cars. Ultimately, its purpose is to locate the hemispherical cup for the mounting plate in the place required for the take that we intend to achieve. A particularity in tripods is the monopod, which having a very limited functionality is very convenient in certain situations. It allows us to maintain, by hand, a certain stability in the camera without having to hold its weight and oﬀers high mobility while adding hardly any weight to the assembly. This option, generally seldom seen, is useful in circumstances where mobility is frequent and stability is not critical, since it helps to relieve operators of the weight, but they must still control the balance of the camera by hand.
Additional supports: magical arms It is a light support, with some type of articulation, which makes it easy to attach small accessories such as monitors or recorders to the camera assembly. Again available in a wide range of sizes, but always designed for relatively light loads. Its determining factor is that we will need to have some type of anchor, either the camera’s body or on the support assembly or rig, attached. Precisely for this purpose many camera manufacturers are creating bodies with a certain number of threads directly on the bodies.
Mechanical supports: cranes, dollies, steadycams, easyrigs and sliders In this section we will discuss all those elements that, serving as complements to tripods and their mounting plates and with or without assistance from the latter, are also useful to support or move the camera
position in a controlled way. These are characterized by belonging to a group of accessories that combine functions with other accessories in order to maximize their versatility and eﬃciency. Cranes are devices that articulate a rigid arm on a support, with the camera at one end and
a counterweight at the other. They allow moving the camera with a constant turning radius, which may be greater or lesser with respect to its support point depending on the length of the arm. This arm length is usually one or two meters, but can reach more than ten. The crane allows to modify the position of the camera while the camera’s
movement on its own axis will depend on the features of the mounting plate. This is one of those cases in which the weight of the camera is not increased, but multiplied by considering the weight of its accessory plus that of the counterweight. Only the smallest cranes are mounted on a tripod, while the largest ones are mounted on suitably dimensioned supports. Going a little further, the basic dolly would be the tripod’s three-arm structure with the addition of wheels to move it around. The wheels can be braked, of course, and oﬀer full freedom of movement, although they require a smooth and regular surface to perform their task optimally. Otherwise, they will help to move the camera, but cannot be used to do so while we are shooting. There is also the possibility of making the wheels move on diﬀerent types of rails. This will achive a much smoother, more fluid scrolling and it will be suitable for use as point
of view’s movement while filming. In this case, both the rail and the wheels must be compatible with each other. We would like now to draw your attention to the possible combination of rails, dolly, tripod, and crane. This combination will achieve impressive moving views for our filming, although they will always be limited by the length and horizontality of the rail, and also by the length and load capacity of the crane’s arm. To avoid many of these limitations, the steadycam system consists of a harness embracing the operator to provide freedom of movement. This holds a short, articulated arm that dampens and stabilizes the movements of the camera placed on a balance system at the other end. The advantage of this system is the great freedom of movement that it provides and its drawback is the high weight of the assembly. This fact places a great physical demand on the operator. The easyrig-type, or easy mount systems are
a simplification of the steadycam. In this case, the harness is practically a backpack with one arm above the operator’s head and extending forward. From this arm comes a cord from which the camera is hung. Although this system does not oﬀer the same level of stabilization as the steadycam, its lightness and comfort make it suitable for many other situations, either because it is easier to extend the time of use or because of this being such an economical solution. In any case, by “rigs” we refer generically to all those elements that allow us to hold the camera in whatever manner required. They range from simple filter holders or boxes with handles to sophisticated systems crammed with features. We close this section with the sliders. This is the name given to the small rails that allow us to move compact and light cameras, in the style of DSLRs that have also been used for shooting for some years now, over short distances of around one meter or less. These
are lightweight structures that mimic, on a small scale, the movements of a conventional rail assembly, but oﬀering high portability and ease of assembly. They are used leaning on any firm surface, or on two tripods. There are also models that even oﬀer suﬃcient travel length when mounted on a single tripod.
Electronic supports: Hot heads and gimbals Raising the level of sophistication, functionality and versatility, we find holding and balancing systems that have electronic aids. Conceptually, a hot head is a mounting plate that allows us us to move the camera using servomotors.
be used to exchange data with virtual studio systems and maintain consistency by integrating real content with computer-generated scenes. And as for the gimbals, they are stabilization systems
From here we add elements that, having application in diﬀerent environments, are mainly implemented in broadcast-type environments.
that, also through the use
As their name suggests,
of a set of servomotors, are
these systems are
able to compensate in a
designed to allow
very responsive and precise
way the movements of the mounting plate in order to keep the camera with
between the diﬀerent professionals involved in a production. As long as
communication takes place
A good example of a
between pruducers and
mixture of elements is the cameras mounted on a crane installed on the roof of a car, in which the gimball and the hot head can be the same piece and, even, the crane arm can be remotely controlled from
within a studio, for example operators, it will do so through a simple and always eﬃcient wired system. But when you have to keep in touch with more people on the team who are on the
inside the car itself.
move, you have to resort to
a world of possibilities for
As we can see, all the
Depending on the size
us: from remote operation,
supportng elements can
of the equipment and
such as the one we might
be combined to solve
the production needs,
need at the tip of a crane,
practically any need that we
especially if wireless
to memorizing precise
can possibly face. Finding
microphone systems are
positions to repeat shots
the solution will only
required, systems must
or frames with precision.
depend on our knowledge,
be managed in such a way
In a further step, the
imagination and design
that they do not interferre,
positioning system could
either by interference or
And this concept opens up
intermodulation, with the
us to maintain low-cost
seems at first glance. The
rest of the technology.
communication on open
model is complicated when
frequencies, they will end
we are in an event in which
And although there are
up producing a much more
delicate situation than it
situations are taking place
in parallel. Each of these communications must also be private and secure. In this case, the use of open systems is completely inadvisable. Because, on the one hand, we do not want to disturb our colleagues in other working groups, but, on the other hand, we certainly do not want outsiders to be able to hear our conversations. The right combination of clarity, reliability, versatility, security and privacy is what should determine our final choice.
Monitors As a complement to the auxiliary shooting monitors mentioned in the first part of this special feature on camera accessories, there is a wider range and with diﬀerent uses to cover the diﬀerent needs in a production environment. Thus, we find monitors for live cameras, which receive production return and allow us to see, not only the shot we are taking, but also show us our previous or on-air status, intercom and
even see the mixer output signal, independent from our camera. On the other hand, in production diﬀerent types of monitors are required. From mere signal presence monitors, useful to secure the signals that come in through the diﬀerent routes; production monitors necessary to analyze the image with suﬃcient detail as to correct any possible deficiencies; and those with maximum color precision, specialized models to make the final color adjustments with the maximum accuracy as possible. In addition to the broadcast environment, considering productions of the type of series that are also frequently made by shooting in raw formats, it is important that monitors allow this signal to be interpreted by applying color translation tables (LUTs), while allowing the signal to progress to other monitors without interpreting. This feature may be required to apply diﬀerent color tables for diﬀerent purposes.
Hydraulic columns Actually, they can be considered a very specific variant of tripods. They are very heavy elements that allow supporting large cameras and studio optics. They are capable of adjusting height through a hydraulic system, hence their name; but they take up much less floor space than a tripod having the same strength and load capacity specifications. They are used, nearly exclusively, in television studios and, although they have wheels, these are not usually used to make camera movements.
Lighting Finally, we have left another section with enough content for several encyclopedias. The main features revolve around type, power, color precision, size and supply type, with other minor characteristics such as color adjustability. Currently, most lighting systems are already based
on LED technology. There
units depending on the
between cooler or
are even quality lamps that
directions that we need to
warmer whites. The most
allow replacing, in many
illuminate. The power will
sophisticated ones are not
cases, the older and more
have a direct impact on the
conventional ones with
budget due to the number
only capable of generating
their LED equivalents.
of units and the power of
Type refers to configuration
a wide range of colors but also have previously programmed patterns that facilitate the simulation of
of the light source: the
Physical size directly implies
fresnels, windows, etc.
the size of the light window
We must also take into
and its portability, a feature
account various collections
to be taken into account
a bonfire or a television
of modifiers: fins, canopies,
according to our production
needs. The larger the size,
We think that, beyond physical configuration,
the smoother, but lesser the ability to direct light,
environments such as, for example, light coming from
We close this series here, hoping to have succeded
and vice versa.
in providing a very general
characteristic is chromatic
Power is also decisive
precision. It is understood
depending on the
that precisely this general
as such the uniformity of
environment. If we intend
color between diﬀerent
to use lighting in locations,
units. This is taken into
we will need units that can
account when using
run on batteries. These
Finally, we would love to
multiple units that do not
will be, for the most part,
have your opinion and learn
expose irregularities in the
compact in size and low
what aspects of audiovisual
color of the light provided,
consumption. But we can
which is usually white. And
also have power, either
technology related to
precisely in stability and
from the electrical supply
uniformity is where the
or through the deployment
great diﬀerence between
of our own generators, if
recognized brands and very
the most important
low-cost ones lies.
Last, color adjustability may
overview and knowing perspective in a contained extension limits the depth of each section.
camera accessories are more interesting, curious or unknown to you in order to devote more attention to them. Therefore, we invite you to send us your
Power will be determined
be nil; always counting on
by the amount of light
a fixed color temperature
which topics you would like
needed in the volume to
that we can modify based
us to develop further in
be lit and the number of
on filters; or adjustable
Content creation and collaboration can be improved with these considerations
Workflow issues and technical bottlenecks are all part of today’s production concerns, but what can be done to fix these? Skip Levens, Product Marketing Director, Media and Entertainment at Quantum, will breakdown the top challenges and explain how content producers and creatives can address these challenges head on. By Skip Levens, Product Marketing Director, Media and Entertainment, Quantum
Today’s broadcast industry is a marvel of technological innovation and human creativity. TV shows can stay on air for 24 hours without a single break. Many programmes manage to do so for years while still appealing to mainstream viewers and advertisers. It’s a highpressure environment with tighter budgetary restraints each year and ever-increasing creative demands. The stakes are even higher during key global events such as the recent Covid-19 pandemic, which completely disrupted existing production workflows.
However, this past year, global video consumption and demand for engaging, high-resolution content increased by more than 60 percent. Video has become the new normal and the most eﬀective means to entertain, teach, and interact with audiences, thanks to bingeworthy series, immersive movies, TV, and animations available across a range of OTT streaming services. This does come at a cost. With so much demand for fresh content, tighter budgets, and bigger global teams, producers are now forced to rethink how they create and deliver content.
The focus now is on how to build more flexible and reliable workflows that allow production teams to maintain a hold of the raw content ingest workflows, and quickly access long-term archives from anywhere at any time. Speeding production and allowing teams to think more creatively are critical factors too, so content producers don’t have it easy.
But luckily there are ways to make content and collaboration easier by following these simple steps.
Production requirements are changing First things first, all creatives involved with production work need to get on board with the realisation that workflow requirements are changing for the better. For years we’ve spoken about tighter budgets and more content demanded by viewers--generally having less but doing more – and the good news is that technology and cuttingedge best practices help us all do that. The Covid-19 pandemic is also a reminder that our industry needs to prepare itself for flexible working, more eﬃcient remote collaboration, the ability to produce content and manage a project from anywhere, and so on. Team members need to be able to work seamlessly with content and collaborate with their colleagues—
no matter where their colleagues are located-during the editing stages of production. Broadcast companies, post-production houses, corporate video departments, and animation and VFX studios all require speedy media intake and constant access to content across their entire production and asset management processes. Moreover, organisations must also preserve content for future use and protect it from potential damage or loss, and for ready access to start new content packages, retrospectives, and more.
Setting up collaborative teams is easier said than done It’s no secret that the media industry moves at a breakneck pace. Producing high-quality material in a timely manner is never a oneperson task; it necessitates collaboration between several departments. When you consider how many individuals are involved from beginning to end, it’s
clear to understand how building a streamlined workflow might be diﬃcult. Creating new teams, pursuing new projects, organising live events, or collaborating on production can be exacting if the production environment isn’t agile enough. It is essential that production environments allow for change and evolution. They must also be able to accommodate for the growing number of team members who may be based in diﬀerent locations around the world and use a range of operating platforms and applications. Above all, a production environment should be adaptable – ready to set up quickly and eﬃciently to support the production and collaboration needs of the team.
Disjointed workflows can be costly As the demand for content generation increases, so does the pressure on production teams. Teams across the media and
entertainment industry are primarily focused on just completing projects and deliverables and moving on to the next one. As a result, workflows can become disjointed, meaning potentially valuable, raw content can be easily lost or diﬃcult to manage. This lack of integration can pose serious problems to a team’s overall productivity as they waste time unnecessarily looking for what they need. To help tackle this problem, companies need to take an active approach when it comes to controlling content sprawl. Companies must ensure that they have a clear vision across the content in their entire organization – that their operations are in a connected, shared storage environment and have a file system with built-in data movers to capture content onto a single platform. This approach will not only enable companies to have clear visibility across the entire workflow, but it will also facilitate finding and managing content.
Keeping up with ever-growing content archives When it comes to storing content, it’s easy to fall into bad habits. There’s often a tendency in the media industry to move files oﬀ shared storage to oﬄine systems thinking ‘I’ll remember where I put that’, particularly when large content and project archives are involved. However, this
quick ‘solution’ often creates more problems for production teams. By transitioning files to oﬄine systems, it removes the ability to quickly and easily access content for new workflows or reuse for other projects. So, the main challenge for production companies is how and where to store their ever-growing content and project archives. To accommodate for the large volumes of content and
allow them to economically scale up or out or adapt to their specific workflow needs. There’s no ‘one size fits all’ storage approach. When it comes to selecting a storage platform, organisations need to anticipate future demands and ask the right questions to ensure that the platform they choose will evolve and adapt to ever-changing requirements. The value of a storage platform that enables media organisations to grow and thrive should not be underestimated. As the media industry project archives, a single workflow storage platform is required that connects all the locations and types of storage where assets are required at a click of a button. To ensure seamless content flow across storage, from NVMe or SSD to HDD, tape, or cloud, the chosen platform must allow continuous access to content and enable consolidation of raw and finished content into one platform.
Choosing the right storage platform On top of all this, there is the challenge of choosing the right storage platform. As content production increases, operations must keep up or they will simply not be able to cope with the demand. However, it is not a straightforward task. Many production companies have a hard time choosing the right storage platform that will
evolves so too will the challenges it faces. The creative vision and quality of content will be what defines a brand and its audience engagement. As media workflows constantly change, organisations must take appropriate action to ensure eﬃcient and streamlined workflows are in place. With modern storage and workflow solutions, the sky’s the limit when it comes to content production.