News from the market.......................................................................6 Case studies
The University of the West of England and EditShare...............26 Artear finds format freedom with Vantage...................................30 Universidad La Salle webcasts major athletic event with Matrox.................................................................................................... 34 Alston Elliot powering sports graphics broadcast ecosystem with Bluefish444..................................................................................38
Live production NEP Group: industry reference thermometer ............................. 40 Mediapro, at the top of audiovisual production...........................50
Technology How to masterpiece your HDR workflow..................................... 64
Keys to the future of the broadcast industry
Audiovisual technology in sports and events: trends and future.............................................................................................. 72 Digital transformation: A transition into the IP environment..................................................................................... 88 The future of radio in a digital world.............................................. 96
Editor in chief Javier de Martín
Creative Direction Mercedes González
Key account manager Beatriz Calvo firstname.lastname@example.org
Translation Fernando Alvárez
Editorial staff Daniel Esparza email@example.com
Administration Laura de Diego firstname.lastname@example.org
TM Broadcast International #64 December 2018
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 Published in Spain
EDITORIAL Sports production is one of the verticals with
bringing staff and equipment to the playing
the greatest potential in the industry. On the
field. This will bring a range of new content
one hand, we canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t avoid thinking about
options, something that fits with the current
broadcasts of major events, which are the
scenario, dominated by demands of users.
state-of-the-art in technological innovation.
New viewers wish to watch more segmented
In the field of sports, there is also a trend to
content, although the quality in some cases
extend productions to the days after the
match, in order to engage the audience until the next live event. Augmented reality will
In this issue, we focus on the opportunities
play an important role here.
and challenges of this sector through
Remote productions will be, on the other hand, an increasingly common alternative to
technical managers of two global leadership companies, NEP Group and Mediapro, which
the traditional model in many high-level
have told us their latest innovations and
events. It will allow to deploy, at the same
their vision of the market. In addition, we
cost, better transmissions, and it will take
extend this diagnosis to other areas of the
space from Outside Broadcast trucks.
industry, through a series of conferences
However, mobile units will continue to play
that TM BROADCAST organized during the
an essential role in the broadcasts of the
last edition of BITAM show, which was
future. The great investment that goes to
recently held in Spain. We have obtained an
this area among the big companies proves it.
analysis of some of the most interesting
Finally, the cloud productions will also be
technical sessions: audiovisual technology in
relevant. In this case, it seems that it will be
events and sports, migration to the IP world
the option that best suits many small events
and the future of the radio in a digital
with reduced costs. The cloud will make it
environment. We really hope that they help
possible to deploy transmissions that were
you get some business keys, something so
previously not viable due to the cost of
important in this context.
4 DECEMBER â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;18
NEWS - PRODUCTS
Bexel expands its wireless intercom and Matrix intercom solutions with the Riedel Bolero and Artist Intercom Solution Bexel, an NEP Broadcast Services Company, has made a major commitment to their intercom solutions with Riedel’s Bolero Wireless Intercom and Artist Matrix mainframes to significantly expand its rental inventory of communication solutions for broadcast productions. The investment includes an Artist Matrix intercom system and a fleet of Bolero wireless beltpacks and antennas. This investment plan includes a commitment to expand its inventory of Artist frames and panels, as well as additional Bolero wireless beltpacks and antennas, in early 2019. Riedel’s Bolero system operates in the 1.9GHz (DECT) band, and seamlessly integrates with their popular Artist Matrix intercom system. Bolero 6 DECEMBER ‘18
Riedel BOLERO wireless intercom system.
enables up to 100 antennas to be connected to the system via a standards-based AES67 IP network, and when linked, the 6-button beltpack essentially becomes a wireless keypanel. In addition to having access to all the resources of the Artist Matrix, the Bolero beltpacks have unique features including Bluetooth headset compatibility, a built-in speaker and mic, and 18-
hour battery life with smart battery charging indications. Bexel has recently deployed Riedel’s intercom system on the production of an upcoming competition series that requires an expansive RF system with multiple antennas leveraging a fiber optic infrastructure, making Riedel the perfect intercom solution for the job.
NEWS - PRODUCTS
Simplylive introduces the ViBox Micro, the latest addition to the ViBox production solutions Simplylive has announced the release of the ViBox Micro, offering the most compact and cost-effective solution in the ViBox production family. Expanding on the ViBox range, the Micro will fit the single camera production tier with the same capabilities the full ViBox offers. ViBox Micro is an all-inone solution for the single camera production, a fast downstream turnaround or as the emergency backup option for OB trucks or studios. The Micro is a single input and single output server built in a rugged and portable 2RU chassis. The system includes multiple keyable graphics layers (internal and NDI source), internal audio mixing with embedded and XLR input or expanded with an external mixer, replays and highlights and clip
playback to create a full production. The user interface that has become a landmark of the ViBox is further optimised for these lower scale applications that allow an operator to quickly setup and master the system to produce professional programming. This smaller form factor does not compromise on quality with recordings maintaining the high standard of VC-3 120/145 format and the option for live streaming of the final produced feed. The ViBox Micro as the emergency backup tool
can ingest the clean switched router feed with audio and commentary to maintain the core requirements to keep the program on air. The router preserves the cutting of camera angles into the ViBox Micro where the production can be maintained with keyed graphics, replays and highlights and playback of any pre-produced content. The ViBox Micro adds to the full range of the ViBox all-in-one which now ranges from a single camera, one user platform all the way to 12 camera, multi-user productions. ď ľ
7 DECEMBER â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;18
NEWS - PRODUCTS
World’s first 1U Rack high-resolution IPS touch display Densitron has announced the UReady16600 series for the satellite market, designed to work in extreme temperatures and high ambient light conditions. “Whether you are splitting, amplifying, combining, converting or receiving RF signals, you need to display clear detail to the end user,” explains Chris Goodhall, Global Business Director, Densitron. “The Densitron UReady display provides reliable, high definition optical performance, and stunning user interface that is expected in mission critical monitoring satellite activities.” End users are demanding mobile device quality graphics in all manner of lighting conditions, and from any angle. The UReady display utilises an adjustable 800cd LED backlight with half-life of 50,000 hours over 24/7 operation, and 8 DECEMBER ‘18
IPS technology that enables 85/85/85/85 symmetric viewing and 800:1 contrast ratio for both indoor and outdoor ambient lighting conditions. Pixelation in displays creates inferior product quality which is why the UReady-16600 display has the capability to offer high-definition 1440x240 (222 ppi) static and video images within a 1U mechanical size to enhance product value. To cope with the extreme temperature of some satellite installations, Densitron designed the UReady16600 with -30 to +85 C operating capability. The addition of Projected Capacitive Touch (PCT)
sensing enables the design engineer to create a series of interactive and intuitive menus, which can be easily manipulated to ensure that the GUI design captures all aspects of the satellite’s communication menu structure. Together with Densitron’s own ARM or x86 computing platforms, Densitron can deliver a high-end Human Machine Interface. “Whether your rack product is designed to service consumer, government and defence, cellular backhaul and trunking, or offshore and maritime, the UReady16600 series range will support your display and touch solution requirements”, adds Goodhall.
NEWS - PRODUCTS
UHD HDR now compatible with existing HD SDR monitoring infrastructures BBright has announced that its flagship UHDDecode now supports real time HDR (PQ and HLG) to SDR down-conversion to simplify UHD HDR monitoring in master control rooms and monitoring centre. BBright UHD-Decode already provides a large set of features, with Ultra HD HEVC 4:2:0/4:2:2 decoding capabilities up to 120 Mbps, HDMI 2.0b / 12-SDI / Quad 3G-SDI outputs, DolbyTM audio bit stream pass-through, video
up/downscale capabilities, closed captioning video burning and many more. “Since 2013, our mission is to simplify and accelerate Ultra HD adoption and channel deployments. With a new set of features which include HDR-SDR realtime conversion, scaling capabilities, and HDR metadata analysis, our UHD-Decode is now the perfect match for Ultra HD contribution and delivery monitoring. UHDDecode allows our
customers to integrate their Ultra HD workflows into their legacy HD SDR multiviewers and existing monitoring infrastructures. Let’s make HDR and UHD simpler than ever! ”, said Guillaume Arthuis, BBright CEO. Thanks to BBright’s 100% software-based processing, the UHDDecode is constantly improving and continues to include new features to closely follow the never stopping 4K / UHD technological evolutions.
Example of BBright UHD-Decode integration in HD SDR contribution monitoring workflow.
9 DECEMBER ‘18
NEWS - SUCCESS STORIES
ARET’s new Radio OB van with Lawo installation wins BroadcastPro Middle East Engineering Award System integrator ARET, Lawo’s partner in Italy, presented at this year’s IBC a radio OB van with a brand-new concept for this category, making this truck the first of its kind. For this technologically sophisticated OB unit with Lawo IP installation, ARET recently won the “Outstanding Innovation in OB Engineering Award” of the BroadcastPro Middle East Awards 2018.
The heart of this radio OB van is based on Lawo IP technology: the main mixer is a 24-fader sapphire console with an 8-fader crystal as backup mixer. Both radio consoles are connected to the Lawo management and UI builder software VisTool, which allows to expand the mixers’ functionalities and control them from the adjacent radio studio by a touchscreen monitor.
The vehicle was designed and built exclusively on customer specifications. ARET’s Middle East client required a special OB Van that could endure the harsh weather conditions of the region and quickly operate under any circumstance. One of the peculiarities of the vehicle, in fact, is that it can be fully operational with expanded or closed wall.
Inside there are two large operational areas which are connected by a corridor when the side walls are expanded. Two large studio windows are designed for supporting interaction between the host and guests on the radio program and the public outside the truck, like during productions on public squares, at concerts and in stadiums. Always with the purpose of creating more synergy
10 DECEMBER ‘18
with the public, the OB van is equipped with a PTZ camera positioned on a telescopic mast (with a maximum height of 8 meters) that allows shooting external images of the location of the crowd. The truck provides rear and front entries, both positioned directly on the OB van’s main structure and not on the side expansion: this strategic placement of the entrances allows to access the internal areas both when the expansion is open and closed. The
NEWS - SUCCESS STORIES
inside of the truck is divided into three different areas: By accessing the OB van from the front door, there’s a small antechamber that serves as a waiting area before entering the main studio. This entrance area prevents anyone that wants to access the OB van from disturbing the progress of the programming while the transmission is On Air. The radio studio features a custom modular table that can accommodate a variable number of guests, depending on the configuration. With the closed expansion, it is possible to accommodate the host and up to three guests; with expansion, the number of guests can rise to six. The table is
engineered to change shape and position as quickly as possible and can be quickly moved from one side of the room to the other. In the corners of the studio, a lighting system for television and PTZ cameras are used to light and shoot images of the host and guests while On Air. The full integration with the video switcher allows controlling the PTZ cameras directly from the console of the mixer. If necessary, through a touch-screen monitor placed on the studio table, the host can directly control the cameras, recalling shots and presets. The images coming from the PTZ cameras can be seen live on the 49"
monitor inside the studio that can also be used to view the signals coming from the multiviewer or the computers installed. Both the radio studio and the technical areas have undergone careful and specific acoustic treatments that allow to reach superb levels of soundproofing with effective acoustic treatment. The construction philosophy of the OB van’s radio studio is the same used in typical recording studios, realizing a "box in the box": all the walls, ceiling, and floor are covered with unique materials, to maximize the performance. The walls and the ceiling of the technical room have the same composition, acoustic treatment and sound insulations properties such as those of the main studio. A small apparatus room in the rear, acoustically insulated from the technical area, hosts all the equipment and acts as a storage compartment. 11 DECEMBER ‘18
NEWS - SUCCESS STORIES
Grass Valley solutions enable Brazil’s EPTV to optimize its news capabilities
EPTV can now maximize the value of its assets and easily localize content for the different regions it serves
Brazil’s Empresa Paulista de Televisão (EPTV), one of the main TV Globo affiliates in Brazil, has extended its relationship with Grass Valley, a Belden Brand, to deliver end-to-end newsroom capability at its television studios in Campinas. EPTV’s ability to tell stories from a local perspective provides a key market differentiator, as consumers demand more news, more quickly, on 12 DECEMBER ‘18
more platforms. Already a long time user of Grass Valley’s EDIUS nonlinear editing software, EPTV chose Grass Valley’s video production and content management system, GV STRATUS 6.0, to support its rich array of programs. GV STRATUS handles the entire content creation and delivery process across multiple digital media platforms, while offering the ability
to handle the rising volume of user-generated content (UGC) and integrate with popular social media platforms. EPTV’s investment also includes K2 Summit media servers with a total of 12 channels, 13 EDIUS Workgroup 9 software licenses and three EDIUS remote workstations. Additionally, the broadcaster has deployed GV STRATUS Express, GV
NEWS - SUCCESS STORIES
STRATUS Flex, GV STRATUS Pro and GV STRATUS Elite newsroom bundles across its facilities. Grass Valley’s local reseller Avicom supported the team throughout this deployment. “Our commitment to telling richer stories and delivering more in-depth coverage to our audience means we are always looking for better, more intuitive ways of working,” said Jose Francisco Valencia, director of engineering and technology, EPTV. “GV STRATUS will bring our service to the next level by handling everything from
content, media and asset management to newsroom control, ingest, editing and playout.” EPTV can now maximize the value of its assets and easily localize content for the different regions it serves. EPTV’s news teams can search for files and perform full editing in the field using EDIUS Workgroup and mix-andmove assets — regardless of resolution. Additionally, the new workflow allows users to incorporate ‘wild files’ from citizen journalists, enabling EPTV to break stories as they happen on the ground. “In the high-pressure world of news
broadcasting, getting more in-depth stories on air faster is critical,” said Nahuel Villegas, vice president, Caribbean and Latin America, Grass Valley. “Collaborative working and anytime, anywhere access to files enables reporters and production staff to create compelling content from a range of sources that ultimately tell stronger stories. EPTV is a valued and long-time customer and our relationship with them is an excellent example of how we work closely with broadcasters and media organizations to deliver solutions that meet their real-world challenges.”
NEWS - SUCCESS STORIES
Nebras Films chooses Leader LV7770 and LV7390 rasterizers Nebras Films, one of the largest film production service providers in the Middle East, has chosen Leader LV7390 and LV7770 rasterizers for its new post-production studios in Riyadh. Supplied by Leader distribution partner Jigsaw24, the rasterizers will be used as master reference test instruments in the facility’s colour grading, editing and compositing suites. “We are fully up and running with eight fulltime post staff, now being supplemented with talent from Europe and the Middle East,” comments Post-Production Supervisor Cian McLysaght. “Our entire operation is file-based, centred around ROOT6 Technology’s ContentAgent which functions as a coordinating hub. The Leader rasterizers enable our editors to check the signal quality of video and 14 DECEMBER ‘18
audio content at any point in the workflow. Each LV7390 is equipped to support 4K/UHD programme production and post as well as 4x3G HD-SDI.” “Five instruments have been delivered,
comprising two LV7390 and three LV7770,” adds Leader Europe Business Development Manager Kevin Salvidge. “Our rasterizers are very popular for postproduction applications as they give operators the ability to inspect
Leader rasterizer in operation at Nebras Films, Riyadh.
NEWS - SUCCESS STORIES
waveforms, colour vectors and signal levels in very precise detail on a much larger screen than can be accommodated in a portable instrument.” The Leader LV7390 is a compact 1U 3G/HD/SDSDI rasterizer which can be used to measure up to four source channels simultaneously. It can be deployed for desktop or rack-mounted operation.
Designed for easy connection into 3G-SDI, HD-SDI and SD-SDI systems, the rasterizer incorporates fullresolution 3G/HD-SDI and DVI-I raster outputs which allow detailed video and audio parameters be checked on a separate monitor in full 1920 x 1080 HD resolution. The LV7390 can be configured by the operator to display waveform, vector, picture, audio and SDI status. Display layout is customisable from a wide range of available settings including individual full screen or user-defined combinations. These settings can be controlled from the front panel or via a USB pointing device and saved for fast recall. 60 user-definable presets are accessible. A reference marker can be placed at any position on the rasterized image. The LV7390-OP20 4K upgrade allows the LV7390 to support 4K/UHD programme production and post as well as 4x3G HD-SDI. It
includes high dynamic range measurement capabilities for ITU.BT.2100 Hybrid Log Gamma, Dolby PQ and Sony Slog-3 protocols. This capability plus a compact 1U form-factor makes the LV7390 ideal for production environments that cannot accommodate a full size waveform monitor. Also included with the LV7390-OP20 4K HDR upgrade is Leader’s CINEZONE HDR. This uses false colour to display areas of the image extending into HDR so can be used on non-HDR monitors. Potential issues can be identified quickly and easily without demanding specialist technical experience. CINEZONE HDR reduces the need for re-takes or costly additional hours in post-production. It enables producers to acquire content in HDR whilst being able ensure that content will not require additional re-working for standard dynamic range distribution. The CINEZONE HDR option also supports HD formats. 15 DECEMBER ‘18
NEWS - SUCCESS STORIES
ORF chooses Sony’s XVS series switchers to modernise its facilities Austrian broadcast corporation ORF has chosen Sony’s XVS-7000 multi-format IP video switchers, from the popular XVS series, to modernise and futureproof its broadcasting station and better meet the sophisticated viewing habits of its audience. The first XVS-7000 will be used in ORF’s IP OB van scheduled for delivery this year, whilst more than 20 live switchers are likely to be used in the media companies’ main production centre in Vienna and in all its regional studios. Innovative technologies such as 4K, HDR and High Frame Rate pose significant opportunities but also new challenges for broadcasters and their live production workflows. Enabling mixed IP and SDI production and upgradable for 4K and IP at any time, Sony’s multiformat switchers offer flexibility to suit any production environment 16 DECEMBER ‘18
or workflow requirements and help Sony’s customer Go Make Tomorrow. With enhanced frame memory, format conversion, multiviewer capabilities and wide range of input and output video outputs, the XVS series inherits excellent, versatile, features from the widely accepted MVS Series of switchers. Thanks to the modular design of their Xpanel, the switchers can flexibly be matched to ORF's individual requirements. All switchers from Sony’s XVS series support SDI as well as the new SMPTE ST 2110 standard for media transport and synchronization and AMWA NMOS for device recognition. This allows IP network technologies to be combined with the latest SDI standard interfaces for video transmission in all resolutions while reducing complex workflows and increasing operational efficiency.
“Requirements for live production systems are changing dramatically,” explains Andreas Fraundorfer, Team Lead Central Systems Installation Engineering at ORF. “That’s why we were looking for a long-term partner with the expertise and solutions to help future-proof our facility to meet both the current and
NEWS - SUCCESS STORIES
future challenges of IP live production. The scalability, functionality, user-friendliness and reliability of Sony’s solutions has meant we feel ready for today and open for tomorrow.” Sony’s and ORF’s ongoing partnership includes the current multiformat video switchers as well as their successor models which are complemented by PrimeSupport. With this added service, ORF has gained access to the Sony
helpdesk and consultancy services for the XVS series. Rainer Lüthy, Senior Key Account Manager at Sony Professional Solutions Europe comments: “ORF's expectations were high. They needed a solution that would not only deliver in demanding production conditions but that also scored highly on flexibility and safeguarding. Our XVS Series delivered on both requirements and performed well in practical stress tests. By
dynamically managing all resources in ORF’s live production network, our superior software solutions have made ORF's workflows even more efficient.” Lüthy concluded: “At Sony, we continuously improve our products to create a thriving ecosystem that’s driven by truly open standards in order to promote seamless interworking across all aspects of live production workflow – now and in the future.” ORF Zentrum © ORFThomas Ramstorfer.
17 DECEMBER ‘18
NEWS - SUCCESS STORIES
Thai PBS broadcasts live news coverage of Cave Rescue Operation with AVIWEST Contribution Solution Thai Public Broadcasting Service (TPBS) deployed AVIWEST's RACK180 hybrid contribution video encoder, StreamHub transceivers, and QUAD wideband antennas to improve video quality and lower distribution costs for live, breaking news. The broadcaster used AVIWEST's solution for live coverage of the recent high-profile rescue operation involving a youth football team trapped in a flooded cave in Thailand. AVIWEST's solution was the first wireless camera unit on location, enabling TPBS to broadcast live HD video of the incident over bonded 4G wireless networks, while maintaining exceptional signal quality. "Since the Tham Luang cave is located in a remote area of Thailand, TPBS needed broadcast equipment capable of streaming live high-quality images from an area that 18 DECEMBER â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;18
lacks strong network connections," said Suchet Mahapruekpong, VP of sales and marketing at Strong Brothers 1961, AVIWEST's partner in Thailand. "AVIWEST's solution offered the TPBS team greater flexibility in the field. It allowed them to utilize affordable cellular networks to deliver real-time coverage of this epic news event to viewers watching across the world, in a smoother and faster way than traditional broadcast equipment." With the AVIWEST SafeStreams technology and an intelligent bonding stack featured in the RACK180 encoder and QUAD Antenna wideband cellular antenna arrays, TPBS can successfully stream live footage of news events, even when network conditions are limited. AVIWEST's solution resides in the broadcaster's digital
AVIWEST solution enabled Thai Public Broadcasting Service (TPBS) team to stream live high-quality images from an area that lacks strong network connections.
cellular newsgathering van, which was designed by Strong Brothers 1961. Housed in a compact, 1RU rackmount chassis, the RACK180 offers easy integration into newsgathering vehicles. The RACK180 contribution encoder includes a robust combination of hardware and software, including eight 3G/4G internal modems and two USB interfaces, a built-in Wi-Fi modem, and eight MCX antenna connectors that are used with the QUAD wideband antenna arrays to strengthen the broadcaster's signal transmission. ď ľ
NEWS - SUCCESS STORIES
Harmonic enables SKY Perfect JSAT to deliver a world-class video experience SKY Perfect JSAT Corporation (SJC), a multichannel pay TV platform operator in Japan, is upgrading its DTH headend to support HD and UHD delivery using an IP-based video and stream processing solution from Harmonic. SJC has also deployed an integrated playout solution from Harmonic to simplify the delivery of HD channels. Harmonic's solutions rely on software-based and intelligent function integration to enable seamless channel expansion, increase cost savings and deliver exceptional video quality to SKY PerfecTV! subscribers at low bitrates.
subscribers counting on us to deliver a world-class entertainment experience," said Shuhei Yamaura, managing executive officer, broadcasting engineering group at SJC. "Harmonic has been a long-standing technology partner in helping us transition to software-based systems and an industry frontrunner in delivering HD and UHD channels. As we unleash over 180 HD and six UHD channels for MPEG-2, H.264 and HEVC distribution, Harmonic's video platforms will provide exceptional efficiency through software and intelligent function collapse."
"As the only multichannel pay TV platform operator covering Japan, we have millions of
SJC is using Harmonic's Electra® video processing and ProStream® X stream processing solutions to
ensure optimal HD and UHD video quality, as well as bandwidth efficiency for their new DTH headend. The Electra and ProStream X platform increases SJC's operational efficiencies and cost savings via the use of COTS servers. Harmonic's marketleading Spectrum™ X media server features channel-in-a-box capabilities that allow SKY PerfecTV! to deliver a rich on-air presentation to subscribers. By reducing the number of individual components required to air fully branded channels, Harmonic's integrated playout solution decreases equipment, maintenance and power costs.
Harmonic Spectrum™ X Media Server Platform
19 DECEMBER ‘18
NEWS - SUCCESS STORIES
Ideal Shopping direct places Pebble Beach Systems at the heart of its new playout infrastructure Ideal Shopping Direct Limited (ISD), an awardwinning multi-channel home shopping retailer, has placed Pebble Beach Systems solutions at the heart of its new playout infrastructure. The system features a Marina playout and automation system controlling Dolphin integrated channel devices, with remote control and monitoring provided by Pebble’s webbased Lighthouse tool. ISD is one of the most prolific broadcasters of live television in the UK, broadcasting on TV and online in the UK and US to over 70 million homes. The company recently undertook a major infrastructure upgrade of its Peterborough-based facility which houses production and 20 DECEMBER ‘18
transmission operations for its five channels: Ideal World, Create and Craft, Create and Craft USA, Ideal Extra and Craft Extra. With much of its equipment reaching end of life, ISD needed to avoid the threat of ‘going dark’, and to make technology selections which would allow the company to evolve and grow its broadcast and online content offering as required. The goal was to put in place a future-proof, IPready infrastructure and to transition to a state-ofthe-art playout solution. ISD evaluated a number of automation solutions and chose Pebble Beach Systems for its ease of use and intuitive interface. Pebble’s open API was
Pebble Beach Systems Marina at Ideal Shopping Direct.
also an important factor as it enables ISD to integrate other specialist best of breed technology, and the graphics plug-in capability made a big difference too. The project, which is now complete, includes a new playout and automation system based on Pebble Beach Systems’ Marina controlling 6 channels of Pebble’s integrated channel device, Dolphin. Marina integrates with a new storage system to replace the existing tape
NEWS - SUCCESS STORIES
library, and an IP router. ISD also uses Marina’s new Channel Manager to deliver automatic redundancy management for the Dolphin integrated channel devices. For additional control, ISD has deployed Lighthouse, Pebble’s browser-based, remote management, control and monitoring product for Marina to give the teams in the US access to the UK system and enable them to load playlists, edit and delete events as needed.
“From a training perspective, we’ve had quite a few new members join the engineering and transmission teams, and bringing them up to a level where they can use Marina has taken significantly less time than with our previous system. It’s really quick to teach someone the basics. It used to take us up to 4 months before we could trust a new operator to be in charge of transmission on their own. With Marina our new operators were on solo shifts after about 4 weeks, without any prior transmission experience. That’s a big win for us. It was very manageable for us to build the lists prior to going live, and we had quite a tight time schedule to get people up to speed on the new system, but because it’s so intuitive it was a straightforward process. And it’s been rock solid since we took it to air,” explained Alan Wells, Technical Director at Ideal Shopping Direct. While ISD’s playlists lists are typically built a day in advance, the very nature of the channel’s business
means that shows change constantly and the team has to amend playlists as required while they’re on the air. Shows get dropped, one-hour shows can become two-hour shows, live shows can become repeats, and repeats may be substituted for one another because there’s no stock. “We are constantly adapting and changing our schedules and playlists, and Marina makes this process easy for our teams,” said Wells. With the old system, ISD had a number of people whose task was to manually operate the changes between live and pre-recorded events. Now with Marina, the transmission team’s main task is simply to maintain playlists. “During the day we are predominantly live, so that’s exactly the kind of set up we needed. Later in the evenings and during weekends, the production department can now make scheduling changes remotely from home using the Lighthouse web browser,” he added. 21 DECEMBER ‘18
NEWS - SUCCESS STORIES
Living As One uses Blackmagic Design DeckLink Mini Recorder 4K and Mini Monitor 4K Living As One, LLC has developed their popular Multisite Platform around the Blackmagic Design DeckLink Mini Monitor 4K and DeckLink Mini Recorder 4K. The products provide high quality capture and playback for Living As One’s flagship turnkey streaming solution designed to reliably live stream UltraHD video content to remote locations and to the web. Texas based Living As One, LLC is focused on improving communications within and between geographically broad organizations. “The Living As One Multisite Platform delivers reliable, high quality video with zero loss to remote locations, and one of the ways that we make sure that happens is with the DeckLinks,” said Paul Martel, CEO of Living As One. “Our Encoders and 22 DECEMBER ‘18
Decoders ensure that 100% of video content is successfully transmitted throughout the entire streaming path, from the broadcast location, to our cloud transcoder, to any location in the world, even in the case of a complete internet outage. The DeckLinks have been reliable and affordable, allowing high quality capture and playout of professional video signals in a compact system.” The Blackmagic Design DeckLink Mini Recorder 4K provides realtime video capture for the Multisite Encoder, while the
DeckLink Mini Monitor 4K is used for live/DVR playback with the Multisite Decoder. With this system, Living As One is able to provide flawless streaming of one UltraHD broadcast or two 1080p60 feeds with guaranteed synchronization at playback sites. One of the features most useful to Living As One is the DeckLink Mini Recorder 4K and Mini Monitor 4Ks ability to support 16 channels of audio and any standard video format.
NEWS - BUSINESS & PEOPLE
Rohde & Schwarz acquires Pixel Power Limited and strengthens its Broadcast & Media business Pixel Power offers innovative graphics, master control and integrated playout systems for broadcasters and playout facilities. These systems enable dynamic content to be delivered more efficiently for linear TV, mobile, online and OTT/VOD. Pixel Power has consistently developed its portfolio of software based IP solutions that are virtualizable for the private or public cloud, whilst offering new OPEX business models as part of the broadcast technology transformation. The company is headquartered in Cambridge, UK and has been developing and deploying broadcast solutions for 31 years. With this acquisition Rohde & Schwarz further expands its portfolio to complement existing product lines. CEO James Gilbert and CTO Nick Wright will remain with the company in their current positions and continue to develop Pixel Power.
VITEC acquires Telairity to strengthen presence in broadcast market VITEC has acquired Telairity, a provider of H.264 encoding workflow solutions to broadcasters worldwide. "The strategic acquisition of Telairity further strengthens VITEC's position in the broadcast market," said Mark D'Addio, VITEC's senior vice president, sales and marketing. "VITEC's HEVC technology and streaming expertise address a growing need for broadcasters to reduce bandwidth requirements while maximizing video quality." Matt McKee, formerly at Telairity, has joined VITEC as director of broadcast sales. He added, "Telairity customers have been asking for a compelling reason to upgrade their broadcast links. VITEC HEVC solutions offer the highest levels of network efficiency, video quality, and reliability especially for Digital Satellite News Gathering (DSNG) and contribution applications." VITEC HEVC technology and solutions make it more efficient than ever to deliver the highest- quality IPTV streams over satellite links, private networks, and the internet. Powered by VITEC HEVC GEN2+, an all-hardware compression chip, MGW Ace Encoder sets new industry standards in video quality, bit rate, and latency. 23 DECEMBER ‘18
NEWS - BUSINESS & PEOPLE
Cobalt Digital receives a Technology and Engineering Emmy Award for “Pioneering Reliable Transmission Method for Live Contribution and Distribution TV Links”. This type of technology allows the use of the Internet as a cost-effective means of live, low-latency contribution and distribution for broadcast content.
Dr. Ciro Noronha, Director of Technology, Cobalt Digital
Cobalt Digital is one of the recipients of the 70th Annual Technology & Engineering Emmy® Awards that will take place in partnership with the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), at the NAB Show at the Wynn Encore Hotel and Spa on Sunday, April 7th, 2019 in Las Vegas, NV. Cobalt was one of the companies selected to receive the Emmy® Award 24 DECEMBER ‘18
A number of Cobalt products include the option for reliable delivery over the Internet, developed by Dr. Ciro Noronha, Cobalt’s Director of Technology and one of the pioneers of this field. Dr. Noronha, who holds a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University, said, “With the advances in compression technology (which bring the data rate requirements down) and in Internet infrastructure (which bring the network capacity up), it has become technically possible to use the Internet as a high-quality,
low-latency contribution and distribution link. The protocols used in the Cobalt products complete the picture and make it a reality.” “Cobalt is a firm believer on open standards”, added Dr. Noronha. “This technology is now available using the Reliable Internet Stream Transport (RIST) protocols from the Video Services Forum.” Cobalt Digital is one of the contributors to the RIST standard. “Cobalt has been a supplier of signal processing solutions, to the broadcast industry since 1997, and we are pleased and honored to be recognized with a Technology and Engineering Emmy Award”, stated Gene Zimmerman, President of Cobalt Digital.
NEWS - BUSINESS & PEOPLE
Stephan Heimbecher joins Imagine Communications from Sky Deutschland Imagine Communications has appointed Stephan Heimbecher as its new international director of consulting services, based out of Munich, Germany. Heimbecher joins Imagine Communications from Sky Deutschland, where he spent the last 16 years at the helm of innovation and standards for the German media company. In his new role at Imagine Communications, Heimbecher will lead a team of industry experts focused on collaborating with customers to solve significant challenges that currently face the broadcast and media industries. In an effort to enable customers around the world, Imagine has focused its innovation efforts around IP production and playout, hybrid and IP facility implementation, cloud and virtualized deployment for playout
customers to move forward at their own pace.
Stephan Heimbecher, international director of consulting services at Imagine Communications
and distribution, and multiplatform delivery and operations across traditional and OTT platforms. Imagine’s leadership in these areas has resulted in dozens of pioneering projects that have enabled its customers to transform their businesses and operations to thrive in a next-generation media landscape. Heimbecher and his team will bring this broad range of technologies, expertise, and successful deployment models to Imagine’s customer base to develop migration strategies that enable its
Heimbecher brings with him over 25 years experience in the broadcast industry, a journey that started when he joined the ranks of the world-renowned Institut für Rundfunktechnik (IRT) as a research associate before moving into consulting around the topics of digital and interactive TV. For over 20 of those years in the industry, Heimbecher has been involved in the development of standards as a longtime member of the DVB Steering Board through SMPTE and more recently the ITU and IEC, as well as other standards bodies and industry associations including the UHD Alliance and the Ultra HD Forum. Within the German TV Platform, he has been a board member and working group chairman, Ultra HD & VR, for many years. 25 DECEMBER ‘18
The University of the West of England modernizes Film and Broadcast Journalism programmes with new EditShare Media Management Infrastructure
The new EditSharedriven workflow creates an advanced, highperformance infrastructure with automation, integration of third-party systems, 26 DECEMBER â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;18
flexible access for students and staff and multiplatform distribution of content, fully supporting the media needs of two distinct UWE Bristol media
programmes: Film/Animation and Broadcast Journalism. The installation design and implementation were spearheaded by business partner Altered Images.
INSTALLED EQUIPMENT »» 122 workstations in total – approx 60/40 between Apple Mac and Windows• 48 animation and 14 stop motion dedicated workstations »» 54 workstations available for postproduction editing with either proxy or full resolution files. »» 2 colour grading suites »» 2 audio dubbing studios »» 16 workstations dedicated for teaching Other notables »» Up to 60 students edit/create content currently »» Up to 62 connections requiring access to storage
Steve Hagerty, Senior Lead Systems Engineer at UWE Bristol for Film, Broadcast and Journalism, comments on the differentiators of EditShare, “When we moved up to the EFS system, we had to look at other systems and draw comparisons to ensure we were getting the best from
support to updates, to performance. At the end of the day, it came back to EditShare. We could connect unlimited users where other systems charged per person. Every five years we upgrade and systems come and go. The EditShare system, however, has stayed. We can easily expand it – no need to replace it with entirely new systems when we need to increase capacity. We can even add to it while the students are using it for projects.”
EditShare provides an immersive infrastructure for progressive learning With the move to a new facility, UWE Bristol sought to revamp its infrastructure with a Media Asset Managementbased workflow. Unlike previous setups, the new media infrastructure would become an integral part of the school’s coursework and curriculum, offering a truly integrated workflow with
a distinct pathway for providing knowledge and experience through exposure and usage, utilization and integration with the program’s expansive course content. Dick Allen, Technical Services Manager in UWE Bristol’s Faculty of Arts, Creative Industries & Education, selected EditShare to create an immersive infrastructure that connected systems, content, students and staff. Dick states the importance of having a Media Asset Management workflow, “Managing several programs and hundreds of broadcast and film students requires a detailed level of asset tracking as well as automation capabilities to have an efficient operation. Implementing a media asset management layer is key to optimizing the infrastructure, enhancing collaboration between students and staff, and giving our students a real-world media experience using modern tools.” A core component of the 27 DECEMBER ‘18
and re-use content, increasing the value of asset use.
EditShare at the core of an expansive installation
Film and Broadcast Journalism programs, EditShare, powered by Flow, XStream EFS and Geevs, forms the core solution that assists students, staff and research teams to find, reuse and store media assets. It enables collaboration of teams with seamless integration of media systems and federated tools to retrieve and archive media from a central location. With metadata tracking and asset indexing, staff and students can easily locate 28 DECEMBER ‘18
The new UWE Bristol facilities include a production studio, two large photography studios, animation stop-motion and CGI studios, sound recording and Foley studios, colour grading studios and editing suites connected to the EditShare XStream EFS 450 scale-out storage platform. UWE Bristol leverages real-world content creation applications including Adobe Premiere Pro CC, Avid Media Composer, ProTools and Blackmagic DaVinci Resolve. Materials can be transcoded to either AVID DNxHD (120 or 185), or Apple ProRes 422 (normal or HQ) in either HD or 4K. EditShare XStream EFS is designed to support 4K, 8K, UHD and beyond with near infinite scalability. To organize the massive amount of content created
and often exchanged at UWE Bristol is EditShare’s Flow media asset management solution. Acting as a control layer across the EditShare XStream EFS storage server, Flow automates ingest, transcoding, content searches, online to offline movement of media to ensure students are using the correct format and that their content is copied to the right media space.
Structured access, Key Workflow and Automation Both EditShare Flow and XStream EFS are designed to structure user access. In a university setting, EditShare user access can be set to allow only certain codecs, streamlining formats and optimizing storage loads. “At UWE Bristol, students have a set of codecs as defined by the University’s technicians. In addition, the students have defined media spaces in which they work. This is all managed by EditShare,” comments Peter Billing,
Area Sales Manager for Altered Images. “There are dedicated ingest workstations equipped with Flow for ingesting rushes and other material. All the student needs to do is log in and select the format they want to work within post and the material is in their media space in moments. The automation and structured access removes a lot of headaches for staff and ensures students are able to work with their content without worrying about losing track of where it lives or compatibility with classmates that they are collaborating with or the system they are working on. It's a huge efficiency boon that puts the learning experience first.”
A Foundation for Collaborating on Projects With Ultimate Performance In addition to providing the core infrastructure housing all UWE Bristol media program assets, EditShare’s XStream EFS
450 solution provides full integration with Avid Media Composer and Adobe Premiere Pro, including Avid-style binlocking, project-sharing and multi-user write access to media spaces. At UWE Bristol, student project collaboration is a must and the project sharing feature of the EditShare solution is a critical component. Student media and projects can be stored in the same Media Space, or in separate Spaces with files owned by the members of the Media Space –including media files, media database files, project settings and bins – and any user with permission can modify or delete the files. EditShare Flow provides users with the ability to drag and drop assets from the Flow Browse window into an NLE bin. When assets are dragged into the NLE, any logging metadata or markers that are associated with the assets in Flow Browse are automatically imported into the NLE. Once the drop has taken place, the
associated high-res media is instantly relinked. The clip or sequence is then managed by the parent NLE. Dick comments on the speed of the system working with such large workgroups, “The IT department is impressed with the performance of the system. The new 10gig connections have boosted data rates, moving content smoothly along the various workflows. The integration between Avid iNews and Media Composer and Editshare been excellent. No slowdowns or complaints from students even when we are at full tilt.” EditShare Flow also provides a student submissions workflow that enables students to export their final work to a watch folder, which can be configured to trigger Flow to create a proxy and email a specific lecturer to notify them that the student has submitted their work.
29 DECEMBER ‘18
Artear finds format freedom with Vantage How the Telestream Vantage media processing system boosts the productivity of Argentine MVPD Artear’s Avid MediaCentral workflow
Content center of Artear
30 DECEMBER ‘18
As one of the most prominent media companies in Argentina, Arte Radiotelevisivo Argentino SA (Artear) is a fast-growing multichannel video programming distributor (MVPD) of highly rated news and entertainment content. Owned by Argentine media conglomerate Grupo Clarín, Artear produces and distributes fresh, spirited Spanishlanguage content, such as episodic dramas, game shows, news, and dance competitions, showcasing the unique people and culture of Argentina.
To compete effectively in the digital era, Artear manages and distributes close to a dozen media brands across a multiplatform universe spanning broadcast, cable, and digital sites, including: • El Trece (Channel 13 in Buenos Aires), El Doce (Channel 12 in Cordoba), Canal 10 (Channel 10 in Bahía Blanca), and Canal Siete (Channel 7 in Bariloche) broadcast channels • TN (Todo Noticias)-24 hours Argentinean’s leading cable news network • Volver - a classic
Argentine cinema cable channel • Ciudad Magazine -a media-rich online lifestyle magazine • Quiero – a Spanish music channel
The challenge To better manage its multi-faceted operations, Artear recently opened a new, 28,000 square foot Content Production Center—the largest in Latin America— complete with ten studios and a variety of broadcast editing systems, including Adobe Creative Suite and Avid Media Central. 31 DECEMBER ‘18
Pivotal to these editing environments is a Telestream Vantage Transcode Pro system that automates the transcoding and processing of media files and video content moving into and out of the editing suites, storage and asset management systems.
encryption, and delivery to CDNs and playout servers. It also supports the following distribution formats:
The Vantage Transcode Pro platform offers an Avid option that seamlessly interfaces it with the Avid editing environment. And, to ensure high-quality multiplatform distribution, Artear has also configured its Vantage system with another optional module, the Vantage Transcode Multiscreen, a GPUaccelerated solution for automating the creation of adaptive bitrate (ABR) packaging, which is essential for accommodating today’s viewers, who prefer to watch video on different connected devices.
• MPEG-DASH, H.264 and H.265
With the addition of the Multiscreen component, Artear’s Vantage media processing workflow spans content ingest, ranscoding, 32 DECEMBER ‘18
• Apple HLS • Adobe Dynamic Streaming • Microsoft Smooth Streaming
• MP4 progressive downloads Content center of Artear
The solution At Artear, Ciccarelli is one of the technicians responsible for maintaining the Avid MediaCentral environment, which is comprised of Media Composer editing systems that directly interface with Avid Interplay production asset management and ISIS shared storage systems.
As a long-time Avid development partner, Telestream has created a sophisticated Avid Connect interface that allows its proven Vantage Transcode Pro media processing platform to seamlessly service and support the Avid MediaCentral workflow. Today, Vantage automates a wide range of media processes for Artear including:
• Ingesting media from a watch folder directly into Interplay and/or ISIS • Converting between formats, codecs, and frame rates • Creating adaptive bitrate packages for multiplatform distribution • Handling broadcast codecs, such as XDCAM HD 50/35Mbps/ProRes 422 and DNx-HD120/185/220Mbps, as well as H.264/x264/H.265 and GoPro Cineform • Mixing audio channels and normalization tasks, such as loudness correction • Enabling media expansion, and adding fades in/out and movie and image overlays • Generating proxies for archive Vantage performs these tasks in a way that preserves the metadata that is fundamental for searching, organizing, categorizing and tracking content across the facility’s asset management and storage systems.
While Artear evaluated competing transcoding systems prior to purchase, the choice of Vantage came down to the flexible way that users could structure and program many different media processing workflows in a simple, visual manner. This means having the flexibility to integrate different workflows according to the unique production and delivery requirements of each broadcast, cable, or digital channel.
Artear’s Vantage Transcode Pro workflow is accelerated through the use of four Telestream Lightspeed K80 servers, plus 10 Dell CPU nodes running Vantage. According to Ciccarelli, Artear plans to upgrade to its Vantage for even better integration with Avid, including the ability to use an Interplay folder as a trigger for flip actions. In the future, they also hope to replace the traditional CPU nodes with Telestream’s next-gen Lightspeed servers.
33 DECEMBER ‘18
Universidad La Salle webcasts major athletic event with Matrox AV team equips six venues with Monarch HD appliances to reliably stream and record up to 12 hours daily at the national sporting event
Universidad La Salle leverages Matrox Monarch HD encoder appliances to live stream the National Sports Games.
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Saint Jean-Baptiste of La Salle, the patron saint of education, founded the Institute of Christian Brothers over 300 years ago in France. The Catholic teaching congregation can now be found in more than 80 countries. Today, Mexico is one of the nations with the institute’s largest presence, with Universidad La Salle situated on 15 campuses across the country. Every November, the campuses come together for one of the largest events of the academic year: the National Sports Games of La Salle. The four-day event is akin to a mini Olympics, in which each school sends their very best to compete in basketball, soccer, taekwondo, chess, volleyball, and futsal. In previous years, the games were a relatively isolated event; the host school would at times share some photographs or short clips after the event, but communities of the participating schools were not able to follow
their teams’ progress throughout the competition. When Universidad La Salle’s Nezahualcóyotl campus was named the host for the next upcoming event, they wanted to provide full event coverage— including live streaming— so that fellow students, friends, and family members of the competitors could watch the games live for the first time.
Evaluation and selection Daniel Aguilar Martinez, content manager at Universidad La Salle, was given the task of finding a way to simultaneously broadcast from six different facilities on campus where the games would take place, and at the same time, record the matches at a higher quality for use in postproduction editing. The university had already been using a live broadcast production system to stream their lectures and seminars, but purchasing more on the
event’s tight budget was simply out of reach. Hiring a broadcaster, which would have cost upwards of $25,000 for the service, was not an option either. Martinez decided to purchase a solution that the school would be able to continue using on a regular basis once the games came to a close. Through a quick online search, the university discovered the Matrox® Monarch HD. In terms of capabilities and budget, the Monarch HD professional streaming and recording appliance was exactly what they were looking for. “When we discovered what Monarch HD could do and how easy it was to set up, we didn’t think twice,” says Martinez. “Comparing Monarch HD with our previous product, we saw that Monarch HD is way easier and faster to install, and it uses an Ethernet connection that delivers more stability than WiFi. We are not experts, but the user interface, for us, was self-explanatory.” 35 DECEMBER ‘18
Exceptional perfomance The six Monarch HD units purchased for the event were extremely easy to set up—only a quick configuration was required. While the appliances remained active for up to 12 hours a day, streaming and recording operations were simple for the AV team to start and stop via the unit’s on-device push buttons. All installations in the various sports venues were equipped with at least one camera and one Monarch encoder, but the exact setup differed slightly day-to-day. For example, during the basketball preliminaries three matches were played at a time to ensure there was enough time for all the games. This was an interesting opportunity for the team to use a single GoPro® HERO6 camera to film three basketball courts with a wide shot, while capturing ambient audio with the camera’s internal mic. Video and audio from the camera 36 DECEMBER ‘18
were then sent via HDMI to Monarch HD. During the finals and semi-finals however, three professional-grade SDI cameras, a switcher, and an audio mixer were set up for individual matches. Less games meant more equipment could be dedicated to each game. To capture different angles of the games, the various cameras were plugged into a video switcher via an SDI connection. Output from the switcher then went through an SDI to HDMI converter in order to connect with Monarch HD. Audio for the finals came from a commentator using a mic that connected to an audio mixer. The mixer then plugged into Monarch HD’s analog audio input. Setting up the equipment was simple and done each night prior to the next day’s events. On game day, all that was left to do was plug Monarch HD to a computer and secure the broadcast key that changed daily from SmartCast, their content
delivery network (CDN). Broadcasts were streamed in RTMP at 640p at 1 Mbps to SmartCast, which uses a Wowza Media Server to host the video that was embedded on a landing page, so that viewers could easily log into the school’s server and watch from home. Some events were also simultaneously webcasted to Facebook Live, with streaming parameters set at 720p at 2 Mbps. Matches were recorded at the same time using Monarch HD’s file splitting feature, and were saved locally to an SD card at 720p60 at 7 Mbps for archival purposes. Once the desired file length was entered, Monarch HD automatically split the recordings into separate files, without losing a single frame. The split file feature was particularly useful for the AV team due to the extended periods in which Monarch HD was in operation—if an error, such as a power outage were to occur, all the files up until that point would be safe. “The end result was seamless, high-quality
Universidad La Salle now uses the Matrox Monarch HD appliance to live stream lectures, presentations, and other events.
video playback, and with the Matrox File Consolidator utility, it allowed us to create a single file for convenient editing and archiving purposes,” Martinez said.
Post-game analysis Monarch HD helped make the National Sports Games of La Salle a success, at a fraction of the tens of thousands of dollars it would have cost to invest in a new broadcasting system, or hiring a broadcaster for the event. The community from every campus was able to watch the matches of their choice in real
time, which strengthened the relationship—and sportsmanship—between the different schools. “Matrox made broadcasting our event not only possible, but one of the best experiences ever. All the games’ fields and courts were covered, and the satisfaction of having delivered a neat and stable broadcast is beyond words,” says Martinez. “The stability we had with the Monarch HD units turned the event into one of the best in our institution’s history, and this was because like never before, most of the games and matches were shared with our
community and their families.” Impressed with the success of the event, several university representatives from the other campuses approached Martinez to ask how the streaming and recording was set up, and if he could help guide them in setting up their own installations. Post event, most of the Monarch HD units are now installed in auditoriums on campus, and are used to stream and record a wide range of events and meetings.
37 DECEMBER ‘18
Alston Elliot powering sports graphics broadcast ecosystem with Bluefish444
UK-based Alston Elliot was founded in 1992, and has subsidiaries in South Africa, India and Australia. They have over 25 years of success as one of the world’s leading providers of turnkey televised sports graphics and data solutions, often fulfilling the role of technology partner to broadcasters. Alston Elliot is the official graphics service provider to the forthcoming ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 and Rugby World Cup 38 DECEMBER ‘18
2019. Alston Elliot’s turnkey graphics services have been adopted by broadcasters of football including the English Premier League, FA Cup, Europa League, and WSL. Graphics services to broadcasters of other sports include snooker, golf, motorsports, darts, athletics, tennis, rugby league, hockey, fishing and kabaddi. Since having established an office in Australia in
2011, Alston Elliot have supplied some of the country’s leading broadcasters including Fox Sports, Network 10, Channel Nine, Channel 7, ABC and SBS. Audiences in Australia have watched Alston Elliot graphics during the KFC Big Bash cricket, ICC World Cup, ALeague football, Australian Grand Prix and National Rugby League, the latter with a new broadcast graphics package for Augmented Reality on Spidercam. At the heart of graphics creation by Alston Elliot in Australia are products from Bluefish444, Vizrt and ChyronHego. Viz Arena for virtual ads, analysis and image insertion, Viz Trio for character generation, ChyronHego Paint for telestration and analysis, and ChyronHego Virtual
With the future of the sports and broadcast industry in general moving more towards IP-based solutions, Alston Elliot continues to work with Bluefish444 to deliver new workflows, such as online video streaming and second screen applications. “Bluefish444 feature heavily in our plans moving forward,” Ed comments. “With the added bonus of Bluefish444 being based in Melbourne, they definitely get my ‘tick of approval’ to be a core part of our business for the years ahead.”
Placement for virtual graphics, are all used interoperably with Bluefish444 Epoch SDI video cards. Alston Elliot use highquality, low latency, multichannel fill and key Bluefish444 SDI I/O Epoch video cards within their intruck and in-studio on-air facilities. Ed Lopes, Operations Manager at Alston Elliot Australia, explains “Bluefish444 video cards integrate perfectly with our on-site
requirements, and have allowed us to reduce the size of our in-truck footprint.” Alston Elliot has integrated numerous models of Bluefish444 SDI video cards into their systems. Epoch | Neutron, Epoch | 4K Supernova and Epoch | 4K Supernova S+ are installed in their mobile setups, and used during high-profile event coverage, such as the Rugby World Cup, Olympics, NRL, and Formula One. During such demanding telecasts, Bluefish444 were relied upon to deliver live television broadcast and up-to-date scoring, statistics and graphics. “It’s important that the hardware we use provides a high level of reliability. We’ve found Bluefish444 Epoch video cards to be of the highest quality, and the support that we receive is sensational and extremely helpful in all respects”, comments Ed Lopes. “This has been a standout feature of investing in Bluefish444 products. I don’t hesitate
to recommend them to anyone looking for quality I/O solutions.” The Epoch range of video cards allow for a high amount of flexibility, with the bidirectional nature of the BNCs in all products meaning it is quick and easy to switch between having both input and output, input only, or output only. This functionality helps to streamline Alston Elliot’s process, as the same card can be used in multiple configurations depending on the needs of the current application. The smaller physical size of their installed Epoch | Neutron and Epoch | Supernova S+ video cards also help to keep their installations more compact, while still retaining a high level of performance and interoperability with Vizrt and ChyronHego applications.
39 DECEMBER ‘18
WHAT’S HOT IN
PRODUCTION? 40 DECEMBER ‘18
Innovations in OB trucks, remote productions, 4K-HDR broadcastsâ&#x20AC;Ś Find out what the leaders of this industry are planning for the future. We have approached NEP Group and Mediapro, two global leadership companies in live production services, in order to learn first-hand their innovations to bring the event production, led by sports broadcasts, to the highest level. Both companies claim that remote productions are gaining ground on OB trucks, but, undoubtedly, mobile units will continue to play an essential role in the live transmissions of the future. For this reason, a large amount of investment goes towards upgrading these trucks and creating new ones. A key requirement is the versatility. By Daniel Esparza
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NEP GROUP, INDUSTRY REFERENCE THERMOMETER
42 DECEMBER â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;18
Interview with Gareth Phillips, Senior Broadcast Engineer at NEP UK We take the pulse of the live production market through NEP Group, one of the largest companies in the sector. Gareth Phillips, Senior Broadcast Engineer of NEP UK, tells us about the latest innovations of this division of the company in OB trucks, its position regarding IP technology or the main challenges when introducing augmented reality developments in production.
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OB trucks How many UHD/4K OB trucks do you currently have? NEP Group invests in innovative technology solutions that fit client specific needs— understanding that one client’s and production’s needs may be different from others’, requiring a different solution. As one regional example of NEP’s approach, NEP UK’s UHD truck fleet currently comprises of six UHD-capable 24+ Camera units. The most recent additions are Ceres and Venus; these are supersized, UHD HDR capable OB scanners built around an underlying IP backbone and built for the most demanding and prestigious projects. NEP UK has four further UHD scanners which are built around a large 3G SDI routing architecture. NEP UK has also made significant investment into creating multiple, quick to deploy fly-pack solutions with the flexibility and scalability to handle a 44 DECEMBER ‘18
Gareth Phillips, Senior Broadcast Engineer at NEP UK
multitude of projects. Both 3G SDI hybrid routing hardware and IP based broadcast systems have been designed and built at our UK headquarters. These systems have been deployed for a range of major projects, including Wimbledon Host facilities, ITV’s ‘Love Island’ and Discovery Eurosports Winter Olympics coverage.
Do you have plans to build new ones? As opportunities are presented to develop and integrate innovative solutions, NEP is sure to strive to be at the
forefront of broadcast technology.
In relation to the building and use of OB trucks, do you cover the entire value chain (design, integration, operation), or assign others to any of these tasks? From content capture to distribution, NEP offers solutions across the entire media value chain. With respect to building and using OB trucks, the entire process of design, integration and operation is looked after and managed by our skilled
teams of Engineering and Operational professionals.
In which manufacturers do you trust to equip your OB trucks (audio, servers, mixers, cameras, etc.)? To remain at the forefront of technological advance, we must maintain strong working relationships with a multitude of broadcast
NEP UKâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s UHD truck fleet currently comprises of six UHDcapable 24+ Camera units.
manufacturers. Manufacturer relationships must remain largely agnostic in order to seek economical, powerful and innovative solutions for problems which only ever grow in complexity and financial constraints.
What essential requirements do you think an OB truck must meet?
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An OB truck must be technically powerful with regards to standards, format and equipment, whilst having flexible workspaces to adapt for varying productions and requirements.
We have been told that the OB market will opt for the use of 12G, instead of IP. What is your position on this? Whilst 12G is a viable technology for isolated OBâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s, IP technology provides unrivaled scalability whilst being totally format agnostic. The scale of large UHD HDR productions which require parallel SDR workflows require a vast broadcast system, which, in a lot of cases would have outgrown the capabilities of traditional SDI systems and hardware.
What areas of production are requesting more 4K OB trucks? Are sports the main focus of demand? Sport is definitely the primary market with regards to the drive behind UHD and HDR 46 DECEMBER â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;18
NEP Group at FIFA World Cup 2018.
47 DECEMBER â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;18
facilities. Premium sporting leagues tend to have a demand for a large quantity of high-quality material, which in turn, makes sport the primary market for UHD facility.
Overall, including your entire range of OB trucks, what type of productions do you cover the most? NEP covers a broad range of productions. In the UK, a high proportion of our broadcast work is in the coverage of football in the Premier League, English Football League and Leagues 1&2. The scale of these productions encompasses everything from 30 Camera UHD coverage to 4 camera coverage in 1080 50i.
Remote productions To what extend do you support the remote productions? NEP’s IP-enabled Andrews Hubs in Sydney and Melbourne are the world’s largest networked centralized remote production centers. 48 DECEMBER ‘18
An OB truck must be technically powerful with regards to standards, format and equipment.
Connecting over 29 sporting venues via a high bandwidth network, the Hubs enable multiple concurrent outside broadcasts. NEP’s Andrews Hubs are most technically advanced facilities of their kind on this scale and an example of NEP’s
innovation and investment in technology to meet broadcasters’ needs and create the best value production solutions for them.
Do you think that its use will take away market space from OB trucks?
Inevitably, remote productions are going to affect the future of the OB marketplace; however, it is important to note that not every project is suitable for remote production, nor every client’s needs. It is our belief that it is more important to deliver the right solution at the right time for a specific client. We will continue to deliver the best solutions for our clients and drive innovation. The form of that delivery might change, but NEP’s
expertise in execution and service delivery is where we will continue to excel in the market.
Augmented reality You are betting on the use of augmented reality. What type of clients demand this technology? AR is being used by clients that want to add another dynamic to their viewer’s experience. The augmented reality environment is a powerful
Royal Wedding 2018
production tool that enables producers to offer so much more. One thing that is so striking is its ability to create a far stronger relationship between the studio and remote OB’s.
What technical challenges do you usually face with these AR developments? As with all emerging and evolving technology, one primary challenge is in developing existing technician’s skillsets. AR brings many new challenges to the OB engineering teams, most notably, the processing delay in the AR environment and the effect this has on video/audio sync with external/AR sources. Additionally, the AR environment often has to be delivered on the same tight timescales as traditional OB studios have been before. This means that the integration of the AR system must be seamless – including the logistics surrounding its deployment. 49 DECEMBER ‘18
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AT THE TOP OF AUDIOVISUAL PRODUCTION We visited the company’s facilities to find out novelties and get an insight on their market keys
51 DECEMBER ‘18
The audiovisual world no longer has physical borders. Technological developments and progress in communications provide ever increasing possibilities to production services firms. On the other hand, quality demands are on the rise. Today more than ever before companies engaged in audiovisual production are being forced to follow the technological trend in order to stay competitive and avoid lagging behind. Market developments do not allow a single pause. Mediapro have been making this message their own for decades now. This audiovisual services group headquartered in Spain has at present 53 sites throughout 32 countries over four continents. They were pioneers in driving HD resolution and for about three years now they have been riding the 4K wave. Their wellshaped business strategy revolves around being the state-of-the-art in production technology. We visited their facilities 52 DECEMBER â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;18
The audiovisual services group has at present 53 sites throughout 32 countries over four continents. in Getafe (Madrid, Spain) in order to know first-hand their top-notch technological innovations.
Mediapro moved to this new building â&#x20AC;&#x201C;an area covering over 7,000 square metres- in April 2017. The
designing to wiring and mobile unit integration. The two latter tasks are carried out in these facilities. They also operate their vehicles, a circumstance providing added value to the company. “One thing is designing on paper and a different one is putting it to work”, explained Pedro Fernández.
headquarters are also the home of three other companies within the group: Overon, Unitecnic and Eumovil. Even though they operate independently, they share both clients and projects as well while benefiting from the various synergies resulting from working in a shared environment.
4K mobile units The widest area features huge column-free premises integrated in the building which are used by the company for mobile units. As Pedro Fernández, person in charge of Eumovil, told us, Mediapro takes care of the whole value chain, from body
The company has at present six 4K mobile units and another four are currently under construction. They come equipped with Lawo audio consoles, EVS servers and SAM (Belden Group) mixers. As for cameras, Mediapro mainly rely on the Sony, Grass Valley and Panasonic brands. “We meet and sit down with manufacturers in order to arrange a purchase desk and choose what we will take home”, further explained Pedro. All new equipment being purchased by the company is 4K. Demand for this resolution comes mainly from the sports field. The Spanish football league, produced by 53 DECEMBER ‘18
taken into consideration. On the other hand, the headquarters also feature a park area where units lesser than four meters in length and staff vehicles are parked. The company operates on a 24/7 basis. During our visit we found a group of technicians busy with the unpacking of a Lawo console. “We are now integrating a new audio technology in that vehicle”, told us Fernando Salvador, Operations Manager at Eumovil, while pointing towards an HD and 4K mobile unit.
Mediapro, is possibly the best example of this. With these facilities, Mediapro were intent in setting up a work area where technology is the key. And we were able to see this in our visit to the servicing and operation areas or to the general warehouses, where we 54 DECEMBER ‘18
found 4K, HD, SD and all other kinds of equipment sitting there together. Another relevant factor was lighting. The premises and all other facilities receive abundant sunlight from outside through large glass windows. Easy access to roads and the building’s external architecture were also
We had the opportunity to talk to José Antonio Serradilla, Technical Manager at Eumovil. He is the top person in charge of designing the mobile units. He confirmed to us that demand for 4K resolution is increasing, but he remained prudent: “This technology must live along with former equipment and with the innovations yet to arrive”. And this is a major technological challenge, if we consider that a mobile unit must reach a
minimum useful life of 10 years. In view of the increasingly higher technological development, equipment obsolescence has become a critical factor. An essential issue in the design of these vehicles is versatility. Mobile units are neither for use in a single area, be it sports or programmes, nor for a single client. That is the reason why they must
All new equipment being purchased by Mediapro is 4K. Demand for this technology comes mainly from the premium sports field.
enable the creation of work spaces having room for all philosophies. Furthermore, such spaces must be comfortable ones.
Mediapro's largest mobile units hold around 20 people, although this depends on production needs. If required, they
LIVE PRODUCTION VAR vehicle. VAR vans developed by Mediapro are capable of broadcasting up to 40 video signals, something unrivalled so far.
could hold up to 30 people, as illustrated by José Antonio: “Our units are ready for operating at 120%”. As confirmed by Pedro Fernández, the market demands increasingly larger units. In Madrid, state-of-theart units share space with items dating back ten years. They work together in perfect harmony and are jointly used in projects, explained José Antonio. This method is commonly seen in all major audiovisual services companies such as the NEP Group in a move for meeting all kinds of production needs. “We are in the same line as Europe's major companies in the industry, even as American ones. It is not something that we see in trade fairs, but in events. It is a real reference”, boasted Fernando Salvador.
Remote productions Mediapro also works with remote productions. José Antonio links this production option with the 56 DECEMBER ‘18
The mobile unit and events market progresses towards 12G, while IP will be implemented in fixed sets.
type of event involved. In some events using remote production is just unthinkable. He also reminded us that infrastructures are expensive. For instance, the Spanish football league does feature remote items. José Antonio advocates a coexistence model. He believes that there certainly was an initial upsurge, but now the trend has turned more stable. Yet, “remote production will grow and we will be there by then.” Pedro Fernández thinks that remote production will take space from mobile units, but also that the latter will keep their niche. He also favours a co-existence framework. He gave some examples
for this: “If the next European Football Cup is to be held in several countries, the natural approach will be going for a remote production model. If it is to be staged in a single country, using mobile units is the sensible thing to do. In specific events, such as the European Club Championship final, resorting to remote production would not be logical. If you own the basketball production rights in a three to five year contract, as it is the case with Telefónica, you can certainly go for remote production". VAR Technology VAR (video assistant referee) vans are a good example of remote production. This is one of 57 DECEMBER ‘18
the most important recent developments carried out by Mediapro. The project was implemented by Overon. In Spain, all VAR rooms are located in the central facilities of the Spanish Football Federation, in Madrid. The vans developed by Mediapro enable both local and remote production. They operate as a broadcasting system: they receive signals from the Mobile Unit that is then carrying out production tasks and forward them to Madrid. They are capable of conveying up to 40 signals to VAR rooms, something so far unheard of. “We had made remote productions with ten or twelve signals, but not with so many of them ever before. This is Europe's -or even the world's- most ambitious VAR project”, pointed out José Antonio, taking into account that in nearly all countries this task is tackled by local production. The company has five units, which are used for providing coverage to the whole Spanish Premier Football League. 58 DECEMBER ‘18
12G or IP? In today’s transition context, some doubts still arise when configuring 4K mobile units. One of these is regarding the use (or not) of wiring. And here two options come into play: 12G or IP. Mediapro is going for 12G. As José Antonio
believes, the market's evolution in the mobile unit and events area is progressing in this direction, while IP technology will be implemented in fixed scenarios such as studios or sets. Productions require dealing with multiple formats and also working
broadcasters are the ones deciding how to deliver the contents to final users. The latter are actually the window to the outside. And there are still few windows to 4K. The only one is premium sports. TV stations still broadcast in HD, the standard at present. “Few broadcasters demand 4K contents from us", pointed out Pedro Fernández. Fernando Salvador provided us with an illustrative example: “The European Champions League is broadcast in HD”. This scenario puts Mediapro a step ahead of the audiovisual market demands. HDR
smoothly with other companies taking part in these events. Compatibility requirements are therefore the main reason behind the sector’s evolution towards 12G: “IP technology is a technological leap towards a completely different model. It is a
different format than what had been so far used in the broadcasting world,” explained José Antonio Serradilla.
A step ahead of the market Mediapro creates very high quality on-demand audiovisual products, but
HDR has broken through to stay. This is an opinion shared by all Mediapro officials we talked to. It is a significant visual improvement, this being the reason of its success. As explained by José Antonio: “It is not an innovation falling beyond human nature. It shows you reality as it is. I always use the clouds' example. If you aim with your camera to the sky, you do not see 59 DECEMBER ‘18
the clouds in the screen, but just a grey spot instead. With HDR, you will actually see the clouds." A production made with this technology poses a major challenge: you must produce the images for TVs with HDR and for TVs without it. At any rate, we are still at the starting point. The penetration rate of HDR sets in the market is still very small. We know that both 4K and HDR are here to stay but, how long will it take them to get firmly established? “The market will decide," summed up José Antonio. That is why in this transition context, the problem lies in offering several simultaneously, even in the same events. “We will have to generate 4K-HDR, 4K-SDR and HD within the same production. That is the big challenge,” told us the Technical Manager at Eumovil.
Broadcasting In the second part of our visit, we attended to the facilities of Overon, the 60 DECEMBER ‘18
company in charge of part of the broadcast and SNG. In our visit we entered a room where a 4K-HDR course was being taught to company employees. This is an illustrative example of the company’s
commitment towards this technology. Afterwards we visited the planning department. This is the area where signals and requests from TV stations all over the world are received.
Drones Mediapro has broadcast live productions through the use of drones. This is the first time ever. This system was used during the recent floods occurred in Majorca (Spain) in the
live connections with the reporter. One of the main difficulties for such broadcasts lies with the law restrictions in place. In Majorca, for example, the use of drones was planned to take place in two
occasions, but this was possible just once because the second time helicopters were operating nearby. The drones being used by Mediapro are operative for 24 minutes and come equipped with safety parachutes. Regulations on their use vary depending on the country. Laws are far more restrictive in Spain as compared to other countries such as Mexico or Malta where these systems have also been used by Mediapro. At any rate, JosĂŠ Oter, Production Manager at Overon, claimed that the demand for drones is increasing as this system entails significant cost savings.
4G Backpacks Backpacks have seen a marked development over the last few years. The main issue with these systems lies in their dependency on a good signal. Mediapro has at present models from LiveU, Dejero, Aviwest and TVU Networks. 61 DECEMBER â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;18
José Oter showed us in particular the LU600 unit from LiveU, a model of reference for the group. It features a battery life of about four hours, although Mediapro has also supplemental batteries for increasing usage time. Amongst its advantages, an easy operation in addition to cost savings. One of the main keys of these systems is delay setup. “In situations in which a strong signal is not available we usually set a delay time around ten seconds so as to have some margin if the signal is eventually lost," said José. That happens in environments with scarce connectivity. In other circumstances, reducing delay as much as possible is a requirement, as it happens in live connections with reporters from the studio. An alternative offered by backpacks is network connection through a cable. “In such instances upload bandwidth is required. That is why we hire symmetrical DSL lines,” remarked the 62 DECEMBER ‘18
Production Manager at Overon. In order to get a reliable signal, a 2-3 MB connection is required. Both with backpacks and otherwise, Mediapro maintains very close links with manufacturers, even to suggest them changes in their products. The delay set-up feature is just an example of this.
Breakthrough of IT in the audiovisual sector Last, we visited the facilities of Unitecnic, the third company sharing the
Mediapro premises. Unitecnic takes care of part of the engineering by operating as the group’s technology provider. David Vivas, Manager of Unitecnic in Madrid, remarked that the technology that has caused the biggest impact in recent years is the breakthrough of IT networks and infrastructures. In this regard, he confirmed that the number of staff with expertise in the field has significantly grown at the expense of video-oriented profiles.
A very important part of the OTT sector is marketing, which is not always taken into consideration.
Linear and OTT TV We wanted to discuss with David another major challenge facing the sector at present, namely the future of linear TV in regard to the booming of OTT models.
TV stations are now at a crossroads in which they must decide, within the current digital context, what is the right path. “Survival of linear TV is called into question, but this is the only way of broadcasting big events
live, such as a World Cup,” remarked David. “Networks are not mature enough -although they are getting really close- for holding such a large number of users consuming the same contents simultaneously.” Even so, traditional TV is forced to adapt and therefore it has an increasing presence in the OTT world. David Vivas sees this process as a business decision, rather than a technological move. Technology is progressing faster and faster -we mentioned at the beginning of this feature article- and this is forcing the companies in the sector to be more alert than ever for the latest innovations. This is a message we have heard repeatedly throughout our visit. This results in a market in which the range of options will increasingly widen. In this context, Mediapro do not conceal their intention to remain at the forefront of the whole process. 63 DECEMBER ‘18
HOW TO MASTERPIECE YOUR
What is HDR? Let’s remember what is HDR. The acronym means High Dynamic Range and it refers to the luminosity of the image. An SDR image, Standard Dynamic Range, is the image we have been acquiring and representing in our TVs since the beginning of the colour TVs so far. When talking about live transmission HDR obliges to go from 8-bit signals to 10-bit in order to represent the 64 DECEMBER ‘18
luminosity. Something similar happens when file-based workflows, different formats and tools are needed. Consider that here we are not talking about the definition, this is another discussion, but a lot of professionals and consumers prefer HD-HDR images than 4kSDR ones and that’s why to understand what the implications are on working on HDR is so important.
When thinking to produce a video using HDR a lot of doubts come to our mind. Let’s try to clarify them with the possibilities we have when producing an HDR video. Author: Yeray Alfageme, Business Technology Manager Olympic Channel
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Also, let’s not mix HDR with WCG, Wide Colour Gamut. We can shoot and produce HDR content based in the old BT.709 colour space without going to BT.2020.
The camera selection is not an issue at all. Most of the actual cameras can capture more luminosity than the one we can record and store.
Image acquisition – the camera and the standard The camera selection is not an issue at all. Most of the actual cameras can capture more luminosity than the one we can record and store. Also, most of our smartphones have HDR capabilities but there is something we need to take care of when selecting our camera and it is the standard, we want to shoot in. We are not going to focus this article on what camera to choose, there are too many options and it depends on many considerations. As we already mention in our trilogy about UHD there are, mainly 3 standards when talking about gamma curves for HDR: • PQ - Dolby Vision: 66 DECEMBER ‘18
proprietary standard used in almost all the Hollywood cinema companies with great image quality but forced to be consistent from capturing until the final viewer.
• HLG – Hybrid Log Gamma: arises from the collaboration between BBC and NHK it seems to be the standard when talking about live transmissions and the most frequently used in
TV. Retro compatible with SDR. • Sony S-Log 3: proprietary standard from Sony when using Sony cameras and systems both for live and recorded shooting. It can be converted to any of the other formats using an image/signal converter from Sony. Here we need to consider that none of our commercial TVs we have at home can reproduce any of these standards, so the final grading of our image needs to be adapted to this. The standard used at home could be either Dolby Vision, but not a complete
version of it, or HDR 10. HDR10 was the standard most of the TV brands selected to be consistent when talking about HDR at home. Also, Sony, with their S-Log 3, has joined this alliance in order to bring to the people the final look and feel of the HDR in a good way. The recommendation is to go for HDR10, or the latest version HDR10+, because is the most common one and looks fine also in Dolby Vision home screens (Table 1).
Reference Monitor The next step on the correct path to have a full HDR workflow is how to
monitor your signal, both at the acquisition but also at the editing time. When talking about representing luminance, it’s clear in what feature of the monitor we need to be focused on, the luminosity. An SDR monitor will be capable to have a luminosity of about 100 nits and the HDR monitors can go up to 800 and 1.000 nits, what are 10 times and SDR one. You can imagine that the difference will be big. For this purpose, a reference monitor is a must. There are different HDR monitors out there, also you can be tempted to use and HDR TV, not
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Canon DP-V2410 24" 4K Reference Display
An SDR monitor will be capable to have a luminosity of about 100 nits and the HDR monitors can go up to 800 and 1.000 nits, what are 10 times and SDR one.
recommended of course, give is the Canon DP-
reference monitor considered one of the best ones, but it is not cheap.
V2410. It is a 4K HDR
There are also monitors
but one example we can
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from Sony, like the BVMHX310 presented in the last IBC 2018 and capable to reproduce both S-Log 3 and HLG gamma curves and proprietary monitors from Dolby, noncommercial. Other brands offer standard SDR monitor are represents the HDR parts of the image with a colour marker, but it never represents the final picture.
Sony BVM-HX310 31-inch 4K TRIMASTER HXâ&#x201E;˘ Professional Master Monitor
We strongly recommend going for an HDR monitor, if not is impossible to know how your HDR image will look like at the end.
Example of an HDR image represented on an SDR monitor. As you can see most of the sky, this an image was done for this purpose, is out of the SDR range and just some areas of the park, the ones in grey, are SDR areas.
We need to be careful here when selecting the software, we are going to use to edit and postproduce our HDR piece because not all the software supports all the HDR standards. 69 DECEMBER â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;18
The most popular one is DaVinci Resolve from Blackmagic and it can work either in HDR10 or Dolby Vision and in HLG. Consider that it must be the studio version in order to be able to work in HDR because the standard version is SDR only. Among other applications supporting HDR are SGO Mistika, Adobe Premiere Pro, and Avid Media Composer. Furthermore, within each format, you can also select the output codec. Premiere, for example, lets you choose between DNxHR, HEVC (H.265), and OpenEXR.
Needed hardware and processing When grading HDR images we find the same issue than when grading 4K footage: it is timeconsuming. The amount of data to process the files is huge and we need dedicated hardware when rendering our pieces. For example, to grade on Resolve in Dolby Vision Blackmagic Design suggests the following hardware (in addition to a Dolby Vision-certified HDR monitor): a workstation meeting Resolve specs, a
DeckLink 4K Extreme 12G or UltraStudio 4K Extreme I/O interface for real-time monitoring, an SDR (nonHDR) monitor for the base layer, a special standalone hardware video processor from Dolby, called a CMU (Content Management Unit), and a video router. This will connect your computer with your reference monitor and will also assume some of the work when rendering HDR content making the process faster. If you are going to produce a piece that must
The storage is also an issue when working in HDR. The compression is lower than in SDR and you need to save all your available data at the process in order to be able to redo your image as many times as you want. Be ready to acquire around 1 Gb of storage per minute of footage if you want to work really in HDR. 70 DECEMBER â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;18
DeckLink 4K Extreme 12G
be broadcasted both in SDR and HDR, that, to be honest, this is going to be the case for all your pieces because you are not going to control was the final viewer is going to view your content, we recommend basing your grading in the SDR version. From it you can apply a second round of grading, less time consuming than the first one, just focusing in the HDR area. Doing like this you will have guaranteed that in all the screens your content will be shown accurately to want you to want to show.
Some tips Finally, let me give you some tips when working in HDR. These are just personal considerations, but I find them useful to share: • As mentioned before, keep in mind that when you grade in HDR but finish in SDR. • Don’t overdo your grades although you may be tempted to. It’s better to be natural than to look like the latest image for HDR TV advertisement.
The industry is moving fast and most of the studios, Netflix and Amazon included, only produce in HDR since some time ago, about one year. This means that the limitations on the workflow are almost over, but it is different than in SDR.
• Be patience and practice. You will need time to acquire the same skill you have in SDR in an HDR world. • Be consistent. Do not start shooting in S-Log 3, post-producing in HLG and grading finally in Dolby Vision because the result of your work is not going to look nice in any of the standards. All mentioned above are just possibilities when working in HDR. The industry is moving fast and most of the studios, Netflix and Amazon included, only produce in HDR since some time ago, about one year. This means that the limitations on the workflow are almost over,
but it is different than in SDR. We need to see our result in HDR, and it is not easy now. The cameras can shoot HDR, most of them, and the software can support the different formats but when representing and delivering the image to the viewers is where the issue is. For sure it will get better fast, but we need to be professional and keep serious when shooting in HDR and not just using the last HDR option of our smartphone activated. And remember, we do not want more pixels, we want better pixels and that is why HDR matters. 71 DECEMBER ‘18
Keys to the
of the broadcast industry Audiovisual technology in sports and events, challenges facing news programs, transition into the IP world and the future of radio broadcasting, topics for discussion in the latest edition of the BITAM Show. The latest edition of the BITAM Show was hosted on 20-22 November in Madrid (Spain) with the aim of bringing together all professionals of the audiovisual market, which was represented through the Integration, Audiovisual Services, Digital Signage and Broadcast verticals. In its sixth year, the event has finally become a meeting of reference for the sector in Spain and southern Europe. Exhibitors showcased in the exhibition hall the most representative solutions of the audiovisual industry. TM Broadcast magazine, the event’s only Media Partner, made good use of this scenario filled with innovations and novelties to host a series of theme conferences, with a special focus on the broadcast industry. These sessions featured participation of senior technical officers from a significant number of TV channels, radio stations and leading audiovisual groups. Below you will find the highlights of some of the most interesting discussions, where keys were given in order to gain a more in-depth view of the industry’s development in Europe and globally. By Daniel Esparza
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AUDIOVISUAL TECHNOLOGY in SPORTS AND EVENTS: trends and future
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IN SPORTS AND EVENTS
Within the framework of the BITAM 2018 trade fair, the TM BROADCAST magazine summoned technical managers from various areas of audiovisual production for events and sports to discuss with them the hottest topics in the industry. The conference was sponsored by Panasonic, Vizrt and TVU Networks, which contributed a manufacturer perspective to the discussion, through their attending representatives.
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The conference featured participation of the following senior executives: Emili Planas, CTO y and General Manager of Operations, Mediapro. Óscar Lago, Production Manager, Mediapro. Adolfo Remacha, Technical Director, Movistar plus. Xavier Fontoba, Audiovisual Operations Supervisor, Barça TV. Toni Feliu, Pro-AV Manager for Spain, Panasonic. Oriol Icart, Technical Operations Director for Europe, TVU Networks. Pablo Herrero, European Development Manager, Vizrt. The discussion was moderated by Luis Sanz, a reputed TV and radio technical consultant and a regular contributor for TM BROADCAST.
4K-HDR broadcasts The opening topic for discussion was the current state of sports broadcasting. From SD, HD –the most frequent definition- up to UHD. A set of standards is being proposed for this scenario that has a direct impact 76 DECEMBER ‘18
on image, both in production and recording and, most significantly, on sports distribution, which can be performed via TDT, OTT, IPTV and even through satellite. Also worth noting is the influence of these innovations in Simulcast productions. Some of
these standards are associated to resolution (HD-4K), dynamic range (SDR-HDR), colour space (BT.2020), or frame rate (HFR). The CTO at Mediapro, Emili Planas, presented his views by stating: “We come from a scenario with only two standards: HD
IN SPORTS AND EVENTS
and SD. Now, however, we are experiencing more interesting times at a technological level as we do not have a single standard for broadcast and, therefore, for production." Taking all this into consideration, the challenge is even bigger now as not all production standards match distribution standards. As Emili Planas further explained, there is a need for finding a way to get contents being produced
reach user devices, either TV sets or mobile phones, with the quality desired by producers. On the other hand, production in HDR with 2020 colour space – explained Mediapro’s CTO- entails a number of technological and conversion-related complications that may compromise quality, which makes preparing HDR productions in Simulcast with SDR a complex issue. “Most of the audience is in SDR, so it is important,
naturally, not to lose quality here. Therefore, the challenge in HDR sports production is to get a SDR quality equivalent or even better than the quality we can achieve by means of current technology while, at the same time, producing in HDR”, argued Emili Planas. Technical Director at Movistar plus Adolfo Remacha provided a broadcaster's point of view. According to Remacha, HDR is still a frequent subject of
77 DECEMBER ‘18
argument. The format chosen for sports by Movistar plus is HLG, upon considering it is the best suited for live productions. However, this is not the
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format used by fiction content producers, as they usually resort to HDR 10 or Dolby Vision. That is why Movistar must ensure compatibility of all these
formats, also taking into account what standards can be shown in the TV set connected to the decoder. This creates uncertainty for Adolfo Remacha: â&#x20AC;&#x153;We
IN SPORTS AND EVENTS
are broadcasting in HDR, but still in an imperfect way. According to some theories, the current complexity of HDR means we should wait before implementing it”. At any rate, Remacha admits that the final look of HDR content is 'spectacular’. At this point of the discussion, Toni Feliu, ProAV Manager for Spain at Panasonic, contributed some very illustrative figures in regard to sales of HDR TV sets: “About three million sets are sold in Spain every year. Out of this figure, around 13-20 percent, based on inch size, are 4K and only 4 percent are HDR”. On the other hand, projections indicate that sales of TV sets will grow 5% next year. According to Toni Feliu, “the trend for 2019 is that 40% of sets will be 4K, while manufacturing of HDR sets will reach 8%”. On the other hand, Pablo Herrero, European Development Manager at Vizrt, geared the discussion to a different area when he asked the participants if they had
“Most spectators cannot tell the difference between 4K and HD because of their distance to the TV set. This is not the case with HDR. TV now provides spectators –thanks to HDR- with an immersive experience”.
considered the option of making HD productions with HDR. Emili Planas confirmed he had, but rejected its commercial feasibility: “We should consider HD-HDR productions for contents where noticing the difference between HD and 4K resolutions is really hard. It makes sense from a technical standpoint. On the other hand, it is impossible to sell commercially”. Javier Fontoba, Audiovisual Operations Supervisor at Barça TV, also agreed that resolution is given the most importance over all other drivers. Adolfo Remacha, on the other hand, does not think the HD-HDR production model will come through.
Óscar Lago, Production Manager at Mediapro, reflected on the influence of 4K and HDR technologies in audiovisual narrative. According to Lago, this is the first time in the past 20 years that a technological advance does not imply a change in the way narrative is performed, which certainly occurred in the transition from 4:3 to 16:9. Óscar Lago compared, from his point of view as producer, 4K and HDR technologies: “Most spectators cannot tell the difference between 4K and HD because of their distance to the TV set. This is not the case with HDR. TV now provides spectators –thanks to HDR- with an immersive experience”. 79 DECEMBER ‘18
Microcameras In the following topic for discussion, the question posed to participants was what would be the best way in production to offer spectators the possibility of having at their disposal different viewing angles, from small details to large aerial shots. In this area major factors are the camera's sensor and optics, in addition to the use of microcameras and the so-called 'first point of view’. In this regard, Javier Fontoba argued that the use of microcameras and first-point-of-view cameras enables getting images that cannot be possibly obtained through conventional cameras and this has an impact on the event’s narrative. Many sports, such as car racing and Moto GP, already rely on this kind of cameras, and in this sense, Fontoba wondered what would installing nanocameras in the football players’ shirts be like. From Mediapro, Óscar Lago confirmed that tests have been already made 80 DECEMBER ‘18
with this kind of cameras. However, he noted that the audience who watch football matches is a rather conservative one, at least for the time being: "Right now I cannot imagine a scenario where this kind of cameras will prevail in sheer live events." He also remarked that each sport has its own narrative: “In football only one action is going on a time, whilst in car or motorbike races there is action in each driver/rider. That is why in football focusing the camera on the goalkeeper during game play would be unthinkable". Oriol Icart, Technical Operations Director for Europe at TVU Networks, commented that in broadcasts of major rugby games referees have been
carrying a camera on their shirts for some years now.
Modernisation of stadiums Javier Fontoba argued that an important factor to be borne in mind in football production is the physical space taken up by a camera. Because, from the standpoint of clubs, cameras take space from fans. In this line of though, Óscar Lago claimed that Spain requires a modernisation of stadiums so they adapt to TV productions. This is, according to Lago, something that will arrive sooner or later: “Newly built stadiums already have this in mind. There must be room for everyone around the playfield's perimeter: spectators, operators, equipment…”.
Javier Fontoba argued that the use of microcameras and first-point-of-view cameras enables getting images that cannot be possibly obtained through conventional cameras and this has an impact on the event’s narrative.
IN SPORTS AND EVENTS
Emili Planas revealed that Mediapro has made changes in the cameras to prevent them from disturbing spectators situated behind them, but conceded that this responsibility lies with the team in charge of designing the stadium. In this same regard, the Spanish League Championship (La Liga) promoted two years ago an initiative for a camera deployment as similar as possible in all stadiums.
Audio 5.1 Audio also wants to follow on the trend of improved imaging. That is the reason why the option of performing immersive multi-channel audio productions is being raised. According to Emili Planas, there are two types of audio mixing for sports: just for following the match or for placing spectator right into the game. In the first type, spectators can hear the
public, the atmosphere, but not what is happening on the playfield. The second option, however, allows spectators to hear the thud of the ball, players' remarks, coaches giving orders, etc. “When producing La Liga –further explained Planaswe strive for focusing the attention a bit in the game without giving up the impression that you are in the stadium while also striving for immersive audio. It is not an easy task”. 81 DECEMBER ‘18
Immersive audio poses a challenge: most users –at it is also the case with HDR- do not have the right equipment for receiving this signal. From TVU Networks, Oriol Icart raised the issue of whether Mediapro had considered implementing some form of integration for football broadcast through radio. Emili Planas found here an issue around priorities: Spectators –“no matter how much we technicians regret it”- choose to listen to a certain radio station because of commentators and their analysis and approach, not because of distinct sound quality. On the other hand, Planas explained that Movistar or Bein are including audio broadcasts from various radio stations in order to allow spectators select the one they want to listen. “This looks very simple, but it does complicate operations a great deal as it forces us to manage delays from each station to sync them with the live video signal. Furthermore, 82 DECEMBER ‘18
this adjustment must be done for each single match.” Adolfo Remacha also contributed that the latest demand from teams is to have their own narration. “We have been recently including a narration chosen by the local team and another by the
visitors. For them, the narrative bias is more important than sound quality.” The technical manager at Movistar plus conceded not to have succeeded in making a reasonable 5.1 production in sports (although they have with fiction): “5.1 sports
IN SPORTS AND EVENTS
broadcasts are very complex, bearing in mind that stereo mixing must be also performed for a vast majority of audiences”.
Remote productions Non-premium sports do not attract massive audiences, and therefore are not subject to big production efforts. Does resorting to remote or cloud-based productions make sense in these instances?
Immersive audio poses a challenge: most users –at it is also the case with HDR- do not have the right equipment for receiving this signal.
First, Adolfo Remacha elaborated on the agreement between Movistar plus and the Spanish ACB Basketball Championship: “We are producing remotely about four matches a week of Liga Endesa premier basketball championship. We have taken advantage of being Telefónica, through implementation of a deployment of communications that enabled us to achieve this. This is a developing effort, but it is working really well. We consider this a success case”. 83 DECEMBER ‘18
Emili Planas wanted to somehow make a distinction between remote and low-cost production: “In some instances, as the model applied for La Liga, remote production budgets are similar to traditional production while offering benefits in quality. He have succeeded in having more expert camera operators working together, thus improving production quality in matches regarded as low-cost productions, such as Spanish football Division 2. In regard to low-cost production models, Emili Planas found cloud-based production an interesting option: “This is an emerging trend that will apparently enable us to carry out productions from anywhere in the world. This will be a quantum leap, as the equipment to be mobilised will be kept at a minimum". Oriol Icart believes remote production will be focusing on big events, while low-cost production 84 DECEMBER ‘18
“In many sports, carrying out large productions is not feasible. Therefore, many sports can be only broadcast by using one or two mobile devices connected to a laptop computer.”
will chose the cloud: “In many sports, carrying out large productions is not feasible. Therefore, many sports can be only broadcast by using one or two mobile devices connected to a laptop computer. TVU networks has a specific solution for this. We believe remote production will be a high standard while low-cost production will be ondemand cloud-based. I am detecting this trend in sports. Physical production will only survive in big events. Otherwise, local TV stations or even regional TV stations will not be able to stay alive.” Javier Fontoba shared this vision and explained why: “The paradigm has changed. Users are no longer content with watching what is on TV,
but claim being able to choose content instead. In this regard, access to certain content weighs more than quality itself. This is where cloud-based productions come into play.” As for production costs, Toni Feliu from Panasonic, thinks that the range of choice is wide. And he unveiled one of the most innovative developments being undertaken by this manufacturer: “A highlevel trend we have embraced at Panasonic is the cropping function. This works by using an 8K camera, then create a 4K or HD cropping and move through the image. It involves another way of producing. This cropping can be manually –or even remotely- managed or can be operated through
IN SPORTS AND EVENTS
tracking. These are two options we are proposing in the market”.
Usage of IP in production The next to last block being discussed at the conference was usage of IP technology in production, both for mobile units and at studios. Implementation is not broad and there is ongoing debate around advantages and drawbacks. The speakers were cautious in regard to this issue. Emili Planas summed up his views as follows: “Each time we consider setting up a new infrastructure based on IP technology instead of SDI, we realise
that even it may be technically feasible at present, a series of requirements take us back when it comes to making this decision”. And later on he elaborated: "We are interested in having top quality, reliability, quick problem-solving capacity and easy-to-use systems. Not all these requirements can be ensured at present with IP. We will surely go for IP, but at present migrating to IP in certain facilities is a complex issue”. Adolfo Remacha shared a similar vision: “We were considering the alternative of migrating to IP (at their Tres Cantos facilities), but we finally discarded the move. In
regard to detection of issues and solving times we find that IP technology still lags behind. For live productions we think IP technology has some way to go before it becomes as reliable and easy-tooperate as a traditional production.” From Vizrt, Pablo Herrero explained he has detected a similar pattern of behaviour in the sector throughout Europe: “The big players, either TV channels or producers, have migrated to IP whenever they have been forced to move into a new building". And he gave an example: “Few people want to change the pipes in their old homes”. An issue not always taken into account when making the move towards IP –Herrero reminded- is related to searching for adequate professional profiles. Migration to this technology requires relying on network equipment instead of on broadcast equipment. Oriol Icart went a step further: “We do not have engineers qualified for 85 DECEMBER ‘18
“For live productions we think IP technology has some way to go before it becomes as reliable and easy-tooperate as a traditional production.”
this. We have broadcast and network engineers, just like water and oil. Unless we train engineers that are skilled in both areas, IP has a difficult path ahead".
Relationship between sports and the latest technologies The final topic covered by the speakers was their vision on the application of the most sophisticated technologies such as virtual reality and 86 DECEMBER ‘18
augmented reality, 360º or artificial intelligence. Pablo Herrero confirmed that augmented reality will be a widely used technology in the future for improving narrative and he also said that artificial intelligence will help in achieving these developments.
In regard to this, Javier Fontoba raised, for consideration of the participants, the issue of whether the market is progressing towards immersive experiences or actually towards somewhat guided experiences: “The latest technologies allow
IN SPORTS AND EVENTS
spectators to become increasingly immersed in the playfield or in the stage, but this trend works against narrations, against narrative language in broadcasts, as we are handing the narration cues over to spectators themselves”. Facing this scenario, he asked: “How can we integrate these technologies in a guided narrative?”
shared the experience of Movistar plus, which broadcasts Formula One Grand Prix and Moto GP racing with five subjective cameras in addition to regular production. “I must say that usage of subjectivity is minimal. The vast majority of people rely on the professional producer”, he remarked.
As put by Óscar Lago, “these new technologies are not so much intended for live broadcasts but for extending production throughout the week and gaining loyalty from spectators. In this regard, any new developments will not replace regular production, but provide new content instead".
In answering this question, Adolfo Remacha
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DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION: A transition into the
environment The BITAM fair also hosted a discussion on the present and future of IP environments. It is clear that this technology is here to stay. It has a massive, distinct presence in the contribution and distribution areas. However, its breakthrough and development in the production side has been more gradual and there is still, at any rate, a long way to go. The panel of experts who participated in this conference explored what the advantages and deficiencies of this technology are and tried to clarify some doubts existing in the sector.
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The conference featured participation of the following senior executives: • José Luis García Cabrera, Engineering and Systems Manager, Telefónica Servicios Audiovisuales. • Pablo, senior executive, Telefónica Servicios Audiovisuales. • David De No Coma, CEO, Ges-It. • Emilio González-Zuazo, Audiovisual Production Manager, Real Madrid. The discussion was moderated by Yeray Alfageme, Business Technology Manager, Olympic Channel, and a frequent contributor to TM BROADCAST.
Current state of IP technology In first instance, speakers analysed the state of use of IP technology. David De No Coma, CEO at Ges-It, argued that implementation of IP in the streaming and contribution areas is a reality. And he provided some facts: “Nearly 70% of TV live broadcasts are carried out through IP contribution, thanks to the already famous broadcasting backpacks”. IP is also being used for business lines or presentations given by major banks, he also described. “All of us use IP daily, 90 DECEMBER ‘18
either YouTube or any app –reminded David de No Coma. End users are demanding IP solutions from general TV channels. Spectators want consumption on demand. TVs are migrating to Premium channels that offer specific content, and users are able, for instance, to get real-time access to the start of a program. The user is now the owner of its TV”. According to the CEO at Ges-It, about 30-40% of production of content for TV is IP-based. Pablo, senior executive TSA, explored the state of IP technology in the areas of signal capture and onstudio production, in
“Spectators want consumption on demand. TVs are migrating to Premium channels that offer specific content, and users are able, for instance, to get realtime access to the start of a program. The user is now the owner of its TV”
which the aim is replacing SDI environments with IP environments. The big difference between the IP world and SDI is –he claims- flexibility: “Formerly, our central core was always a matrix that we used for signal routing. From such video matrix where we always had a clear view of the number of SDI inputs and outputs and in which bandwidth was assured- we have evolved into the IP switch. This switch is, as compared to the matrix, agnostic". He added: “The focus now is on bandwidth. Whenever we take on a new project or infrastructure, bandwidth is paramount". He later assessed the 2110 format. “With 2022 we had SDI over IP, everything encapsulated, while in 2110 we have unencapsulated frames and differentiated video, audio and data streaming.” José Luis García Cabrera, Engineering and Systems Manager at TSA, agrees with David De No Coma 91 DECEMBER ‘18
that transition into IP is already a fact in the contribution and distribution areas. “What really concerns clients –explained José Luis- is the use of IP for live productions. An important aspect here is the company’s investment lifecycle. In this regard, public and private customers behave differently”. At any rate, there is no question about migration: “Nowadays the option of moving into IP must be considered a must. The standard is mature enough as to go for it".
We wondered whether to choose IP or SDI. Back then we went for SDI. However, at present the SDI matrix is no longer in use".
In this line of thought, Yeray Alfageme, the discussion’s moderator, cited a particular case involving his company: “In 2015, I took part in a project in which we had to design a production environment from scratch.
Yeray also confirmed that the Olympic Channel contributes and distributes nearly all contents on IP: “We are trying to stay within an IP environment to avoid the complexities and spending of resources that moving to SDI involves”.
“Evolution from analogical to digital was a technological change, not a concept change. But migration to IP certainly is”
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In regard to the example given by Yeray Alfageme (a matrix in which a large amount was invested and which due returns have not been achieved while sitting unused), how could migration be tackled? Pablo suggested some keys: “An option is updating by islands. Isolated areas that operate also as a learning process could be selected. That is: we set up a small island within the system, check how it works and then let technicians get used, thus attaining a more controlled environment".
format are no longer made with a SNG, a helicopter and a satellite transmission. Contributions are normally made from a motorbike by means of a 4G backpack. “IP technology –argued the CEO at Ges-It, offers increased flexibility. Formerly, making a contribution in the subway or from a moving vehicle was out of question".
IP demand is social In this regard, David De No Coma admitted that changes are always traumatic, even more so in this case: “Evolution from analogical to digital was a technological change, not a concept change. But migration to IP certainly is”. On the other hand, he remarked that demand for this change is social in nature: “Society is on IP consumption. At the moment, customers are the ones deciding what contents they want to watch”. An example of this change is sports broadcasting, in which contributions in the older
Human factor José Luis García Cabrera highlighted that, within the framework of transition to IP, the human factor is highly relevant, most of all when touching the heart of content creation, that is production at the studios: “In such instances we should consider if the customer has staff capable of assuming this change and operating the new systems. This component cannot be separated from the technological decision”. Therefore, the technological and the human factor must be
tackled as one. “Already at the initial work sessions with customers -said José Luis García- we get to grasp their degree of acceptance of the IP world”. In this regard, David De No Come thinks some customer re-education must occur: “IP has taken off only recently and it is true that at first some trials did not work right. This caused reluctance to IP amongst some customers. However, a very rapid evolution has occurred". In regard to the influence of the human factor in this transition, Yeray Alfageme asked participants if they believe that professionals from the broadcast world are capable of taking on this change better than network engineers. With migration towards IP -underlined Pablo in the first place- operators will continue using the systems in the same way. The real change lies in the area of engineering, systems design and maintenance: “And to achieve this, a 93 DECEMBER ‘18
pure broadcast engineer is of no use to us as neither is an IT engineer. We need a more balanced profile”. David agreed that new profiles are needed: "Now, all-in-one professionals are needed, people capable of being acquainted with the broadcast environment but adequate for the systems available". He remained optimistic, however: “I think this challenge is being successfully coped with”. Emilio González-Zuazo, Audiovisual Production Manager at Real Madrid, deems that the key is teaching the staff to use the new systems: “We have a fantastic staff that is keen on learning and improving. They need training, of course, but it has always been like this”. In regard to this issue, Emilio stressed also the need of tightening links with IT professionals: “We have made good use of the huge opportunity of sharing, for quite a long time now, the system's issues and benefits with IT professionals. And we 94 DECEMBER ‘18
have succeeded in making it work because of our determination, sacrifice and ability to understand each other". In regard to cloud-based productions –another of the topics discussed-, David de No Coma contributed that this model can be used in second-rate events: “I think it is suitable for lowcost productions".
Opportunities and the future Emilio González-Zuazo also recounted his experiences with IP technology. Real Madrid decided to update the PA system in Santiago Bernabeu stadium through IP. “At first –Emilio González-Zuazo told- we were very scared, as being wireless turns this technology into something more intangible. We had a lot of problems because we did not know how to tackle the issue. However, the experience has turned out to be very good”. IP technology is facilitating the opening up
of increasingly ambitious opportunities. “From my point of view –said Emiliothe best of them is that we will be able to make remote productions. This means cutting costs and changing the concept”. In this regard, Emilio González-Zuazo has no doubts as to the future: “Migrating to IP is not an option, but the necessary evolution to which we are going". José Luis García Cabrera shared this vision and added: “We are seeing more and more IP
demand. Previously you had to push the project forward, but now it is just the opposite. An important issue is getting to know what the driver behind this kind of projects is. José Luis García provided an illustrative example with the remote production project undertaken by his company for broadcasting the Endesa premier basketball league: “In the past, the ACB basketball league was being produced with different qualities depending on the
equipment available. According to the agreement reached with them, venues were covered in different ways. At a given time, the Basketball Club Association claimed a homogenous production standard for all venues without increasing costs. Remote production enabled us to achieve this goal". Another interesting aspect of this project was implementation speed. “I took five months from the moment we came up with
the idea up to execution of the first match remotely. These periods further support the technological maturity we have reached". To conclude, Emilio González-Zuazo stressed the point that the best of IP is that it will enable offering customers (directors, producers) a degree of flexibility, when doing their programs, that they did not have until now. He adds: "We will succeed in decreasing costs or, in other words, we will invest the same amount of money while achieving better things. Because a decrease in costs does not imply spending less money but contributing more value.” Last, the Audiovisual Production Manager at Real Madrid, seized the opportunity offered by this forum to claim a single standard for the entire audiovisual industry, a proposal that was shared by all speakers present and, undoubtedly, by a good part of the market. 95 DECEMBER ‘18
The future of
in a digital world
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At the BITAM 2018 fair, a theme session on alternatives for radio survival and business in today’s digital environment was hosted as well. All speeches and the discussion round held at the end of the conference somehow put the focus on listeners, a key aspect for understanding the future of this medium (as well as for all other media).
The first part of the session featured participation of the following experts: • José María García Lastra, Vice President, AERO and Managing Partner, CRISTALIZA. • Benigno Moreno, Radio Producer, RNE. • Javier Sánchez Pérez, Head of Strategy and Innovation, RTVE. • Pepe Cerezo, Director & Partner, Evoca Media • Philippe Chapot, Organiser of the European Radio and Digital Audio Show José María García Lastra, VP at AERO and managing partner of CRISTALIZA, was in charge of introducing the three speeches and latter moderated the discussion round.
Thrilling by telling stories: Audio 5.1 The first speech, captioned "Thrilling by telling stories" was given by Benigno Moreno, radio producer for the Spanish public radio network (RNE). José María García Lastra expressed his appreciation for this 98 DECEMBER ‘18
speech when he pointed out that “producer jobs are at a risk of disappearing in some companies, although they are more important than ever before”. “Listeners must feel that they are with us at the studio to really hook up", explained Benigno
Moreno at the start of his speech. And in order to succeed with this, in addition to words themselves, sound is of particular relevance as “it causes direct emotions that need no decoding". Benigno noted that sound had been downplayed by radios for some time.
team, an only-audio section for completing the stories. In this connection and with the aim of enhancing user experience, they are exploring the use of multichannel 5.1 sound: “From a narrative point of view, the most relevant feature is that we will be placing listeners inside the action. When deploying five loudspeakers, the way of telling a story turns out to be completely different".
Benigno Moreno explained that on-demand listening allows offering new formats to the audience. He focused on fiction –the genre he is working on at the time being: “It is the most complex format, as it allows us to deploy all
sound resources. Additionally, technology allows us to go even further beyond”. In this regard, he unveiled some of his most relevant transmedia projects in which, based on TV series, he is creating, together with his
“From a narrative point of view, the most relevant feature is that we will be placing listeners inside the action. When deploying five loudspeakers, the way of telling a story turns out to be completely different".
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Benigno thinks this model should not be limited just to fiction: “Production of 5.1 radio documentaries could be interesting".
Does radio need 5G? Is 5G a new broadcasting model for radio? Many questions come up here. We are witnessing 5G broadcast tests being performed in many countries. And we are also about to see it marketed. Javier Sánchez Pérez, Head of Strategy & Innovation for the Spanish public television and radio network (RTVE), a member of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), took charge of clarifying these issues. First of all, Javier Sánchez raised an issue that is not at all trivial: public broadcasters always use the standard, for two reasons: it is technically possible and it is financially feasible. In this regard and in connection with the 5G hype, he pointed out that the future should be 100 DECEMBER ‘18
pondered with some scepticism. “We must preserve what we have as much as we can. Otherwise, in the first place, we will not be able to perform our public service duty, which is very much linked to providing the maximum geographical and social coverage. Furthermore, total migration to the Internet is not possible, as there is not enough network capacity in Europe for broadcasting all the radio content through this channel.” Such "total migration” to the Internet would not pay off in terms of costs and therefore it can be
regarded as a discarded option. At any rate, as Javier Sánchez stated, “EBU favours 5G as it helps enhancing the relationship with the audience”. The problem is, as he later elaborated, that 5G is one thing or the opposite depending on what organisation or market player you ask this question. Also, in many of these definitions, radios (and TVs) are not being considered: “In EBU we face uncertainty, as we were not taken into consideration right from the start”. In respect of the current situation, Javier Sánchez was quite blunt: "5G is not
Radiocommunications Conference is being held and one of the most relevant issues in the agenda is identifying the spectrum of 5G. If we have no roads for our networks to travel, we have nothing".
here. We have no 5G commercial service. They talk to us about business models in which we will be making loads of money, but no one has seen them yet". At any rate, standardisation of 5G protocol specification has already kicked off. The goal being pursued is to attain a single set of standards worldwide and everything is oriented towards having the 5G standards ready by 2020. Javier Sánchez mentioned another key parameter during his speech: the spectrum. “Next year the World
One thing is clear: 5G is being promoted worldwide. Therefore, if we regard that there is a future for the radio, and there certainly is, it will have to move to 5G no matter what. However, there is a price to pay for this: “We have to think very clearly what the requirements for the radio will be in the future: If we pay for something we are not going to need, and at a high price, we will not be making a sound decision”. In regard to this issue, Javier Sánchez provided a
highly illustrative fact: “90% of content from major radio stations is consumed through FM". This platform cannot be integrated in any 5G network as it is analogical. That is why at EBU they think "we should take DAB plus networks deployed throughout Europe to the 5G market”. In conclusion, the European Broadcasting Union, as put by Javier Sánchez, is at present "analysing realistic usage cases for implementation of 5G".
Liquid media Pepe Cerezo, Managing Partner at Evoca Media, presented, on the other hand, an interesting analysis for understanding the role that will be played by the radio and other media in the future,
“Total migration to the Internet is not possible, as there is not enough network capacity in Europe for broadcasting all the radio content through this channel.
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as based on Zigman Baugan's theory on liquid societies. “Transformation of products and services in zeros and ones has turned nearly everything into something liquid”, began Pepe Cerezo his speech. “The industrial world cannot be replicated in the digital world”, he explained. Amongst a series of issues, he reckoned that digitalisation has transformed, within the consumption and entertainment industry, products into services. He provided examples such as Netflix, Car2go or Uber. The other key lies in the use of technological platforms, which have succeeded in matching offer and demand. “Airbnb is the world’s largest hotel company and it has no beds of its own”. Pepe Cerezo also gave his view that at present everything revolves around getting to know users (data), a key parameter in nearly all technological platforms. Based on this 102 DECEMBER ‘18
assumption, he analysed how this transformation has impacted traditional mass media. “The distribution model in press, TV and radio has been transformed. Previously they had control over distribution, but now that has faded. Now there are platforms in place capable of controlling that chain”. In this regard, he stated that “Internet has created new intermediaries”, as opposed to the general belief that it has actually eliminated them. Based on all the above assumptions, the question underlying Pepe Cerezo's presentation is: How do I create new business models from this interpretation? According to him, two distinct models can be used: - Someone pays for a product or service instead of users: advertising. - Users pay directly for a product or service: direct monetisation. To close his speech, Pepe
Cerezo pointed out that in the new "Internet of voice" age, the radio has a bright future because a wide array of possibilities will open up.
European Radio and Digital Audio Show Before summoning participants for discussion, Philippe Chapot, organiser of the European Radio and Digital Audio Show, was invited to the conference for introducing to the audience of BITAM this free-entrance event that will be held in Paris on 2426 January, 2019.
Roundtable event. The audience, in the spotlight For a conclusion, a roundtable event for discussion was held, with participation of the following senior executives: • Javier Hernández, Director, RNE. • Montserrat Lluis Serrat, Deputy General Manager of Contents, Cadena Cope. • María Jesús Espinoza de los Monteros, Project Manager, Podium Podcast.
• Antonio Virgili, Director General, Radio Televisión Principado de Asturias (RTPA) and, at present, Director General, FORTA. • Isaac Moreno, in representation of The Spanish Commercial Radio Association (AER). Chairman of Foro Radio Híbrida (Hybrid Radio Forum). Technical Director, Cadena Cope. To begin with, José María García Lastra, the roundtable’s moderator, launched the question of whether public radios are truly concerned to attain the public service
requirements, should that cause them to be left outside the audience’s demand. Javier Hernández, Director at RNE explained that the network’s contents, as opposed to those of commercial radio stations, are closely related to its public service vocation: “We are broadcasting programs such as Documentos, which would hardly fit in a commercial radio. But this does not always work against audience levels. In particular, Documentos is amongst the most listened to and downloaded programs”. How to attract young audiences On the other hand, one the keys at present is how to adapt to the youngest audiences. Monserrat Lluis Serrat, Deputy Director General of contents at Cadena Cope, hinted that the key is being a young radio, which hers is: “Emerging media are interested in labelling us as traditional or old media, but we are not exactly that. Cope is a 103 DECEMBER ‘18
modern network because it has young journalists in its ranks. We are embracing a digital transformation process led by young individuals”. María Jesús Espinoza de los Monteros, Project Manager at Podium Podcast, suggested that quality is a key area and it should not be just an option: “Quality speaks about your own brand. And I am not just talking about quality in contents, own narrative or sound, but also in production, advertising and user experience”. María Jesús Espinoza explained that young people are familiar with user experiences of a standard such as Netflix or Amazon, which use technologies that are hard to beat. Therefore, the key to differentiation lies with contents. Additionally, there is a need for new job profiles such as audience editors or marketing heads. In this regard, Espinoza voiced: “We will take podcast seriously when we are able to do marketing with matching standards". 104 DECEMBER ‘18
“The distribution network does not longer belong to us but to third parties. Internet needs contents and we are the ones generating them. We must reach agreements with distribution channels to supply them with contents and get something in return, not only distribution”.
Antonio Virgili, Director General of the Spanish Federation of Regional Radio and Television Organizations (FORTA), stated that the digital phenomenon generates a lot of opportunities, especially in closeness contents: “I view Spotify as a way of doing radio and we cannot compete against that, either in technology or in archive. But we certainly can when telling the closest reality”. Hybrid radio Isaac Moreno, Chairman of Foro Radio Híbrida (Hybrid Radio Forum), reminded in the first place that the main radio platform is the FM: “It is analogical, I know, but it is
the king of radio broadcasting, not only in Spain but in all Europe. Some reasons for this are ubiquity, being easy to use, privacy, security, full control of the distribution pipeline and being free of charge". These elements make it indispensable but, on the other hand, the Internet is nowadays another essential platform for radio. FM is the only commercially viable platform at present, while the Internet -even though it will finally succeed in being also viable- has nowadays features that make it particularly weak when considering total migration. The alternative of
combining both platforms is, basically, a hybrid radio scheme. “Leveraging these two infrastructures does not entail large investment costs and it is a concept that is already making it to automobiles", explained Moreno. In all environments for usage of radio both digitalisation and hybridation are seen favourably, he added. But, what are the time frames we are dealing with? “We already have a regulation and a terminal capable of combining contents from radio and Internet, the smartphone", clarified Moreno. The Chairman of Foro Radio Híbrida, reflected subsequently on a key issue, yet to be overcome, in order to smooth the path for hybrid radio. “The FM receiver chipset has to be made visible both to users and to app developers so it can be more effectively used". However, meaningful steps have been already taken to achieve this: “The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) just released
an expert opinion explaining the benefits of fitting an accessible receiver in smartphones and tablets. Both the international and the European broadcasting associations are claiming this. And it is already a legal requirement in countries such as Mexico and Argentina". Coming innovations and the future To close the discussion, participants highlighted some challenges that will set the direction of the sector in the future. Javier Hernández thinks that one of the challenges facing radio lies in distribution: “The distribution network does not longer belong to us but to third parties. Internet needs contents and we are the ones generating them. We must reach agreements with distribution channels to supply them with contents and get something in return, not only distribution”. On the other hand, Montserrat Lluis believes
that radio must focus more on ‘a la carte’ consumption and getting to know users: “Audiences are used to watch what they want whenever they want, they are used to having media anticipate their tastes. “Radio must go that way”. And she also noted: “Smart speakers are another path we must follow”. María Jesús Espinoza added that “podcasts are one of the digital transformation formats, as also are smart speakers or connected cars”. Antonio Virgili explained that, in their case, one of the issues giving them more trouble is the hypertext notion. That is: the radio consumption experience must come together with a more elaborate, richer experience, one which generates related contents. Virgili offered the roundtable two hunches: “The digital world will underline the strength of live radio. And it will boost spoken radio at the expense of musical radio”. 105 DECEMBER ‘18