In the picture:Adde Granberg, CTO and Head of production at SVT, in the finish area
22 Das Erste (ARD)
Inside the largest remote IP production ever: FIS Alpine
A decentralized and unique public TV in Europe. Interview with Helwin Lesch, Head of Distribution at ARD.
Interview with Adde Granberg, CTO and Head of production at SVT
NAB 2019 We keep growing. We keep moving forward.
World Ski Championship in Åre
All you wanted to know about HLG:
Hybrid Log Gamma
58 Novel lighting of TV studios with LED projectors
How broadcasters can calm their archive footage storage headache, By Imagen
Editor in chief Javier de Martín
Creative Direction Mercedes González
Key account manager Susana Sampedro email@example.com
Editorial staff Sergio Julián firstname.lastname@example.org
Translation Fernando Alvárez
Administration Laura de Diego email@example.com
Telepathy or Television? By Provys
TM Broadcast International #69 May 2019
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 ISSN: 2659-5966
EDITORIAL We return from the NAB Show 2019 happy to witness first-hand how the broadcast industry continues in good shape and strongly committed toward the latest trends. Far from being content with the established models, the industry keeps opening up windows to the future, either through the ATSC 3.0 standard (fostered by the proposing partnership as a global model) or by according increasing importance to the eSports field, of which an in-depth analysis was provided in our last issue. A number of conclusions can be drawn from the event: 4K and HDR technologies are firmly established as the current production standard, 8K is starting to take its first determined steps; 5G -although it did not feature substantial novelties- is expected by a good part of the industry as a solution to transmission needs; and artificial intelligence, applied both to production and data management, is seen as a solution bound to set the industry’s direction in the future. You will find all this and much more reflected in the article that our special correspondent Luis Pavía has prepared. We are not oblivious to the unstoppable upsurge of the IP technology, widely present in Las Vegas and in two of the major articles we are bringing to you this month: the biggest remote production ever through IP at the FIS Alpine World Ski Championship by the CTO at SVT, Adde Granberg; and our chat with Michael O’Rourke, former Head of Broadcasting RTÉ Radio, who devoted his last days in office to tell us about the station’s ambition to convert the whole studio infrastructure into IP format. We are also bringing to you an in-depth interview with Helwin Lesch, Head of Distribution at ARD, who told us all details about the workings of Das Erste, a unique public TV channel in Europe because of its fully decentralized model. Last, an expert from the Olympic Channel explains everything there is to know about HLG, one of the main HDR standards used in UHD systems.
4 MAY ‘19
NEWS - PRODUCTS
LYNX Technik’s HDR Evie™ has won NAB Product of the Year Award conversion solution using advanced algorithms which automatically analyze the image content and apply optimal corrections in real time on a frame by frame basis. “HDR Evie solves a challenge for broadcasters that was not previously addressed with an available real-time solution,” comments Stefan Gnann, CEO of LYNX Technik.
Stefan Gnann, CEO of LYNX Technik accepts NAB Product of the Year Award
HDR Evie™, real-time, frame-by-frame HDR to SDR conversion solution is a Best New Technology winner in the 2019 NAB Show Product of the Year Awards. The inaugural NAB awards recognizes the most significant and promising new products and technologies 6 MAY ‘19
showcased by Exhibitors at the 2019 NAB Show in Las Vegas. HDR Evie is a HDR to SDR conversion solution for dynamically demanding and unpredictable content, such as live sports or news broadcasts. It is the world’s first HDR to SDR
“Nominees like LYNX Technik are revolutionizing the way people experience media and entertainment,” said NAB Executive Vice President of Conventions and Business Operations Chris Brown. “The 2019 NAB Show Product of the Year Awards highlight the best of what’s new at the premier launchpad for breakthroughs at the intersection of media, entertainment and technology.”
NEWS - PRODUCTS
NovelSat unveils first end-to-end video delivery solution for 4G/5G mobile networks profile video encoding/decoding, multichannel video transcoding, multi-profile video packaging, high-efficiency satellite modulation/demodulation, the highest level of content security and protection, content entitlement The satellite-to-mobile video solution now enables mobile service providers to roll out TV and video services on a large scale while optimizing network investment. As mobile video dominates mobile data traffic, a mobile service provider using a hybrid satelliteterrestrial network can now keep pace with traffic growth while introducing new video services such as live TV channel bundles. Complementing existing backhaul links with a 8 MAY â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;19
satellite broadcast overlay enables service providers to leverage 4G infrastructure while evolving to 5G networks and services. The broadcast overlay network delivers new levels of video quality and volume for OTT distribution to remote cache storage and for live TV streaming, thus offloading broadband backhaul connections. The solution incorporates all core-to-edge video delivery functionalities including high-efficiency multi-stream, multi-
and scheduling tools, resource management and optimization and more. The comprehensive solution comprises a Video Core, a Video Edge Gateway, a Video Manager and a Network Management System. Utilizing software-based modules, the solution is highly scalable and enables large-scale deployment of ample bandwidth to numerous cell sites and locations. ď ľ
NEWS - PRODUCTS
Cablecast Community Media launchs Next-Generation Video Servers Tightrope Media Systems has announced the new Cablecast VIO family, the latest generation of multiformat video servers for the Cablecast Community Media platform. The new servers expand on the versatility, efficiency and cost-effectiveness of preceding models by consolidating more of the platform’s rich functionality into a single hardware unit and offering broader live and file-based native format support. Cablecast VIO provides a reliable foundation for station automation, playout, branding and multiplatform content distribution. Users can take complete control of content scheduling, publishing and playout from anywhere, on any device, through an intuitive, web-based interface. The Cablecast VIO series amplifies the Cablecast platform’s efficient workflow integration by enabling more of its software options to run together on just one serv10 MAY ‘19
Building on the RTP stream input feature first introduced on Cablecast Flex servers, Cablecast VIO can ingest live, H.264-encoded RTP, RTMP or HLS streams without needing an external decoder or consuming an SDI interface.
er, significantly lowering hardware costs while minimizing space, power, cooling and maintenance requirements. Most notably, broadcasters can now operate their community bulletin boards on the same server that powers their scheduling, automation and playout. Each Cablecast VIO server can run multiple instances of Cablecast CG, the broadcast-optimized bulletin board software based on the Carousel digital signage engine. The Cablecast VIO series further minimizes hardware requirements by
delivering increased channel density. The flagship Cablecast VIO 4 Plus model provides six SDI interfaces that can be configured as four outputs with two recording channels, or as three inputs and three outputs. Cablecast VIO’s extensive baseband I/O is complemented by support for live, IP-based inputs. Additional Cablecast VIO models offer optimized configurations for customers with lower channel requirements than the Cablecast VIO 4 Plus.
NEWS - SUCCESS STORIES
Imagine Communications implements a disaster recovery solution for Sharjah Broadcasting Authority SBA, formerly known as Sharjah Media Corporation, has decided to trust on Imagine Communication for its center in Al Thaid (UAE). The company has installed a disaster recovery solution using software-define technology in the primarily IP-connected environment of the broadcaster. It will provide full coverage of the four television channels of SBA, delivered by a primary playout system also supplied by Imagine.
Anas Hantash, Director, MENA & S Asia at Imagine Communications
12 MAY ‘19
According to the press release, the key benefit of the system is its “perfect synchronization” with the main site. It is built on Communications’ Versio™ virtualized integrated playout solution, which is designed for geo-dispersed operations and delivers full automation and playout functionality.
The system is also compatible with the legacy SDI content thanks to an architecture that includes a Platinum™ VX router and the Selenio™ MCP processing platform to provide SDI/IP conversion. In addition, the system at SBA is under the control of Imagine’s Magellan™ SDN Orchestrator software control system. “This project is a really important step on our migration path towards IP networks and virtualization,” said Aisha Alzareef, broadcast technology & information systems director at Sharjah Broadcasting Authority. “Collaborating with Imagine helps us ensure that our technical and operational teams understand the challenges of these new technologies. We have worked in close partnership with Imagine Communications since the
NEWS - SUCCESS STORIES
foundation of our company 10 years ago, and with IP, we will be in a great position to prepare plans for future developments and the complete migration of our main playout centre.” “We are delighted to be continuing the journey with Sharjah Broadcasting Authority as they transition from their traditional playout facility towards
the exploration of nextgen playout and networking technologies,” added Anas Hantash (photo), head of Middle East and North Africa for Imagine Communications. “They recognize that software solutions running on standard COTS platforms and connected over IP are the future of broadcasting. Furthermore, they recognized that Imagine Communications was the
pioneer of softwaredefined networks in the media and entertainment industry, and today lead the way with innovative, agile and adaptable solutions that enable the transition to next-gen IP-based architecture and business models tailored to their own pace of change.”
NEWS - SUCCESS STORIES
TV Azteca uses the TVU Remote Production System for the coverage of an annual Hollywood Awards Show
TVU Networks recently announced that Mexico’s TV Azteca produced its coverage of what the company has called “Hollywood’s most prestigious awards shows” last February using the TVU Remote Production System (TVU RPS). The device was used to transmit video footage from TV Azteca’s mobile unit to a remote studio set up in a nearby hotel. TVU RPS provides frame accurate, genlocked and synchronized multi-camera remote production. The system consists of one 14 MAY ‘19
rack-mount transmitter (encoder) and one rackmount receiver (decoder). This time, TV Azteca installed the RPS encoder at the hotel and the RPS decoder at the mobile unit as a backup solution. According to the press release, “the networks successfully sent three highquality streams from the hotel terrace to the parked mobile unit at the theatre, as well as a return feed from the mobile unit back to the hotel”. José Vera, Especial Events Technical Director at TV Azteca, talks about
the production: “This was likely the most watched this presentation has ever been in Mexico. We needed to create a broadcast for our audience that looked great, included a lot of live interaction with our hosts, but didn’t add a ton of cost. TVU RPS maintained extremely high video quality video as it traveled from the hotel to the production unit and back. It allowed us to reliably transport video from one location to another, yielding professional-level results while still making economic sense.”
NEWS - SUCCESS STORIES
“They were looking for something with rock-solid reliability and no degradation during transmission that was also cost-effective,” added Rafael Castillo, General Manager of Latin America, TVU Networks. “RPS was an ideal solution for them. With RPS, there is zero video degradation, no matter the transmission distance. I’m thrilled we
were able to help TV Azteca produce such dynamic coverage of a very important live event.”
TV Azteca plans to extend the use of RPS in future sporting events, including football matches.
NEWS - SUCCESS STORIES
Rwanda’s KISS FM embraces the future with Lawo RƎLAY IP
Dubbed the “Switzerland of Africa”, Rwanda is a country with high aspirations. It has been proactive in setting up industries like automobile and smartphone production and views innovation in Information & Communication Technology as a major driver of the country’s economy. The spirit of innovation can be felt on every corner, in all areas, and now also in the broadcast sector. KISS FM in Kigali is just one example of Rwanda using future-proof innovative technologies for commercial success and taking the media landscape of the region to a new level.
Lawo RƎLAY IP technology has allowed Rwanda’s KISS FM to be the country’s first IP-ready radio broadcaster. Instead of traditional mixing consoles, KISS FM’s 16 MAY ‘19
operators are using large touchscreens with Lawo RƎLAY VRX software in their new studios. The system is fully compatible with future standards such as cameras and “visual radio”.
RƎLAY runs in a virtualized PC environment. It is part of the latest line of physical and virtual radio solutions, including the new ruby radio console, sapphire, sapphire compact and crystal mixing
NEWS - SUCCESS STORIES
surfaces, crystal CLEAR and RƎLAY Virtual Radio Mixer, and advanced VisTool GUI-builder software. John Wilkins, KISS FM’s Managing Director, talks about the new Lawo equipment: “We are the first station in Rwanda to use IP technology for broadcast. Touchscreen mixing is a huge advantage because it’s so easy
to learn and use. Today’s radio hosts are used to touchscreen phones & tablets so they love our new RƎLAY touchscreen mixer! And in the field, a computer with RƎLAY and a 4G telephone connection makes it possible to originate high-quality remote broadcasts with much less equipment and very little setup time.” He continues: “Our presenters
have all social media platforms and Skype on the touchscreen so at the touch of an on-screen button they can interact with the huge KISS FM community online who are invited to shape our programs – it’s an innovative approach that has made us a clear market leader”.
NEWS - SUCCESS STORIES
True Bangkok United F.C. chooses ChyronHego's Coach Paint Telestration tool
True Bangkok United Football Club (F.C.), one of Thailand's most successful and popular football teams, has adopted ChyronHego's Coach Paint for its 2019 season. True Bangkok United's coaching staff is leveraging Coach Paint's advanced video telestration capabilities to boost the club's preparation for upcoming 18 MAY â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;19
matches and enhance player performance. "Coach Paint is an extremely important tool in our club's preparation processes and pregame workflows, greatly increasing our analytical perspective and the understanding of players and staff. The tool's highquality output and ease of use really set it apart,"
said LuĂs Viegas, First Team football match analyst and scout, True Bangkok United F.C. "Coach Paint's animations and high-impact graphics bring clarity to our presentations and make it easier to explain the strategy for each upcoming game. And the support of the ChyronHego team, which is always available and
NEWS - SUCCESS STORIES
reachable, makes a huge difference." Founded in 1988 as Bangkok University F.C., the club claimed the Thailand Premier League title against all odds in 2006. The club was renamed True Bangkok United F.C. in 2009 and has remained a member of the Thailand Premier League ever since. True Bangkok United has qualified twice over the past three years for the Asian Champions League, and the club's coach, Mano Pölking, is the longest-serving coach of a
single club in the history of the Thailand Premier League. The club's current home venue is Thammasat Stadium in the city of Rangsit, Pathum Thani Province. "Working with True Bangkok United has been a great experience, and their analysis staff has done an outstanding job integrating Coach Paint into their game-prep workflow. They've uncovered the benefits of using advanced telestration — using the same tools as live sports broadcasters such as Sky,
ESPN, Fox, and more — to engage and inform players and illustrate key coaching points," said Craig Inness, sports performance and technology specialist, ChyronHego. "At the same time, the team has provided insightful feedback for future product improvements. We look forward to working with True Bangkok United as they continue using Coach Paint in subsequent seasons."
NEWS - SUCCESS STORIES
Black Box provides its Emerald KVM Platform to a Danish school system
Helsingør Kommune, a community of 17 middle schools in and around the Danish city of Helsingør, is implementing the Emerald™ KVM (keyboard, video, mouse) platform of Black Box to enable remote IT support for student and teachers. Mads William Oehlenschlæger, tech support specialist at Helsingør Kommune, talks about Black Box’s technology: “It’s probably one of the world’s first IT solution that combines a phone box with online support for school students. The idea originated from Kim Baumgarten, IT manager at the Center for Citizens’ Services, IT and Digitalization (BID) at 20 MAY ‘19
Prøvestenen. And it actually works on several levels. For one, the problem often is that students can’t get their computers to connect to the internet. Using Emerald KVM extension for video and control, our team can quickly resolve that issue. We also wanted to establish personal contact with students, using the webcam so that they can see us, and we can see them. That’s really why we built our new IT support ‘box’ this way. Plus, students always love it when they see us ‘hacking’ their screens.” The first Helsingør Kommune deployment, at Skolen ved Rønnebær Allé, relies on an Emerald transmitter and eight Emerald receiver devices to carry video and USB over IP between the middle school and remote IT department. Students are
able to begin a support session via a SkyLink video call on an iPad within the booth. Once they connect the laptop or device into the Emerald-based solution via DVI, HDMI, or USB, an IT staff member can control it, start a webcam chat session and begin troubleshooting. Josh Whitney, senior vice president of Technology Product Solutions at Black Box, also wanted to talk about the platform: “It’s always exciting to see the power of our Emerald KVM platform demonstrated in an interesting new application. The Helsingør Kommune deployment is a great example of the significant benefits that our high-performance KVM solutions can bring in supporting remote access to critical technical resources.”
NEWS - BUSINESS & PEOPLE
Visual Data Media Services acquires Soho Digital Cinema Visual Data Media Services has announced that it has acquired Soho Digital Cinema (SDC). The acquisition enables Visual Data to add Digital Cinema Mastering and Cinema Distribution to its armoury of services. Just like its existing broadcast, streaming and VOD offerings, Visual Data will now take care of every step in the digital cinema content supply chain, throughout the content lifecycle. By combining technologies and
resources, Visual Data is now a one-stop-shop for all methods of digital content distribution. Customers of both companies can now take advantage of SDC’s DCinema services including Screenfast, the awardwinning digital cinema cloud distribution platform, as well as having access to Visual Data’s wide range of media distribution services. Customers can also benefit from the Visual Data team’s expertise in distributing content to
platforms such as Netflix, Amazon and iTunes. While the company will operate under the Visual Data brand, the Screenfast platform will retain its name and will continue to be developed. Symon Roue will continue to head up Visual Data in the UK, while SDC’s David Margolis has been appointed Director of Digital Cinema. The SDC team will relocate to Visual Data’s UK facilities in west London.
BROADCASTERS OF THE WORLD
22 MAY â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;19
A decentralized and unique public TV in Europe Tagesschau new studio. © BR/Markus Konvalin.
23 MAY ‘19
BROADCASTERS OF THE WORLD
Interview with Helwin Lesch, Head of Distribution at ARD ARD, the “Association of Public Broadcasting Corporations in the Federal Republic of Germany”, is a consortium of nine selfgoverning regional broadcasters serving Germany’s 16 federal states. Together, they operate 16 TV stations, 63 radio stations… and Das Erste, ARD’s national TV channel that is tuned by 48 million people every week. Together with Helwin Lesch, TM Broadcast delves into the peculiarities, technical resources and strategies of the German corporation and its decentralized media landscape.
ARD is a joint organization of Germany’s regional public-service broadcasters. Could you describe ARD structure 24 MAY ‘19
and which TVs and radio stations does ARD include? ARD is the association of public broadcasting corporations in Germany.
We have nine regional broadcasters, called Landesrundfunkanstalten, that unite in the ARD and produce regional and national TV and radio stations. Altogether we
Das Erste is one of the main public service programs in Germany and the only one produced by nine-regional broadcasters.
Let’s talk about the regional members of the ARD, the Landesrundfunkanstalte n. What is their contribution to Das Erste / ARD? Das Erste is one of the main public service programs in Germany and the only one produced by nine-regional broadcasters. They provide the content of Das
Erste. Its national and international news service Tagesschau for instance is produced in Hamburg and its soccer-sport-news are produced in Cologne. Furthermore, the Landesrundfunkanstalten operate their regional TVChannels and cooperated channels with special formats, like regionalnews, education or culture.
operate 16 TV stations and 63 radio stations. We cover more than 25% of the German TV market and about 52 % of the radio market.
ARD Capital Studio. © BR/Markus Konvalin.
25 MAY ‘19
BROADCASTERS OF THE WORLD
That’s really peculiar. Do you know if this setup is unique in Europe? I think it is really unique and it is to due to Germany´s post-war media policy. As you surely know, we had bad experiences with the centralized media during the Nazi regime. The beginning of the federal republic of Germany is closely connected to the foundation of the public broadcasting service. An independent and decentralized media landscape was one of the basic principles of the victorious powers building a new democratic state. This is still reflected in the ARD until today.
ARD is 69 years old. Das Erste, the principal television channel in Germany, will be 66 years old. That’s a long time, so my question, just to sum up, is: Which have been the main technological changes that the station has faced in the last 15-20 years? One of the most 26 MAY ‘19
All production centers, i.e. all federal broadcasting stations are linked in a big network. They provide their respective contribution to the program content depending on topic, region or commercial consideration.
important challenges we had to face was, of course, the emergence of the private TV broadcasters between the late 80s and the early 90s. Shortly after that digitalization began to evolve. With the possibility of broadcasting more specific programs we got the chance to meet the expectations of the consumers better. We are currently implementing our multi-and crossmediastrategy, that we call Trimedialität. It affects all production sectors and the editorial structures for radio, TV and online with the objective to strengthen the in-house cooperation on certain topics so they can be transmitted through every distribution system we operate. Namely: radio, TV, internet or streaming.
Apart from the decentralized productions center that you just told me, is there a main production center for Dar Erste? All production centers, i.e. all federal broadcasting stations are linked in a big network. They provide their respective contribution to the program content depending on topic, region or commercial consideration.
Das Erste was the second most viewed TV in Germany in 2018. In fact, you’re always struggling with ZDF to get the first position in the ratings. Usually, technology and success go hand in hand. Is this the case? Do you think that today’s audience
BROADCASTERS OF THE WORLD
ratings are related to innovation? Well, that’s a difficult question. As you know, our users and viewers are not so keen on innovation, they want to be informed and entertained in the best way and on every distribution system they expect. So innovation is not an aim in itself for us. Therefore, we have to be careful about innovation: we should not defy our viewers’ patience excessively. We should keep an eye on the whole market range when we change something in our production or in our distribution. We cannot act only in the interest of certain groups but have to keep in mind that we are financed by all the viewers and therefore have to try to include the whole spectrum of users.
It seems you are talking about implementations like 4K, innovations that today do not reach all the viewers, although the market is driving them. Yes, you name it. That’s one of the great 28 MAY ‘19
Master control room (MCR), Copyright: Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR).
discussions we have right now: which is the right way for us to start with UHD or 4K. First of all, we have a very complex production infrastructure as mentioned, so it not easy for us to change something. We have discussed UHD and will
move to that technology, but that will take time.
Das Erste is also viewed in Austria. Do you focus part of your technical resources and content to this market or that audience is residual for you?
ready to do these kinds of productions? Although there are some islands in our production infrastructure where 4K/HDR is already possible, there’s no general ability to produce, to store or to work with 4K content at the moment. We are now working to finalize the HD implementation in our production and distribution center. Consequently 4K is way ahead.
So, at the moment, you do not have any fixed date for the 4K transformation: it will be something that you will decide in the future.
No. We are focused in our German viewers wherever they are, of course, but mainly in Germany. The fact that Das Erste can also be seen in Austria or Switzerland is not our focus and we do not aim for those markets.
TECHNOLOGY 4K broadcast is a reality, and HDR technology is coming. You told me that you’re thinking about how and when make those changes. Are the production centers of ARD actually
Yes. Although some of the productions we buy are already produced in 4K, of course, but that is mainly for the archives and for later views. At present we do not have a distribution system for 4Kneither by satellite or antenna nor by cable. The only way we can transmit in 4k-bandwidth is via internet. We have started some attempts, but you probably know that 29 MAY ‘19
BROADCASTERS OF THE WORLD
Germany is not at the top of the international lists in terms of internet bandwidth. That is another problem we have to solve.
What’s ARD/Das Erste vision with respect OTT platforms? OTT is an essential distribution system for us. Our programs are broadcasted via internet live or on demand. We have a special on demand
Rights BRFriedrich Röhrer-Ertl
30 MAY ‘19
platform called Mediathek. However, this Mediathek is subject to a time limitation which means that contents are endlessly available.
Which is the distribution standard that you are deploying? We are part of the DVB family of standards. For terrestrial distribution we use DVB-T2 as one of the DVB standards that allows us to broadcast in FullHD
via antenna. It is a real good system for the German users. For transmission via cable we have DVB-C, which, in theory, is also able to transmit Full HD: in practice, cable operators have small limitations on that. DVB-S2 is used for transmission via satellite, this system too is a main standard. We think we are well set up in the DVB family of standards.
OTT is an essential distribution system for us. Our programs are broadcasted via internet live or on demand
Let’s keep talking about technological trends. Are you actually deploying mobile (streaming/IP) backpacks for the live transmission of TV News or sports events? Yes, we have LiveU backpacks for instance and some applications for our mobile phones and smartphones, streaming… which turned out as an ideal solution for us.
Nowadays, every day it is necessary to process more and more information. Which MAM system do you trust on? This is hard to say because, as I have
mentioned before, we have many production centers with many different technologies. I cannot specify any single MAM system in the ARD, since we have a great variety of systems.
So even the information and the content that is stored are independent in every production center? I thought that that could be shared between the broadcasters… No. It is completely independent, even though we share the products of course, like the video essences, the audio essences and the metadata.
Are you currently working with IA systems for the management and generation of metadata? Yes. We have several initiatives working on artificial intelligence, especially for news in our archives: face recognition, automatically entitling and so on. As you probably know, we have the Institut für Rundfunktechnik, which is our research and
development company here in Munich. There we pave the way for a future collaboration of the regional stations with artificial intelligence. It should be recalled that we have a legal obligation to maintain our archives in a good shape, because they are the oldest ones in Germany. It is our responsibility to preserve our history in TV and Radio.
Regarding content storage… are you deploying an in-house solution or a cloud system, perhaps as a backup? We run our archives ourselves. They are all here in Germany, with a backup, but we do not archive anything on the cloud outside of Germany.
Do you think that will be possible to complete a remote production with 5G? What do you think about cloud-based productions? Is something that could happen in the future? First of all, remote production is a major 31 MAY ‘19
BROADCASTERS OF THE WORLD
topic for us. Just before the interview we were discussing the remote production that we have already realized during the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. You can surely imagine how complicated it was to assure a reliable delivery of all the pictures the German viewers expected. We have organized the transmission of the World Championship in Russia already with remote production from many venues and it worked quite well. In the near future a special attention will certainly be paid to 5G in terms of distribution system and production. When the entire telecommunication technology will be based on 5G it will surely be of the utmost importance for us to have 5G as a main terrestrial distribution system. Since we have the duty to inform all people in Germany, it would be very useful to have 5G broadcast as one of the basic information and distribution system for our content. Cloud production too is very interesting for 32 MAY â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;19
us, of course. However we are bound by various restrictions regarding the domicile of the cloud. It might look a bit complicated, but it will work for us. We have already done some tests with that.
FUTURE Is Das Erste in a process of technological renovation? What will be the next technologies to be updated? We are in an ongoing process, as you can surely imagine. With regard to innovation the most important issue for us now, is providing a video on demand system via Internet supported by a state-of-the-art technology. We now concentrate on the development of an appropriate design for our Mediathek.
What are the challenges that Das Erste and ARD must face in the coming years? I have already mentioned the first challenge which is the
We have several initiatives working on artificial intelligence, especially for news in our archives: face recognition, automatically entitling and so on.
Master control room (MCR), Copyright: Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR).
entrance to the market for video on demand and the internet. Secondly, voice activated systems like Alexa, especially for our colleagues of the radio stations. And thirdly, it is essential for us to be available with our
programs in any place wherever the viewer or the listener expect us. That is our duty, because we are publicly funded. At the same time it becomes increasingly difficult: the distribution markets are getting fragmented and
there are more obstacles to reaching our users. For example: we had long negotiations with German cable operators about the financial regulations regarding the transmission our programs to our viewers and listeners. ď ľ 33 MAY â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;19
FIS Alpine World Ski Championship in Åre (Sweden) The largest remote IP production ever
Interview with Adde Granberg, CTO and Head of production at
Adde Granberg in the finish area.
34 MAY ‘19
FIS ALPINE WORLD SKI CHAMPIONSHIP
35 MAY â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;19
Let’s start talking about your previous experiences. You undertook the 2012 Summer Olympic Games of London with a remote-set up. What are the differences between that production and the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships? The mayor change from the past is that this time we do not have technical facilities on-site in the hills, except for the cameras and the power supply. That means that everything was controlled from our base at Stockholm. So it is basically the first time for me especially of this scale, when the technical set onlocation in Åre in a regular production would be at least 2 OB trucks worth around 10 million EUR.
What were your mediapartners in the FIS Alpine World Ski Championship production? What have been the functions of each one? We had Ravenna and Lawo for the sound, Clear-
36 MAY ‘19
Remote IP production is a reality. The FIS Alpine World Ski Championship was held in Åre (Sweden) from February 5 to February 17 and featured an unprecedented achievement in the broadcast world: 80 cameras, 270 microphones and many other signals were produced 700 km from the venue, in Stockholm, using a redundant 100 Gbps circuit. Adde Granberg, CTO of SVT and technical responsible for the event, explains everything about how this massive production of InFront and SVT took place and tell us about the benefits, challenges and future perspectives of this type of production.
FIS ALPINE WORLD SKI CHAMPIONSHIP
com for the communication, EVS, Arista and NET Insight for network equipment, Telia for connectivity and Grass Valley for cameras.
How much time did you need to design this production? I should say that, more or less, we spent six month designing it, but we also used that time to try and test the system.
The mayor change from the past is that this time we do not have technical facilities on-site in the hills, except for the cameras and the power supply. That means that everything was controlled from our base at Stockholm.
Some media said that this has been the largest remote IP production ever. Yes. As far as I know, nobody had claimed anything bigger.
Control room in Stockholm.
You were 700KM far from Åre. In addition, you operated under snow, wind and rain conditions. What were the main challenges of a remote-production under those conditions? Remote production makes it easier under these conditions, because I can make sure if the systems are working or not on a computer, or if the camera will work or not from the computer, without anyone having to go up to that camera. So,
even under really shitty circumstances, it is much easier and much quicker to set up all that. And the other good way was that rework for two world championships: Åre will host the Alpine Championship and Östersund the Biathlon world championship. And we should switch really fast and that would not be possible with trucks in the same way. A few days instead of weeks saves money.
You used 100 Gbps fiber circuits from Telia. Is fiber the definitive solution for the transmission of information in remote productions? We use redundant 100 Gbps circuit from Åre. And
37 MAY ‘19
we did it on a big scale because everything was uncompressed. In the future, and the future is almost already here, we will be able to make a production with 5G if there’s not fiber.
Have you done any test on 5G in this kind of productions? Not yet. We will do it, but I’m not sure when. We just finished the world championship right now and we are converting that technology we used in Åre to use it in our studios, which are based around Sweden. We will do remote production from our studios, our regular studios; instead of technical facilities on each
location, we will have remote production, having the technical facilities on one location: that’s the future, that’s the key; I’m really in that now. The next step is if we can do transmission in 5G. We need to have a nice 5G network in Sweden and we do not have the infrastructure yet.
Did you decided to undertake the remote production only for economic reasons? Do you think it brings additional benefits? Lots of them. One of the main is the environmental sustainability of this way of produce, because we need less work on location and fewer travelling for
The cameras work with fiber. We put the power to the camera locally to where they’re standing. Then we have it for fiber into the network to the Arista switchers, and then we bring it out in Stockholm, where we receive those signals again and we target them wherever they are supposed to go.
38 MAY ‘19
Control room in Åre (REMOTE)
people on whatever production you do. You will use the equipment even more because you don’t need to pick it up on the site and then go to the next location: You can really just swap cables to next event and use the routers and the system and crew. So you can actually go from 25% coverage on an OB Truck to 75% coverage for the same technology and you
FIS ALPINE WORLD SKI CHAMPIONSHIP
do remote production, so it is a huge economical scheme of this coming up. For HB productions we could easy add on cameras for unilateral companies so they did not need to come with OB trucks. So you can really extend the scale in this kind of way you can produce to make the OB productions much, much more and effective and environment friendly. You
get out more content in the house that we built to handle content.
Could you describe the workflow of the remote production at FIS Alpine World Ski Championships? From recording the content in Åre, to its production in Stockholm… The cameras work with fiber. We put the power to the camera locally to
where they’re standing. Then we have it for fiber into the network to the Arista switchers, and then we bring it out in Stockholm, where we receive those signals again and we target them wherever they are supposed to go. The sound is the same: we had 270 mics on stage in the hills in Åre: we put that into the Ravenna system and we bring that back to the network to Stockholm, and have it into the sound router and sound mixer that is located in Stockholm. We brought the multiview and mixer panel back to Åre for the director. The frame was still in Stockholm. All broadcast signals that was needed in Åre were transported back. EVS operators with machines where in Stockholm.
Was all your equipment remote-productionready? Did you adapt the devices that SVT already had? Most of the equipment is based in Stockholm, so we just have to transport the information from the site.
39 MAY ‘19
So is an IP production from Åre to Stockholm, but in Stockholm is baseband production. This way to produce you can do it in a fully IP environment or in a mix environment without any problems. This is a combination of both, because we couldn’t afford to be the new technical room just to be IP. Our solution was just extending the cables to IP, so no we used our old equipment as far as we could.
Could you think of a specific problem that you had face during this remote-production and how have you solved it? The biggest challenge is to make network people to understand broadcast… and to make broadcast to understand network, then you need to understand network and the issues it has. That’s the big collision: to understand how we manage the networks, how should it work, why should it work, what is the latest in the broadcast industry when it comes to publishing and 40 MAY ‘19
communication etc.; and understanding the whole architecture when you really use it, that the biggest challenge. That is technology, and technology can be discussed on different ways and we have it solved.
Due to your experience… Do you think that remoteproduction is the best solution for these kinds of events? Anywhere we have an infrastructure; I think this is the best and most effective way to do it, especially knowing that the director just sits wherever he or she would like to sit. So, yes, it would be a killing nightmare to put out a 5 million EUR truck on the road with insurance, I’d never seen that to be done for setting out this kind of production. You can read and look in the computer if it will go out or not and you’ll be able to go out to the arena or location with less equipment and less crew. That cannot be a bad thing.
The only teq SVT had in Åre. The green pboxes are power sheds. No XCU or basestations Åre. Full teq stack. Fits in a regular car.
Since the remote productions with IP transport are a reality. What is the next step? Is it perhaps the cloudbased productions? Yes, I think that cloud production is next step if
FIS ALPINE WORLD SKI CHAMPIONSHIP
computer in Stockholm. And we will do what you called cloud production on our own premises; it is something that already is here… So of course, that’s the next step. The next step is that you can really buy services from the service provider instead of buying a box. And the other revolution of this would be the 5G in wireless networks; you don’t need a physical connection. That would be the next step.
How long would it take?
you don’t like to have it on your own premises, because as IT or as a broadcaster right now, the studio they will do cloud production from their perspective, because the technical facilities is in the
I definitely hope it does not take more than 5 years. But you should not do it just for doing it: you need to have a reason for it, and there are technical rooms for focus on programs production. I think that in 5 years the possibility will be there and of course everybody has to have good infrastructure even not in Europe. But we have done remote production from Germany, Italy, Spain, Rio de Janeiro... The network is there, you might change some equipment to get the capacity of the
network and we have to focus to push all the net to all arenas and places we are producing on.
Which is the next event that SVT will produce remotely? We’re doing quite much on remote production. First of all, we will do the studios around in Sweden compatible with remote production on regular, daily basis, that the next task. And then we will begin 10 shows on remote production… And the reason for that is because there is no latency.
I understand that Sweden has applied to host the 2026 Winter Olympic Games. How do you imagine that remote production done? If Sweden get the Olympics I hope, it will be a 5G remote production because of the environment, the infrastructure and less travelling, so that the way it is. I think it would be fantastic. It would be definitely possible if we like to do it. 41 MAY ‘19
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We keep growing We keep moving forward As every year, NAB figures are just dazzling: more than 1,600 exhibitors for over 90,000 visitors from 160+ countries. Here everything is “more”, a true reflection of the industry’s relentless growth and development. Text and photos: Luis Pavía
And as every year, we set to the task of attempting to summarize in a few pages the essence of one of the major events in the broadcast world, in which master plans are drawn for what the audiovisual industry and business will become in every season. Yes, seasons instead of years, as the pace of progress is already as fast as the IT developments. After treading personally miles of carpeted floor every day, attending to presentations, press conferences and, above all, making the most of the occasion to hold on a daily basis many personal interviews with top experts 43 MAY ‘19
AJA press conference.
from every company and sector in pursuit of a broad, direct overview of the present and projections in the short and medium terms, we will endeavor to build for all of you –our readers- a vision going beyond mere enumeration of products, services and technologies featured.
also that there are increasingly more ways of filling up gaps in any and all ‘crystal-to-crystal’ spaces.
Let us bear in mind that the change in business models that is currently breaking through in the sector is, in many instances, a response to consumer demands; and
Starting out with formats and regardless of how the various operators are working at present, we could say that the de facto standard for most novelties is 4K ready for
44 MAY ‘19
We could say that the de facto standard for most novelties is 4K ready for HDR
HDR, as HD has been in practice left as a minimum-basis requirement; 8K equipment is already seen on a minority basis, although it is both real and operative. Also nowadays, 50/60p can be regarded as a de facto standard for frame speeds, especially in sports applications. At this NAB
Sony press conference.
2019 we have even seen a 16K big screen. Big enough for an old-time movie theater, but that is a different story. Among notions that have been traditionally absolutely critical and indisputable in the sector is image quality provided, and here a battle is being fought on two fronts. On the one hand, on improving viewer experience by offering an image which contains as much information as possible in regard to resolution (HD-4K-8K),
dynamic range (HDR), smooth flow (HFR), color space (DCI P3 Rec2020), color depth (8-10-12… bits), etc. And on the other, about the way of diminishing the amount of information required in an effort to convey to viewers all this content without requiring a volume of data that will be unmanageable or which might compromise quality (H.265-HEVC). In this regard, and once that 4K has become “the normal standard” this year belongs to HDR.
HDR capabilities are one of the arguments for the standard that seem a must this year. Either through accurate display in dedicated screens or through different methods aimed at achieving quite a faithful representation of such a wide dynamic range we all search nowadays, there are methods for attaining an approximate image even in displays that do not natively reach such contrast capabilities. Undoubtedly, if out TV set is not one of these, the 45 MAY ‘19
next one must be at least 4K and HDR and also preferably real Rec.2020. But, how do we create, manage, convey and present to our viewers such a huge amount of information? For us, it would seem advisable to start by dealing with the issue of IP, where although novelties are interesting, much more significant and widespread is the number of hybrid devices designed for facilitating transition into the various speeds which each TV operator will require based on their own needs and demand.
Grass Valley press conference.
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Now that a full year has elapsed since the previous NAB show, the issue of when will migration to IP happen still meets widely varying answers as to timeline, but we returned from Las Vegas with the impression that now we all have a clearer picture. Thus, basic notions
relating migration to IP that we must keep in mind are: One: each broadcaster will have a different timelines and varying migration speeds. Two: migration will take place whenever the broadcaster has needs, responses and solutions available in IP that are not
The issue of when will migration to IP happen still meets widely varying answers as to timeline, but we returned from Las Vegas with the impression that now we all have a clearer picture.
which we all take for granted: ‘interoperability’ between systems. Being 2110 the name given to a set of rules that updates and in some instances just gathers under a common name- all required standards: time code, audio, video, etc., in their latest specifications.
David Ross, CEO of Ross Video, with Susana Sampedro, Account Manager of TM Broadcast International.
found in SDI, as for instance, remote production. And three: adoption of this technology will be conditional to overcoming trust and reliability barriers that we people raise whenever something has not been sufficiently tested. It is not that IP is not reliable; it is simply that we humans are doubtful about everything we do not know. In this regard, it was striking to us that almost no one mentions now IP,
but they directly specify ‘2022/6’, ‘2022/7’, ‘SMPTE ST2110’ or just ‘ST2110’. Is it the same? Well, we see this as a significant step as it shows that a progress in knowledge has been made. While IP is a generic term for conveyance of digital information through data networks, specification sets 2022 and 2110 work as standards for groups of rules that ensure one of the keys which, incidentally, is not under question anymore and
As the impact of ‘IP’ in broadcast goes much further beyond mere transmission of data, it is important finding out in which issues it bears an impact, in what ways it has influence and how it affects each player in this wonderful world of creation, distribution and commercialization of contents. In capture/production environments, IP is the only alternative to SDI being contemplated by the industry as transmission channel, be it either copper or fiber, with ports up to 100 Gbps. We have seen how some lines existing between traditionally IT equipment and traditionally broadcast equipment start to blur. Simple examples 47 MAY ‘19
of this are converters with switch functions. In this regard, it is significant that some pieces of new equipment designed for signal traffic/conversion are actually being designed and built with the aim of maximizing Lawo at NAB 2019.
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their processing capabilities through the high calculation power built-in on the SFP modules. This kind of design results in manufacturing of completely modular, scalable equipment that
gradually caters to the needs â&#x20AC;&#x201C;as budgets are tightly managed- exactly as they arise. We should not forget that we are dealing here with an industry, a business, and therefore profitability is essential in order to allow
We have witnessed some impressive progress in the Artificial Intelligence (AI) field. And we are not talking about improvements in accuracy for real-time subtitling, which are noticeable. We are making reference to progress in much more impacting aspects, from those which help to simplify tasks to those that fully perform them on our behalf.
companies to keep operating. On the other hand, the range of products for signal processing and conversion keeps increasing, as it is also the case with traditional analysis and diagnostics, which gradually include the required network functionalities for operation in hybrid environments. And nearly all this equipment is IP/SDI hybrid. In regard to cameras, for instance, several manufacturers present their novelties with an interchangeable triax/IP module. This means that the market
wants to be ready to meet most needs of operators by providing an easier,
more flexible transition instead of forcing a way into it. To us, this seems an intelligent proposal for both parties. And, now we have mentioned intelligence, we have witnessed some impressive progress in the Artificial Intelligence (AI) field. And we are not talking about improvements in accuracy for real-time subtitling, which are noticeable. We are making reference to progress in much more impacting aspects, from those which help to
Cirque du Soleil opened NAB this year.
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simplify tasks to those that fully perform them on our behalf. One of these areas is the enrichment of information by the use of metadata. Up to now, metadata automatically recorded technical or geographical information of captures. If one wanted to do a search of content based on other metadata such as people, topics, colors or any other feature contained in the images, a prior requirement was that at some stage in the feeding or filing process each content had been duly labeled â&#x20AC;&#x201C;by means of tags- by someone who recognized them and wrote them down. Well, nowadays we already have systems in place capable of performing this task in a fully self-driven, automated manner. We have seen automated tagging at work, including recognition of parts of the body or plane types. Another aspect that can be left to autonomous AI with no worry is, for example, movement of a robot camera to follow 50 MAY â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;19
the action in a sport. In mid-distance shots, outcomes are truly impressive, although some form of tweaking may be required to sharpen up results in other kind of takes. Very soon we will be able to achieve
spotless results nearly in every circumstance. This is already the case with the capability of undertaking a follow-up about focusing on a specific person by recognizing and memorizing the face to keep it at all times on
here! Making a chroma anywhere is already possible without a real chroma. We are absolutely positive that progress to be made in the AI field will be the spark behind some major changes in the near future.
focus, even if that person exits the plane and comes back to it in a different position or at a different distance. And keeping such memory intact even after resetting the camera. Not less amazing is the capability of emulating a
chroma-key on any uneven, multi-color background by, for instance, separating a person to embed it on a different background in real time. Accuracy needs to be tuned-up a bit, but the capability is already
Still in production environments, improvements in generation of synthetic images and the latterâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s blending with reality, technology being used in virtual scenarios and in augmented reality, do benefit from the progress made in processing power, thus achieving a realism that comes very close to the one being achieved in the best scenes of cinema post-production. What is really surprising in this is not quality, but the capability of doing it with such quality in real-time and tracking camera movement. Indeed, immediacy in TV remains as one of the main pillars in this communication medium. In fact, one of the aspects in which progress has been made as compared 51 MAY â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;19
to the previous edition, is the reduction of latency in transmission media. In some instances, both technology and resources are available for reaching delay times that come really close to those of present-time over-the-air TDT broadcasts. Faced with competition brought by new broadcast platforms, the TV model still remains on top in regard to the type of contents that had
Gates Air reception.
52 MAY â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;19
traditionally been its strength: live shows, keeping all their flavors in news, sports and events. But they have duly adapted to current times: news featuring virtual scenarios and augmented reality; and sports and events by achieving productions of the best quality in order to get viewers involved in an ever increasingly immersive experience. We do not want to watch TV
by peering through its window anymore. Now we want TV to wrap us in its image and sound, we want to feel the heat of the action. And also in regard to sound, this often forgotten little sibling which only professionals pay attention to, work is being developed in order to attain, process and provide a rewardingly immersive experience. In this sense, the capability
We do not want to watch TV by peering through its window anymore. Now we want TV to wrap us in its image and sound, we want to feel the heat of the action.
of recreating a full, enveloping, quality sound finds the greatest difficulty in end-user equipment. In a mobile phone or in a tablet -at least for the time being- the same immersive capabilities as those offered by wellprepared environments are not attainable. However, it seems that this is not a critical aspect for viewers as they value immediacy and mobility more than other issues. But this does not deter development of new equipment at all. Let us bear in mind that nowadays tools are needed not only for the most sophisticated environments, but catering to the needs of small broadcasters is important as well. And today by
‘small broadcaster’ we are not making reference to a local TV. It might be an individual in a room or anywhere else, doing a live broadcast of any situation. If properly done, that person will have more opportunities to get and retain the attention of viewers/customers. And sound is an aspect that can noticeably improve through investments that are much lower than those needed for a significantly better image. On the other hand, we should not forget that at present some of the most impacting news are broadcast by using images recorded by amateurs with their own mobile phones, just because they were in the right place at the right moment.
But let us get back to professionals. One of the sectors that has been showing a solid progress for some years now –even giving rise to a new professional activity- in which immersive capabilities are truly unrivalled, is e-Sports. A combination of immediacy of live events, passion for sports, and feasibility of feeling literally within the action, e-Sports offer a highly specialized production model as well as a wide choice of business opportunities. This is another sector in which we foresee significant growth in regard to interest and demand in coming years. With everything there is to it, of course: from new professional players, and also merchandising, to all advertising that can be associated to this type of broadcasts. Figures seen in this market are still a long way from those being handled in first-class widespread sports, but we are completely sure than the gap will not be so big in a 53 MAY ‘19
few years. Furthermore, we fully support e-Sports because we are convinced that their competitions will see the huge gap now existing between male and female teams in nearly every activity reduced. This field seems much more fitting for having mixed teams competing without any differences. Precisely in this sense, it is true that the role of women is being supported and advocated in the broadcast industry as organizations and associations are driving this move. Even though some progress has been made, we think there is a long way to go before a balanced situation desirable for all is achieved. Although progress has been definitely made since the last edition –and this is a very personal opinion- we expected more done. An area in which there is not concrete progress – but a lot of expectation, however- is 5G, the band of frequencies for wireless transmission that will 54 MAY ‘19
mean a significant quality leap in mobile devices. Let us clearly define the three “G’s” in today’s audiovisual world: Gigahertz for frequencies, Gigabyte for data, and Generation for mobile telephony data transmission. If the jump from 3G to 4G enabled us to access video-streaming content, 5G will allow a much increased quality and smoothness in said content as compared to present time. In fact, seeing how the market share evolves in regard to broadcasts in coming years will be something really interesting. In past years, antenna broadcasts have been losing market versus broadcasts through Internet platforms, but now traditional broadcasting is reinventing itself around the ATSC 3.0 specification. Why? It is very simple: in spite of all innovations in distribution of content through Internet and OTT platforms, we should not forget that there remain large areas in the globe in which the only way of
A combination of immediacy of live events, passion for sports, and feasibility of feeling literally within the action, e-Sports offer a highly specialized production model as well as a wide choice of business opportunities
55 MAY â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;19
reaching viewers is through free-to-air broadcasts. ATSC 3.0 means a similar enhancement to what DVB (Digital Video Broadcast, our TDT) was versus analog broadcasting. Even if it is true that in large urban areas Internet 56 MAY â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;19
platforms will continue gaining adepts and snatching market share, the industry does not abandon any other geography lacking the required infrastructure for benefiting from broadband network broadcasts.
In our current scenario, we can receive TV signals through the air in OTA (over the air, land aerial broadcasting) broadcasts, proprietary platforms through the Internet OTT (over the top, desktop receivers), purely Internet through subscription
platforms offering possibilities for linear broadcast or on-demand broadcast (for a few countries, such as Movistar+, or globally, as Netflix), on-demand open Internet (as YouTube or channels maintained by traditional broadcasters themselves). If we add to this a very near possibility of receiving 4K content even through our mobile phones thanks to 5G technology, the array of choices widens yet more. All these possibilities exponentially increase when the opportunities offered by targeted advertising are taken into the equation. And they complicate with any potential restrictions on rights of use in contents and limits imposed by the various laws applicable in each country. Broadcasters widen horizons, but they must also monitor the conditions prevailing there. And in this scenario of increased scope is where content
management platforms turn out to be a business in clear expansion.
task. Gee! This is starting
Indeed, this is another thriving sector: content management (or Media Asset Management, MAM). The business opportunity offered here to us does not lie in organizing our files. It is the possibility or putting our content on a showcase available to others who may be interested in purchasing them. And also that such management is immediate, like when we purchase a picture or a video from an image bank, along with their relevant conditions, rights and restrictions. This means a new way of monetizing our files which was until very recently just unthinkable.
And then, automatic tagging of search-bycontent metadata springs back to our mind. Having better identified media makes identification, availability and monetization of our contents a far simpler
to look very much like a network, in which interconnected. And that is how we view now the sector: everything is connected to everything. In a similar way to our special issue on NAB last year, we wanted this time to focus on market trends, technological developments, and evolving business opportunities. We wanted to forego mentioning companies or brands in an attempt to focus the attention on the market and related possibilities instead of making the routine enumeration of specific products. And, if we closed our last year’s special by asking: “are we ready?”, after this year of growth, advances and progress, we must go a step further and wonder: are we already where we wanted to be, and are we on the desired track? 57 MAY ‘19
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59 MAY â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;19
Author: José María Pérez
NEW LIGHTING PROCEDURES Actually, current TV programs are the same as or very similar to the ones seen in the past 50 years, such as news, interviews, sports or current issues presentations and commentaries, weather, talk shows, including programs showing outtakes, debates on political issues, current issues or sports, contests, large-format music contests, reality shows, music performances, virtual presentations, etc. Scripts, developments and types of production have hardly changed, except for the higher quality of capture (more and better cameras, cranes, robotic heads) and video processing (from the old PAL 4:3 to PAL 16:9 and then SDI, HD, 2K up to 4K, with capture cameras of at least 12 bits and internal processors not lower than 15 bits) and, most of all, a huge 60 MAY ‘19
Typical modern self-lit set for news programs
improvement in visual presentation, including of course sets featuring audiovisual means, but also new lighting effects that had been up now impossible to achieve, playing with color shades, backgrounds, robot-led effects, etc.
NEW DESIGNS FOR SETS In the past ten years, the design of sets has undergone a spectacular development. For many years, sets used to be opaque and would require
by generators of digital effects, either included in the mixer or external ones, as monitors and even videowalls formed by cubic monitors would not reach an intensity to make them stand out by strong front lighting. In this regard, camera sensitivity has also experienced a steady positive evolution. In order to shed â&#x20AC;&#x153;lightâ&#x20AC;? on this topic, let us take into account some technical considerations.
outdoor lighting for achieving a fairly joyful image. Duratrans (pictures with back lighting) required a lot of background; vinyl panels would easily reflect front projectors, and audiovisual information was normally contributed
In the period 1988-90, with the first generation of CCD cameras, sensitivity of the latest generation of Plumbicon cameras was 2,000/F:11. This means that by applying 2,000 lux on the gray adjustment chart, the diaphragm had to close at F:11 for white to reach peak volt. In regard to faces, clothing, etc., the limit was also peak volt (so as to avoid saturation of whites in the image, shines on faces or in white shirts, for example). A standard diaphragm for achieving good field depth in general takes is F:8 (twice
as much light coming into the camera as F:11), that is, a normal incidence level would be 1,000 lux (half the light) for most programs. However, the first generation of CCD studio cameras would typically have a sensitivity of just 2,000/F:4 and, in some cases, 2,000/F:5.6. This means that in the best case with an advanced camera, 4,000 incident lux would be required for achieving the peak volt with a F:8 diaphragm., that is, four times more light than with Plumbicon tube cameras and up to 8 times more light for less advanced CCD cameras. This has nothing to do at all with the message that CCD cameras are able to record with just 10 lux, or under the moonlight, for example. This is true, but with all possible gain being applied, and the resulting image noise. At the same time, modulation depth, dynamic and contrast levels, color intensity, etc., are extremely poor at such levels. As we are 61 MAY â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;19
Typical LED strips and bars for set lighting
addressing in this article professional quality for a TV program, we will forget all about these levels and concentrate on the professional parameter, which measures the camera’s work with no gain and with Knee correctors applied. At present, CCD studio cameras work with lighting levels exceeding 2,000/F:11 (normally starting from 2,000/F:12), which means that for F:8 we will only need about 300-600 incident lux, depending on the specific camera. 62 MAY ‘19
At present, CCD studio cameras work with lighting levels exceeding 2,000/F:11 (normally starting from 2,000/F:12), which means that for F:8 we will only need about 300-600 incident lux, depending on the specific camera. This is extremely useful as with such levels, new sets massively use LED strips –both white and RGB- that provide enough light (using the most powerful ones of at least 60 LED, 1,300 lumens and 12W per meter) with light diffuser plastics and duplicate strips with dark
(red-blue) diffuser plastics, so RGB-type are typically used with milky white plastics for a perfect diffusion of light points. Additionally, there are power supply units and tension-current controllers with DMX control, wireless controllers, etc. Worth noting is the fact that the
huge duration of LED devices allows placing them in locations difficult to access, as no maintenance or restoration work is foreseeable. Naturally, this was unfeasible with halogen lighting, not to mention the heat thus generated, which is so dangerous for sets, this not being the case with LED lights. For lighting areas and duratrans, there are industrial-quality bar projectors (very usual in
discos, showcases, small sets, photo-calls, etc.) up to 300 W, RGB, warm white, cold white (and even black light!) with DMX control and a wide array of fixation possibilities at extremely low prices. None of this either existed or was feasible ten years ago! Similarly, projection of AV means has switched from monitors and monitor videowalls with grid signal distributors, resulting in an obvious loss in resolution and,
simultaneously, the "catches" arising of effect generators, to highresolution LCD-monitor videowalls with no visible frame at a reasonable cost; and event HD continuous videowalls that produce highly detailed images, even in close-up takes. The latter devices are currently used in nearly all news programs. Additionally, lowresolution continuous videowalls are used in combination with highpower LEDs for all kinds of
Typical videowall for use in news programs
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sets in large contests, musical programs, etc. Of course, such devices are directly connected to dedicated computers, although they can also be fed with video images of the right format in the manner of a videowall. None of these items would be viable at the required lighting levels ten years ago or more! The lighting level required back then being 4 or more times the one currently required, would leave these devices quite dark indeed.
OUTDOOR LIGHTING OF SETS, CYCLORAMAS AND VIRTUAL SETS For lighting of these sets, which are similar in concept, white-colour or increasingly- RGBAW bars are being used. For cycloramas there are very high-power professional bars that allow for uniform lighting of up to 8 metres in height, by playing with lighting spots at ground 64 MAY â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;19
and ceiling level, with the additional advantage of being able to stay quite close to the fabric as compared with the older assymetrical parable projectors. Virtual sets are similar save for the fact that bars cannot be laid on the floor (except in large studios with chroma sheeting at floor level to conceal the lamps). For external set support, RGB bars are used in specific areas to make them darker or to highlight them as background for close-ups.
NEW KEY LIGHTING SYSTEMS FOR STUDIOS Key lighting is the same as 100 years ago! Of course, in view of the current sensitivity of cameras, lighting of people, props, furniture, etc., this ranges between 300 and 600 lux, as compared to the at least 10,000 lux required in the initial era of cinema, featuring arc projectors (due to the extreme lack of sensitivity of the first photographic negatives). The basics entail lighting
by means of a “hard” light, which sets its own direction through the shadows cast. To this purpose, the projector must have a small projection area –lensfrom a point in the axis normally matching the camera of the close-up. To this end, mostly Fresnel projectors are preferred. As this lighting generates very dark –even blackshadows, these are softened (whitened) with projectors having a really wide screen –in former times the “softlight”- then the cold light screens and, at present, large LED screens, typically 2’x1’ or even 2’x2’, projecting at an angle from a side (a 60º angle on the right and another on the left of the base beam are typical). This front lighting is supplemented by back lighting in the direction that is opposite to the camera-to-subject axis. This lighting must be extremely focused and accurately trimmed to prevent it from spilling sideways on to other people or props, with the
resulting intense white light glimmer. For this reason Fresnels are used, although for certain simple programs such as news, with anchors on a side-to-side position and within the same camera
axis, small format panels are also used sometimes, normally lying horizontally (a typical one is 2x1 feet). Additionally profile spotlights are used to light prop items and even
Key lighting is the same as 100 years ago! Of course, in view of the current sensitivity of cameras, lighting of people, props, furniture, etc., this ranges between 300 and 600 lux, as compared to the at least 10,000 lux required in the initial era of cinema, featuring arc projectors (due to the extreme lack of sensitivity of the first photographic negatives).
65 MAY ‘19
Typical TLCI chart showing scanned colors.
people when cutting out light in some areas becomes a priority (for instance, in order to prevent the light from being reflected on videowalls). At preset there are LED profiles of up to 300W, which are equivalent to 2kW halogen profiles. Of course, the projected light must be in keeping with background lighting, so a good control system is therefore a must. Nearly all LED projectors feature DMX control, so this is not really an issue. This general set-up is possible at present only with LED projectors. However, some issues and their potential 66 MAY ‘19
solutions must be noted. In the first place, LED projectors feature warm color temperatures (2,700ºK to 3,000ºK), cold temperatures (5,600ºK to 6,500ºK), adjustable temperatures (2,700ºK to 6,500ºK and even bigger ranges), and RGBAW, with the possibility of achieving any color. If the aim is integrating a new set without any existing items, the best solution would be using bluish light, cold projectors, from 5,600ºK to 6,500ºK, because these projectors have a lighting performance (candles issued versus watts consumed) up to 10% higher than warm-light projectors. Furthermore,
pureness of color spectrum is better, typically by 2-3% as compared to warm-light units. However, if the studio has existing projectors and gradual replacement is envisaged due to budget constraints, either use warm-light projectors equaling the temperature of halogen lighting or, alternatively, use warm-cold adjustable projectors, which are more expensive and much less efficient, as candle luminance may be even one half of the luminance achieved per watt when compared to fixedtemperature projectors. Additionally, LED Fresnel projectors feature a poorer zoom range as
compared to halogen ones, especially in the spot position. Quite the opposite, LED panels may have different beams from 15º up to 120º by using progressive diffusers. For older softlight types, a typical beam would be only 120º. Last, another technical issue worth noting is color pureness of LED projectors, that is, spectrum quality, which we know is discontinuous as compared to halogen spectrum –nearly continuous. This means that light generated is not found in all frequencies, but only in a number of them (peak), while failing in other frequencies (offpeak). Traditionally, pureness used to be measured through the CRI (Color Rendering Index), which determines an average level by adding the relevant peaks corresponding to the 8 primary colors taking into account that a CRI of 95 was an acceptable value for light pureness (both for fluorescent and for LED lights).
But at present, TLCI (Television Lighting Consistency Index) is gaining ground. This measurement determines the average level of 24 colors, including pastel shades, flesh color, etc. A reasonable TLCI is regarded to exceed 90% pureness, equivalent to 95% CRI, but much more accurate. However, in view that this is an average value, it does not guarantee that color will be the same as in other projectors that render an identical index. Compatibility test must be performed, most especially when lighting faces. Taking into account all these issues, lighting now very much resembles traditional ways but with the enormous advantages offered by minimal consumption (typically 1:7, save for adjustable-color projectors that are at about 1:4 as compared to equivalent halogen lighting), insignificant heat radiated to the scene and nearly zero maintenance. Last, let us introduce the
notion of operating light through effects projectors. In former times, effect projectors were used to create effects, that is an spectacle, most especially in music shows, big contests, etc. However, nowadays they are being increasingly used as substitutes for conventional projectors, mostly for dynamic programs such as reality shows, magazines, etc., in which the number of guests, their distribution, a combination of sets – including musical performances- make up a very diverse scene. In this case, setting up lighting featuring adjustment of movements is worthwhile as compared to several lighting ensembles for which in many instances there is no grid space. Furthermore, with older mobile halogen-lamp or xenon-discharge projectors, maintenance was a parameter to consider, which is not the case with zero maintenance, robotic LED projectors. 67 MAY ‘19
All you wanted to know about
Amidst the quagmire of information about UHD and more specifically, about HDR, HLG seems a truly widespread HDR standard. Let us look into a bit more detail what HLG is and the direction it may take.
By Yeray Alfageme, Business Technology Manager Olympic Channel
68 MAY â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;19
69 MAY â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;19
Most TV professionals and viewers agree that within the UHD (Ultra High Definition) universe, HDR (High Dynamic Range) is what really makes a difference. Research empirically shows that an HD-HDR image is to be preferred over a 4K-SDI image. An increased dynamic range in an image is visually much more attractive than a four-fold increase in resolution. While parameters such as definition -HD or 4K- or color –BT.709 or BT.2020have standards in place, this is not the case with HDR and therefore we find several proposals
70 MAY ‘19
which try to make it through, such as: • Dolby Vision • PQ10 • Sony S-Log 3 • HDR10 and HDR 10+ •… Within all these, HLG (Hybrid Log Gamma) seems to be becoming a widely established standard, at least in the audiovisual industry. Let us try to find out why.
BBC and NHK HLG was born from a joint initiative by BBC (England) and NHK (Japan) as their technical
interpretation of the new HDR space. Once this origin is understood it is easier to grasp that this is a backward compatible standard, as it enormously simplifies productions for both broadcasters and producers. Manufacturers in which both companies were highly influential, such as Ikegami, quickly joined this initiative. In collaboration with manufacturers, development was initiated of an open standard that was compatible with any equipment meeting the required technical specifications.
Backward compatibility HLG is not the best standard in regard to image quality. It seems that in this regard Dolby Vision would be the right choice if only quality were considered. However, there are other issues to take into account. One that is quite important even crucial- in an economics-driven world, its backward compatibility. Under any other standard, generating an HDR signal –for a live event, for example- means creating two signals, one SD signal and one HDR signal. This is not the case when HLG is used. The HLG gamma curve extends further beyond SDR luminance parameters, thus allowing such higher dynamic range sought in an HDR image. However, it has a peculiarity making it backward compatible. In the standard luminance range -SDR- both SDR and HLG gamma curves are identical, which makes it possible to extract from
the same HDR-HLG signal a full HDR image and a SDR image with no quality loss. This turns it into a more than convenient choice in production environments requiring both signal types.
An open standard In an environment in which the standard is not established, there are brands and competitors trying to impose their solution with the clear intention of setting the trend in the market, thus gaining share in sales. The same that happened between Betamax and VHS or between HD-DVD and Blu-Ray is now taking place in the HDR arena. Dolby proposes its Dolby Vision system, which is widely used in cinema environments. In order to implement this standard, the whole production chain must be able to handle a Dolby Vision signal, which is seldom the case. Starting with the camera, the recording format, the edition and
post-production system, as well as final playback must be Dolby-compatible and Dolby-certified. And the latter is the key point. Dolby must certify all Dolby Vision systems upon prior payment of royalties, of course. This makes its expansion limited in environments in which the whole chain is not under control, such as normal TV distribution. The same did Sony with S-Log 3, but only in professional environments. All HDR equipment manufactured by Sonly –cameras, monitors, converters and signal processing systems natively work in S-Log 3 and only in said system, thus avoiding multiple compatibility and configuration issues. But there is always a ‘but’only Sony works in S-Log 3. No other manufacturer has this technology, which makes complicated mixing Sony’s HDR equipment with devices from any other manufacturer. There are converters –by Sony itself- that make this scenario possible, but in 71 MAY ‘19
some instances introducing an additional failure point in the chain is not the most advisable thing to do. HLG was not conceived by a specific manufacturer, and to me this is a real strength for a standard. As it is an initiative born from a partnership between BBC and NHK which other broadcasters and manufacturers have been gradually joining, it is widely accepted and has the potential of adding more adopters in the future.
How and what to see in HLG Nearly all 4K TV manufacturers in the market are implementing support for HLG in their systems. Even Samsung and LG have announced that their HDR TV sets manufactured from 2016 onwards will be HLGcompatible through a software update. Other minor manufacturers such as Hisense, Loewe, Philips or 72 MAY â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;19
Toshiba also hopped to the HLG bandwagon during this year 2019. Fortunately, HLG support is becoming a must, which is good for this technology and for consumers. In regard to content, of course, BBC is one of the main promoters of this technology. Its iPlayer, launched in December
2017, supports HLG and its broadly known Blue Planet II documentary had all seven episodes shot in 4K-HLG. It also produced the royal wedding, the FA Cup and Wimbledon in HLG, which helped to disseminate this standard, especially in England. As for the Spanish
market, Mediapro announced its intention to broadcast the Spanish La Liga football league championship in HLG. On the other hand, Google has assured that YouTube's HDR videos will support HLG coding. Even some satellite TV providers such as Sky or Eutelsat, will have some
channels dedicated to HLG.
What about its future There is no doubt that there is a long way before the HLG system becomes something normal in broadcasts in all countries. Even more so if we are
talking about public TV. Other HDR formats, such as HDR10+ or Dolby Vision may again draw our attract our attention, especially in regard to streaming services or recording formats, but sure that HLG will be the standard of choice in broadcast format. ď ľ 73 MAY â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;19
How broadcasters can calm their archive footage storage headache By Tim Jobling, CTO of Imagen
For broadcasters and media production companies, archive footage is hugely important – allowing them to build previous events and interviews into new programming to create a more compelling story. For instance, in the buildup to The Masters, broadcasters will often use historic content from previous golf tournaments to add to the excitement, create a narrative and, sometimes, to ensure the programme is long enough to fill the time allocated to it. However, many broadcasters experience significant challenges when trying to access archive footage, saved in different places across disparate systems or, most frustratingly, just being unable to find it. 74 MAY ‘19
What challenges do broadcasters face? With broadcasters often having facilities across several locations, storing and sharing content amongst themselves and with other organisations along with multiple users is a big headache. Often, a number of databases or file sharing platforms are
in use and content can’t be found easily. This content may then be impossible to recreate, or if it can be, it’s at a large cost to the business. Similarly, with employees for an organisation often spread out across the globe, there are ineffective systems in place to store and share content and once a person
leaves the business, they also take their knowledge of where content is located with them. Additionally, with so much new content being created on a daily basis, the amount of archive material held by broadcasters is only increasing. While they may be able to overcome the issue of storing that footage, finding it again can present a whole new series of problems. For instance, how is it organised, what format is it in and how can they find specific video clips at any given time? With such a vast library, pinpointing a certain piece that contains a particular goal from the 1998 World Cup can become a mammoth task. So, how can broadcasters overcome these challenges and calm the headache the storage of archive footage presents?
What’s the solution? As the creation of new content builds, this has
meant the amount of older material created by broadcasters and media companies has also increased. As a result, the size and scale of the problem they are dealing with in terms of the management and storage of content will grow only in tandem. To alleviate this, these organisations must look to implement a more robust cloud-based solution which will ensure their digital assets are not only protected but also reusable for the future. While this will require a small initial investment of time and money to implement, it is a low-risk, high-reward option which will allow broadcasters to safely store, search and share content internally and has the potential to provide a number of significant benefits. One of the biggest additional advantages provided by a video management platform is the opportunity to monetise content. As we have seen with nearly
every major broadcaster, a wealth of programmes or footage stored online creates the potential for VOD services. Or, in the case of the BBC, it allows broadcasters to add another element to their existing services. As while BBC iPlayer has been around for more than a decade, it wasn’t until 2017 that the BBC added a ‘From the Archive’ section to the platform. This move saw the broadcasters add existing content, some of which dated back to 1946 and hadn’t been aired since it was first broadcast, to its existing platform. This allowed the BBC to add an extra element to its service and play into the growing trend of consumers going back to re-watch old boxsets or programmes, even if they’ve seen it before. This is something we have seen with the addition of the everpopular Friends series’ to Netflix and the subsequent revelation that it had become the most popular show for 75 MAY ‘19
streaming in the UK. While the majority of broadcasters won’t have a back catalogue on the same scale as the BBC, moving to a single, digitised catalogue of content can allow them to create platforms showcasing their content on a smaller scale and therefore create new revenue streams. Additionally, opting for a single digital solution may give broadcasters the push they need to digitise archive footage which may currently only exist on film or video and which is therefore easily lost, damaged or destroyed. This is something most of us can relate to in our personal lives, with many of us likely to have old photo albums from our childhood or video tapes containing camcorder footage stored in shoeboxes or at the back of a cupboard. However, with so much sentimental value often attached to this content, most of us are willing to pay for a 76 MAY ‘19
cloud solution that will
scale and for them, the
allow us to digitise and
risk of footage getting lost
store all this content in
or damaged could create
one place, giving us
major problems. While it
assurance of its long-term
won’t have the same
security. This idea also
sentimental value, it will
applies to broadcasters
have a large monetary
but on a much bigger
value and may be
impossible to recreate. As the broadcast space becomes more competitive, with the launch of new streaming services and broadcasters fighting to the rights to sports events, film and TV
series, those that fail to address the challenge of storing existing content will only see the problem worsen and will feel the effects on the quality of their output. Yet, those that act and implement a new solution stand to
benefit greatly from a more efficient system that not only grants peace of mind and ease of use but also the potential to create new revenue streams. ď ľ 77 MAY â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;19
Telepathy or Television? By Provys
The Incas perfect understanding of Mother Natureâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s delicate balancing act has allowed the development of San Francisco de Quito, now simply known as Quito, the capital city of Ecuador, sitting on the Equator but at an elevation of 2,850 metres (9,350 ft) above sea level. Originally, a major city of the Incas, it is now both the secondhighest official capital city in the world (after La Paz, Bolivia), and the second highest location of a cluster of television broadcasters. Among this cluster, Ecuador TV, the public service channel of Ecuador, was established in October 2007 to transmit content from independent national and international producers and documentaries and news programmes from different sources including 78 MAY â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;19
Discovery, TVE, BBC, Deutsche Welle and Voice of America. Following in the footsteps of Charles Darwin (the Galapagos Islands are part of Ecuador), and utilising all of the latest media technologies, Ecuador TV have now taken their next evolutionary leap and contracted with Hitachi Kokusai to upgrade their operations. This upgrade started in 2016 with the objective of expediting the process of migration of public broadcasting from analogue to digital television using the Japanese standard ISDB-T with a Brazilian modification which enables a degree of interactivity with the viewer. This standard is almost universal in the whole of South America. The project also includes an advanced playout automation system,
supplied and installed by Aveco. Such state-of-theart technology requires only the finest broadcast management system with the most modern programme scheduling, and it was therefore,
Two Incas with their own view of modern civilisation wi
ECUADOR TV & PROVYS
natural that the Provys suite of software solutions was chosen to meet the quality demands of Ecuador TV. “In the rare air of the high Andes, the rare talents of the Provys team were called upon to fill the bill. The digitisation of South American broadcasting significantly challenges broadcasters and particularly, their workflow managers. Such rarefied demands require
the absolute best systems whose functionalities need to integrate perfectly with the other parts of the whole broadcasting chain” says Vaclav Malek, Consultant, Provys, and continues: “It is a pleasure to work with the professionals in Quito, both the IT guys from Ecuador TV and the Hitachi Engineers. English language was originally specified for the new software systems, but it
ith special thanks to Diego Delso delso.photo for this beautiful photograph
became fairly clear that, in the near future, Spanish versions would almost certainly be required, and we are ready, willing and able to facilitate this.” The benefits of the new system, which replaced standard office software tools, include: massively improved sharing of information; elimination of human errors; automation of broadcasting workflows and vastly increased overall efficiency. All of these benefits can now be found in the offices of Ecuador TV, situated close the historic centre of Quito which has one of the largest, least-altered and best-preserved historic centres in the Americas, now being on the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site list. The modern city of Quito is actually founded on the ancient ruins of the original Incan city. The Incas, of course, rather preferred telepathy to television. 79 MAY ‘19