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Summary

6 News

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44

52 24/7 visual radio: it's happening

Test Zone

Panasonic AG-CX350

Creative Direction Mercedes González

editor@tmbroadcast.com

design@tmbroadcast.com

Editorial staff Sergio Julián press@tmbroadcast.com

Audiovisual production of sports

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Editor in chief Javier de Martín

ssa@tmbroadcast.com

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Ultra HD Forum Guidelines

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Key account manager Susana Sampedro

Channel

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SWR3

Innovation in satellite delivery brings numerous advantages

inside “Egypt Live” with Discovery

Inside MotoGP with Dorna Sports

Translation Fernando Alvárez

Administration Laura de Diego administration@tmbroadcast.com

TM Broadcast International #70 June 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 One of our main purposes is providing you with a detailed view of all the technology being implemented by some major players in the worldwide broadcast industry. Technique, production methodology and all information you can imagine are contained in our articles. This month makes the front page an in-depth feature article about Dorna Sports, a firm of reference in the motorsports world, which has been for decades in charge of MotoGP and a host of other competitions of reference. We talked with Manel Arroyo, Managing Director, and with Sergi Sendra, Senior Production Manager, who told us everything about their work. Shows such as NAB and IBC appear as important elements for dynamization of the broadcast market. All major manufacturers throughout the world along with promising companies claiming their space in the industry meet with technological heads from all kinds of sectors. TM Broadcast International visits these events with a broad team in order to include in the magazine’s pages all trends and novelties seen there. This year we are including in our coverage an important appointment of reference for the audiovisual world, the InfoComm in Orlando (Florida). It is true than integration is a major focus, but we will be closely following up all solutions with an impact in the sector we cover. Last, we insist: technology progresses inexorably. 5G solutions await around the corner, IP transmission formats such as SMPTE ST 2110 becoming a reality and UHD, as you can read in these pages, has just received a roadmap for the future. And, of course, the technological forefront is an essential part of our magazine: an example of this is the interesting deployment by the Discovery Channel in regard to live broadcast or the visual radio concept offered by German radio SWR3 we are bringing to you this month. We keep working to offer you the best content. It is now time to dive into the broadcast world.

4 JUNE ‘19


NEWS - PRODUCTS

Vislink Technologies to release a new low-latency HCAM+ULRX solution

Less than one frame of latency when working with a 4K system: according to Vislink Technologies, that is the biggest benefit of its new HCAM-ULRX camera system. The low-latency HCAM 4K UHD transmitter and UltraReceiver (ULRX-LD) wireless camera solution features single-frame endto-end functions for entertainment event coverage and sports broadcast. It also includes user-interchangeable RF modules and software capabilities, including HDRready capability. It has dual SFP modules that support quad 3/6/12G HD-SDI, HDMI

6 JUNE ‘19

and SMPTE 2022-6 IP interfaces.

end latency in 4K, our

The solution is compatible with broadcast, ENG and other pro-cameras. It can be controlled via Wi-Fi / Bluetooth through a dedicated Android and iOS app and integrates camera control with Vislink FocalPoint compatibility and direct-docking V-Lock and Anton/Bauer® battery plates with power feed through. The Vislink HCAM also supports plug-in frequency agile RF modules.

create more immersive and

“As the first company to launch single-frame, end-to-

will for continuity throughout

customers have been able to high-impact live programming for viewers,” said John Payne, President and COO of Vislink Technologies. “For event producers, the growth in UHD and HDR programming, paired with Vislink’s singleframe latency wireless camera solution, provides greater creative freedom. They can now seamlessly cut between wired and wireless UHD resolution cameras at the broadcast.” 


NEWS - PRODUCTS

Triveni Digital announce its ATSC 3.0 Broadcast Gateway End-to-end delivery services of Next-Gen TV of Triveni Digital are strengthened by the recently announced ATSC 3.0 Broadcast Gateway, which supports ATSC 3.0 broadcast services in HD and UHD. This will enable stations to easily create ATSC 3.0 signal information via self-defined transmission parameters.

After receiving IP streams of data from a transport encoder, the gateway generates STL-TP with L1 and L2 signals, and sends the signals to the stations’ ATSC 3.0 exciter. The device is available in software and hardwore versions; and is compatible with multi-subframe and multi-PLP functions.

Triveni Digital’s end-to-end ATSC 3.0 solutions also include the new Broadcast Gateway, StreamScope® XM Verifier, StreamScope XM MT Analyzer, and GuideBuilder® XM ATSC 3.0 signaling and announcement generator with ROUTE and MMTP encoding. 


NEWS - PRODUCTS

Matrox unveils its QuadHead2GO multimonitor controllers for video walls developers looking to create custom functions and applications.

Matrox has announced what it has called an “groundbreaking” product”. The Matrox QuadHead2Go™ series is a range of multi-monitor controllers designed for the “next-generation” videowalls. It will be showcased for the first time at InfoComm 2019 (12-14 June). 8 JUNE ‘19

It is capable to drive four displays from one signal with complete video wall scalability and flexibility thorough its PCI Express Cars ®. Furthermore, it’s fully compatible with the Matrox PowerWall™ software. The Matrox QuadHead2Go REST API is also available for integrators and

The QuadHead2Go controllers capture a 4Kp60 video signal to display across up to four Full HD 1920×1200 screens. The content can be arranged in a huge variety of configurations: 2×2, 2×1, 3×1, 4×1, 1×2, 1×3, 1×4… The input can be sources such as professional graphics cards and integrated GPUs, digital signage players, laptops and more. Multiple QuadHead2Go units can be used together to create ultra-large video walls under operating systems such as Microsoft® Windows® 10 and Linux®. This out-of-the-box plug and play solution, in both appliance (part number: Q2G-DP4K) and card (part number: Q2G-DP4K-C) form factors, will be available in the third quarter of 2019. 


NEWS - PRODUCTS

Magewell releases two new NDI® encoder models The Pro Convert HDMI TX and Pro Convert SDI TX are the two latest NDI® encoders of Magewell. They will be showcased at 2019 InfoComm (June 1214, Orlando – Florida). The devices want to help users and systems integrators to bring HDMI or SDI video signals in and

out of AV-over-IP workflows using the wellknown technology of NewTek. Both solutions include features of the Pro Convert family such as PoE support, program and preview tally lights; lowlatency, NDI-based PTZ camera control, automatic input format detention… In particular, the Pro

Convert HDMI TX supports inputs up to 2048×1200 via its HDMI 1.4 interface, while the Pro Convert SDI TX handles sources up to 1080p60 over 3G-SDI. “The powerful and comprehensive features of our Pro Convert Plus devices have made them very popular, but many customers don’t need signal loop-through connectivity nor the flexibility of switchable encoding and decoding capabilities in one box,” said Amy Zhou, Sales Director at Magewell. “The Pro Convert TX models let us offer the same core encoding functionality at a lower price, thus making the growing ecosystem of NDI solutions more accessible to more customers than ever before.”  9 JUNE ‘19


NEWS - SUCCESS STORIES

Riedel supplied a comprehensive, integrated communications infrastructure for the 2019 Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi.

Riedel provides the communication infrastructure for the 2019 Special Olympics World Games (SOWG) The 2019 Special Olympics World Games (SOWG), held in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, used an integrated 10 JUNE ‘19

communications infrastructure provided by Riedel Communications. The Artist digital matrix intercom system and Bolero wireless intercom

were the two main solutions of the company that were deployed across more than 30 venues and locations.


NEWS - SUCCESS STORIES

Two of the highlights of the event were the opening and closing ceremonies that took place at the Abu Dhabi’s Zayed Sports City Stadium. Riedel provided crew and announcer communications through 65 1000-Series control panels, 60 Bolero wireless beltpacks and more than 250 Tetra radios. The preexisting MediorNet infrastructure simplified the integration of the communications system in the stadium. Marc Schneider, Director Global Events at Riedel Communications, gives more details about their

work at the 2019 SOWG: “It was an honor to be such a key player in this year’s Special Olympics World Games, which included more than 7,000 athletes from over 195 nations. This was the largest, most inclusive, and most unified World Games in the history of the organization, with activities held at nine competition venues and over 20 other locations for initiatives and programs across all seven Emirates. Our numbers speak to the sheer size and scale of this event: we deployed more than 30 Artist-64 nodes, which supported over 180

Bolero beltpacks on 56 Bolero antennas, plus another 170 C3 Digital Performer beltpacks, and 1,500 Tetra radios.” Riedel also provided comms for all sports and medal ceremonies with an Artist mainframe and six Artist panels. In addition, Riedel contributed an IT infrastructure to support managed networks services at seven SOWG venues that included broadband internet, firewall management, more than 165 access points and more than 80 switches. 


NEWS - SUCCESS STORIES

Broadcast Solutions and NEP The Netherlands deploy a 24 camera UHD OB Truck

The OB Truck manufacturer Broadcast Solutions GmbH has joined forces with its outsourced technical production partner NEP The Netherlands to create a 24 camera UHD OB Truck. It is one of the two largest mobile productions tools in NEP Europe’s fleet. The newly manufactured UHD 2 OB truck provides 27 workplaces. It comes as a double-expando and offers over 45m2 of working space plus VIP accom12 JUNE ‘19

modation with extra-large UHD screens. Regarding the technical equipment, it includes a large variety of monitors in the production area (5x 48”, 1x 30” and 4x 24” and 4x 23”) and comprises 8x slomo desks with access to 6x EVS XT4 servers. For video switching and management, NEP chose Grass Valley LDX 86N cameras and Karrera video switchers, for both production areas. Riedel’s MicroN platform provides flexible video switching, multi-

viewing and digital glue options; and the Riedel MicroN solutions offer flexibility with less space plus IP-based interconnectivity and accessibility options from remote, fuelled by three Riedel Mediornet video stageboxes added to the OB Truck. The audio works with a Lawo mc2 56 Mark III audio console with 64 faders including a Nova73 audio matrix, preparing the OB Truck for large audio productions. 


NEWS - SUCCESS STORIES

HM Productions broadcasts the Corbeau Seats Rally 2019 with AVIWEST The AIR320 ultra-compact HEVC bonded cellular transmitters were the devices used by HM Productions to cover the Corebeau Seats Rally at Trending and Clacton in real time. The company streamed more than eight hours of live action and interview from the stages. The HM Productions’ journalists were able to transmit live videos over bonded 3G/4G and Wi-FI

connection using this series of products that feature up to four cellular connections, including 3G/4G internal modems with high-efficiency custom antenna arrays and two USB 3.0 ports, plus a built-in Wi-Fi modem. “AVIWEST’s AIR320 exceeded all of our expectations, providing us with bonded 4G units with rock-solid performance all day. They are amazingly

lightweight, light on power, light on data, and enabled us to live stream action and interviews from Chelmsford Motor Club’s Clacton-on-Sea-based event,” said Christopher Hylands, producer at HM Productions. “These transmitters are, without a doubt, the future of live streaming and broadcast and will definitely play a massive role in motorsport in the years to come.” 

13 JUNE ‘19


NEWS - SUCCESS STORIES

The University of Sydney walks towards 4K video content with EditShare® EFS storage solutions EditShare® XStream EFS 300 is the solution chosen by the Learning Media Team at The University of Sydney (Sydney Uni) to help them produce high quality video content in 4K. Tom Cavdarovski, Team Lead Research and Learning Media Production at the University of Sydney, explains what the needs of the public organization were: “Our team of five produce educational videos for both international and on-campus students, and the Learning Media Team has grown rapidly over the last three years in order to meet the growing demand for quality video content in 4K. Our legacy direct attach storage (DAS) system was not designed to work in a multi-project environment, so we turned to Digistor to help us find a central 14 JUNE ‘19

media solution which would streamline our production workflow and integrate with existing University systems.” Digistor, EditShare official dealer in Australia, was the company who recommended Sydney Uni the software they finally chose. Cavdarovski speaks: “Based on Digistor’s recommendation we chose the EditShare XStream EFS 300 Node 96TB system. This included 82TB of usable storage, a 10GB Ethernet RJ45 switch and 10 licenses of Flow media asset management. The EditShare XStream was an ideal solution as we were after a relatively small and simple set up with minimum administrative overhead. It also easily integrated with our existing IT systems ensuring the new server was secure and robust. We have both a Mac and Windows envi-

ronment and connect our seven client machines via a Thunderbolt converter and cat 6A cables, so the new EditShare XStream system had to be able to work seamlessly within this environment, which it did.” The University of Sydney shoots with Blakcmagic URSA and Studio cameras, Sony FS7, Panasonic GH4 and 5 DSLR, OSMO and Mavic drone cameras. The main input of the team consist of 4K video and podcast audio files, although the delivery output is 1080p and includes web-based plataforms such as Youtube, Coursera or Arc. 


NEWS - SUCCESS STORIES

Star TV deploys Lawo to broadcast the Indian Premier League The most important Cricket competition in India, the Indian Premier League (IPL), will be broadcasted during the next five years by Star TV, an operator that has decided to rely on Lawo for the audio of the project. It’s true that Lawo has already been part of the IPL broadast. In 2015 offered the first transmission of the competition in 5.1 using Lawo mc²56 digital broadcast consoles with HD Cores. This set-up grew with include 11 more mc²56 console and a number of Lawo V__pro8 video processors to provide an 8×8 video matrix, and 384×384 audio matrix, Dolby E encode/decoding, and cost-effective SDI embedding/de-embedding.

the transmition whose audio is centered on a 48fader Lawo mc²56 audio console. It also includesa Lawo Compact Core routing populated with three DSP cards, a RAVENNA card for IP link to remote Lawo DALLIS interfacing, a Dante card for interfacing with external Dante devices, and a MADI card with AES In/Out for internal and external intercon-

nects such as MADI to V__pro 8. The studio’s DALLIS I/O frame supports 48 mic/line inputs, 48 line outputs, and 16 AES in/outputs. The setup also uses Lawo’s V__pro 8 video processing toolkit for audio deembedding/embedding, and also a Dolby-E option for surround production work. 

For the upcoming years, Lawo’s participation will continue to gain importance. Star TV has decided to create a new studio for 15 JUNE ‘19


NEWS - SUCCESS STORIES

disguise vx4 servers boosts Eurovision 2019 A chorus of disguise vx4 and 4x4pro servers was at the core of Eurovisión 2019, event whose final was broadcasted to 200 million viewers in Europe and around the world. The contest featured a 250 sq.m. high-resolution LED, diamond-shaped stage, backed by a 36 x 12m high-resolution LED wall made up of 12 individual screens, all supplied by PRG. More than 16,998,976 pixels lit up the stage, making it the highest resolution LED set in Eurovision history. With over 50 live acts, Eurovision Production Manager Ola Melzig, and Head of Video and Stage Technology, Shay Bonder, needed a system capable of processing the massive amount of data with multi-station editing capabilities: “A major challenge for us was making the preprogramming process as accurate as possible and then operating it in per16 JUNE ‘19

fect sync, without issue. disguise’s software allowed us to pre-programme with cameras and automation – the camera directors actually showed the camera operators the render from the Designer machines in order to give them instructions, and the ability to programme one track while another is playing, plus the power to easily feed content to DMX screens and quick calibration of projectors,” said Shay. Specifically, six disguise vx 4 servers and two 4x4pro servers were implemented. The vx 4 servers were used as Pure Master, output slaves and Backup servers. The 4x4pro servers were used for add-on elements and backup. The vx 4s were loaded with HDMI 2.0 VFC cards; the 4x4pros had onboard Quad-DVI VFC cards. The disguise servers received LTC, ensuring the

main cues were triggered at the correct time. Much of the programming was completed in the run up to the Tel Aviv events, using


NEWS - SUCCESS STORIES

disguise’s r15.3 software to pre-visualise the whole show and sequence the content. The team used disguise’s Visualiser

Camera feature and then virtually mapped and sequenced each camera shot and path to the directors’ requirements. From

there, they transferred the project from the Designer’s machines to the actual hardware.  17 JUNE ‘19


NEWS - SUCCESS STORIES

Canal Algerie is now on-air through Arabsat-5C existing channels, providing cost-effective end-to-end services to do so.”

Arabsat has just announced that Canal Algerie is available on Arabsat-5C, the Arabic satellite platform for Direct-To-Home services over Africa. The Arabsat5C at 20º east will serve the African market. It is equipped with a C-band beam that covers 100 per cent of African satellite TV households. Globecast will provide the technical broadcast solutions needed to deliver Canal Algerie across Africa. The Algerian 18 JUNE ‘19

French-speaking public television channel is owned by EPTV (Algerian Public Television), who also owns A3 (available on BADR-6), Terrestrial TV, Tamazight TV and Coran TV. Giorgio Giacomini, MD of Globecast in the Middle East, said, “We have a longstanding and very successful relationship with Arabsat. We are perfectly positioned to both launch new channels and expand the reach of

“The launch of Canal Algerie on Arabsat-5C comes as part of our core mission to connect Arabic societies across the world; we provide African, Arab and Islamic communities with the largest possible choice of Free-To-Air TV channels in Africa,” added Khalid Balkheyour, Arabsat president & CEO. “Furthermore, the broadcasting of Canal Algerie via Arabsat-5C, highlights the continued successful Arabsat and Globecast partnership. This is expanding across additional territories beyond MENA, helping grow the reach of the existing Direct-to-Home portfolio of channels active on Arabsat-5C, and supporting the addition of more leading channels on Arabsat-5C in the very near future.” 


NEWS - SUCCESS STORIES

The Estonian TV Kanal 2 invests in a Dyvi switcher from EVS The Postimees Grupp (formerly known as Eesti Meedia) has decided to equip Kanal 2, Estonia’s largest private television network, with a Dyvi software-defined switcher from EVS. It was purchased through Avec Est Oü, EVS channel partner in the country. The device will be deployed to manage prerecord content, produce high-quality programming and drive the material displayed on the four large video walls of its main studio in Tallin.

The Dyvi switcher uses a single processing module with 32 inputs and 16 outputs and it’s fully configurable and scalable, according to EVS. After less than one week of onsite configuration and training, Kanal 2’s workers are able to use the device for studio productions including news bulletins, weather forecasts, talk shows, magazine programs and sports broadcasts. Toivo Taremaa, Head of AV Technology at Kanal 2, explains the benefits of the solution: “Dyvi is

unlike any other production switcher out there. By embracing its new GPU and softwaredefined approach to live production, we can do more than ever before. Being able to drive our studio screens via our switcher, while we produce our programming is a game-changer. And if we need to, we know we can easily scale it to meet our future demands. Overall, we’ve found Dyvi to be very flexible, intuitive and reactive, and it has really freed us up to be more creative across all of our productions.” 

19 JUNE ‘19


NEWS - BUSINESS & PEOPLE

Francisco Partners and IGP Capital purchase LiveU

Samuel Wasserman, CEO and Co-founder LiveU

Live IP video solutions company LiveU has been acquired by the global technology private equity firm Francisco Partners and the private equity investment firm Israel Growth Partners (IGP). The objective of this agreement is to “accelerate further the company’s global expansion”, according to the press release. Samuel Wasserman, CEO and Co-Founder of LiveU, said: “We are delighted to have Francisco Partners, a 20 JUNE ‘19

firm with an established track record, as our new majority owner. This will allow us to focus on our long-term strategy and growth objectives, benefiting our customers, partners and employees. I would like to take this opportunity to thank our previous shareholders Canaan Partners, Viola Ventures, Pitango Venture Capital, and Lightspeed Venture Partners for their valued support along the way, and contribution to our success.” “We have made tremendous progress in delivering on our promise to establish LiveU as the clear market leader in providing live video streaming solutions for TV, digital and social media,” added Wasserman. “This could not have been possible without the tireless efforts of our amazing employees developing

and driving superior technology solutions that contribute to LiveU’s current market position.” Mario Razzini, Principal at Francisco Partners, also spoke about the agreement: “The broadcast and media industries are in a period of rapid change and LiveU is distinctively positioned to help customers capitalize on this opportunity with its strong market position and unmatched product innovation and performance.” IGP Capital General Partner Assaf Harel commented: “We are thrilled to join Francisco Partners in backing the company and its talented team of professionals. LiveU is uniquely positioned in the global broadcast and media markets and we’re excited to support the company with new investment initiatives and future growth prospects.” 


NEWS - BUSINESS & PEOPLE

GatesAir Acquires ONEtastic GatesAir has announced that it has acquired Onetastic S.r.l (ONEtastic), a provider of television and digital radio transmission systems.

and business development teams worldwide since late 2018, including several new leadership positions created to serve the European market.

Headquartered in Brescia, Italy, ONEtastic provides television, digital radio, and RF systems to clients in the broadcast, telecom, scientific and government verticals.

“The acquisition of ONEtastic underscores our commitment to the broadcast market and accelerates the investments we are making in our transmission portfolio,” said Bruce D. Swail, CEO of GatesAir. “The unique, innovative and awardwinning products and technologies from ONEtastic add new capabilities to our portfolio and complement our transmission and transport platforms. The addition of an experienced and highly talented research, development and services team from ONEtastic further expands our world-class engineering and support expertise to create new innovations for the broadcast segment and beyond. Their central

The acquisition also strengthens GatesAir’s growing presence and visibility in Europe. GatesAir has aggressively expanded its global sales

Bruce D. Swail, CEO of GatesAir.

European Union location strengthens our International footprint and commitment to global growth.” GatesAir will retain the entire ONEtastic staff and its Brescia facility, which will continue operations as GatesAir S.r.l. Longtime ONEtastic CEO Luca Saleri will remain in a leadership role as General Manager of GatesAir S.r.l. ONEtastic founder Carlo Bombelli will also be a key contributor to the GatesAir team moving forward. A globally recognized technical leader, Bombelli launched ONEtastic following his years as founder of Screen Service Broadcasting Technologies, a former supplier of multi-standard digital broadcasting solutions in Italy. Bombelli has authored several patents through his innovations at ONEtastic, and is the primary force behind the company’s ingenious transmitter designs.  21 JUNE ‘19


SPORTS PRODUCTION

22 JUNE ‘19


DORNA

INSIDE MOTOGP WITH

State-of-the-art Technology in the world’s oldest Motorsports Championship 23 JUNE ‘19


SPORTS PRODUCTION

“We keep learning”, noted Manel Arroyo in the first few seconds of the conversation we had the opportunity to have with him, an unmistakable sign of the perfectionism that is Dorna’s landmark after 28 years of experience in this competition. Its body-and-soul devotion to producing the Motorcycle World Championship (MotoGP) enables full consolidation of its working methodology, which can be defined by using two words: ambition and respect for sport. Because it does not matter whether each Grand Prix makes use of 24 ontrack cameras, 134 additional cameras for the International Program Feed (including VR technologies, onboards, highspeed or Shotover from helicopters), 13 live RF cameras, 250 microphones… At the end, the key is succeeding in conveying onto the audience the spectacular feel of each competition they manage. And they do succeed. We interviewed Manel Arroyo, Managing Director; and Sergi Sendra, Senior Production Director, so they could tell us all about this world reference in the field of sports production. By Sergio Julián

Dorna Sports was born in 1988 and since 1992 it has, on an exclusivity basis, the commercial and TV rights for the FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix. It currently runs 59 events every year, covering 193 races, 17 countries, and many other internationally recognized competitions: MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship 24 JUNE ‘19

Manel Arroyo, Managing Director of Dorna Sports


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TRANSPORTING 360 TONNES THROUGH AIR, LAND AND SEA

Sergi Sendra, Senior Production Director

(WorldSBK™), FIM Enel MotoE World Cup, FIM CEV Repsol, Red Bull MotoGP™ Rookies Cup, Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup and British Talent Cup. Furthermore, the organization cooperates in many other productions within the motorsports field, where it contributes its expertise and knowhow. For Manel Arroyo the key to success lies in adopting a proactive attitude when liaising with all the championship’s stakeholders: “The feedback we got about what we have been doing

right is that we have always kept our eyes wide open and we have at all times been very keen to listen to what customers, paddock, riders and the market all have to say. It has always been very beneficial to us to keep looking out, not only internally, but also externally. Any first-rate sports production is a reference for the Dorna Sports team: “One has to be watchful about what goes on in the NBA, football, Formula 1, in any sport we understand it is a reference in the way rights and international presence are managed."

The MotoGP championship involves a tremendous logistics effort. Dorna Sports takes care of the whole production for these events, which entails continuous movement of both material and human resources. 360 is the number of tons moved every other week (or every week when races outside Europe are successively hosted), of which 99 are for audiovisual production material -covering the TV, cameras, radiofrequency compound- and a bunch of additional equipment. “When we are in Europe, obviously, you can figure out that the transport is road bound. When outside Europe, the situation is tackled through air transport. This takes at least four fully-loaded jumbo aircraft. Two of them are nearly crammed with all the material taken by Dorna, which includes TV equipment, the type taking up most space,” 25 JUNE ‘19


SPORTS PRODUCTION

the world. On the other hand, part of the equipment we have used in Austin may be probably traveling to Japan or to Australia.” The material we are making reference to is the 50 kilometers of fiber that are used in each Grand Prix: 25 of Dorna monomodal fiber and another 25 of SMPTE fiber for on-track cameras. remarked Manel, which gives us an idea of such impressive deployment handled by the 215 workers who travel down to the GPs, not to forget about 70 professionals (technicians, journalists, developers…) that can work from the central studios. Among the material moved, are also items such as static advertising or logistics material for the races, such as timing and data processing equipment. Sea transport is another option relied on by Dorna Sports: “We have four material parcels that have been traveling to different places all over 26 JUNE ‘19

Control room


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COMMITTED TOWARDS PROPRIETARY PRODUCTION Dorna always works with owned material or with equipment leased for the entire season, as this "provides consistency to the work done by our engineers, operators and, therefore, to the final

product." Dorna’s Managing Director explained the reason they have been implementing this method since 1997: “This is one of the things we have been gradually learning over the years. Initially, we decided to do all relating timing and data processing internally. Later on, we also integrated within Dorna’s work all production and

fitting of motorbike onboard cameras. Little by little we also took over a number of processes that had been so far commissioned to third parties." This also had an impact on broadcasting of the sport events: “Back those years we started to work alongside broadcasters: There was the concept of “host broadcaster”, a domestic partner doing the production for the local country's signal, which was then conveyed worldwide. This partner no longer was needed as we decided to perform the whole production ourselves. In this way, as we are in charge of the international production, each country may enrich customization as much as possible: They do not have to worry about what happens internationally, as we already take care of that. Such customization and standardization in the championship's production results in uniform content, thus allowing for a common 27 JUNE ‘19


SPORTS PRODUCTION

SteadyCam

narrative: “I like saying that the championship is like a book that we begin to write in Qatar and we complete in Valencia. It consists of 19 chapters, and each one of them is authored by the same writers, the same journalists, the same camera operators, producers, and video operators. The team explaining the story is the same in each part of the season, and that provides consistency to the product. 28 JUNE ‘19

This working methodology has been replicated throughout time by many other entities engaged in the organization of sporting events: “I would say that this path was most probably initiated in the Olympics, with the overly famous RTO that was kicked off by a Spaniard, Manolo Romero Canela. Then, football followed suit with the operations carried out at FIFA through a single

production company; a similar process is also being developed in the European Champions League, as it is also the case with Formula One."

SPECIALIZATION AS A VALUE Manel is fully convinced that the success achieved by Dorna Sports and its position as world referent within motorsports is not due to his own management, but instead


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to the specialization of every member of his team: “I always explain that it is not that our camera operators, producers and video operators are better than anyone, but they are the best in motorbikes because that is what they do all year long, and therefore they have unique experience in the field.

The producing team especially benefits by these dynamics as, although GPs are held every 15 days, there is a host of other competitions in which they put their whole talent, such as the World Superbikes or FIM CEV, the junior world championship. At the end, confirmed Manel, “our team is nearly 52 weeks

every year doing motorbikes." In some instances, the team led by Sergi Sendra works in championships outside the scope of their rights, such as the recently held US MotoAmerica: “This is a new championship led by three-time 500cc world champion Wayne Rainey. He asked us for advice and assistance to launch it already five years ago and, ever since, the production and design team for said championship is managed by Dorna. We deploy a whole human team in each event to run and perform production tasks. Additionally, the entire graphic system is ours, we designed it for them. We have also implemented the on-board cameras." In view of its experience, Dorna has a proprietary methodology and work process that perfectly adapts to the circumstances around a first-class motorbike competition: “We like the fact that all major motorbike championships are dealt with in the same 29 JUNE ‘19


SPORTS PRODUCTION

fashion, and therefore motorbike productions are a referent within the sports industry and in TV."

HOW IS A GRAND PRIX BORN? Only 19 are hosted each year, but there are many cities that would like to be part of the World Motorbike Championship and therefore, write yet another page in the history of this longstanding competition. It is a complex process that involves considering a lot of issues from a technological standpoint. Manel Arroyo explained which is the path for getting an event like this spring to life: "There is a logical sequence in place, although the first thing is to draw an agreement based on the fact that the circuit meets specific features as certified by our team of safety and sports inspectors. They must have many elements in mind, from ambulances to race commissioners." Sergi Sendra, Senior Production Director, Dorna Sports, told us more 30 JUNE ‘19

about how the process would be: “When a circuit appears as a novelty, the first thing to do is send a team of technicians, producers and logistics staff. These are the three key profiles for dealing with the space on which the technology installation will be deployed. Talking with the circuit managers is very important in order to ensure that there will be wiring routes so as to be able to complete installation within record

time: we arrive on Monday and, between Tuesday and Wednesday, more than 50 kilometers of fiber are wired, either for receiver antennas covering the bikes’ on-board cameras or helicopter cameras; or fiber cable for on-track physical cameras.” Experience works in their favor, but the truth is that no matter how much effort they put into it, the passing of years ultimately shapes to perfection the


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configuration of equipment for GP broadcasting: “Initially we may be wrong by a meter right or left in the placing of cameras. Once this design has been made, we test it with the riders. We have seen that it takes us 2 or 3 years to get a perfect result. When we go through the first race, it is some experience to boot. In year two, riders also tune up their experience. But, however, we can say that by year three, both cameras and the starring cast -the riders- will shape up the script we might be looking for.

RISING SHOWINESS Throughout a GP weekend, we find various events: press conferences, trials, qualification rounds, and finally, Moto3, Moto2 and MotoGP races. Emotions build up by the hour, as also does the technical deployment used for race production.

As explained by Sergi: “When MotoGP started out back in 1992, set-up was basic and the most important thing was narrating what was going on at the tracks. This is only achieved -and this is a big difference between a field sport and ours- by deploying a sequence of cameras. These devices, linked together based on cuts and segments, explain the full lap." According to him, there is a basic configuration to cover a basic broadcast for these races: “15 cameras would suffice for 4 or 5 kilometers. This is the basic set-up implemented for the Spanish Motorcycle Championship. This basic set-up could be strengthened by means of one or two cameras deployed at the pit lane or at boxes to supplement podium and grid.” However, as the reader

In MotoGP we use 25 cameras, and we would use 30 if we could, but that is not feasible because of configuration issues, capacity and budget restrictions

may have already guessed in reading this feature article, Dorna Sports is committed towards a comprehensive coverage in order to capture all angles: “In MotoGP we use 25 cameras, and we would use 30 if we could, but that is not feasible because of configuration issues, capacity and budget restrictions. At present –if bikes are taken in- coverage uses 120 cameras, including one helicopter equipped with Shotover F1 system. However, in Moto America, by deploying only two-onboard cameras on the right bikes, you may achieve great results.”But… why saving the overhead camera for MotoGP if just minutes before the Moto2 and Moto3 competitions were held? Manel Arroyo explained: “Categories are of obvious importance. We want that to be noticed, we want to make a clear distinction between MotoGP, where the teams and makers invest more in developing bikes, and Moto2, Moto2 or World Superbike. And there is 31 JUNE ‘19


SPORTS PRODUCTION

also an obvious issue: the real heroes are Marc Márquez, Valentino Rossi, Jorge Lorenzo. They are the ones we should give better coverage of, with more angles and points of view. They are the heroes. The others are heroes in the making, so we must focus on and devote all our efforts and means to the big category, and that is MotoGP."

AD-HOC MOBILE UNITS… READY FOR REMOTE PRODUCTION Comprehensive control of the whole production system and the narrative associated to the World Motorbike Championship result in the fact that technological needs must cater very especially to the championship’s narration. For that reason, Dorna has in place mobile units that are tailor-made based on specific needs. Sergi told us: “We are an atypical product. Currently, we have an agreement with the company supplying the 32 JUNE ‘19

Shotover

on-track cameras for the next six years, as it is very unsound having to change the mobile unit every year.” The production of a Grand Prix is distributed in two large units: “One does the track, where only cameras and mikes are used; all this will be digitalized to enter a level-two network. This second level is the “international program

feed”, where the rest of signals are added." These units are the resources needed to support the remote production in which Dorna has been working for the past three years. For some time now, thanks to its partnership with Tata, work can be performed with ultralow delay signals through the use of a fiber


DORNA

of 1.5 GB. Currently, among other tasks, "graphics, onboard control and RF control is performed from Barcelona." The experience has been for better so far, and Sergi thinks this will essential and of crucial importance: “Part of the staff may stay here. We are gradually migrating in order to be able to leave more and more people in Barcelona and therefore save costs and implement new ways of working that could derive a profit. For example, Dazn, which has produced the signal for

Spain for the first time this year, carries out the production from Barcelona as compared to production from the circuit, which was what Movistar+ was doing. We have 20 people -adding up replays, mixer, director, producer and, the only thing we do at the circuit is generate the signals and send them out in this fiber spiff, which even though we have it limited, up to the last megabyte is used. The following step is doing the replays in remote.”

FROM SATELLITE TO FIBER: DISTRIBUTION AT DORNA The truth is that its advances in regard to remote production already gave us some clue, but Sergi Sendra confirmed to us: the satellite, an essential element with high historic importance in signal contribution, has become a secondary item, operating as a mere backup. Fiber is the main 33 JUNE ‘19


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feature in broadcasts: “Throughout our 1.5 Gigabytes we get out all signals for programs of all clients, they are relayed to London and from there they are distributed to all cities where our partners are based: Servus TV for Germany and Austria, Sky for Italy, BT Sports for England, DAZN in Spain, Canal + for France… There are other companies such as Eurosports, Fox, ESPN… depending on each country. The main output,

34 JUNE ‘19

as I said, is through fiber. This is the third year we have been using this procedure and the truth is that we are happy." To Sergi , this technology remains critical in instances where distances are long, as in Australia and in Argentina, but "by gathering experience, putting in means and controlling processes as much as possible, we have succeeded in making it stable."

VIRTUALIZED PRODUCTION… A REALITY? MotoGP generates 18 hours of live content times 40 signals and behind everything there are 170 cameras. Virtualizing means sorting out these signals, and eventually this concept is mixed with Big Data." Sergi Sendra and his team are delving deep in such a promising field for the future. Concepts such


DORNA

as AI, machine learning, production and distribution, intertwine in order to eventually shape up that long-awaited embrace between the IT and broadcast worlds: “These are words that are being used a lot in here, with various players both from the digital industry and from the traditional industry, by big brands such as Gras Valley, Sony and Lawo. Various fronts are being tackled and, as we in Dorna are privileged

to rely on many developers, these are things that we work out internally, because we do know our product and we have such a large amount of signals and data for which we must carry out a number of internal processes in order to be able to make the most of it." In Dorna, tests have already begun for automated production, although this is a process being undertaken with caution. Manel himself

clarified that this notion cannot be understood within motorbike racing in the same way as in other sports where further advances have been already achieved: "It does not mean we can go hands-free. We are fortunate that in this sport our drivers' activity is huge and, for the time being, robotizing it all seems quite unlikely. Development entails going robotic in some functions or specific 35 JUNE ‘19


SPORTS PRODUCTION

elements, as well as warnings: there is a standard for on-track movements which, depending on whether they occur or not, an alert may be raised. But for live production, luckily enough, automating certain functions is just impossible.”

LOOKING TOWARDS THE FUTURE: THE ARRIVAL OF 4K We had already pointed this out: 25 on-track cameras, 120 motorbikes cameras available, 66 signals recorded live, cameras on the pit lane, 36 JUNE ‘19

highspeed, a camera onboard an helicopter, 13 RF equipment items, 250 Audio Technica microphones, 25 ENG Sony XDCams for videos, programs and aids; 25 GOPRO cameras for timelapse, programs and videoclips… The deployment is just spectacular, but we must keep in mind that the pace of consumer technologies dictated by the latest technological trends may also reach large entities such as Dorna Sports… and the truth is that the arrival of the UHD standard with HDR support is an

increasingly noticeable reality. Sergi Sendra told us about the company's progress in this field: “We are currently running tests with several Sony 4300 cameras that are capable of capturing in 4K HDR, but only experimentally and using Sony’s slog3 format. This is tested within the mobile unit, but it is then converted into HD so as to be distributed within the TV technology site, a signal that is in 1080i at present. We are now under a transition process into 50p, as we want to make the most of the quality that can be


DORNA

Onboard camera

obtained from the progressive in order to be able to work also in HDR in the future.” This long-awaited transition requires a big updating of equipment that has already commenced: “We started out with replays. At present, servers are second-generation Dynos from Grass Valley. The idea is that the 30+ signals from the RF cameras that we are using for both unilateral customer

signals and for ourselves will follow suit next. Let us keep in mind that not only the base equipment needs to be changed, but also the whole reception/ transmission systems. Then would follow the more critical RF world: On-board cameras,

helicopters, cameras around paddock, pit lane and boxes…” Sergi is perfectly aware that this will be a hard task, but the initial tests are already yielding great results: “In motorbikes, for example, we do not use 4K as a composite signal, but we are instead using its four quadrants to make the most out of HD. In the last Jerez GP, Rossi had a motorbike equipped with H.265 encoding, so we were able to obtain four signals. The big advantage of using this is that we had four eyes on Rossi: we could see at any time his front camera image, his image looking backwards, the back and the helmet.” VR test have been also launched: “Johann Zarco carried a 360-degree system, and not a VR one, but a 'live-reality' system instead. The camera is located on the tail and

We are now under a transition process into 50p, as we want to make the most of the quality that can be obtained from the progressive in order to be able to work also in HDR in the future

37 JUNE ‘19


SPORTS PRODUCTION

displays the rider and his entire surroundings. This type of content is published on the website: one of our suppliers, Tata, encodes this signal into H.265 and sends it to Barcelona. There the stitching of the four horizontal signals placed over 360 degrees is made. For the time being we know that we are the only ones doing it live in the world of Motorsports". Manel pointed out that production of this

38 JUNE ‘19

interesting signal ranges between 20 and 40 seconds, a positive assessment given the type of content being supplied. The transition process is already under way, but Manel is not clear about when a 100% 4K HDR broadcast will be performed with the same level of detail that we have today in HD: “It not ours to set, but something involving all industry players. What it does exist

is a constant request from broadcasters: at present, high-definition production standards prevail in the market and I understand that as of today no moves have been made by subscribers suggesting that they want an improved signal quality. We have broadcast GPs in this format, but nothing more. And you know, a 4K HDR production has a cost that must be obviously borne by someone at the end of the chain.”


DORNA

“5G DOES NOT EXIST” As a world-reference producer, Dorna Sports is “obligated" to follow all trends in the market. Its managers and engineers attend every year to events such as the IBC in Amsterdam or the NAB Show in Las Vegas in order to stay up-to-date in respect to all market variables coexisting in the technology world. Although Sergi admits that 5G looked strong this year both in the US show and in the Mobile World Congress held in Barcelona, his conclusion is clear: "5G is really cute... but it does not exist yet.” And he elaborated: “It is a reality, but it remains to be seen how long it will take to be implemented. It is true that if an antenna infrastructure exists locally, the possibility of being tested would provide a large benefit. In fact, we have had a meeting so in the Catalonia GP a local test can be made. We will see what this means.” In spite

of this caution, given the early stage of development of this technology, Sergi finds that its adoption could be beneficial: “In some circuits, such as Malaysia for instance, we could deploy 5G cameras without need for cables, thus lowering costs wherever we do not take the whole infrastructure. It would be interesting for the winter tests just when our equipment for the GPs is being prepared, when rewiring, when tweaking... We are working on that."

WHAT TO DO WHEN EVERYTHING FAILS? Broadcasts and live, no matter how much caution is taken, may sometimes become unforeseeable territory. It is the duty of the sporting events companies to anticipate any potential issues and incidents, but sometimes, several unfortunate events may force to resort to creativity and commitment in order to create a solution capable of coping with the situation. Manel told us 39 JUNE ‘19


SPORTS PRODUCTION

one of the crucial moments of what he terms as “the most brutal anecdote” they experienced: It was in an Indianapolis GP, which by then was called the US Grand Prix. With 8 or 9 laps to go, there was an explosion and the two 110 Volts power generators burned down: the original and the backup generators. Thus, the mobile unit that was generating the on-track signal became unusable and we were making production only with the international signal for the rest of the race, where the on-track signal -which was not available- the signal from on-board cameras, from the helicopter and the graphics were all received. That is, for 8 laps we had no camera deployed on the track and we made the production with only these two elements. What was really remarkable was the fact that commentators did not even realize. When the broadcast was over, I told them and they looked at me in astonishment. It is really impressive, but this 40 JUNE ‘19

also shows you both the degree of intensity of our races and the versatility of other solutions.”

NEW CONSUMPTION HABITS: GIVING SPECTATORS CONTROL OVER BROADCAST? For sometime now there has been talk about the possibility that viewers may eventually have some control over broadcasting cameras, in which case they could play the role as a real-time OTT- of a home-based producer by choosing in every instance what camera they would like to use, what rider follow up closely and, in sum, taking customization to the highest degree. The issue is whether this approach could be extended to a type of broadcast as fast-paced as MotoGP. In this regard, Sergi had no doubts: “One thing has been learned: people who watch TV do not like working (laughed). At the end, people just

want to view the program, and figures clearly show that.” Manel shared his colleague's view: “If this is to be taken as mere, raw entertainment, we must think about viewer attitude on a Sunday morning when relaxed at home. I recall that in the Champions League, Heineken launched an initiative in which viewers were allowed to interact in the football game, but if they did they would miss what was going on. This is the same. If you are busy


DORNA

switching cameras, you will miss the action. And this is a key element that is eventually understood and rejected by viewers in an -so to speak- intuitively fashion.

AN OTT PLATFORM FOR MOTOGP: DAZN Last year, the Movistar+/MotoGP partnership came to an end after a period in which Telefónica’s platform offered the races

on an exclusivity basis for Spain, apart from other additional premium content. In an interesting turn of events, Dorna Sports decided to give up control over this content to DAZN, an OTT platform within the Perform group that is growing exponentially in the field of sports broadcasts. How is the experience turning out so far? The truth is that Manuel was very pleased with the decision made: “We are starting to work in an immensely

fast-paced, flexible environment with very loose ties with users: they are given ample freedom. On the other hand, DAZN is learning a lot about motorsports, a field unknown to them up to now. It must be taken into account that a Grand Prix is not held at a certain time on Sundays, but it starts on Thursday with the prior press conference, then the Friday tryouts, the Saturday qualifications… Users appreciate having this content available, as shown by the statistics we have, and they remark to be very pleased with the platform and the degree of interaction achieved. On the other hand, we are very satisfied about how things are developing.” This content requires a big production effort, completely taken care of by Dorna. Manel went into more detail: “We do it 100% in coordination with and under approval by DAZN as they are ultimately the end distributors, the ones that have the platform. We 41 JUNE ‘19


SPORTS PRODUCTION

gave them the initial approach, how the experience should be. They grasped this and provided what users look for and expect in the platform. But as regards of production, exclusively, we are in charge, as it was the case with Movistar+."

eSPORTS: AN ESTABLISHED, GROWING PRESENCE Aside from discussions on whether eSports will end up reaching the business volumes generated by broadcasting rights of sporting events over the next few years, the truth is this is something on which more and more producers are setting their eyes. As a company that was awarded the rights for MotoGP and other competitions, Dorna decided to start working on this electronic leisure contests back in 2016, getting ahead from other competitors and showing their interest within the technological, broadcast 42 JUNE ‘19

and commercial environments. Manel thinks they are on the right track in this matter, but recognized they must expand awareness and promote the championship further. At present, they are not sparing resources in order to turn this electronic competirion into a world reference: “There is a very important community of eSports fans and we are looking to provide our fans with yet another element for interaction within our sports. Teams are gradually creating events to feed into the season, as is the case with Yamaha, which appointed riders recently. Furthermore, both traditional sponsors and new players are joining in sponsoring these competitions. This year, our championship comprises six Online Challenges in which a first screening is performed through a fully online event. Then, several onsite finals are held, this year in San Marino, Valencia and, possibly Malaysia."

Said on-site events, which are broadcast by companies such as Sky in Italy or Globo in Brazil, feature a two-hour format and require considerable technical deployment: “In the last final, held in Valencia, 21 cameras were used: we had 5 studio cameras, a traveling, a pole cam, two RF cameras and 12 minicameras focusing on the players the whole time. The entire production required 16 Lenovo PCs: 12 for the players, 2 for production, one for the helicopter and the other one for the race director. The system was


DORNA

supplemented by two EVS –one for live replays and the other for the race direction in case they might have to review a certain situation or movement that could be subject to penalty. All this was set up in a 30 x 20 meters tent, in which the stage took up 18 x 15 meters.

FUTURE CHALLENGES FOR DORNA SPORTS Throughout our conversation, many lines of action have been

transversally seen in which Dorna intends to work further: implementation of 4K technologies, R&D regarding Big Data and AI; eSports, consolidation of the OTT sphere… It is very clear to Manual that all these technological developments are essential, but also that Dorna should not lose sight of the core of production: the races. “We must not forget what we do is sport, the competition, how a fight is going on at the track between Valentino Rossi, Maverick Viñales, Marc

Márquez, Jorge Lorenzo and others; the way they develop as riders, how a motorbike that was not among the best last year is now fighting to make it in the first three. This is what people are looking for and it is our duty to get them to watch it in the best fashion and as comfortably as possible, letting them interact as much as they can without missing the competition”, he pointed out. This is an ambitious challenge that they been dealing with throughout their history. And yet, it is not enough: they undertake to keep improving broadcasts, promoting a spectacular show and innovation. This does not stop: “At this point, we have to make the race as beautiful as possible, the best possible one when it comes to providing angles and points of view; as for having the means so as to be able to see an action not seen live replayed or in other platforms . It is our duty.”  43 JUNE ‘19


LIVE BROADCAST

ates, Josh G

44 JUNE ‘19

host of

ive

Egypt L


DISCOVERY CHANNEL

Inside “Expedition Unknown – Egypt Live”: a two-hour live event with the opening of a 2,500-Year-Old sarcophagus 45 JUNE ‘19


LIVE BROADCAST

Discovery Channel viewers from 95 countries around the world witnessed a challenging production: the live unearthing of a 2,500-yearold mummy. The two-hour live event, also multicast on Travel Channel and Science Channel, was broadcasted from one of the least visited parts of the country: Minya, located 250 km south of Cairo.

How did this extraordinary production develop? Gregg Moscot, VP, Production & Operations at Discovery Studios and Matthew Kwok, Technical Producer of the show, open the door to “Expedition Unknown – Egypt Live”.

How was “Expedition Unknown - Egypt Live” born? Moscot: “Leslie Greif’s Big Dreams Entertainment sold the concept of a live archeological show in Egypt to Discovery. The network paired it with Expedition Unknown and 46 JUNE ‘19


DISCOVERY CHANNEL

“We turned an endless blank slate of desert sand into a live remote production site”

had Discovery Studios provide the production services for the live program.”

How long did it take you to prepare the show? Moscot: “We moved very quickly as the Antiquities Department of the Egyptian Government was continuing their excavation with or without us and we wanted to capture it as soon as possible. We prepped it and shot it, all within a 3month period.”

Have you ever had any previous experiences in an event like this? I think it is the first time someone does something similar… Moscot: “It was by far the most challenging and ambitious production that I have ever mounted in my 25 years of production experience. We turned an endless blank slate of desert sand into a live remote production site. In the end, it’s all about the teams that that we hire, and we hired the best of the best. It was an exhilarating experience 47 JUNE ‘19


LIVE BROADCAST

for everyone involved. We all worked so hard and it paid off in a big way.”

We’re about to talk about the technological part of the show, but it is mandatory to ask about human resources. How many people were part of the “Expedition Unknown: Egypt Live” team? Moscot: “Between our U.S. team and Egyptian team, it took about 175 people to pull this off.”

Through the live transmission, we can see different cameras in different situations: in a vehicle, fixed cameras, subjective cameras, cameramen… Could you tell us more about this and how did they meet your needs? Moscot: “We had a variety of cameras, some manned and mostly unmanned to provide for the different environments and angles. For example, in the tombs, due to the small spaces, we relied heavily on our POV cameras.” 48 JUNE ‘19

“Full Remote Production utilizing a mobile video truck, with satellite redundancy”


DISCOVERY CHANNEL

were pre-produced specifically for the screen.”

Undoubtedly, one of the main challenges of the live event has been the transmission of video/audio/data in real time under extreme conditions: underground recording, in-vehicle recording… and it was in the middle of the desert! How did you solve these challenges? Moscot: “We took extra precaution in our prep period to make sure that we had all of the right tech specialists in place and tried to ask all the right questions. For example, due to the complications of the signals deep inside the tombs, we had to hire an RF specialist just to make sure that our signal stayed as clean as possible.”

In addition, it can be seen technology like LCD / LED screens… Could you explain what your live coverage needs were and what solutions did you implement?

Kwok: “We used a large Sony 4K monitor driven by a VIZRT Engine. The main LED screen used was for behind-the-host talent position. The VIZ engine drove maps, the show logo and other elements that

Those signals were processed in a Mobile Unit. Could you tell more about it? Kwok: “Yes. The signals were produced by the VIZRT or Premiere Edit station, then either played 49 JUNE ‘19


LIVE BROADCAST

out via VIZ or EVS. The signal went through a frame sync in order to match the colors needed.”

Was an on-site production or was it a remote production? Moscot: “Full Remote Production utilizing a mobile video truck, with satellite redundancy.”

Finally, let's talk about the distribution. What solution did you implement for the transmission of the signal? Kwok: “For signal transmission, we used 2 KU uplink dishes. Each of these took two separate paths leaving the OB Van and two separate satellites. Once uplinked, local partners were able to downlink. Then to get the signal back to Discovery, we downlinked in the UK and fed over fiber to Discovery's NOC. We had a backup downlink site in Germany, should weather have interfered with the downlink location in the UK. This allowed for full redundancy on both the uplink and downlink sites.” 50 JUNE ‘19

What additional problems did you face during the production of Expedition Unknown Egypt Live and how did you solve them? Kwok: “Our local broadcast partner was very helpful in arranging a

good OB Van and some additional ancillary equipment. The POVs we used were brought in from outside Egypt, as there weren't enough locally for us to use. One of the challenges we faced during the planning phase


DISCOVERY CHANNEL

“One of the challenges we faced during the planning phase was the lack of RF Communications and Audio devices available in Egypt”

was the lack of RF Communications and Audio devices available in Egypt. In order to overcome this, our team hard wired as many locations as possible. However, with such a fluid show, covering vastly different areas (tombs, set area, ridges, etc.), keeping everything organized and clean was a challenge. Additionally, as you can imagine, dust and sand mixed with TV equipment always creates unique challenges. It was very important to keep our equipment covered and protected due to the occasional sand storm and light rain.”

The show was amazing, both in technology and content. What is your next challenge technologically speaking?

Moscot: “Thank you! We will have to wait and see, but we are excited for our next adventure.”

What technologies do you think that will be implemented for similar shows in the future? 5G? Remote production? Kwok: “In the future, there are a number of technologies that could be implemented based on the landscape. Due to our remote location, any cellular or internet-based technologies were not available to us. One area we can continue to expand on is the quality of cameras we use as POVs. Additionally, there are a number of robotic options that we could use in tight spaces like a tomb. Finally, we were able to use Tagboard, a social media aggregator, to interact with viewers. I see more of that being used in the future so that the broadcast is more of a conversation than just the talent talking to the audience.”  51 JUNE ‘19


RADIO

52 JUNE ‘19


SWR3

24/7 visual radio: it’s happening With 3.85 million daily listeners, SWR3 is the most listened public radio program in Germany. It is part of the Südwestrundfunk (SWR), one of the nine self-governing regional broadcasters of Germany. The pop station is leading the european visual-radio conversion. Nowadays, it broadcasts all its programming 24/7 thanks to automation processes and the intensive use of metadata. This is just the beginning of its transformation: the station is facing a major technical redesign that will bring its state-of-the-art concept to the next level. Maximilian Federhofer, Head of Studio Production and Playout; Maik Elster, Consultant for Department Arts, Science and Young Audiences; and Edgar Heinz, Deputy Head of SWR3 Pop-unit, together with other SWR3 experts, show TM Broadcast why the station is a technological and innovative reference in the Old World.

53 JUNE ‘19


RADIO

PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE SWR has recently celebrated its 20th anniversary. What have been the technological changes that have defined the station? In the 90s we still had long-playing records and tape machines. Nowadays, we’ve totally changed into the digital world. That’s the main technological change. Hardware like tape machines, telephones and cart machines are replaced by software – another radical change.

Radio technology is constantly changing. What are the trends that you identify that will define the future of radio broadcast? We think playout in the cloud is one main trend. Hybrid-radio, the connection between linear and non-linear content, is another key issue as well as all the apps and services around the linear content (Audio-OnDemand, Smart Speakers, Car Integration). 54 JUNE ‘19

We think playout in the cloud is one main trend. Hybrid-radio, the connection between linear and non-linear content, is another key issue as well as all the apps and services around the linear content


SWR3

Could you describe us how the SWR3 studios network is distributed? SWR3 broadcasts its program according to the corresponding way of distribution with up to five

regionalized informational audio elements, like e.g. the weather forecast and announcements of local events. In the analogue broadcast domain via UKW, the four regions

Baden, WĂźrttemberg, Oberschwaben and Rheinland-Pfalz are being covered. The radio transmitters are fed using a proprietary SWR network. Concerning the DAB+ digital radio, the two federal states BadenWĂźrttemberg and Rheinland-Pfalz are covered separately. For the digital satellite radio (DVB-S) and the internet we are providing a central SWR3 program due to the fact that it can be received in entire Europe or even the whole world. All broadcasting signals are processed in the central SWR radio switching center in the city of Baden-Baden and are distributed from there.

Have you done any renovation of SWR3 studios recently? What have been the implementations? SWR 3 is undergoing a major technical redesign. In the current concept phase, we are looking into GUI-based control panels and centralized services in a common data center. 55 JUNE ‘19


RADIO

TRENDS AND TECHNOLOGY SWR3 has trusted in radio convergence. Actually, you are broadcasting via web, app, dab+, VHF... What difficulties does this imply? The major challenge is the transformation of our linear radio products into nonlinear multimedia content. In the past, we only had one successful product – our linear program. Today, studio equipment, production methods and workflows have to be changed and redesigned to provide different content types alongside the radio brand our listeners love. Some of them can´t take place in the linear program or in a more visual one. We, at SWR3, think it´s important to have a successful linear radio brand and to provide made-to-measure content for any other distribution way – linear and on demand.

SWR3 uses analog radio as well as DAB+. When 56 JUNE ‘19

did you do the transformation to digital radio? What were the difficulties of the process? SWR3 always thought of digital radio as a combination of digital distribution methods and products. DAB+, WebLivestream, the SWR3 App, Smart Speakers, HbbTV and Visual Radio are just some of these. Back in 2009, we called it the future radio project. One part of the project was the development of the first SWR3 App. By doing this, we had to figure out quickly how to provide live metadata to our linear program. We established a system we call Radio Data Center that collects all relevant information in different systems that can provide them. Covers, artist, title, name of the show and the host, pictures, etc. As we solved to provide the new SWR3 App with all the information, we were ready to go to provide DAB+ Slideshow right from the start in 2011. SWR3 always embraced

Today, studio equipment, production methods and workflows have to be changed and redesigned to provide different content types alongside the radio brand our listeners love


SWR3

new technologies. We support the full spectrum of possibilities that came with DAB+. Besides a high audio quality and a lot of visual additional information around our radio program, we also broadcast DAB TPEG, as new and enhanced traffic information channel for more safety on the streets.

Which equipment has a standard SWR3 studio?

Standard systems in a radio studio are the microphones of the presenters, a telephone and a special mail-system for listener interaction and, of course, systems for playing back music and audio contributions, as well as program specific sound elements and jingles. The current studios have been set up in 2006 using digital mixing consoles that also provide

logic engines for automation purposes as well as server-based playout systems that are used while being constantly improved until today. Other interactive systems for information exchange include e.g. real time traffic announcement displays, intercom devices, VoIP-based telephone hybrids, multifunctional displays or web applications for user interaction. Innovations like the video live stream or direct contact to the listeners via Mail ins Studio and Facebook (using a self-developed tool to prepare incoming messages from different sources like mail or social media) have been added in recent years, which made it possible for SWR3 to stay a leading brand in the domain of pop radio stations. However, the time has come to integrate the digital possibilities into the studios in an even better way. Therefore the planning of a complete redesign of the SWR3 studios has been started. 57 JUNE ‘19


RADIO

You were a pioneer in the video streaming of your shows. Are we heading to a paradigm in which each radio program is video broadcasted? Are you using PTZ or standard cameras in your studios? Our customers don’t think of visual radio as something special or unique, it is more like they’re expecting it to be there. The focus is still on the listening experience, complemented with the possibility to take a look inside the studios, getting additional information on what’s playing, adding the song to someone’s own playlist, etc. We are using PTZ combined with POV cameras in the studios.

Which challenges does the visual radio involve technologically? The whole system should be designed to work autonomous. One of the biggest challenges was to automatically transfer the right content from this huge amount of data at the right time. Another challenge was to build and interconnect the 58 JUNE ‘19

system with an existing infrastructure without changing established workflows or workspaces.

You even broadcast live video when a DJ is playing music. In the video, the viewer can see the radio host, the cover of the album and information about the song. Is this process completely automatized? Could you tell us more about it? The entire process is automated. We focus on retrieving data from regular and existing processes instead of creating specific workflows just for visual radio. All additional data such as cover, song information or social media messages are automatically prepared and cached before playout and is sent to air at the start of the song. The playout is triggered by the audio signal.

SWR3 broadcast exclusive content via Youtube. Is this content integrated into the radio?

Some of the contents are produced exclusively for Youtube. In most cases the content is originally produced as audio supplemented by the video track for Youtube.

Audio-On-Demand is a reality. How does SWR3 adapt to this new paradigm in which the OTT’s media services are so important? Audio-on-Demand is more than just podcast for us. We are working on


SWR3

different projects that will enable time shift and skippable radio functionalities in the future and give us the full range of possibilities to identify and combine audio elements (based on their metadata) across the whole broadcasting and production chain. The results will be audio-ondemand products in real time, more interactivity with the user and a customized radio experience.

Are you implementing IP technology in the SWR3 workflow? Do you think that this technology will monopolize the future of the station? The new concept is based on IP technology. We expect much higher flexibility in program production and distribution.

Are you using IP Phones for real-time covering of events and news? How

is being the experience? The currently used IP based telephone system still operates with classical telephone sound quality due to technical reasons on the provider side, however journalists of the ARD can establish an IP connection to the studios using a proprietary reporting app in order to contribute real-time high audio quality reports or interviews. This highly contributes to adding value and flexibility to the contribution process. Moreover, IP connections can be established from the switching center to correspondents all over the world with a sound quality of a face to face talk.

Let’s talk about 5G technologies. Has SWR3 made any tests on this technology? How could it be applied to radio broadcast? The topic 5G is covered by collaborative teams with in ARD and EBU. Results will be implemented in our further concepts. ď ľ 59 JUNE ‘19


TECHNOLOGY

60 JUNE ‘19


UHD

Ultra HD Forum Guidelines the UHD bible During the past NAB show in Las Vegas, the Ultra HD Forum -a conglomerate of companies and experts dedicated to studying and promoting implementation of ultra high definition technologiesdisclosed version one of its guidelines. Let us look at it in more detail. By Yeray Alfageme, Business Technology Manager Olympic Channel

This document is the result of four years of work by the Guidelines Work Group. Previously, separate recommendations had been published about HDR, WCG and other technologies being applied to UHD. This is the first time that a combined document including

everything is released, now that UHD is finally being taken seriously. The goal of this document is to describe methods for creation and distribution of content toward consumers with uniform features in such a way that said content can be regarded as UHD. This 61 JUNE ‘19


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ITU-R BT.709

ITU-R BT.2020

ITU-R BT.2100

2K

4K, 8K

2K, 4K, 8K

24, 25, 30, 50, 60

24, 25, 30, 50, 60, 100, 120

24, 25, 30, 50, 60, 100, 120

Interlaced/Progressive

Progressive

Progressive

BT.709

BT.2020

BT.2100

SDR (BT.1886 [4])

SDR (BT.1886 [4])

HDR (PQ and HLG, BT.2100 [5])

8, 10

10, 12

10, 12

RGB, YCBCR

RGB, YCBCR

RGB, YCBCR, ICTCP

Resolution Framerates* Scan Color space** Dynamic range Bit depth Color represemtation

Table 1 *Frame rates include both integer values and decimal values(including 120/1001 for BT.2020 and BT.2100) **In the document, reference is made to the same primary color and gamma values, both for BT.2020 and for BT.2100.

comprises both distribution through the Internet and through satellite, terrestrial and cable, but not encoding systems or file formats. More specifically, the document covers:  Production of recorded and live content:

 Distribution and compression.  Master format.  Mezzanine format.  Encoding methods, codecs and recommendations.  Transcoding methods, codecs and recommendations.

 Monitoring.

 Bitrate ranges recommended throughout the chain.

 Grading of recorded content.

 Distribution and transport.

 Cameras.

 HDR and WCG.  Immersive audio.  Metadata.  Security. 62 JUNE ‘19

 Linear programming of content.  Conversion between SDR and HDR, in various formats.

 Interconnection of distribution production systems (HDMI and similar).  Backward compatibility with old systems. Fall outside the document topics such as:  Recording techniques (lighting, camera configuration, …).  TV configuration.  Encoder configuration.  Quality control.  TV technologies (OLED or Quantum dots, for example).  Color grading techniques.


UHD

Resolution

1080p and 2160p

Color space

BT.709 and BT.2020

Bit depth

10-bit

Dynamic range

SDR, PQ and HLG

Frame rate

24, 25, 30, 50 and 60

Video codec

HEVC, Main 10 Profile and Level 5.1 (single layer)

Audio channels

Stereo, 5.1 or channel-based immersive audio.

Audio codec Subtitles

AC-3, E-AC-3, E-AC-3 + JOC, HE-ACC o AAC-LC CTA 608/708, ETSI 300 743, ETSI 300 472, SCTE-27 o IMSC1

Table 2.

 Digital cinema. For all this, they have based on the current standards as published by ITU, which are shown in the table 1. The forum suggest regarding most technologies within the UHD universe as foundations, as for instance, the Wide Color Gamut (WCG). Are typically regarded as foundations all technologies existing by 2016 and therefore, with broad adoption and maturity levels. Therefore, the following

minimum parameters are set in order to be regarded as UHD:  Resolution: Equal to or higher than 1080p and lower than or equal to 2160p, progressive at all times, as BT.2100 does not include interlaced scan.  Wide Color Gamut (WCG): gammas greater than the specification BT.709.  High Dynamic Range (HDR): ranges equal to or greater than 13 fsteps.  Bit depth: 10 bits.  Frame rates: up to 60

frames per second, preferably integer values.  Audio: 5.1 or channelbased immersive audio, although stereo audio 2.0 is acceptable.  Subtitles: CTA 708/608, ETSI 300 743, ETSI 300 472, SCTE-27 and IMSC1. Being more specific, permitted values would be of Table 2. As a result, we can combine these parameters in order to obtain content regarded as UHD, as for instance, HD-HDR, which would have a 1080p

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ATTRIBUTES Color space

Resolution

Frame rate

Bit depth

HDR

UHDF Foundation

HD SDR

BT.709

1080

P30

8

No

No

HDp60 SDR

BT.709

1080

P50/60

8

No

No

UHD SDR

BT.709

2160

P30

8

No

No

UHD SDR

BT.709

2160

P50/60

8

No

No

HDp60 SDR2020

BT.2020

1080

P50/60

10

No

No

UHD SDR2020

BT.2020

2160

P50/60

10

No

Yes

HDp60 PQ10

BT.2020

1080

P50/60

10

Yes

Yes

HDp60 HLG10

BT.2020

1080

P50/60

10

Yes

Yes

HDp60 HLG10

BT.2020

1080

P50/60

10

Yes

Yes

UHD PQ10

BT.2020

2160

P50/60

10

Yes

Yes

UHD HLG10

BT.2020

2160

P50/60

10

Yes

Yes

UHD HLG10

BT.2020

2160

P50/60

10

Yes

Yes

FORMAT

Table 3.

resolution and a BT.709 traditional color space but a HLG dynamic range, in the fashion in which many live sport events are produced. As for distribution encoding, HEVC is regarded as the foundation codec for UHD as it supports both HDR and WCG in 10 bits, which

64 JUNE ‘19

enables reaching up to 4K resolution with an admissible bandwidth consumption. For production, contribution and mezzanine format, the AVC codec is the recommended choice as it supports a 10-bit depth in addition to the BT.2020 color space as well as PG and HLG gamma curves., which makes feasible

using said codec for encoding HDR content. Additionally, upgrading current AVC encoders to support UHD is feasible through software updates. All this combination of possibilities translates into the table 3 of formats available in UHD. Besides these foundation technologies, the


UHD

document also provides recommendations on additional technologies that can be used, as for example static metadata or absence thereof, in HDR content based on a PQ10 gamma curve, for instance. The chart 1 included in the document shows a generic block diagram for a production chain, either UHD or not, and can be used as basis for analyzing each individual component.

Let us see, for each individual area, specific aspects on the various technologies.

High Dynamic Range (HDR) and Wide Color Gammut (WCG) Undoubtedly, these two technologies are the ones bearing most implications -along with resolution- in generation of UHD content. In regard to HDR, the document provides a detailed description of features and peculiarities, both for PQ curves –as

PQ10- and Hybrid LogGamma (HLG), HLG10. It makes recommendations based on the ITU-R BT.2100 standar and on the metadata to be used for this kind of signals, as specified by the SMPTE in the document ST 2086. Before going into details such as luminance peaks or video over IP, on which the document also provides interesting contributions and explores the HDR10 environment, a factual standard in respect to consumer TV sets,

Chart 1 (from original document).

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66 JUNE ‘19


UHD

along with its evolution -already dealt with in TM BroadcastHDR10+.

use of content protection technologies as applied to UHD and to other formats.

In regard to HDR, the document devotes a full section to the other standard found in the industry, Dolby Vision. Due to the particular features of this technology, it deserves to be considered on its own and attention paid to the way in which it may be implemented in Broadcast.

Well-known standards such as Data Encryption Standard and DVB CSA can be used in UHD along with AES, at all times in their correct versions, such as DVB-CSA3 or DVB-CISSA.

Production of recorded and live content Recommendations on production of content, either recorded or live, focus on the requirements to be met both by cameras and mobile units as well as production environments so as to achieve a proper UHD production. Subject of study are both the HDR profiles to be used -either PQ or HDR- and grading, as well as channel-based immersive audio, a foundation technology of UHD.

Security Essential aspects that are often taken for granted, such as encryption or watermark protection of content, also deserve attention. In this instance, the document provides a study case that sets an example and clarifies the

Also considered are other digital watermarking technologies such as Digital Rights Management (DRM) or Conditional Access Systems (CAS) with the aim of detecting inadequate distribution of content, piracy.

Linear programming of content When facing linear programming -in which various types of content are combined, even within the same image, such as graphics, advertisement or emergency marks or similar items- keeping consistency and even an adequate conversion between various contents is a crucial issue in UHD, as a wide array of possibilities is available for producing our signal. The document covers both HDR and WCG parameter matching concepts for converting from one content type to another, as well as existing conversion possibilities 67 JUNE ‘19


TECHNOLOGY

between SDR or BT.709 content and HDR PQ10 or HLG10.

Distribution Distribution covers both what we regard as contribution between the point of origin for signal production and the Broadcast Center, as well as final distribution of content up to end consumers. 68 JUNE ‘19

Study is made of notions relating transport over SDI, based on 2-sample interleave or by quadrants and IP, in addition to compression techniques based on said HEVC or AVC codecs, as well as adaptive bitrate (ABR) concepts for bandwidth optimization or audio and subtitle encoding. To put it in proper

context, note that under HEVC, 2160p HDR content would require a bandwidth of approximately 50-80 Mbps, while in AVC, it would require about 90140. It is noticeable that HEVC is much better at optimizing available bandwidth, with the resulting savings in transport costs, either through satellite or fiber,


UHD

or even through the Internet via streaming. In regard to final distribution, suggestion is made to use MPEG-2 TS based on Phase 2 DVB UHD-1 specifications, even for distribution through IP. For OTT environments, MPEF DASH is the suggested format.

Decoding and Rendering This section targets

decoding and rendering at end consumers by providing set top boxes with adequate capabilities for being able to display the signal properly and connecting with the end TV sets. Mention is made to rendering, as in the program's final composition could be the case that certain contents -such as advertisements or graphics in the consumers’

desired language- are directly generated on the player and not at the broadcast center, so certain standards must be followed in order to achieve a correct display of the final image.

Interoperability of formats When talking about interoperability of formats, concepts like conversions, scaling and 69 JUNE ‘19


TECHNOLOGY

similar terms always come to our mind. This section deals precisely with those topics. Special consideration is made of scaling concepts, either ‘upward’ (i.e. upscaling of older content to UHD) or ‘downward’ (downscaling of UHD content to be played in older equipment not supporting WCG or HDR. As these are conversions going beyond definition because they also have an impact on image color or luminance, they should be performed carefully. Adequate workflows and equipment must be selected in order to avoid spoiling the quality of our image.

High Frame Rate (HFR) Although it may seem that HFR is something of lesser importance in this whole environment, it must be kept in mind that this is the second technology -only behind definition- requiring a bigger increase in bandwidth for practical implementation. For this 70 JUNE ‘19

reason, proper implementation is critical. HFR has particular impact in broadcasting sport events and, most especially, care must be taken when aiming at playing more frames than supported in old devices. Backward compatibility must be taken into account at all times.

Next Generation Audio (NGA) Audio, the forgotten issue. As it happens throughout the industry, not even 5% of the document is devoted to audio, something that is quite important indeed. Ultra HD offers Next generation Audio (NGA), a feature providing sound with immersive capabilities that are customizable depending on listener, flexibility for reproduction and rendering, and even different sound spaces, depending on the scene. Because when dealing with NGA no mention is any longer made about channels although the forum recommends

channel-based immersive audio within its foundation technologies, but about objects that are distributed throughout the sound space on the various channels. To such purpose, recommendation is made to use at least 5.1 sound, although stereo sound 2.0 is also available. Please note that NHK, for instance, is already working in 22.2 sound spaces, with 24 independent audio channels, thus taking the full immersive feeling to the highest degree.


UHD

For all these, two standards –MPEG-H and Dolby AC-4- are available and widely covered in the document.

Content Aware Encoding (CAE) Last, the forum makes recommendations on adaptive encoding, a novel technology that enables adapting the compression profile based on the content to be processed. This technology combines novel concepts such as artificial intelligence –which

enables automatic detection of the content to be compressed- and machine learning –which enables gradual optimization of the compression algorithm dynamically as more content is increasingly being processed. This is particularly relevant when making distribution of content to mobile devices featuring limited bandwidth or in environments which infrastructure provides no assurance as to available capacity, although this technology is at a very early stage.

Conclusions The full 187-page document is available from the UHD Forum website at http://www.utrahdforum.o rg. This is a must-read for all broadcast professionals and devotees who are excited about this new production format that is not the future, but the present. It is somewhat funny to witness how an aspect as critical as it was definition goes unnoticed throughout the whole document and is instead taken for granted because, as we already remarked in previous articles, the new UHD standards are almost agnostic regarding definition. From HD to 8K, through 2K and 4K, any resolution is acceptable and changes nothing in regard to other topics such as HDR or WCG. Remember, better pixels instead of just more pixels.  71 JUNE ‘19


TECHNOLOGY

INFORMATIVE BREAKFAST ON

Sports Audiovisual Technology and Production Sponsors

Once more, the prestigious Santo Mauro hotel, located in the heart of Madrid, was the venue in which some of the most relevant players of the broadcast industry met to share impressions on some realities and trends that are of top relevance in regard to sports audiovisual production. Luis Sanz, expert consultant, directed and presented this event, in which took part Óscar Lago, Production Manager, Mediapro; Adolfo Remacha, Technical Manager, Movistar+, Yeray Alfageme, Business Technology Manager, Olympic Channel; and Isidoro Moreno, Engineering Director, OBS (Olympic Broadcaster Services). To provide the ever interesting point of view from manufacturers, we had with us Toni Feliu, Senior Manager PSCEU at Panasonic; Pablo Herrero, Head of Business Unit EMEA, Vizrt; and José Carlos Sánchez, Customer Excellence Manager, Vizrt Spain. The table, at which the industry’s current topics were discussed, was completed with members from this magazine’s team.

Text: Sergio Julián Photos: Pedro Cobo

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SPORTS

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TECHNOLOGY

REMOTE PRODUCTION Within all types of production used in the sports arena, it could be said that remote production is a reality already implemented in a greater or a lesser degree. Any and all speakers present at the hotel’s lounge have had happy experiences. Adolfo Remacha was the first to speak: “We started a year ago. We decided that implementing a remote production procedure for the season that was about to start would be interesting. We hired the services of a company from the Telefónica Group, TSA, and we jointly Adolfo Remacha, Technical Manager, Movistar+

took on the project of equipping ourselves with the required production control in Tres Cantos for undertaking this kind of production." To such purpose, Movistar+ had to procure two remote mobile units “or whatever you may want to call them, as these are quite different from a traditional unit in regard to size, equipment and costs."

Óscar Lago, Production Manager, Mediapro

74 JUNE ‘19

The project was developed little by little in order to ensure proper performance: “We decided to start with small events, involving 6 cameras at most. After analyzing the market, we decided to fit on remote units an encoder of up to 6 Net Insight -Nimbra modelcards. Another key aspect was the communications issue, as these must admit the bandwidths at stake."


SPORTS

this take comprises about 85% of broadcasts." Encouraged by Luis, Adolfo concluded his turn by terming his remote production experience as positive, contributing that in the event that communications through open Internet are used “costs are reduced a great deal." If professional communications are chosen, "costs decrease, but in a more reasonable, moderate way." The future in this field for Movistar+? Events lasting longer and requiring more cameras. For example, a

Isidoro Moreno, Engineering Director, OBS (Olympic Broadcaster Services).

How are all these data transmitted? The key lies in choosing, based on the relevant needs, public Internet or a private line. As part of the Telefónica Group, Adolfo was able to benefit from the company’s resources: “We set up a 1GPS data circuit in each of the 14 venues of the teams playing the ACB Basketball League Championship. These venues were shared with a number of the teams playing the ASOBAL handball league; we had by then their broadcast rights, which we decided later on not to renew. In addition to this line, we used a FTTH, residential fiber that we deployed in each venue, which allowed us to have the master camera as a backup. In a couple of instances we had to use this resource: this solution went unnoticed as

Yeray Alfageme, Business Technology Manager, Olympic Channel

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TECHNOLOGY

Javier de Martín, CEO, Daró Media Group

bullfighting show, in a traditional broadcast, would require deploying more than 30 professionals for a longer time span. Yeray Alfageme, from Olympic Channel, shared the enthusiasm for this technology and underlined the economic savings involved. However, he made it clear that in spite of his technical background, he does find that this kind of production has an impact on "how the story is told." He went on to recount two of his most recent experiences: "The last two 76 JUNE ‘19

Luis Sanz, expert consultant, directed and presented this event

events we did through remote production were the World Games and the Mediterranean Games, in collaboration with RTVE. To such purpose, we used the public Internet, also with Net Insight equipment –the Nimbra VA. With these devices we returned the signal to Madrid. The good thing is that this allows us opening up a channel between Madrid and the return location.” Production in the Mediterranean Games matched, signal-wise, the initial proposal of Movistar+: "Six signals

with only two devices, and we used two 100Mb Internet lines, as otherwise costs soar. We did the bonding with Madrid and then we set up, by means of two devices, a return data network just in case. We did not control the cameras as the signal was conveyed to us produced by TVE, but we did reach the remote control end of encoders and signalling equipment up to Madrid.” For the World Games, Yeray and his team decided to implement a "mixed" process: “Aldea, an event collaborator,


SPORTS

Pablo Herrero, Head of Business Unit EMEA, Vizrt

delivered us “at-home” signals, but the backup was done through the Internet. Bandwidths decreased quite a bit, by 8-10 Mb. We were able to use this channel as it was final production and we were not going to edit the image, but if for instance, you intended to make some color correction, it would be impossible. However, for contribution and distribution, it works more than enough." For Olympic Channel, this kind of procedure has meant a real revolution: “Going to Internet gives us the opportunity of

Luis Sanz, expert consultant, directed and presented this event

reducing to a tenth the costs of the event’s contribution back home, no exaggeration." Furthermore, his main fear –delay- seems not to be an issue anymore: “The only thing you have to do is increase the buffer and, what is the worst of cases, four seconds? Adolfo faced similar problems: “At first our problem was syncing the cameras based on the scoreboard’s clock: a few milliseconds' gap between cameras when live would not be noticeable... but it was whenever the scoreboard was shown. We had to

implement a sync generator on the remote unit so they would be in keeping with the on-site clock." Isidoro Moreno boasts a long career in the broadcast world. And his experience as Engineering Director at OBS (Olympic Broadcasting Service) in this field is, as he pointed out, "a bit different": “In our case, the experience has two sides. On the one hand, we must to provide services to broadcasters. For instance, now with the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, we will be facing a problem: if we resort to remote 77 JUNE ‘19


TECHNOLOGY

production, that means we will have to send the signals to, say, Madrid, and then distribute them back to Tokyo, which does not seem very logical. What we do is provide broadcasters with large capacity, so they will have the option of doing such remote production or receive signals and then do the program's production once the local signal has been received. In this field, SVT’s case is really interesting. In Rio, they made an experiment in which they stretched the possibilities to the limit due to timing issues. They were producing the fixed cameras at Copacabana, but the studio was located in Stockholm. The problem was not delay between cameras, but when a camera would perform an iris movement a 400-milisecond delay would occur, and this makes sports production impossible." Adolfo noted that is how they proceed, but from Tres Cantos. Delay in the national territory is hardly noticeable, just a few milliseconds, he added. Isidoro shared the opinion that, to a significant extent, the issue depends on distances: an example of this would be the remote production that was undertaken for the Youth Olympics from Buenos Aires, with a distance of 40 km at most and by using dark fiber, which provided significant reliability to production. For Tokyo, the Engineering Director at OBS mentioned tennis, a sport which production will benefit from fiber optic. In sum, “this is a process that will take some time as it involves both a mental and a technical 78 JUNE ‘19

transition, but remote production is here to stay.” Mediapro is a player of reference in remote production, as certified Óscar Lago during his turn: “We do a highly stable remote production in football that has been established for quite a few years and it is getting better every day, it works really well.” For next year and, in an ongoing search for innovation, the company has novelties already in store: “We have been working to increase the number of cameras and to implement superslow cameras as well, as these will be required for the Spanish Division Two in football in view of the projected implementation of the VAR system. This will also involve a remote connection

Toni Feliu, Senior Manager PSCEU at Panasonic


SPORTS

with the Ciudad del Fútbol facilities at Las Rozas.” Adapting to the remote production method, according to Óscar, was complicated at first, but it results in significant benefits for producers at present: “If production were not remote, we should use many more producers and the stadard would therefore decrease: they would not enjoy a job as stable as it is now, producing two or three matches per week from a single location. In this way, a worker may produce a match played by Lugo, another one by Granada, and yet one more featuring RCD Mallorca within the same weekend, something that would be otherwise impossible. And this not only impacts producers, but also CCU operators, the expanded team.” This methodology is applicable to most events, but not to all: "You will not be able to do big matches in remote, because you lack the infrastructure. You will not be changing the whole dimensioning for isolated

events, but for an intermediate-high standard outcomes are very good."

VIRTUALIZED PRODUCTION AND THE CLOUD A future in which technological equipment will be cloud-based and capabilities will be scaled for each need? This seems to be the path chosen for the future of sports production. We are facing a world of great possibilities; a firm commitment for the future according to Emili Planas, Technical Manager at Mediapro, as pointed out by Óscar Lago in his speech: “I have an excellent professional relationship with Emili and in my period at Mediapro I learned a lot from him. He is always thinking about the next step. Virtualized production is one of these steps. The other day he explained to me that in the near future we will be able to have the equipment, the

electronics, available from a distant place or on the cloud via IP. This will enable us not having to move a lot of equipment: mobile unit racks may be scaled on a cloud or in a central control site working through IP based on specific needs.” This will achieve considerable savings: “It will be possible to use said electronics for several events in the same day: the application will be a sort of touchscreen fully customizable for each event. Truck usage will be streamlined as electronics will be hundreds of kilometers away and it can be as big as you want." Luis Sanz, who also favored this model as and option for the future, handed over to Yeray Alfageme. Although he deems this stage is still far away in his organization, he claims that migration of certain processes to the cloud is imminent: For example, we will be achieving continuity in these systems. If you look at it from an agnostic point of view, it is a very 79 JUNE ‘19


TECHNOLOGY

complex task: graphics, automations, videoplayer..." At present, Olympic Channel has all contents on the cloud, so processes are simpler: “At the end, we have videolist plays that we unify based on a specific editorial decision. However, the cloud enables us to make use of a poorly understood big data, because at the end, this is a more abstract notion. In this way, if for instance you like basketball but not handball, we can make a playlist focused on that.” At the end, this virtualization of processes is similar to an analogy that he heard of some time ago: “When electricity was implemented, everyone had a generator at home and nowadays nobody would ever think about it. It will be the same with computing: if I ever need it, I’ll grab it. This is a concept change quite larger than it was with remote production.” Toni Feliu, from Panasonic, shared the 80 JUNE ‘19

progress made by his company in this regard, although he first commented on the metaphor suggested by the previous speaker: “At the NAB show we presented a concept based in delocalization: in this concept, you may have content in an IP environment and process it regardless of your location. The big problem for the companies to which this prototype was introduced is how to go into this world from today's production concept. Several ideas were proposed: doing it from a PC, an iPad, a neutral, customizable mixer...” Yeray displayed enthusiasm for this process: “It is a truly interesting challenge: removing electronics as a restriction. Now I have already seen very large, and most of all, reliable touch interfaces". Isidoro was a bit more skeptical about progress of IP technologies: “We set up 700 systems in Rio and we experienced problems with the back in 500. That

is the reality at present. Migrating into IP, unavoidable as it is, has many benefits, but a distinction must be made between the various areas of this technology. In distribution it will facilitate many processes, such as signal conversion. Now we are going to do the production for the Tokyo Olympics in 4KHDR. To this purpose, we will be migrating to the IP world for broadcasting, something which entails risks at present. In this


SPORTS

the electronics in a present-day mixer, but nowadays we have been having trouble in simple things such as adding subtitles to our contents from the cloud. I have no doubts it is the future, but there is still some way to go”.

digital world, he did show his strong belief on cloudbased systems. “Performing said distribution through satellite was very complex, but it is simpler though the cloud. We have ingest centralized, we forward it to these cloud system and then it becomes available worldwide. We replicate this distribution cloud in three continents. It is the future, but still many things have to be sorted out”.

Maybe due to their common "age group", as he joked, Adolfo Remacha supported Isidoro in this thought: “As for distribution, there is no doubt about benefits; but in general, issues in these systems are hard to diagnose and solve as opposed to the older SDI environment in which the patch panel would save the day in all instances.” Focusing on the virtualized production theme, he pointed out: “You may want to simulate

Pablo Herrero, representative from Vizrt, advocated at this point for making an attempt to have a wider perspective on the possibilities offered by these tools: “I think we all come from our own little world, from a highly broadcast perspective, but we are actually very few people, as compared to the rest of the world, which is already operating connected into the Internet, having a size ten thousand times bigger than broadcast. Generally speaking, a good-enoughthinking is embraced. But, on the other and, I would say that planning ahead and anticipating these problems is really important. We should get rid of this mindset and say that it can be done." “We have to do it, everyone of us”, remarked Isidoro about this change 81 JUNE ‘19


TECHNOLOGY

of mindset: Many of us people have at present a technology much closer to the IT world due to issues such as streaming. We are getting our broadcast engineers closer to IT and succeeding in understanding this environment better, but also the other way around. This is nothing but a clash of points of view and methodologies as opposed to a path towards convergence that is being travelled down at an increasingly steadier pace. Issues such as the use of physical panels or touchscreens are now under discussion. For Toni, there is progress down the path in spite of reluctance: “There is some drag from the traditional staff: we have become complacent using the tools that do the job and then why should we change. New technologies exist.” Isidoro provides an example of this by mentioning the fact that there are professionals now editing videos on their own smartphones: “If you get a good enough user 82 JUNE ‘19

interface in a digital device, I assure you nobody will miss it.” In reply to the mention made by José Carlos Sánchez, from Vizrt, about the concept change this transition may entail, it is clear to Isidoro that we have ahead of us “a business for the future" and also that companies providing cloud-based services for broadcasters have "very interesting" services. Yeray ratified this opinion, but he thinks it necessary to make a distinction between the public cloud, with

platforms such as Azure, Alibaba or Amazon, the private cloud, and the hybrid-cloud concept outlined by Isidoro: “This is what we really have. A virtualized portion and then a toolkit that I can make with certain machines. What is critical for the user interface I can download it, I have it within reach. I upload the rest. Concept-wise this is difficult.” Óscar Lago noted in this regard that at Mediapro they are favoring a private-cloud concept, as the public cloud entails "more risks."


SPORTS

AUTOMATED PRODUCTION Up to now, producers were in charge of undertaking live production based on their own criteria and knowledge on the subject and the play. This was applicable in a similar way to those professionals who were able to identify key moments in the matches in order to prepare the relevant highlights. However, there is a current trend gaining ground in which artificial intelligence and big data

join forces into a software system for automated production of content. This is not the future, but a reality and, according to Óscar Lago, has still a long way to go. This is how he explained Automatic TV, Mediapro's effort in the subject: “This is automated production of sports events by means of fixed cameras deployed at the relevant facilities. The system does the production based on artificial intelligence in an automated fashion. Each sport has distinct algorithms; the ball is followed and the take changes based on where the action is located. At present, a version is being developed in 4K cameras. Work is being performed on automatic inclusion of action replays. This is a model that works very well in the US for amateur clubs or competitions." Isidoro confirmed that Olympic Broadcasting Services is also doing some research in this field: “In the Olympics, millions of metadata are available. We are going to do a test

on an automated highlight system, with no producer, for Tokyo. In regard to some specific events, programming a twominute highlight summary is relatively simple based on these parameters. The system performs an analysis of interesting moments: a world record, an Olympic record…" When prompted by Luis, the engineering manager explained the system used for generating this content: “It is a media asset manager with a management workflow integrating metadata with images being developed based on different companies. Based on various search parameters, it finds an event and highlights for selection". Movistar+ is on the same page. As expressed by Adolfo: “We are assessing some automated highlight production systems that are exactly the same as those described by Isidoro and, to tell the truth, they seem quite promising. They do a-la-carte summaries by using image 83 JUNE ‘19


TECHNOLOGY

processing and the millions of existing metadata available in networks and from companies providing statistics.” Generation of this content is performed on the cloud, but “we only extract the EDL and the result will be run on the machines themselves, as otherwise this would be uneconomical. They are provided a low-resolution copy of the match and they return an EDL, which is then consolidated in our machines. And it works, it works really well…” José Carlos Sánchez, from Vizrt, asked, in view 84 JUNE ‘19

of the statements made by other speakers, if the instance in which users will be able to choose what type of highlights to see is still far from feasible, to which both Isidoro and Adolfo replied: “no.” More specifically, in OBS they tell the experience that broadcasters did not want exactly the highlights they offered, as these should not be polarized. Based on this, trials will be made in preparation for Tokyo for a service in which broadcasters will be able to customize such highlights based on their own interests.

LOW-BUDGET PRODUCTION What procedures or methodologies can be implemented to reduce spending in this kind of sports productions? It is clear to Adolfo: all initiatives that had been discussed so far were aimed at achieving a much-desired reduction in production costs: “Step one would be a remote production with quality or

dedicated communications; step two: remote production with Internet-based communications; then cloud-based production; and, last, automated production, as this would eliminate nearly all costs and it could be valid for certain levels or standards." Furthermore, Yeray took on the challenge laid out by the Movistar+ manager and said that these models are a must in his field, in which international federations in some sports are small as compared to giants such as “FIFA or UEFA”: “It is no longer a requirement that these organizations should have a 3-axle truck for productions, and more less so when 90% of content is broadcast through YouTube. However, nowadays an event held in the Isle of Man cannot be reliably undertaken through the cloud, so there are All-InOne systems available for speeding up this process. At the end, they always start with staff reduction. The more all-in-one


SPORTS

professionals are allocated, the better, with the associated risk of lower quality standards.” On the other hand, Isidoro thinks this low-cost path can reach big events. It is part of their goal: “We try to offer content to broadcasters remotely. Production is the same, content is the same, and they do not have to allocate 300 professionals as they used to dpo, I take it to their homes. And it will cost them much cheaper, while quality remains unchanged. Customization? To some extent, because in a football match 90% of what people see in a production is the same". The picture is quite similar in track and field: “For example, in a 100-meter race, you cannot change takes too much in the 9-10 seconds it lasts. Production may vary in the few moments before the start and in after-therace interviews, all from the studios."

Automatic TV through PTZ cameras. We can do tests with 4K or HD cameras, and it is true they have gained a lot of ground. They are reasonable and production costs decrease dramatically. What started out as a tool for schools with tight budgets, has expanded as the number of hours of content required by customers is huge.

8K IN SPORTS PRODUCTION The industry’s progress is relentless, and when 4K has hardly starting to

become an increasingly widely-adopted standard by users from all over the world, 8K is making a strong breakthrough, in such a extent that trial broadcasts are already underway. Are these trials too hasty or an unavoidable consequence of the market development? Toni, from Panasonic, spoke out on this topic to confirm that Japanese TV NHK will use 8K cameras for production in the Olympics: “This TV operator has requested some equipment and the idea is to deliver from

Toni Feliu, from Panasonic, favors these models. “As this has been mentioned before, we have had experiences with 85 JUNE ‘19


TECHNOLOGY

several HD or 4K signals. A follow-up of the play will be performed, then an image cropping based on match requirements." Adolfo pointed out that this same procedure had been already applied with the arrival of 4K for cutting over HD. But he has a doubt with this: will 8K signal be broadcast as well? Isidoro confirmed this: “There are plans for covering several sports in this format”. 8K will not only provide resolution, but it can be used for tracking applications by means of sensors, in augmented reality or, as pointed out 86 JUNE ‘19

by our guest from OBS, in experiments similar to the one performed by Panasonic, which impressed him: “Through such high resolutions and colorimetry, they were able to see the throbbing of athletes by the change of skin hue: They examined, for example, the heartbeat, and read the heart rate. It was impressive: these are applications for the future."

HDR High Dynamic Range (HDR) is the big bet by many professionals, a

concept that although hard to explain to end consumers, significantly improves image quality. Isidoro supported this opinion and started by making a parallelism with 3D: “When this technology was in fashion, several tests were made and the truth is that these formats caused dizziness. People stuck with 8K. Now, broadcasters have joined in demand for HDR and, in fact our production in Tokyo will be UHD HDR, with some 8K HDR formats. And this will not be like 3D, but the path to the future.” Yeray agreed:


SPORTS

“There are some experiences showing that users prefer an HD HDR image rather than a 4K image under the normal color standard. The only obstacle up to now was the standard and, thank God, that is already sorted out. From the last NAB show a consolidated document by the Ultra HD Forum was released. It operates as a compilation of all parameters.” Toni thinks adoption must undergo should be subject to apprval from end users: “The TV sets they had two years ago had no HDR implemented, only about

8% of sets sold included this technology. Now all sets being sold come with this feature and by 2020, 60% of people owning a TFT monitor will have HDR.” Adolfo Remacha has witnessed this change as a consumer, as he recently purchased a 55-inch monitor equipped with this technology. His feelings are mixed, as he finds that reliability of HDR requires proper configuration of the devices involved: “The decoder must have a dialogue with the TV so as to enable HDR, not to

mention the various standards. However, I agree that HDR, provides something more than resolutions such as 8K, given the viewing distance with TV sets and production bandwidth that these formats would require”. On the other hand, Mediapro has been implementing said formats for some time already: LaLiga –Spanish Premier Division- and we ourselves have been pioneers in HDR. Large organizations such as UEFA or FIFA still lag behind, but they have 87 JUNE ‘19


TECHNOLOGY

already made the switch and will soon start going for HDR. I think there is no doubt about it.” Also at a personal level, Óscar Lago has been able to evaluate -with mixed results- these technologies: “In mobile units you do not see content in 4K HDR, but a similar approximation. However, when I purchased a TV set supporting these resolution I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of series. For example, watching Netflix in 4K and HDR is just incredible. The first impression I got: this is not a screen, but a window." But at present, Óscar is not so enthralled with sports broadcasts, as until implementation of 4K HDR as broadcasting format for these competitions, resolution is lost as they are done in HD format. In this regard, the production manager has doubts as to whether the industry may confuse end consumers: “While 4K has really made a breakthrough at homes, I do not think HDR will be 88 JUNE ‘19

understood. In a time in which we cannot do 4K broadcasts properly, when we are having issues with 4K HDR, when we are doing 95% of broadcasting in HD SDR and now we are launching in the market 8K sets, the problem could hit us as it happened with 3D. People are really confused, are they? Toni addressed Óscar’s concerns and admitted the latter’s logic and even though hw was “cutting off his nose to spite his face” he recognized that “we should have taught ordinary people to assess technology in all aspects, not only in regard to HDR, a hard disk or anything else. We are always lowering costs and trying to stay competitive, but

we have not taught the value of this to final consumers”. Someone may pay a lot for a smartphone and while the technology in a computer is higher, 300 euros will seem expensive to them", he added.

IMMERSIVE AUDIO The visual side is the “cherished pet” of sports broadcasting, but we should not be oblivious to the importance of sound from a technological and a narrative point of view. In this sense, Isidoro confirms that tests have been made in his organization: “Most users have stereo sound at home, and the truth is that for 8K our production was being done in 22.2, which complicates everything".


SPORTS

For the representative of OBS, the solution lies in immersive audio: “The number of loudspeakers must decrease so user experience remains good enough. Provide some kind of spatial feeling. At present, research is being made to simulate sound spaces in the homes the best possible way”. And then Yeray asked him if by audio he meant objects, by making reference to an example in which a through a duly calibrated stereo, a 3D impression of a fly flying across the room could be created. Isidoro thought this is somewhat different: “That kind of audio will simulate sound elements within the hearing space, but how can you get the final device to become threedimensional? That is the real complication.”

STREAMING, DISTRIBUTION AND CONTRIBUTION OF SIGNALS The IP world, to which up to now ample reference has been made, also reaches signal

contribution and distribution, as well as streaming. Yeray came up with a solution regarding contributions which results in lower costs: uploading their system to the cloud. “We deploy on the cloud the ingest point when we have to receive the signal. You deploy it in Seoul when you have to receive a signal near that same city, for example, and the transport of the signal is done internally through the network, in this case through Amazon, but you could use other providers. We extract it in Dublin and then take it through the public Internet to Madrid, the closest point. We do this because the issue in RTMP is the delay between the origin point and the ingest point, as each public Internet package travels through a different route”, he noted. In this regard ,the expert from Olympic Channel finds it important to make a distinction between RTMP and SRT: “The former is not a standard, but a protocol used for streaming. With SRT, we

finally have a standard and we succeeded in achieving a point-to-point New York-Madrid link without intermediate equipment, without public Internet and with a delay ranging between 180 and 200 milliseconds that worked just fine. I think the solution has been given and it facilitates low-budget low-cost, but not low-quality environments. At the end, streaming is for me very simple: as for my particular case, since I relocated to Madrid I have not used the antenna cable.” It is also clear to Pablo, from Vizrt: “See if it is important for us, we have even acquired a streaming company..." The technology is there for everyone… but to what extent does security underpin these processes? As for providing security to these signals, Yeray noted that he has not been able to implement DRM technology as it is "complex and expensive" because you need to control the “point-to-point link” and the final player must “accept this solution.” At the end, he goes for signal 89 JUNE ‘19


TECHNOLOGY

tokenization, which for Adolfo Remacha is not enough: “In the movie and media industry, DRM is a must. You have to certify both your devices and your applications every time you make a change." These security processes were clearly seen in the initial steps of Movistar+'s OTT platform, called Yomvi back then: “Previously we had different licences for each device, but now everything is purchased for all devices and this streaming market, and security has become, to a certain extent, more stable.

USAGE OF 5G IN SPORTS PRODUCTIONS 5G is one of the high hopes for broadcasters. Several facts back this, but one of them may be especially relevant in a world in where backpacks and 4G systems have become standardized lowcost solutions: latency is 100 times lower and bandwidth used much higher. Isidoro has had the opportunity of running 90 JUNE ‘19

several tests in this field: “In Pyongyang we covered Skeleton in 5G: We had no signal losses of any kind, it worked quite well. These cameras had a 5G cell that would take care of the broadcast. This case offered a simple aspect, this being that the minicameras were pointing to someone coming in and out of the take, but producing different cameras would maybe turn out more troublesome. Nevertheless, the experience was quite satisfactory and we are now working with Intel to make an experiment in Tokyo for outdoor races such as marathons. However, one of the issues to overcome is frequency management: you must do a submission, send it to a website where these frequencies are reviewed and check whether they can be used in a certain country...” Managing these frequencies can get even more complex under specific conditions: “With 4G we had a lot of problems in the opening ceremony. All of a sudden,

you find yourself in a place where 60,000 people are sending pictures at the same time, which brutally clogs the operator's capacity. Add to all this that the sister of the President of North Korea was visiting the country and a frequency sweep was then performed. This made those cameras unusable.” We expect the situation will be a bit different in Tokyo: "For the time being, we are seeing a lot of benefits, but we are only doing experiments. At present, potential risks exist, although there is the possibility of renting


SPORTS

Adolfo adds a further element into the equation: investment: “Are antennae going to be deployed all over the place? Telefónica has been investing €1,500 annually over the last few years. 5G infrastructure would be massive and the truth is operators are companies who do not intend to lose money. It is not only about regulation, but also about investment.”

restricted-use cells along the way in order to ensure availability." Adolfo shared his concern over reliability of these systems: “Now there is no signal from operators, as we are dealing with specific infrastructures that have to be deployed. When the time comes in which 5G signal becomes available as it is now the case with 4G- and people move with their backpacks, things will be different. As far as I know, those projected latencies of one or two milliseconds along 10GB bandwidths would always be achieved with microcells. You would

have to make a granularization ranging between 50MB and 200MB, deploy a pole on each rooftop and use fiber to reach the equipment. That is a lot of a hassle, I would say.” Beyond the technology to use in this implementation of 5G, the key is establishing when broadcasters will be able to enjoy full access to said networks for proper performance. Yeray believes both Spain and Europe are behind in this task: “It worked for OBS in Korea, but when will we be there, in 2030? Regulation always delays much more than users.”

Undoubtedly, one of the driving forces for broadcast –in sports or elsewhere- is ongoing progress. Yeray decided to close his final turn –which would be the final contribution to this Informative Breakfast- by sharing the view of an expert who, back in the 90s, made a powerful statement that has become a reality at present: “Everything that was done on the network in the 90s will be done by cable and the other way around. TV was wireless and now it is more down to the ground than over the ground. In telephony it is the opposite thing. This is rather funny and, at the end, the truth is that it makes a lot of sense”.  91 JUNE ‘19


TECHNOLOGY

INNOVATION IN SATELLITE DELIVERY BRINGS NUMEROUS ADVANTAGES By Thomas Wrede, President, SAT>IP Alliance and VP New Technology & Standards at SES Video

The way audiences consume video has radically changed in recent years, with modern-day TV consumers now expecting high quality video to be delivered across multiple screens and devices. Increasing demand for high quality content across several multi-screen devices places a huge strain on broadband bandwidth and impacts internet speeds, which often results in substandard viewing experiences. Access to high

92 JUNE ‘19

quality premium content has been a major benefit of satellite TV services and the development of a new industry protocol, SAT>IP, provides immense benefits, not only to viewers, but also to satellite operators, service providers and broadcasters, as well as other industries such as hospitality and travel. SAT>IP enables a totally seamless multi-screen TV experience, including 4K content, without the need for a high-speed home broadband connection. The technology takes a conventional satellite TV signal and converts it to an IP based data stream. This can be transmitted across a

standard wired or wireless IP network in the home, and viewed on multimedia and IP compatible devices, such as smart TVs, PCs, tablets, gaming devices and smartphones. As the adoption of UHD TVs becomes more mainstream, the demand for 4K sports matches, movies and popular TV show series like Game of Thrones is creating a huge opportunity for satellite service providers to demonstrate a compelling advantage over their OTT competitors. The ability of OTT services to deliver premium, linear 4K content is still limited by the lack of FTTH and other high-speed broadband technologies.


SAT>IP

Even in North America, average broadband speed is only 11.6Mbps, according to research from Akamai. This makes satellite with its downstream bandwidth of up to 500Mbps, an attractive option for the delivery of 4K premium content to every subscriber irrespective of local broadband availability. SAT>IP is able to deliver advanced, multi-screen services even to locations where broadband is not reliable enough to handle live, high-definition video. Using SAT>IP in areas of low broadband speed will democratise access to high quality, multi-screen TV experiences, guaranteeing high quality video services to customers globally.

satellite unavailable to the 30% of people that rent homes, or to those who are unwilling/unable to take a long-term satellite pay TV subscription. Using SAT>IP will enable operators to move subscriber authentication into the device so they can offer flexible, personalised subscriptions. This could include offering individual subscriptions in a housing development or office, or to temporary rental properties such as Airbnb. Another alternative would be

offering personalised access to content for different family members - for example, a kids TV bundle on an iPad, premium sports for the big TV in the Den etc. By moving to an IP / DRM based approach satellite providers can unlock this potential for 2nd screen based subscriber options. The adoption of SAT>IP will create seamless interoperability and, ultimately, lead to new IP based innovations that will help the satellite industry compete.

Today, around 50% of payOTT subscribers in the US purchase multiple subscription services, according to research from Parks Associates. Meanwhile, satellite TV services are commonly based on a perhousehold model for delivery of a bundle and require a STB, cabling and HDMI enabled screens in each viewing location. This restriction can make

93 JUNE ‘19


TECHNOLOGY

increase guest comfort is

by integrating live premium

enable satellite service

through improved TV

TV alongside VoD services

providers to make the best

services that offer a ‘better

delivered over a single IP

of premium sports content

than at home’ experience.

network to anywhere, within

rights. The English Premier

Access to high quality

the resort. Remote holiday

League, for example, is

premium content such as

island resorts in the Pacific,

carried by 80 broadcasters in

sports has been a major

where high bandwidth

212 territories worldwide,

benefit of satellite TV

internet infrastructure is too

and an average game is

services, and with SAT>IP,

expensive to deploy, can

watched by over 12 million

hoteliers now have a simpler

also offer guests access to

people. The vast majority of

way of increasing the reach

high quality movies and TV

these viewers are watching

of these service to guests

shows with SAT>IP – all

live via satellite, which

own personal devices such

without the need to install

offers the best experience

as laptops and tablets.

cabling. Any hotel needs an

SAT>IP also helps to

for content at true 4K quality. However, these same consumers also crave the modernity of modern services that allow flexible viewing options across a range of devices. SAT>IP enables operators to offer these experiences. The hospitality and travel industries can also take advantage of SAT>IP. For example, this technology can help 180,000 hotel operators to differentiate themselves to potential guests, especially in the face of the rival 10 million properties now listed on sharing economy services such as Airbnb. One of the ways that both groups can

94 JUNE ‘19

SAT>IP can also simplify

IP network anyway, so why

room refurbishment projects

not deliver a reliable, high-


SAT>IP

adoption of SAT>IP offers

for satellite TV providers to

the potential to offer

deliver live content to any

service, providers are

exciting new mobile TV

TV screen, smartphone,

increasingly offering on-

services within mass public

games console or tablet. The

board video entertainment

transport systems, as well as

SAT>IP Alliance membership

but access to premium, live

reducing the cost and

(Arcadyan, Eutelsat,

content is still challenging

complexity of building

HISPASAT, Irdeto, MaxLinear,

over terrestrial TV networks.

reliable viewing systems.

quality, branded TV service? Within the travel industry

Satellite TV has proven the

The protocol is supported

NAGRA, Panasonic, SES, Verimatrix and Zinwell) has

best option for many of

by the SAT>IP Alliance,

created a whole ecosystem

these modes of transport,

which brings together world

of easy to deploy, flexible,

but delivering flexibility such

leading satellite operators,

solutions from over 40

as personal viewing on

manufacturers, broadcasters

portable smart devices is

and service providers to

still a major technical

promote the use of SAT>IP

hurdle. The arrival and wider

technology as the best way

manufacturers. SAT>IP can be delivered using satellites covering 95% of the globe, potentially reaching over a billion viewers. Combining satellite with an in-home IP network offers service providers, operators and broadcasters the best way to deliver low latency content across any screen or device with ease. This enables satellite providers to guarantee true 4K quality across multiple screens in the home or in a commercial facility and allows them to clearly differentiate their 4K offerings - especially when compared to OTT services which cannot guarantee 4K quality over broadband networks. ď ľ

95 JUNE ‘19


TEST ZONE

WE TEST

PANASONIC AG-CX350

96 JUNE ‘19


PANASONIC AG-CX350

Following with our test labs series, today at TM Broadcast it is our privilege to try the brand-new Panasonic AGCX350. The lightest camera in its class does not spare in quality, boasting 4K-HDR support and other impressive features. By Yeray Alfageme, Business Technology Manager Olympic Channel

The big novelty about the CX30 is 4K-HDR recording capability with a 10-bit depth, which makes it a compact-format UHD camera. Additionally, by means of a simple WiFi dongle, or through a built-in Ethernet port, this camera allows RTMP/RTSP streaming transmission as well as IP signal transmission through the NDI-HX protocol. Let us look at it in more detail.

Physical build and lenses The CX350 is truly compact. Not so much as its UX siblings, such as the UX90 or the UX180, but features are not the same either. If has three hand knobs on the lens, which 97 JUNE ‘19


TEST ZONE

enables controlling focuses, zooms and iris with a single hand. Furthermore, the body’s ergonomics enable using just one finger on each knob, which make this camera really comfortable and easy to operate. It comes with 8.8mm a wide-angle lens, which translates into 24.5mmm in 35mm. This results in the widest lens in its class, but with no aberration. Even in takes located really close to the lens – and also on the image edges- no distortion can be noticed, as well as in straight lines. Really amazing are its zooming capabilities. It features a 20x optical zoom, which reaches up to 32x in HD and 24x in UHD through its i.Zoom functionality. It is not a digital zoom, which would result in a decreased image quality -and which we never recommend using- but a smart zoom that allows impressive close-ups while maintaining resolution. In fact, if it were not for the fact that the i.Zoom 98 JUNE ‘19

performs zoom movements somewhat more slowly than a regular optical zoom, we would not realize we are using it at all. Of course, 2x, 5x and 10x digital zoom capabilities are also available, but we insist: using digital zoom should be something really occasional due to the resulting loss in quality. If we combine these zooming capabilities with the incredible hybrid stabilizer set at the highest level, the result is really impressive. I do not usually praise too much the products we have the opportunity to test as there is always something that needs improving, but this stabilizer by Panasonic is really good. This is a –as they call it- a 5-axis hybrid stabilizer, as in addition to stabilizing the image on the usual X, Y and Z axes, it performs an image analysis with stabilization of rotation and pitching as well. The result is very good. Event at maximum zoom levels by using the i.Zoom at 32x in HD, the image is

seen 100% stable and when moving the view no sweeping effect occurs, something that is very typical in other stabilization systems. The system is able to correctly read the movement we intend to perform, thus moving the image the right way, with no undesired sweeping or ghosting. I even tried the system while riding a bike on a country path and holding the camera in one hand, and the result was very good.

Image quality Undoubtedly, the distinct feature of the CX350 lies in the fact that it is a native HDR camera. The gamma curve used is HLG, which seems quite a wise move as this camera targets the broadcast market. If it were a camera targeting fiction or movie-making instead, I would be in doubt as to whether recommending said curve or other like a PQ10 or even Dolby Vision, but being intended for live broadcasts and HLG news, it is the perfect


PANASONIC AG-CX350

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TEST ZONE

choice. Let us remind that HLG is backwardcompatible with the BT.709 SDR curve, so no conversions are needed, which results in a simplified distribution workflow. It features a 15megapixel 1.0-type MOS sensor offering great field depth and very good balance between quality and sensitivity. Besides, it does not cut the image when working at lower resolutions, which enables the lens to behave always the same way regardless of the format we are recording on. Thanks to this sensor, the camera is able to record slowmotion scenes by doubling frame-per-second speed in formats reaching up to HD. In 4K this is not possible as bandwidth required would be up to 800 Mbps depending on the recording format chosen.

Recording formats As for recording formats, the maximum offered by the CX350 is under the HEVC LongGOP codec @ 100 JUNE ‘19

200 Mbps. With a 4:2:0 sampling and a 10-bit depth, the device allows recording 2160p50 images at a really tight bit rate up to 150Mbps. If we want to perform postproduction on our images, my recommendation is to

always select an intraframe codec as it is much friendlier with the scene’s chrominance and enables color touch-up and much deeper image processing. To this purpose, we have the option of AVC at 400 Mbps with a 4:2:2


PANASONIC AG-CX350

sampling and a 10-bit depth. It is self-evident that storage requirements will double and, in fact, XC SD cards are required for recording in this format, as these cards are faster than conventional HC SD cards, but our editing will

appreciate the effort. Should we go for a compromise solution, we have at our disposal 8-bit options with bandwidths ranging from 100 to 150 Mbps already with AVCLongGOP codec. In HD we also have a AVC codec for 10-bit depths and an AVCHD codec for 8-bit depths at a minimum bit rate of 17 Mbps, ready for publishing.

Space-related features There are two features about the CX350 that I would like to mention. I am leaving aside the freedom offered as to color correction directly in the camera, which even though a useful feature, if we want to deliver final pieces I would rather adjust the image afterwards, as there is nothing like an editing monitor. These features are: • Compatibility with RTMP/RTSP streaming in HD. • IP NDI-HX output.

SRTMP/RTSP streaming Either through WiFi or by using the built-in Ethernet port connected to the Internet, the CX-350 allows for live-streaming directly to the Net with no need to resort to any other ancillary equipment. It comes pre-configured for YouTube and Facebook Live, but we can set up any desired RTMP or RTSP intake point by means of the right parameters. This provides an incredible versatility to this camera, as complex streaming workflows are avoided when production is simple or when dealing with news or similar broadcasts.

IP NDI-HX output Although this is a Newtek proprietary protocol, Panasonic has decided to equip this camera with NDI-HX compatibility, which is just perfect for low-budget production environments. Unlike streaming, this feature only works on the built-in Ethernet port, and 101 JUNE ‘19


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this makes perfect sense to me. Wireless WiFi networks inherently introduce some delay in data transmission, which it is simply unacceptable in 102 JUNE ‘19

a production environment. But bear one thing in mind. Both features, streaming through the internet and the NDI-HX protocol are only

available in definitions up to HD. This turns out to be unfeasible in UHD in view of bandwidth and compression requirements.


PANASONIC AG-CX350

Conclusions The CX350 is a compactformat camera, but with features more usually found in higher-range devices. Recording stability –because of its high zoom rate and fantastic 5-axis hybrid stabilization systemmakes nearly any take to turn out just perfect, thus

avoiding the use of gimbals or similar devices. This is a real UHD camera, with an actual sensor definition of 10 megapixels, 4K-UHD and 10-bit depth. This makes possible capturing HDRHLG takes, something ideal for broadcast and relay environments. However, it may not be

the right choice if we want to use it for fiction or movie recording. Undoubtedly this camera is not intended for said purposes, but sometimes we need a compact camera for some scenes. And to top it all, it has truly novel features such as live streaming into any RTMP intake point, with default settings ready for Facebook Live and YouTube; as well as NDIHD transmission, which makes it more than suitable for low-budget environments oriented to the Internet or simple productions. The CX350 surprised me as to image quality and for the two above features and it makes a good choice for IPoriented environments, with a spectacular image quality. A great hit, I think. 

103 JUNE ‘19


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TM Broadcast International 70, June 2019  

Inside MotoGP with Dorna Sports; Egypt live and Discovery Channel; SWR3, 24/7 visual radio; Audiovisual production of sports; Ultra HD Forum...

TM Broadcast International 70, June 2019  

Inside MotoGP with Dorna Sports; Egypt live and Discovery Channel; SWR3, 24/7 visual radio; Audiovisual production of sports; Ultra HD Forum...

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