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WHAT WILL TV LOOK LIKE IN

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In 2020, television cemented its role as the arbiter of the national mood. Will that mood turn to hope in 2021?

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contents

January 2021 volumn 39, issue 1

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A Year Like No Other

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In 2020, television cemented its role as the arbiter of the national mood. Will that mood turn to hope in 2021? By Susan Ashworth

How Has COVID Impacted At-Home Audio Production?

Vendors respond with updated features By Kevin Hilton

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New ENG Gear for ‘Socially Distanced’ Reporting

Fewer crew members, longer hours mean adapting to new workflows, tech By Craig Johnston

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News Production Adapts to Remote Trends

Pandemic accelerates move to the cloud, IP By James Careless

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T-Mobile and 600 MHz TV Interference

Problems could become more common as carrier ramps up 5G buildout By Doug Lung

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Protecting and Monetizing Your Legacy

Using the cloud and AI to optimize your archives By Kevin Hilton

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Achieving Quality With LED Arrays

Compact size and versatility enable illumination in areas difficult to access By Julia Swain

See pages 22–23 for details about our upcoming Tech Leadership Summit, Awards and Product Showcase. For more events and industry news visit www.tvtech.com.

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editor's note

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in the news

24

eye on tech

34

people

equipment guide 30 user reports storage & recording devices • Atomos • Avid • Sony


editor's note

Our New Look Thirty-seven years ago, TV Technology was launched to cover an industry that was in the early stages of the multichannel revolution we saw in television throughout the 80s. Cable news was new and specialty channels were becoming the norm but digital was still a ways off. A decade later, DirecTV introduced digital television to the masses, with broadcasters following closely behind. A decade or so into the new century, streaming finally became the hugely profitable and ubiquitous service that we see today. But it took a vast collective of the best minds from private enterprise, government and standards bodies to bring this new media landscape to reality. TV Technology has closely documented these developments and has worked hard to stay true to our goals to serve the media industry with the most comprehensive source of TV technology news anywhere. Like everyone else, we were happy to see 2020 finally see its end, much like the guest who overstayed their welcome. There aren’t enough words in the English language to describe the effects of the pain, anguish, death and uncertainty that the past year brought to our world. So we turn to 2021 with a sense of cautionary hope; that vaccinations will help bring us back to a relative sense of the normal we once experienced (yes, there are a number of things that will not TV Technology Newsbytes return, but the phrase “new normal” is now a part of our lexicon, is now TV Tech Smartbrief unfortunately). Along with the hope of reopening our lives and livelihoods, 2021 will offer many of us the opportunity to do a reboot, or a “refresh” if you will. It is in this spirit that we are launching a new look and renewed purpose at TV Technology. Over the years, we, along with our readers, have taken to calling our magazine “TV Tech,” so often that we decided to go with the flow. Along with the new look, you’ve also probably noticed that we’ve relaunched our daily email newsletter, TV Technology Newsbytes, now TV Tech Smartbrief. We’ve enhanced the look and breadth of industry coverage by bringing the power of the Smartbrief platform to TV Tech. In 2020, we also launched “TV Tech Talk,” providing an online forum for discussing the latest developments in television production. Look for an expanded schedule this year. The past year has brought enormous changes to our industry and the pace of change is most likely expected to increase. Rest assured that even with a new look, we’ll continue to bring the best insight into this rapidly evolving marketplace. Tom Butts Content Director tom.butts@futurenet.com

NEW

2020 Product Innovation Awards Guide TV Tech and TVBEurope have released the 2020 Product Innovation Awards Guide, a digital offering that presents all of the PIA nominees and highlights the winners. Click on the Resource tab at tvtech.com to download your copy!

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Vol. 39 No. 1 | January 2021 FOLLOW US www.tvtech.com twitter.com/tvtechnology CONTENT VP/Global Editor-In-Chief Bill Gannon, william.gannon@futurenet.com Content Director Tom Butts, tom.butts@futurenet.com Content Manager Terry Scutt, terry.scutt@futurenet.com Content Producer Michael Balderston, michael.balderston@futurenet.com Contributors Gary Arlen, Susan Ashworth, James Careless, Gary Eskow, Steve Harvey, Craig Johnston, Bob Kovacs and Mark R. Smith Production Manager Heather Tatrow Managing Design Director Nicole Cobban Senior Design Directors Lisa McIntosh and Will Shum ADVERTISING SALES Director of Sales, Media Entertainment & Tech Laura Lubrano, laura.lubrano@futurenet.com SUBSCRIBER CUSTOMER SERVICE To subscribe, change your address, or check on your current account status, go to www.tvtech.com and click on About Us, email futureplc@computerfulfillment.com, call 888-266-5828, or write P.O. Box 8692, Lowell, MA 01853. LICENSING/REPRINTS/PERMISSIONS TV Tech is available for licensing. Contact the Licensing team to discuss partnership opportunities. Head of Print Licensing Rachel Shaw licensing@futurenet.com MANAGEMENT Senior Vice President, B2B Rick Stamberger Chief Revenue Officer Mike Peralta Head of Production US & UK Mark Constance Head of Design Rodney Dive FUTURE US, INC. 11 West 42nd Street, 15th Floor, New York, NY 10036

All contents © 2021 Future US, Inc. or published under licence. All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be used, stored, transmitted or reproduced in any way without the prior written permission of the publisher. Future Publishing Limited (company number 2008885) is registered in England and Wales. Registered office: Quay House, The Ambury, Bath BA1 1UA. All information contained in this publication is for information only and is, as far as we are aware, correct at the time of going to press. Future cannot accept any responsibility for errors or inaccuracies in such information. You are advised to contact manufacturers and retailers directly with regard to the price of products/services referred to in this publication. Apps and websites mentioned in this publication are not under our control. We are not responsible for their contents or any other changes or updates to them. This magazine is fully independent and not affiliated in any way with the companies mentioned herein. If you submit material to us, you warrant that you own the material and/or have the necessary rights/permissions to supply the material and you automatically grant Future and its licensees a licence to publish your submission in whole or in part in any/all issues and/or editions of publications, in any format published worldwide and on associated websites, social media channels and associated products. Any material you submit is sent at your own risk and, although every care is taken, neither Future nor its employees, agents,subcontractors or licensees shall be liable for loss or damage. We assume all unsolicited material is for publication unless otherwise stated, and reserve the right to edit, amend, adapt all submissions. Please Recycle. We are committed to only using magazine paper which is derived from responsibly managed, certified forestry and chlorine-free manufacture. The paper in this magazine was sourced and produced from sustainable managed forests, conforming to strict environmental and socioeconomic standards. The manufacturing paper mill and printer hold full FSC and PEFC certification and accreditation. TV Tech (ISSN: 0887-1701) is published monthly by Future US, Inc., 11 West 42nd Street, 15th Floor, New York, NY 10036-8002. Phone: 703-852-4600. FAX:703-8524583. Periodicals postage paid at New York, NY and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to TV Tech, P.O. Box 848, Lowell, MA 01853.


in the news Google Picks Gray TV for 2021 News Innovation Challenge

update Here are some of the most recent developments regarding the transition to ATSC 3.0:

Deployments • Denver: KDVR-TV, KWGN-TV (Nexstar) • Seattle: KONG,KING-TV (Tegna); KCPQ, KZJO (Fox Television); KOMO-TV, KUNS-TV (Sinclair); and KIRO-TV (Cox Media Group) • Raleigh, N.C.: WRAL, WRAZ and WARZ-CD (Capitol Broadcasting Company) • Tallahassee, Fla.: WNXG (Gray Television) • Detroit: WXYZ-TV, WMYD-TV (E.W. Scripps); WDIV-TV (Graham Media Group); WWJ-TV (CBS); WJBK-TV US Map(Fox Television) • Springfield, Mass.: WWLP (Nexstar) The Motown 3.0 Open Test Track is opening in Detroit for the testing of NextGen TV automotive applications, including the delivery of local news, weather and other programming, as well as advanced emergency alerting. The FCC has approved a Report & Order that updates the rules and fee structure related to Broadcast Internet service. The proposed fee structure is meant to support the development of new Broadcast Internet services.

ATLANTA—Gray Television has been selected for Google’s GNI Challenge for 2021 and will receive $200,000 in funding for a multiplatform journalism project.

The project, “Bridging the Great Health Divide—Mississippi Delta and Appalachia,” focuses on the health disparities in these two regions. Journalists from more than 25 Gray TV stations, the D.C. News Bureau and Gray’s National Investigative Unit will work on the project starting in early 2021. Gray TV’s project is one of 30 that GNI is funding in 2021, including three projects from TV broadcasters. The goal of the GNI Innovation Challenge is to support quality local journalism in a digital age. ❚ Michael Balderston

Global Digital Population Grows to 4.8B in 2020 LONDON—As of the third quarter of 2020, the global digital population reached 4.8 billion, which represents about 63% of the world’s total population, according to BuyShare.co.uk. In 2010, the number of internet users worldwide was 1.9 billion, per Statista and

The Phoenix Model Market and Comcast will conduct a test in Portland, Ore., on the delivery of NextGen TV over limited cable infrastructure. DigiCap, New Mexico PBS, Kentucky Educational Television and UNC-TV Public Media North Carolina are the newest members of the NextGen Video Information Systems Alliance (NVISA).

Internet World Stats data. By 2015 that number was at 3.2 billion. In 2019, the global digital population was 4.5 billion, and over the last 12 months there has been a growth of 297 million people getting access to the internet. Asia is the largest region of internet users (2.5 billion), led by China (934 million) and India (697 million), but those countries also have the largest offline populations. Europe is the second largest region with 727.8 million users. North America has 332.9 million digital users, but the U.S. alone has the third largest digital population (284 million). Africa is the fastest growing region increasing 80% from 2015 (332.9 million users) to the most recent report (556 million). By 2025, estimates have the global digital population reaching 5.6 billion. ❚ Michael Balderston

Fox News, MSNBC Seek Audio Description Rule Exemption WASHINGTON—Both Fox News and MSNBC were ranked in the top five national non-broadcast networks by the FCC, however each is seeking to be exempt from the list so that they will not be subject to the FCC’s audio description rules that come with that designation. Networks designated among the top five national non-broadcast networks are required to provide 87.5 hours of audio description per calendar quarter. There is a loophole, though. The FCC allows for any network wishing to be excluded from the rules on the basis that it does not air “at least 50 hours per quarter of prime-time programming that is not live or near-live,” can seek exemption from the list. Fox News and MSNBC say they fall under this threshold as most of their prime-time programming is primarily news-based. Fox says that 20 hours of its daily content is live or near-live; MSNBC says it averages 42 hours of non-live programming per quarter. Both networks received the exemption when they were classified as top five national non-broadcast networks in 2018. ❚ Michael Balderston

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in the news OPINION

Nathan Simington Sworn in as FCC Commissioner WASHINGTON—Nathan Simington was sworn in as the newest FCC commissioner on Dec. 14 by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. Simington’s five-year term is backdated to July 1, 2019, when the previous term of former Commissioner Michael O’Rielly was scheduled to end. O’Rielly had been nominated for another five-year term, but that was later rescinded by President Donald Trump, who instead nominated Simington.

East Is East and West Is West

O

What violates Kipling’s “never ut west in Phoenix, the twain shall meet” dictum Pearl TV along with its when it comes to these east and other market partners west SFN tests is a common in December 2020 desire on the part of those conlaunched a two-node ATSC 3.0 ducting them to share findings SFN trial on The E.W. Scripps with other broadcasters, whether Company-owned KASW. competitors or not, to make it Back east, Louis Libin, Sinclair easier for every broadcaster to Broadcast Group vice president succeed with 3.0. for Spectrum Engineering and Dave Folsom, retired CTO of Policy, was preparing in late 2020 Phil Kurz Raycom Media and a Pearl TV for a Q1 launch of a new six-node engineer, says findings will be shared with 3.0 SFN test on channel 30 in the Baltithe industry, including baseline performance more-Washington, D.C., area that will also compared to that of using different modcods include a Sinclair big stick. and operational data. “That will be freely disThe Phoenix SFN test initially looked at the tributed and freely shared with everyone, and viability of different ATSC 3.0 use cases that people can make their own conclusions based rely on single frequency networks. Longer

Simington joins the FCC after having worked at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, where he worked on 5G security/supply chain issues. He also formerly served as the senior counsel to wireless company Brightstar. ❚ Michael Balderston

Quantum Purchases Square Box Systems SAN JOSE, Calif.—Quantum has announced its acquisition of Square Box Systems, which specializes in data cataloging, user collaboration and digital asset management software. Quantum says the acquisition will expand its portfolio of tech for classifying, managing and protecting data across its lifecycle. Square Box Systems, which is based in the U.K., is the maker of CatDV, a media management and workflow automation software platform designed to help media and metadata organize, communicate and collaborate. Quantum plans to combine the CatDV software with StorNext to provide an all-in-one workgroup appliance. Square Box Systems founder and CTO Rolf Howarth and CEO Dave Clark are joining the Quantum team. Howarth will be a principal architect and Clark will be GM, Cloud Software and Analytics. ❚ Michael Balderston

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term, testing is designed to help guide broadcasters to optimize future SFN deployments. Sinclair’s test will look at the basic functionality of an SFN in a limited area using 40W transmitters (200W to 400W ERP), a newly designed, radome-enclosed Dielectric antenna with slant polarization and other technology in a self-contained package that the broadcaster can quickly and easily deploy about four or five miles from each other to blanket markets in the future. Think cell phone network with better than 5G performance (broadcast bits rather than unicast), and you get the picture.

on the data,” he said. Libin’s plans mirror those of Folsom. Saying Sinclair “desperately” wants to share its SFN findings domestically and around the world, Libin identifies a desire to help the industry grow as motivating this magnanimity. That’s where the TV broadcast industry is as it enters 2021. Whether east or west, north or south, there’s a strong spirit of cooperation and collaboration on the technical side that ultimately will position the front office to make business decisions that lead to success and move their organizations forward. l


industry analysis

A Year Like No Other By Susan Ashworth

SAN FRANCISCO—It’s impossible to look forward at the state of the media and entertainment media industry without taking a glance backward at the past year. And that view is one littered with debris: shutdowns, layoffs, regulatory stalemates, cancellations. It’s been a year of stops, starts, overhauls and renovations. But also hope and a reaffirming of what many have known for some time: Viewers are not only clamoring for more content, they also recognize that broadcast television remains a steady force when it comes to news in the midst of a crisis.

past few months have served as a reminder to viewers about the enduring value of local broadcast TV,” said Gordon Smith, president and CEO of the National Association of Broadcasters. “From the pandemic to West Coast wildfires, nationwide protests about racial inequity to the 2020 elections, we have witnessed many historic newsworthy events over the last nine months that led to increased viewership of broadcast television.”

‘INTRINSIC VALUE’ “I believe the pandemic has confirmed and underscored the intrinsic value of traditional broadcast television and radio,” said Adonis Hoffman, CEO of The Advisory Counsel, LLC, a D.C.-based law firm. “We cannot even begin to count the number of messages, programs and the type of content that was devoted to information, education, coverage of the pandemic.” The head of the nation’s primary broadcasting association agreed. “I believe the

NAB President and CEO Gordon Smith

In early March, the industry got a cleareyed view of the extent to which the coronavirus pandemic impact would have when the NAB Show announced it was canceling the in-person portion of the 2020 annual Las Vegas gathering. The organization has canceled the show only one other time, during World War II. As the largest show in the industry, the annual NAB Show is a significant money maker for the association. In 2019, the show brought in revenue of $46 million as well as 90,000 visitors and more than 1,600 exhibitors. In an interview in March, Smith called cancellation of the 2020 show an “agonizing” decision. It not only impacted the 90,000 individuals that were expected to attend but cost untold amounts in missed networking connections—a vital reason why many in the industry attend the show in the first place. The organization scrapped calls to reschedule the convention for later in the year and instead put together an all-virtual event, the “NAB Show Express.” Looking ahead to 2021, NAB said more than 540 companies have contracted to exhibit at the NAB Show when it returns to Las Vegas, Oct. 9–13, 2021.

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Denniro/Getty Images

In 2020, television cemented its role as the arbiter of the national mood. Will that mood turn to hope in 2021?


industry analysis THE BOTTOM LINE Entering a new year, it’s become clearer how significant an impact the coronavirus has had on the media business, be that on television, radio or streaming. “[The pandemic has had] an incredible impact on both TV and radio,” said Mark Fratrik, senior vice president and chief economist for BIA Kelsey. “Many different verticals have decreased their advertising spending by a considerable amount. Of course, the amazing amount of political advertising mitigated some of that. But many different leisure and entertainment verticals, e.g. movies, basically stopped advertising or cut back severely.” According to an estimate by the research firm IBISWorld, M&E is forecast to see a decline of 6.7% due to halted content production. Growth that had been seen over the last few years—as broadcasters began shifting into digital distribution—bolstered revenue. But the coronavirus offset these trends, which led to a decrease in total ad spending in 2020 and halted production of new TV content for a time. Nowhere was this felt more perhaps than in live sports. Ads run during National Football League games are typically the most expensive in the market due to their large audience share. But viewership dropped as the pandemic caused cancellations or postponements. According to The Wall Street Journal, a drop in ratings for the NFL led advertisers to drop advertising prices in 2020, an unheard of occurrence. The NFL responded by negotiating to get the NFL Network on a larger array of OTT platforms this year, including YouTubeTV,

Mark Fratrik, senior vice president and chief economist for BIA Kelsey.

Vidgo and fuboTV and making it available on smart TVs such as VIZIO’s SmartCast, which last month launched an exclusive specialty "NFL Channel."

2021 A TRANSITION YEAR? Yet even without the annual convention and in the midst of a pandemic, progress across the industry has continued in several ways. Or as BIA Kelsey’s Fratrik said: “It will take some time for local TV to come back but by 2022, it should.” ATSC—which marked 2020 with the launch of consumer sets and station deployments— said that while many stations in the top 40 markets would deploy NextGen TV to viewers by the end of 2020, it revised that mile marker slightly to mid-2021. Deployments picked up steam by the end of the year though, with

five markets launching in December alone, including its two largest markets, Seattle and Detroit. “I think we will continue to see the steady drumbeat of local TV stations launching NextGen TV service in markets across the country,” NAB's Smith predicted. ATSC has said that it expects NextGen TV to be deployed in more than 60 markets representing 70 percent of viewers by the middle of this year. Another bright spot came from the influx of political advertising dollars spent. Although local TV stations continue to feel the effect of new competition in both attracting audiences and in selling advertising, “the amazing amount of political advertising spent in 2020—and continuing until Jan. 5 in Georgia—shows the importance of local television in the local advertising marketplace,” Fratrik said. Other bright spots on the horizon include the rescheduled XXXII Summer Games to be held in July and August of 2021 in Tokyo. In 2011, NBC agreed to a $4.38 billion contract with the International Olympic Committee to broadcast the Olympic Games through the 2020 Summer Olympics, giving NBC rights to all media platforms including TV, internet and mobile. NBC and the IOC also agreed to a $7.75 billion extension to air the Olympics through the 2032 games. A recent article in Forbes reported that NBC had sold more than $1.25 billion in advertising for this year’s games, accounting for nearly 90 percent of the available ad space.  That’s not to say there hasn’t been fallout. A study reported in Japan Times projected that postponing the games was predicted to reduce Japan’s annual gross domestic product by ¥7.8 trillion (USD $75 billion).

THE STRENGTH OF STREAMING

The forecast for TV advertising, courtesy BIA Kelsey

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While the lack of such high-profile programming in 2020 was a significant downside, it’s hard to put a number on it, Fratrik said, as the U.S. economy was already in a downward slide and advertising plummeted in the early months. “Overall several billions of dollars were not spent by national and local advertisers as a result of the pandemic and the economic downfall and the lack of the Olympics,” he said. What has remained strong throughout 2020: direct-to-consumer streaming. Nielsen went so far as to say that the pandemic catapulted streaming to serve as the present—and perhaps the future—of content consumption. According to the August 2020 Nielsen Total Audience Report, streaming among OTT-capable homes accounted for 25% of the time


industry analysis

New Year, New Administration

that consumers spent watching TV. Legacy broadcasting companies are going all-in with streaming, perhaps best marked by the launch of VUit, a new OTT app developed by Syncbak, which aggregates local programming. Backed by Gray TV, Raycom and ViacomCBS, among others, the new service, which debuted in September, touts itself as the “Netflix of Live, Local and Free.”

In September, Syncbak, with backing from station groups, NAB and CTA, launched “VUit,” which aggregates local TV content.

“Large TV groups such as Tegna, Sinclair and Gray are heavily involved in providing local streaming services and selling advertising on those platforms,” Fratrik added. Another way to put it: “The media industry is surprisingly optimistic given the totality of 2020 events,” said Josh Steinhour, an analyst with the research firm Devoncroft Partners “This is perhaps due to the near singular fascination of the industry and investor communities with direct-to-consumer subscriber counts.” According to the Nielsen report, streaming comprised one-fourth of all television minutes viewed, led by Netflix, YouTube, Hulu, Amazon and Disney+. Nielsen also found that the pandemic is having a significant impact on news consumption. “As consumers are spending more time at home and in their local communities, the pandemic is causing a spike in local news reliance and consumption,” Nielsen said. According to Peter Katsingris, senior vice president of Audience Insights at Nielsen, local news providers are showing they are dialed in to this new way that consumers are consuming news, and local news has responded by reaching consumers in an effective way. “When it comes to the consumption of local news, we asked [in the survey] about genres of what they watched during the day [and] news was the top genre,” he said. “Local news is something that is really hitting home for… people who are impacted and working from home. They’re home and really [want to] have up-to-the minute information on what’s going on.”

Not surprisingly TV viewing soared in 2020. The October 2020 Nielsen Local Watch Report revealed overall weekly news viewing is up nearly one hour and 20 minutes when compared to September 2019. And the demographic of those who are watching is changing as well with news viewing by younger audiences aged 18–34 increasing by 134% from 2019 to 2020. A report from the firm Research and Markets found that the M&E market is expected to stabilize and reach $133.7 billion at a compound annual growth rate of 5.5% through 2023. 

Soon after the 2020 election was called for Joe Biden, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced plans to step down from the FCC. The new administration will give Democrats a new opening to work on their priorities, which will likely include net-neutrality rules, universal broadband access and a perhaps a redirection of the Pai-led Modernization of Media Regulation initiatives, whose goal is to reduce what the commission has called unnecessary regulation.

‘TIL WE MEET AGAIN

Democratic FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel is among the top candidates to replace outgoing FCC Chairman Ajit Pai.

What else lies ahead? The makeup of trade shows is certain to change, Steinhour said. “To my knowledge there is no data set in existence describing a negative impact to the industry from the lack of trade events in 2020,” he said. “We need global events to bring together the industry community. I do not claim to have the answer for how trade events will evolve, but I can say with confidence future shows will not resemble the 2019 vintage.” What the industry should look at now involves action outside of the U.S. According to Steinhour, several European countries have or are in the process of passing Netflix-type taxes. “These are taxes on revenue, levies, or in-country spending mandates on large, familiar U.S. digital companies,” he said. “Regardless of the structure of the tax, the intention is to protect local content production. This will happen everywhere.” Others point to the ongoing importance of improving diversity in the broadcast world and embracing the rollout of ATSC 3.0. And others, including the NAB’s Smith, said that the most important thing broadcasters can do is to meet with their legislators and explain how legislation, regulatory actions and judicial decisions affect the day-to-day operations of stations. “Members of Congress are aware of the influence local broadcasters have in their communities, and they want to hear from them,” he said. Fratrik added that all broadcasters need to remain aware of their local economic conditions as we head into 2021. “There is wide variation among the states as to the severity of the lockdowns, the impacts on employment, and thus, the level of advertising being spent,” he said. “There is significant hope that the distribution of the vaccine will lead to more states opening up. Local broadcasters need to monitor those events and plan accordingly.” l

Or, as Chris Lewis with Public Knowledge put it: a change in approach is drastically needed by the new FCC. “If the Covid pandemic taught us anything, it’s just how disastrous it has been to have an FCC that has removed its own authority over broadband,” said Lewis who is president and CEO of the public interest group. Democratic FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel is considered a candidate to replace Pai as is Commissioner Geoffrey Starks, former Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, who stepped in as acting chairwoman during the Obama administration, and Gigi Sohn, former advisor to FCC Chair Tom Wheeler. One of the most important issues facing the industry now is redefining the video marketplace so that there is a clear recognition of the state of competition.  “Broadcasters not only compete with themselves, but also big tech, big telecom, big cable, etc.,” Hoffman said. “It is preposterous to keep regs based on a quaint notion of ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox and new networks, when the market is so much more, with much bigger players.” But Rob McDowell, former FCC commissioner and now a partner with Cooley LLC, said broadcasters will have to accept the fact that a Biden-Harris FCC is not likely to give them regulatory relief as they face more competition from internet companies. “However, the Supreme Court will rule in the Prometheus appeal before the end of June and that could restore the FCC’s 2017 media ownership order, which relaxed rules such as regarding combinations of the two of top four stations in a market,” he said. “If that’s the case, look for some broadcasters to take advantage of such opportunities.” ❚ Susan Ashworth

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gear on the go

New ENG Gear for ‘Socially Distanced’ Reporting Fewer crew members, longer hours mean adapting to new workflows, tech By Craig Johnston

SEATTLE—While citizens have had to spend much of the past year in place, broadcasters haven’t had that luxury. As a particularly news-filled 2020 gives way to an even busier 2021, well-equipped news production crews are on the constant hunt for gear that will help them cover the news while staying safe.

LIGHTING Strict observation of social distancing has had a particular effect on lighting for interviews according to Art Adams, cinema lens specialist at ARRI, who added that the

company's new Orbiter is just the ticket for socially distanced interviews. “Orbiter has the best color, and also gives you the best specs and flexibility,” he said. “It’s kind of a ‘Swiss Army Knife.’ You can use them for quick interviews, or for theatrical and motion picture effects, or for chasing the color of the sun.” Because the Orbiter is a hard light, it’s necessary to soften its output. “Typically I might try to use Orbiter with a four-foot me-

dium Chimera, even a six foot octagon, which is probably bigger than most people would carry,” Adams said. “You want to create a big, soft source. The smaller the light source is, the

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gear on the go more the shadow matters. But the bigger the light is, the more forgiving it tends to be.” Adams noted that sometimes shooting interviews is a volume business, where there’s no time to tweak lighting between sessions. “People come in, sit down, and 10 minutes later they leave, you don’t have any time in between,” he said. “So the softer the light source is, the better.” Reporting during the pandemic is forcing ENG crews to spread further apart, according to Litepanels product manager Michael Herbert. “It’s making guys doing these interviews and doing the lighting setups for them, having an increasingly large need for adaptability,” he said. “You’ve got people sitting six or eight feet, or even more in other circumstances. It varies by state, by studio and by building almost. “When redesigning a lot of our products with the output in mind, you want to have more than you need,” Herbert continued. “That way, if necessary, if you have to move your lights, if you have to move everything further apart, you can always crank the light up to compensate for that.

tance of tripods when reporting in the field. The pandemic has also accelerated the trend of the one-man-band reporter, according to David Sheppard, international sales, distribution and channel manager for Shotoku. “[Reporting] has been streamlined down to where one person has gone out with all the equipment, set it up and even done the interview as presenter,” he said. “And with Covid it’s kind of accelerated that trend.” In response, Shotoku introduced two new lightweight tripods and fluid heads, the SX200 and SX260. “We’re the lightest in class with carbon fiber legs,” Sheppard said. “And it ships in its bag all assembled, so all you’ve got to do really is pop it out of the bag, put the camera on it, adjust the legs and you’re ready to go.” The heads feature “Viscam drag” (the company’s continuously adjustable fluid drag system) on a stepped system for effortless and speedy drag selection, Sheppard added. “We’ve engineered that feeling in these heads into the drag system that’s actually continuously adjustable,” he said. “It’s the same as our studio quality heads. There is no ‘1, 2, 3’...

Sachtler activ head

you deploy the tripod and head out of the carrying case, the head is already attached and a knob adjusts the pan handle into the position you want before using.” Libec recently redesigned another of its quick deploying camera support system, yield-

ARRI touts its Orbiter ultra-bright LED point source as a "Swiss Army Knife" of lights.

ing the TH-M monopod. “One upgrade is that the quick release can be attached and detached from the side,” Larios said. “And the new model allows the pole to be locked in not only a vertical position, but also on an angle.” Kyle Dann, product manager at Vitec Production Solutions, part of Vitec Group plc, provided yet another reason to have a camera support system that’s easy to deploy. “Deployment speed is very important because it gives confidence if you’re quick and efficient in setting up the interview,” he said. “And saving time in setting up is important because it gives you more time to work on your lighting and get the interview done as quickly and efficiently as possible, while maintaining distance.” Among Vitec's rapid deployment solutions is the Flowtec tripod and Sachtler aktiv head. “The SpeedSwap system delivers the fastest way to switch between tripod and slider and other support systems in seconds," Dann said.

POWER SUPPLIES Litepanels had this in mind when developing the Astra, which looks like a typical panel light except for its Total Internal Reflection (TIR) lens system. TIR puts a lens on each individual LED. “The lens grabs all the light coming off each LED and pushes it all forward within a 44degree beam-angle,” Herbert said. "This means that from a relatively low power fixture, you get a really punchy light source.”

CAMERA SUPPORT Keeping reporters and their subjects apart via social distancing has re-emphasized the impor-

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it’s infinitely adjustable. It’s got this nuanced control that people like.” Jose Larios, sales manager for Libec Sales of America, said there’s been a lot of demand for quick deploying tripods, which led the company to redesign their T650 to the 650EX. “It has a other features, including the sliding plate range,” Larios said. “You’re able to use the slide plate just like more professional video heads that allow you to counterbalance the weight by moving the camera back and forth.” It’s also very quick to set up, Larios added. “You literally take it out of the bag; the pan handle is already attached to the head. When

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With fewer places to gather (particularly indoors) between live reports, news crews have also faced increasing challenges in maintaining charged power supplies. “When Covid hit, we had an onrush of broadcast customers reaching out because they had to adapt to a relatively new workflow from an ENG standpoint,” said Steve Turner, product manager and senior manager of strategic relationships, Vitec Group plc. “What that meant was a lot of refreshing of old kits and ‘How can I make my life easier when I’m stuck in a news vehicle all day, without being able to go back to the station?’”


gear on the go

Anton Bauer Titon batteries

The company responded with the Anton Bauer Titon 240 battery, its highest capacity onboard battery, at 240Wh. “Just for a ballpark estimate if your camera runs 25W—which is typical these days, even less—that’s about eight hours per battery,” Turner calculated. “So if you’re able to outfit a photographer with four batteries and a charger, then they are more than set for the day. "All Titon lines now incorporate a smart USB, so it’s fully compatible with charging of cellphones, as well as the industry standard power tap for Anton/Bauer,” Turner added. PAG takes a different path toward capacity through its PAGLINK technology, according to Bob Carr, sales director for PAG America. “Because of PAG’s linking technology, we can link up to eight 150Wh battery packs. So you’re

talking about up to 1,200Wh of power.” PAG battery packs are available in three sizes: 50, 99 and 150Wh. The first battery pack clips to the back of the camera, and one after another of the packs clip piggyback on to the one before it. “You don’t have to put anything between batteries you want to link, just plug two or more batteries together,” Carr said. “The camera draws off the battery with the greatest charge. You always have the ability to hotswap as you shoot, so there’s no need to ever stop shooting. “You could put a power hub in between any of the linked battery packs, which will allow you to have five more connection points,” Carr added. “They’re switchable so you can have five USBs, five V-taps, five LEMO two pins.”

New PAG batteries going forward will have the ability to be serviced and re-celled by major customers and regional offices. Many reporters are now doing more of their planning and reporting from home or anywhere than at the station, forcing better preparation, according to Kevin Crawford, vice president for engineering at Frezzi. To help news crews prep for longer workdays, Frezzi redesigned and retooled its FB240 240Wh battery pack. “It’s designed to run all day without recharging, and has a power tap and an integrated USB tap to charge cellphones and other USB charged devices,” Crawford said. “They’re pulling other peripherals off of that FB240. It’s good to have that big bucket, because everybody’s going with LiveU's now, and all kinds of extra devices, so it’s good to have that big bucket.” The new FB series of battery packs has a ruggedized case, which is serviceable and resistant to drops up to four feet, Crawford added. “That means if there ever is a problem, we could swap out the case. That’s a big thing. I think we’re the only ones in the industry to do that.” l

Sports won’t be on pause forever.

Live video and audio over bonded IP networks Contact us to learn more: www.comrex.com | +1 978 784-1776


Bitcentral has seen an increase in demand for its Core NRCS, which includes its Oasis fieldcentric, browser-based cloud contribution platform.

News Production Adapts to Remote Trends Pandemic accelerates move to the cloud, IP By James Careless

OTTAWA—When the world went into lockdown last March due to COVID-19, all manner of companies sent their staff home to work remotely via the web. For many sectors, this unexpected move away from the office was difficult to support using their existing software/ IT infrastructures. But for the firms who make multiplatform news production software, it wasn’t— because the pandemic simply accelerated a trend that was already underway. This is certainly the case at Avid, which is well-known for its MediaCentral media workflow platform. “We have accelerated this transition towards the cloud as an enabler for remote production,” said Raúl Alba, Avid’s director of product marketing for media and cloud. “Everything that we are doing is designed to help our clients move to the cloud, or be deployed on premises and accessed remotely.” The same is true at Dalet. “Even before COVID, we had already planned to increase our capability to do more with mobility and have a web client that can be used from anywhere with no compromise in functionality,” said Raoul Gospen, Dalet’s director of product strategy. The just-released Dalet Pyramid newsroom system trumpets this precise capability under

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the slogan, “Create, anywhere, together.” At the same time, skeptics in the broadcast news business opened up their minds to working remotely after the lockdowns began. “As long as the delivery of jobs is seen to be safeguarded, news teams are happy to be given tools that enable them to be quicker and more responsive on a widening range of platforms,” said Michael Pfitzner, vice president of CGI Media Solutions. CGI’s OpenMedia enterprise newsroom system (developed by SCISYS, which the company acquired in 2019), allows users to search agency wires, schedule broadcasts, integrate with other broadcast systems like MAM/playout systems, and write and distribute news stories. “Journalist buy-in is rarely an issue anymore as it was in the early days of moving to nonlinear systems,” Pfitzner added

lenge before anyone had heard of COVID-19. “IP has been a driving force in our product development for many years,” said Gerhard Lang, CTO of the Vizrt Group, whose open standard-based Viz Pilot Edge web client allows newsrooms to create all aspects of newscast production in the cloud, no matter which newsroom computer system (NRCS) they use. “Initially, the focus was on how IP and the cloud would replace broadcasters’ on-premises SDI infrastructure,” Lang said. “This focus changed during the lockdowns, when remote users took charge of keeping broadcasters’ news and other programming on air.” The nature of cloud-based NRSC software means that everyone accessing this platform is a remote user by definition, whether they are doing so from a station newsroom, a home office or on the road. Whatever the location, Bitcentral’s Oasis, a field-centric, browser-based cloud contribution platform is designed to serve all of them equally, according to company CEO Fred Fourcher. “Remote contribution was already being used by our Oasis broadcast clients prior to COVID-19,” he said. “Now that COVID-19 has resulted in an increase in people working out of the office, our clients are simply using this Oasis capability more.”

THE DRIVING FORCE To distribute digital content to multiple platforms, newsroom software and the content it manages has to be remotely accessible and modifiable over IP networks. Operating newsroom software over a secure, reliable corporate LAN is one thing; providing this same functionality to remote users via the insecure, unreliable web is quite another. Fortunately companies were addressing this chal-

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MEETING CUSTOMER NEEDS The rapid increase in use of NRCS systems remotely hasn’t been without its hiccups. “We had to help a number of our customers enable their users to work away from the office home,” said Dalet’s Gospen. “Not everyone was ready to do so, which is why we quickly created and launched our cloud-based Dalet Galaxy five media workflow platform for them to use.”


remote trends Other vendors have been tweaking their current products to better support remote production, while developing new products that take this capability even further. CGI pivoted during this period to ensure its products remain relevant in the work-fromhome environment, according to Pfitzner. “We recognize the importance of staying connected, especially when many organizations have no choice, all while remaining cost-efficient and within budget,” he said. “Among other things, this has meant establishing professional tools for delivering platform-agnostic content and establishing these within our current and future feature sets.” In the same vein, Avid’s MediaCentral was enhanced with the introduction of mobile apps and support for third-party NRCS in November 2020. “The new remote workflow capabilities in MediaCentral give creative teams the capabilities and confidence to create more content in shorter timeframes regardless of location,” said Avid's Raúl Alba. This kind of flexibility is what customers want. “What they’re asking us to do is to build much more sophisticated editing products that can run in a web browser, where you could make something that’s perfectly good to put

Vizrt recently demonstrated a “teleportation”-type feature in its Viz Engine 4.1 platform to make it appear that Lang and Chris Black, Vizrt’s head of brand and content, carried on a live, one-on-one conversation as if they were in the same room—but were more than 1,000 miles apart.

Media Cloud For Remote Content Creation in development prior to the pandemic, and released it in April 2020. “With Xchange Media Cloud, we’re bringing the robust functionality of our enterprise-grade Xchange MAM right to their remote workstations,” said Claudio Lisman, president and CEO of Primestream. “Before the pandemic, a lot of remote news production was fed using satellite uplinks/flyaways or by microwave. Today, most of the contribution comes from either online video encoders or bonded cellular devices. Xchange Media Cloud can handle all the recording, editing and playout of these IP contribution sources in the cloud.”

WHAT’S NEXT? Once vaccinations become commonplace and restrictions are lifted, Grass Valley’s

Dalet recently introduced Dalet Pyramid, an integrated solution for news production, content management and multiplatform distribution through a web-based user experience.

on mainstream TV broadcast,” said Trevor Francis, Grass Valley’s business development manager. Bitcentral has responded to current events by updating its browser-based tools. “Customers can already remotely schedule/edit incoming satellite and other feeds that are recorded at the station,” said Foucher. “In line with the trend to increased remote access, we are adding more features to our timeline tools to be even more powerful from anywhere.” By sheer good fortune and forward-looking vision, Primestream had its Xchange

Francis doesn’t expect the remote production trend to be reversed. “People may never go back to working five days a week in the office,” he said. “They may work at home most of the time and go to the office some of the time.” In fact, the logical outcome of this remote production trend is for some or all of today’s physical TV production/facilities to become virtual, with broadcasters simply leasing access to them as needed, working wherever they choose. For instance, “we believe that technology

like teleportation—the capability of placing two individuals from two different locations and greenscreens onto a single virtual set where they can interact as if they were in the same room, and which we pioneered years ago, has found its time,” said Vizrt’s Lang. “It will become a common way of conducting interviews or staging chat shows.” Last spring, Vizrt demonstrated this “teleportation” type technology using its Vizrt Engine 4.1 platform to make it appear that Lang and Chris Black, Vizrt’s head of brand and content, carried on a live, one-on-one conversation as if they were in the same room—but were more than 1,000 miles apart. The disruptive nature of the cloud has allowed more people to work remotely with more power and more efficiency than ever before and will continue to reshape newsroom delivery, CGI’s Pfitzner said. “We can see smaller production sites becoming much more central to many organizations as a result, and at some point, in the future, the physical nature of the newsroom as we know it of a contiguous space dedicated to a sole task might end up disappearing too.” On a larger scale, Grass Valley’s new Agile Media Processing Platform (AMPP), which offers cloud-based playout/master control functions on a subscription basis to broadcasters, can eliminate the need for a physical TV station/network altogether, according to Francis. “AMPP is all about taking an entire production suite, including switchers and routers, and running it virtually in the cloud.” said Francis. “This will let customers build a TV studio on demand without having to buy tons of equipment and put it in a dedicated facility. They can access it all in the cloud.” All told, COVID-19 has spurred news production software firms to move even more boldly into the cloud, and to extend the functionality previously reserved for the newsroom to the entire planet via the web.l

twitter.com/tvtechnology | www.tvtech.com | January 2021

17


rf technology

T-Mobile and 600 MHz TV Interference Problems could become more common as carrier ramps up 5G buildout

R

systems that place the base station USING A FILTER antennas very close to viewers’ The majority of the licenses homes. in the 600 MHz band belong to He solved the problem in his T-Mobile, which is moving quickhouse by building a simple quarly to build out its 600 MHz specter wave stub filter. With a quarter trum for 5G now that TV stations wavelength of coaxial cable, the have vacated the band. The base impedance at one end is inverted stations transmit in the 617–652 at the other end. If one end is left MHz downlink band and receive open, the other end will present a signals from consumer devices short at the quarter wave frequentransmitting in the 663–698 MHz EXPERTISE cy, acting as a notch filter. uplink band. With the spectrum Doug Lung I found a website that calculicensed in 5 MHz blocks, a lates the length for different types quarter wave stub filter may be of coaxial cable (the velocity factor will affect sufficient to notch out one 5 MHz block, but the length) that makes it easy to design a as more blocks are used, a more complicated quarter wave filter. Fig. 1 shows a picture of filter will be needed. the filter from arcticpeak.com. A search on I used an RTL-SDR and the Linux qspec“quarter wave stub filter” will bring up other trumanalyzer software to look at the 598–640 options. If the length of the stub becomes too MHz spectrum at my rural location in Hawaii. short to easily work with, odd multiples of The only TV station I can receive here is on the length will also work, but there will also Channel 36. Fig. 2 shows the spectrum, with be a notch at a lower frequency—one-third surprising strong signals in the 600 MHz the frequency for a three quarter wave stub, downlink band. Note the analyzer was hooked which could impact VHF Channel 12 or 13. up to my vertically polarized discone antenna (with no preamplifier) so the Channel 36 signal, which is horizontally polarized, is not as T-adapter strong as it is on my TV antenna with an LNA. Coax to RX/TX Coax to antenna I’ve written before about using Channel Master’s LTE filter to block LTE signals above 698 MHz. They now offer a filter for 600 MHz interference (visit channelmaster.com to see how it works). Look at the spectrum plots Center of T-adapter on the web page and at the frequency range specified in the markings on the filter on the Channel Master store page (Fig. 3). LA80KA The upper pass frequency is shown as 599 Martin Storli http://www.arcticpeak.com MHz and the rejection starts at 600 MHz. DTV arcticpeak@yahoo.no Channel 36 starts at 602 MHz, which would indicate this filter will not work in areas with Quarter wave length* * The length needs to be a Channel 36 (like KNBC in Los Angeles) and compensated for the velocity reception may be compromised on Channel 35 factor of the transmission line. stations (596–602 MHz) like WNBC in New York. Channel Master’s technical specifications for the filter show “Frequencies Pass” as End of the center conductor 5–609 MHz and “Frequencies Block” as 610– on the coaxial cable 2,000 MHz. If this is the case, it should work fine. Since the LTE downlink band doesn’t start until 617 MHz, there is no need to have the filter reject frequencies in Channel 36. Fig. 1: Quarter Wave Stub Filter

ecently I got a call from Bob Gonsett concerning interference he started receiving on a TV set at his outpost in Fallbrook, Calif. Broadcast engineers in southern California know Bob and his engineering work at his firm Communications General Corp. He has been active in Southern California broadcasting for as long as I can remember, beginning with services such as the FCC-required frequency measurements for analog TV stations, as well as providing engineering for AM, FM and TV broadcast stations in the area. While the FCC no longer specifies frequency tolerances for DTV stations—they simply have to stay within their channel and meet FCC emission mask requirements—many stations still use Bob to keep an eye on their frequency and also look out for potential interference from new co-channel stations. Using a spectrum analyzer, Bob was able to trace the interference to a 600 MHz LTE signal. He expects this will become more of a problem for over-the-air TV viewers as wireless carriers build out small-cell distributed antenna

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rf technology

Fig. 2: 600 MHz Spectrum Plot

I wanted to order one of the Channel Master filters to test the actual frequency response but Channel Master will not ship to a post office box and I wasn’t willing to spend the almost $60 they wanted for a $19 filter shipped to my physical address. An Amazon search showed several companies selling LTE filters but most only blocked signals above 700 MHz. The Antra ATF-600 5–600Mhz 4G LTE ($15.99) looks like it

Channel Master LTE Filter

might work but I could not find any detailed specs. The Amazon description also has this disclaimer: “This item will NOT work if interference signal is within 0–700 MHz,” which contradicts the description above it that says: “Removes interference above 600 MHz (CH36) that are coming from Cell Towers, Cell phones or other RF sources, purifying HDTV signals.” From the photo on the Amazon listing it appears there is also an ATF-700 filter, which has a cut-off frequency at 694 MHz. I’ve ordered the Antra ATF-600 and when it arrives I’ll hook it up to my NanoVNA and plot the frequency response. The 600 MHz LTE interference is more likely to be a problem for TV viewers using an outdoor antenna with a preamplifier. The TV tuners in most TV sets still offer the option of scanning cable TV channels, which means they will be capable of receiving signals up to 800 MHz or higher. The newer silicon tuners

offer good tracking filters but are subject to overload if the interfering signal is strong enough. The preamplifier can boost the interfering signal to the point where it can overload the TV tuner. Manufacturers of TV amplifiers have recognized this and are now selling amplifiers with 600 MHz LTE filters. Digitenna’s preamplifiers are now available with 20–30 dB attenuation above Channel 36. The filters pass up to 610 MHz so Channel 36 reception should not be affected. Before ordering Digitenna products, verify the amplifier is one with the new LTE filter. I found another amplifier from Kitz Technologies that looks interesting. The KT-700 Amplifier includes an LTE filter that starts at 620 MHz. Channel Master’s LTE filter product page says their “Amplify” preamplifier includes an LTE filter, but the specs show a 700 MHz cutoff, which won’t help with the 600 MHz band interference if that frequency is correct.

CORRECTION AND UPDATE Since my last column (“Antennas: Back to the Future,” September 2020) the reader using the HD-Stacker antenna sent me some close-up photos of the feed system and some comparisons with another antenna. He wasn’t happy with the performance of the HD-Stacker and after contacting the manufacturer and not getting a satisfactory response, decided to try the $40 Winegard Freevision FV-30BB I’d been recommending for noncritical applications. He was surprised to find that in his location it performed as well or better than the HD-Stacker. That’s hard to believe, but a possible reason is the size of the Winegard allowed

it to be mounted in a more favorable location. The feed matching and VHF/UHF combining may have hurt performance since the high-impedance VHF and UHF driven elements are simply paralleled with a section of twin-lead with no apparent attempt to match or isolate them. Replacing that “combiner wire” with a dual input LNA would likely have significantly improved the HD-Stacker’s performance. Another reader notified me that the https:// groups.io/g/NanoVNA-V2 website I mentioned as a forum for the low cost NanoVNA-V2 vector network analyzer is an impostor website. The real forum is at https://groups. io/g/NanoVNAV2. I apologize for the error. Visiting the real website I found that the NanoVNA-V2 is now available with a case (the Plus 4) and offers measurements using the fundamental frequency of the oscillator up to 4.4 GHz. The other NanoVNA units I mentioned, including my NanoVNA-F, use harmonics for measurements above 600 MHz, limiting their dynamic range. On the NanoVNA-F, the S11 dynamic range is 40 dB and the S21 dynamic range is 60 dB for 600–1,000 MHz. The NanoVNA-V2 Plus 4 claims 70 dB system dynamic range without averaging up to 3 GHz and 80 dB range with 5x averaging. The NanoVNA-V2 Plus 4’s 4.4 GHz upper frequency makes it ideal for testing 5G filters for the C-band repack. The cost of the NanoVNA-V2 Plus 4 is $129, competitive with the cost of the NanoVNA-F with a similar sized screen. I’ve ordered one through Tindie and hope to have it in time to review in my next column. l As always, I welcome comments and questions. Email me at dlung@transmitter.com. If I’m busy I may not respond right away and if the email gets buried too deep I might miss it. If you don’t get a response within a week or so, email me again.

twitter.com/tvtechnology | www.tvtech.com | January 2021

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audio at home

How Has COVID Impacted Audio AtHome Production?

Just before Christmas, Lawo launched second-generation versions of its compact mc² desk and audio console engine.

Vendors respond with updated features By Kevin Hilton

LONDON—All technology evolves and adapts to suit the changing requirements of its end users. Audio consoles have been through significant changes over the last 30 years, with analog giving way to digital for large-scale television, radio and live event production. This in turn has led to smaller desks, with more touchscreen control and, increasingly, mixing “in-the-box” on digital audio stations (DAWs). While these refinements and alterations have taken place over time, the outbreak of coronavirus and the impact of national and local lockdowns on broadcast and facility operations have had more immediate effects on mixing console design. The most obvious of these is the adaptation of desks for home working, which can be regarded as positive and was already beginning to happen.

HOME CONTROL “The pandemic has accelerated the take-up of working from home,” agrees Andreas Hilmer, director of marketing at Lawo. “We have designed that capability into our consoles,

which can be used for a range of applications. These include distributed production, where an operator can be in an audio room next to the main production suite or another building or a different city. “It can also be used for home working, with a full console in the studio, being controlled by software, a touchscreen and maybe a compact fader bay by somebody in their kitchen,” Hilmer added. “All the live audio stays in the audio suite, with only the control chain going to the home.” Just before Christmas, Lawo launched second-generation versions of its compact mc² desk and audio console engine. In an event streamed live from the Jazz Club Karlsruhe, near the company’s headquarters in Germany, the new mc² 36 and A_UHD (ultra high density) Phase II Core were introduced. Hilmer explained that Lawo always tries Martin Dyster, vice president of business development for Telos Alliance

to rejuvenate its product line at regular intervals and this updating brought a new platform for the entire mc² range and additional capabilities on the mc² 36, which was originally introduced in 2014, including native IP mixing and more powerful DSP.

PHYSICAL OR VIRTUAL: DOES IT MATTER? Another company that has seen its ongoing development find almost instantaneous acceptance during the COVID-19 crisis is Wheatstone. In what Senior Sales Engineer Phil Owens describes as a “flurry of software development” during March, Wheatstone created the ReMIX app, which controls the software mixer in I/O BLADES interfaces and is designed for Windows tablets and PCs. Wheatstone also offers the ability to create virtual consoles through the combination of the ACI (automation control interface) protocol and ScreenBuilder suite of touchscreen tools. Owens observes that with such new technologies, whether a physical or a virtual console is being used “doesn’t really matter.” What is important, he says, is remote connectivity, which has become the most requested feature from Wheatstone clients. Owens adds that the same attitude applies to whether mixing is carried out using a dedicated control surface with faders or “inthe-box.”

WHILE SOME THINGS CHANGE... Peter Walker, senior product engineer at Calrec Audio, acknowledges that priorities

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audio at home changed during 2020 due to the circumstances brought about by COVID-19, with a focus on safe, reliable and flexible workflows. “Because of this, there’s definitely been an increase in automation/remote control for smaller productions,” he says. “But live broadcast still needs high-quality systems with niche broadcast features. Regardless of the controller type, processing and routing are still at the center of the sound suite, whether it is located in an audio studio, a local equipment room or a server center.

typical on film soundtrack mixes these days. Recent trends have moved away from relying on large digital consoles for routing and distribution to DAW-based systems with additional DSP for larger systems, according to James Townsend, digital audio technical sales specialist with BMD. “The console’s role then becomes one of control, providing the fastest possible inter-

keeps, long after COVID has been suppressed or controlled,” he says. “Customers are looking for truly virtualized, rapidly deployable and scalable solutions, not just a means to remote control the back-end of a ‘traditional console.’” The iQs is described as “multipurpose” and Telos/Axia is also moving beyond its traditional radio market with the physical console

“Practical considerations such as DSP resources, flexible routing, mix minus feeds and IFB mixes all existed before COVID and still exist.” PETER WALKER, CALREC AUDIO

“Practical considerations such as DSP resources, flexible routing, mix minus feeds and IFB mixes all existed before COVID and still exist,” Walker added. “Broadcast networks will always require refined control.” The argument against touchscreen-based mixing for live production has always been that it does not have, as Tom Knowles, broadcast systems product manager at SSL, says, “the immediacy of physical, tactile controls.” But, he adds, the sound desk is no longer a standalone unit, it is often part of an integrated system of distributed components. “Physical surfaces, software control interfaces, DSP computer and I/O devices are the building blocks that perform audio console functions,” Knowles said. “Systems can be scaled to meet the task at hand, providing the flexibility and agility a traditional console may not have provided, with the connecting software being the key element.”

face for the software,” he said. “It provides familiarity for the operator, who can concentrate on the picture while working instead of continually scrutinizing a DAW user interface.” BMD has different options for this new role, from large-scale Fairlight consoles to the new Desktop Consoles.

COMPACT DESIGN

VIRTUAL AND SCALABLE

Blackmagic Design has been at the forefront of the trend toward more software-based operations, notably with the DaVinci Resolve suite of color correction, editing and visual effects tools. Version 17 of Resolve also includes Fairlight sound editing and mixing capability, which, when used in conjunction with the Fairlight Audio Accelerator, can handle up to 2,000 tracks, which is

Telos Alliance has fully embraced virtualized audio mixing with the new Axia iQs software, which has AES67 audio over IP (AoIP) capability as well as being cloud deployable. Martin Dyster, vice president of business development for Telos Alliance, comments that the global broadcast market is rapidly leaning toward a remote production model. “That looks as though it will be here for

Wheatstone offers the ability to create virtual consoles through the combination of the ACI protocol and ScreenBuilder suite of touchscreen tools.

that was launched at the 2019 IBC Show. Dyster comments that the company’s Quasar AoIP mixing console is being sold into TV as well, which further extends the reach of audio over IP, something Telos has been advocating for many years, into the visual production domain. All of the major console manufacturers producing desks for TV work offer some form of AoIP capability: Wheatstone with its own WheatNet-IP system, Calrec (both Dante and RAVENNA), Lawo (RAVENNA/ AES67), SSL (Dante) and BMD. With its extended connectivity capabilities, the audio console is now much more than a means of mixing sound. Whether it will evolve fully into the virtual realm is debatable, but it shows no signs of finishing its development any time soon. l

twitter.com/tvtechnology | www.tvtech.com | January 2021

21


eye on tech | product and services RemoteAccess-GATE for KVM

VERO ST 2110 Matrox’s new VERO ST 2110 signal generator and diagnostic appliance is designed for SMPTE ST 2110-networked environments. An all-in-one appliance, VERO combines a fully adjustable pattern generator and signal diagnostics, integrating EBU LIST into a single tool. Key features in VERO include the ST 2110 reference sender for users to test receiver compliance and resilience; PCAP recording, capturing a replica of network traffic in a PCAP file; full HD and UHD capability with two independent output channels; and an intuitive web-based interface. z For additional information, contact Matrox at 514-822-6000 or visit

The RemoteAccess-GATE is a standalone device that provides unblocked, BIOS-level access to connected computers worldwide to help remotely operate KVM systems via LAN, WAN and the internet. The device can connect a single remote computer or an entire KVM system, with simultaneous access available for up to eight users. The system offers support for 4K and UHD resolutions with a 4:2:2 sampling rate, as well as HD resolutions up to 1920x1200 at 60 Hz with 4:4:4 color depth. Adapters for VGA, DVI, Mini DisplayPort and USB-C are also available.

www.matrox.com. ❚ For additional information, contact G&D North America at

818-748-3383 or visit www.gd-northamerica.com.

TICO-RAW IP Cores intoPIX’s TICO-RAW IP cores reduce RAW bandwidth and storage requirements and cover all RAW format requirements, including CFA Bayer patterns, bit depths from 8 bit to 16 bits and resolutions from 2 Mpixels to 160 Mpixels. The TICO-RAW IP-cores are available for ASIC design and FPGAs on Intel and Xylinx FPGA platforms. Features include adjustable compression rates from 2:1 to 16:1 and selectable constant bitrate (CBR) or capped variable bitrate (VBR), which enables lossless quality for video applications and mathematically lossless for machine vision and analytics.

NDI|HX Camera The NDI|HX camera is now available for the Android app, transforming Android smartphones and tablets into broadcast-ready camera systems that can capture 4K content. The NDI|XH for Android app can be used as a camera source in multicamera live streaming systems like NewTek’s TriCaster, Vizrt’s Viz Vectar Plus and OBS, as well as others. It also integrates with Zoom, Skype, Microsoft Teams or other video communication applications. With Android compatibility, NDI says that its NDI|HX technology is now available in more than 4 billion devices globally.

z For additional information, contact intoPIX visit www.intopix.com. z For additional information, visit NDI at www.ndi.tv.

OSW 1022 Optical Switch

A 1RU model of Riedel’s 1200 series, the RSP-1216HL SmartPanel provides an intercom and control panel for video, audio, data and communications networks. This fully-IP centric unit features a full-color, high-resolution, sunlight-readable touchscreen. The hybrid-lever key design combines lever and rotary-style key slates. Connection options include AES3, SMPTE 2110-30, GPIO, analog, AES67 four-wire and front and rear USB connectivity. A new audio processing capability has also been added to deliver excellent speech quality and the reproduction of program material, according to Riedel.

The OSW 1022 yellobrik is a 2x2 optical switch designed to improve connectivity and security on fiber networks, serve as a fiber line emergency switch, provide restoration and reconfiguration over optical paths, route diversity and support other public fiber-optic applications. OSW 1022 is available in two modes: latching and non-latching. In “latching mode,” the OSW 1022 maintains its current optical conception path when power is weak or is lost. In “non-latching” mode, the yellobrik switches to a new connection path when power fails, then reverts to its original path when power returns.

z For additional information, contact Riedel at 818-559-6900 or

z For additional information, visit LYNX Technik AG at

visit www.riedel.net .

www.lynx-technik.com.

RSP-1216HL SmartPanel

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XXXXXXXX January 2020 2021 | www.tvtech.com | www.tvtechnology.com | twitter.com/tvtechnology | twitter.com/tvtechnology


eye on tech | product and services Lexi 2.0

Micro Converter 3G

The second generation of EEG’s automated cloud-hosted closed captioning service, Lexi 2.0 achieves up to 95% accuracy, largely based on Lexi 2.0’s reduction in word errors, improved punctuation, improved response to fast speech and improved response to background noise. EEG has added “Core Models,” an expansion of EEG’s Topic Models. Core Models recognizes topics, immerses itself in distinctive vocabulary and observes context through the absorption of relevant web data. Users can now also schedule, monitor and manage caption jobs.

BMD's Micro Converter 3G models are compact 3G-SDI broadcast video converters designed to provide connections between HDMI and professional SDI equipment to support formats up to 1080p60. The Micro Converters are powered by USB. Additional features include 3D LUT to monitor the SDI to HDMI model; camera control features for Blackmagic ATEM switchers; support for 3G-SDI and HDMI timecode standards; 3G-SDI technology with built-in SDI re-clocking; and support for NTSC, PAL, 720 HD and 1080 HD video standards.

z For additional information, contact EEG at 516-293-7472 or visit

www.eegent.com. z For additional information, contact Blackmagic Design at

408-954-0500 or visit www.blackmagicdesign.com.

M-CleanIt

The new Draco tera flex matrix switch series incorporates features from IHSE’s Draco tera enterprise line of switches. This includes SNMPv3, LDAPS, multilingual on-screen display, encrypted communication and fast booting. Draco tera flex devices can also be interconnected in a decentralized matrix system using matrix grid technology. The Draco tera flex series come in three housing variants—1, 2 and 4U—with 16-160 ports, all of which can be used as either inputs or outputs. Eight-port expansion modules can be mixed between CAT and fiber-optic types, with either 1 Gbps or 3 Gbps bandwidth.

M-CleanIt is a profanity delay system for IP or SDI environments. The system protects against audio or video profanity by clean switching to different video sources or a web page, blurring video, showing black or blue color bars, muting individual audio channels or switching to another audio source. Users can also jump ahead in the program to avoid the profanity. M-CleanIt gives operators time to react to an incident whether in an IP or SDI live stream. It offers up to 600 frames of delay—24 seconds in 1080i50, 20 seconds in 1080i59.94, 12 seconds in 720p50 and 1080p50 and 10 seconds in 1080p59.94 environments.

z For additional information, contact IHSE at 732-738-8780 or visit

z For additional information, contact Crystal Vision at 407-409-3408

www.ihse.com.

or visit www.cystalvision.tv.

Telestream Cloud Stream Monitor

PRO3-5G & AIR-5G

Telestream’s live ABR monitoring service has been renamed Telestream Cloud Stream Monitor and has added contribution feed monitoring and ad tracking features. The service allows users to monitor the health and performance of video services using public cloud resources to route, transform and deliver video. It can also receive end-to-end actionable intelligence, measure cloud contribution feeds and identify impairments affecting audience engagement at the CDN edge. Monitoring of transport streams delivered to cloud processing centers has also been added for real-time measurement of critical metrics.

The PRO3-5G and AIR-5G series of lightweight bonded cellular transmitters is now available from Aviwest. The PRO3-5G offers six embedded 3G/4G/5G modems that can be camera-mounted or used in a backpack. AIR-5G is a compact transmitter with a rechargeable battery and an array of audio and video interfaces. Both use the Safe Streams Transport (SST) protocol that aggregates multiple IP network connections and adapts video bitrates according to network bandwidth fluctuations. Both products began shipping in December.

Draco tera flex

z For additional information, contact Aviwest at 646-257-2553 or z For additional information, contact Telestream at 530-470-1300 or

visit www.aviwest.com.

visit www.telestream.net . twitter.com/tvtechnology | www.tvtech.com | January 2021

25


cloud storage

Protecting and Monetizing Your Legacy

Using the cloud and AI to optimize your archives

By Kevin Hilton

LONDON—The image of television archives and attitudes towards the business of archiving itself has changed dramatically over the last 20 years. When videotapes were digitized, there was still the thought that the programs were going into a deep archive. Today, the explosion in channels and the need for legacy programming to fill schedules has brought about a change in how archive material is managed. The ubiquity of the cloud is also making an impact, although not to the extent that might be expected.

‘ACTIVE ARCHIVES’ Deep archives—the original conception of an information store where material could sit on a “shelf” indefinitely without being touched—still exist but the active archive has become a viable method of storing programs and other data. Active archives work on the same basic principles as their long-term counterparts but can be accessed more frequently. They work as an online resource and can be based in conjunction with any main storage options: flash disk, tape or cloud. This concept is advocated by the Active Archive Alliance, organized as a “vendor-neutral” information resource to guide people in the design and implementation of modern archives. Celebrating its 10th anni-

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January 2021 | www.tvtech.com |

versary in 2020, members already included Western Digital, Spectra, Fujifilm and Strong Box but last year saw a flurry of new additions to the ranks, including IBM, Quantum, Object Matrix and, just before Christmas, XenData. Molly Presley, head of global product, brand and customer marketing at Qumulo, is a founding member of the AAA, and told the InsideHPC blog last February that the reason for founding the alliance was the “recognition of the rapidly increasing value held within unstructured data.”

as needed. He observes that there is “still a strong need for data tape,” which forms a part of the active archive. “It’s not just a place to store stuff,” Tognetti says. “It is constantly used as a pool of material, with data being put on and taken off tape every day.” In parallel to this, content objects are also sent to the cloud but Tognetti feels there are still aspects of this decentralized storage option that need addressing, specifically ingress costs. “People are not charged to put data in but they are charged to get it out and move it

AGILITY AND SPEED The means of holding all this valuable material—be it LTO tape, disk arrays or the cloud—is well established. The element that enabled active archives—and which will drive archiving into the future—is the ability to find and move the data quickly, safely and efficiently. A leader in this is EcoDigital (formerly Front Porch Digital), which was acquired by Telestream in October 2020. Geoff Tognetti, senior vice president of Telestream’s content storage management business unit, says that the DIVA software suite, “complements” Telestream’s “broader workflow tools” for distribution and orchestration. Tognetti explains that EcoDigital’s systems are used to turn rich media into independent objects, which can then be moved around

twitter.com/tvtechnology

Geoff Tognetti, senior vice president of Telestream's content storage management business unit


cloud storage product marketing at Quantum. “With less content being created, because of Covid restrictions, companies are looking to figure out how to repurpose and remonetize content from the archive,” he said. To enable this to happen efficiently, Bassier envisions new technologies and business models coming together. “AI techniques and services are giving customers different ways of enriching content in their archive,” he says. “AI can also make archives more searchable. The algorithms are pretty good at recognizing the face of a celebrity in a single frame of video, which saves time having to manually search the archive.” Quantum is also expanding its service offering, in response to what it sees as some of the downsides to the public cloud.

sdecoret/Getty Images

Ian Hamilton, CTO, Signiant

around,” he said. There is also the issue of data gravity. “Broadcasters have typically got 10 to 156 TB of storage, which is a big center of gravity,” Tognetti added. “This can be on tape or as objects in a near-line store on premises.”

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CLOUD AND ON-PREM For Savva Mueller, vice president of product management at Masstech Innovations, LTO tends to be “most popular” on premises and sees the current big trend in storage for media and entertainment as an “accelerated move” towards the cloud. “We have had some companies expressing interest in cloud archiving,” he says. “Pre-pandemic, most were still hesitant and very much in ‘wait and see mode,’ but now there is a greater acceleration and customers are seeing the cloud as something for 2021, 2022.” Despite an increased interest in cloud archiving, Savva says potential users need to be reassured that any of their established workflows will be able to operate with the “new” technology. “Cloud storage is fundamentally different to on-premises,” he explains, “so users want to be reassured that any processes they already have in place will be able to work in the same way as much as possible.” The main public cloud providers—AWS

Elemental (owned by Amazon Web Services), Google Cloud Platform and Microsoft Azure— operate in similar ways, with tiered storage so that retrieval—which can take from between a few hours to one or two days—does not have an adverse effect on customers. A criticism levelled at the big cloud companies is that there is little or no opportunity to move data between different platforms or select specific tools from one supplier to use on another’s cloud. Mueller, for one, sees no reason why customers should not be able to use the feature of a cloud vendor even if they do not use its deep storage. Signiant CTO Ian Hamilton says that although “there is no doubt that everything is moving to the cloud,” customers in the interim are turning to more “hybrid” operations. “Anyone with more than 100 PB of storage should be considering the cloud,” he said. “And if you’re already in the cloud, why move data back and forth? There are the costs of moving material around but also benefits, such as not worrying about the choice between tape and spinning disk.” Hamilton observes that the private cloud is a much more media-specific option but in general, archiving involves a lot of duplication to ensure adequate backup. “There is a lot of redundancy in storing information and not every storage system is optimized for that,” he said. “But the big vendors can optimize at that level. We’ve seen the private cloud come into and go out of fashion over the past few years.”

THE IMPORTANCE OF AI The pandemic has had a wide-ranging impact on broadcasting, prompting storage customers to consolidate their archives, according to Eric Bassier, senior director of

“AI techniques and services are giving customers different ways of enriching content in their archive.” ERIC BASSIER, QUANTUM

“It is expensive to run and customers give up control of their content,” Bassier says. “So we are building a private cloud and selling it as a low-cost service. This is something of a change for Quantum but we have to transform how we go to market and sell to our customers.” Which shows that, somewhat ironically, while the purpose of an archive is to look back, the technology and business of archiving is certainly looking forward. l

twitter.com/tvtechnology | www.tvtech.com | January 2021

27


lighting technology

Achieving Quality With LED Arrays Compact size and versatility enable illumination in areas difficult to access

L

EDs are the lights of the present and the future. Though we still utilize HMI, tungsten and other lighting technologies, LEDs keep gaining momentum and are on EXPERTISE sets everywhere. Julia Swain They have evolved into beautiful key lights on all types of skin tones, all the while becoming more versatile and lightweight. Because of their compact size, some can be placed in very small places in order to illuminate from areas that were difficult to access before.

Soft light is extremely popular, but softening LEDs has been a challenge since a lot of space is needed. Slapping diffusion onto LEDs, up close to the source, isn’t effective. However, some units are offering more structural changes and accessories that allow light to become softened closer to the light fixture itself. One prime example is the Hudson Spider. It has several arrays of LEDs that fold into themselves for a lightweight, easily transportable unit. Its soft box options are also easier to apply than most—instead of using firm metal rods, it slips on to each LED arm and then uses a zipper to shut. The Hudson Spider can be formed into different sizes depending on how extended its arms are, so you can create bigger light sources. The thing that sets Hudson Spider apart when it comes to really achieving beautiful light quality is that the arrays are spread out. Each array is a single arm that extends from the center of the fixture, with space between each arm, so in an umbrella or other reflector build, the LED light is spread out and broken up more than a wall of LEDs would be. Because the arrays are so slim, actually placing into the parabolic backing gets them naturally further away from diffusion that comes with the kit and is placed at the front of the soft box, making these options more viable.

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January 2021 | www.tvtech.com

Photo Credit: Sarah Hudson

HUDSON SPIDER

Hudson Spider features several arrays of LEDs that fold into a lightweight, easily transportable unit.


lighting technology LiteGear’s LiteTile helps lighting professionals create larger sources that can be softened.

LITETILE LiteTile from LiteGear has been another great tool for creating larger sources that can be softened. They come in different sizes including 2x8 square feet and 4x4 square feet. Attaching velcro frames for diffusion on their other products such as LiteMat does not do a decent job of softening because it’s so close to the light.

[LEDs] have evolved into beautiful key lights on all types of skin tones, all the while becoming more versatile and lightweight. LiteTile skips over this and allows you to create your own space between unit and diffusion and other shaping tools, which ultimately makes for a better quality source. Because of their slim profile, LiteTile can be rigged with diffusion that matches it in size, hung from a grid or ceiling and fit into tight spaces. You can also obviously “tile them together” and create much larger panels of light, depending on the job. Additionally, what is great about lights such as the Hudson Spider or LiteGear’s lights is that they’re bi-color. You can dial in anything on the Kelvin scale from 2,600K to

6,500K, depending on the specific unit They also come equipped with a dimmer pack so you can control intensity easily and offer the option of running off of either battery power or house power. These features have been around for a while but the thing that LED manufactures have been trying to perfect is this ability to shape and soften with the tools inside of the LED’s kit. They come with egg crates, umbrellas or backings and multiple flavors of diffusion. Worth mentioning is LiteRibbon, which is defined by being a single, flexible strip of LEDs. However it is not a large array and even harder to soften. The smaller the group of LEDs, the more it makes sense to simply use for harder lighting accents. Even if super thick diffusion was to be laid on smaller sources, the quality is just not as soft and spread out.

So something like a strip of LEDs is better utilized for glows of light under the lip of a bar, behind furniture, etc. There are countless manufacturers of LED units for the television and film industries. It’s important to make sure that whatever lighting is purchased is a quality product—not just in the quality of the light emitted but its color, power and other options for altering the light. LiteGear and the Hudson Spider are just some of the quality brands available. The future for LED lighting is an exciting one as the technology continues to advance. l Julia Swain is a cinematographer whose work includes  films such as “Lucky” and “Speed of Life” alongside dozens of commercials and music videos.  She continues to shoot on a variety of formats, seeking to create compelling visuals for every story and brand. She can be reached through TV Technology.

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twitter.com/tvtechnology | www.tvtech.com | January 2021

29


equipment guide | storage & recording devices

Atomos Neon Connects Productions Across Continents USER REPORT By Brett Danton Director/DOP/Photographer

LONDON—When the pandemic hit and the world went into lockdown, I had five TV commercials on the books. All were cancelled. My clients are all around the world and suddenly I found myself unable to get to Abu Dhabi or Sydney from where I live outside London. I had to reinvent myself and the way I worked, which is where the Atomos Neon 24-inch came in. I’ve used Atomos products since the debut of the Canon C200. I’m a huge fan of the Shogun 7, which I consider to be the “Swiss Army knife” of camera-mounted monitors. Whenever something doesn’t connect or something doesn’t talk to something else—and some new cameras can be a pain in that regard—I’ve always managed to take something into the Shogun 7 and then pump it out to everything else. That’s saved us more than once. So, when it came to speccing out the equipment I was going to need to be able to remotely direct TVCs, Atomos was the first company I thought of.

CONNECTED ACROSS THE WORLD I now have an Atomos Neon 24 sitting on my desk and have just finished a six-day shoot working nights remotely directing a commercial for a furniture brand that was being shot in Australia. There’s another Neon 24 sitting in the studio over there and that means I can work with the DOP and we know we are looking at exactly the same picture in exactly the same color

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January 2021 | www.tvtech.com |

space everytime. We’re using Teradek to establish a point-to-point network between England and Australia, and we’ve got roughly a 500-millisecond delay from the camera to my Neon here streaming 4K over the 12,000-mile circuit.

where I’ve got a second broadcast monitor if I want to sit on the sofa and look at things. I’m also recording all my takes now—I’m able to sit here and watch all the takes back without waiting for things to be uploaded into the cloud, and that has

boardroom. We color grade in Blackmagic’s DaVinci Resolve from here and have the confidence that the two pictures will match exactly. In the past, because it was really expensive to have the same monitor at each end, ev-

Atomos’ Neon 24 monitors provide the same quality picture for Danton and the Australia crew.

We’re coming out of a Canon C500 in SDI, and because we’re shooting on a crane with a gimbal, the DOP is running an Atomos Shogun 7 on the camera and the picture is coming straight out of that into a Neon. We’ve got a patch system with a witness camera and the live camera feed. The team in Australia puts them together or encodes them separately, sends them back here where I decode them and they go straight into the Neon. We’re sending in Rec.709, but we could use 4K HDR if we wanted to. It also loops into my lounge twitter.com/tvtechnology

made a big difference. I’m using Zoom to communicate with the crew and we’ve put a couple of radio mics on set so I can hear what’s going on and talk to people directly. When I’m directing, I usually go off into a closed space anyway, and a couple of times I’ve gone to get up from my desk here to talk to the crew before I’ve realized they are 12,000 miles away.

THE EDITING SETUP The next step is the color grade. The Australia-based Neon is taken to the client’s office and looped onto a big screen in the

eryone ended up with a different monitor and a different picture. The Neon though makes it work. Clients like it too. I think it’s a workflow I’ll continue postCOVID. l Brett Danton has worked alongside some of the most iconic brands, including Emirates, Jeep, Canon and Land Rover, for more than 20 years. He has traveled the world working as a director, DOP and photographer. He can be contacted at brett@brettdanton.tv. For more information, contact Atomos at 503-388-3236 or visit www.atomos.com.


equipment guide | storage & recording devices

PBS KVIE Streamlines Storage With Avid USER REPORT By Todd Cima Assistant Chief Engineer PBS KVIE

SACRAMENTO, Calif.—KVIE is a PBS member station licensed to Sacramento. In addition to producing national series such as “America’s Heartland” or statewide series like “Inside California Education,” we produce local series like “Studio Sacramento” and “Rob on the Road.” KVIE has two studios and nine Adobe Premiere Pro edit bays. For years we had an outside integrator manage our edit and storage systems. Unfortunately we couldn’t control the costs of maintaining the system because it was pieced together from multiple vendors; in addition we were also reliant on a third party for support. As the on-site engineer, I didn’t like having to tell my team that they were down until I got support. When our integrator announced his retirement, we decided to rebuild the entire system from the ground up in order to be able to locally administer it.

CHECKING ALL THE BOXES In our old system, there was no redundancy built into our LTO library, so on the occasions when we lost a tape all that data was gone. LTO is marketed as a cheaper solution compared to spinning disk, but it can be quite costly when you factor in redundancy, support and migration to new LTO standards. Our old system was built using multiple vendors for edit and storage. This meant that an upgrade to one system could easily break the workflow to another, so upgrades usually

came with growing pains. KVIE wanted a streamlined system we could manage without constantly asking for outside help, so I started looking for a single-vendor solution. Avid is the only vendor I found that provides an endto-end solution across asset management and storage. My boss came from an Avid Unity environment and found it easy to manage and reliable. However, our editors liked using Premiere Pro and did not want to switch to Media Composer just for the

grate it with Premiere. It can do all the things our old MAM can do and much more.

MAKING THE SWITCH We placed the order in June but had to put the integration on hold for a while due to the lockdown. Once the integration

Todd Cima and the team at KVIE switched to an Avid NEXIS | E5 NL for storage.

asset management. So when I discovered Avid systems worked with Premiere Pro, it checked all the boxes on both the technical and creative sides. We invested in Avid NEXIS | E5 NL nearline storage, NEXIS | E4, NEXIS | System Director Appliance (SDA) and MediaCentral | Asset Management with HP servers for a virtual machine environment. A lot of people think you need to use Media Composer with MediaCentral, but Avid has done a lot over the years to inte-

started, it took roughly three months to install, get the infrastructure in place and do some engineering on the back end. We developed a procedure to migrate the most relevant content and metadata first, so we could clean up the archive as we went. We switched from an LTO tape archive to an Avid NEXIS | E5 NL so everything’s faster. Nearline storage is more appropriate for us because we repackage materials. A new episode of “America’s Heartland” hasn’t

been shot in five or six years, but we repackage them as “greatest hits” shows, so we’re constantly pulling seasons of material from the archive. Switching to 10-Gig connections off an Avid NEXIS E5 NL improves our speed and ability to not only re-archive content once it’s edited, but also gain back space, which was a big limitation with LTO. There’s a perception that Avid is expensive, but by committing to five years of support, our annual operational costs have gone down significantly. Everything is doubled up—we have two controllers on the E5 NL, two on the E4, two on the SDA and high-availability VM servers— so if anything fails, there’s no downtime. Avid’s support is great and super fast. When I see a firmware update, I know it’s Avid-approved and won’t break the rest of the system. As well as being a system that we can manage in-house, it’s easily expandable—we can easily add another Avid NEXIS E5 or expand the Avid NEXIS E4. We also like the fact that Avid is a stable company that will still be here five years from now. It gives us a clear path forward for future upgrades and expansion. l Todd Cima is the assistant chief engineer at PBS KVIE. He has worked at the PBS station for six years. He can be contacted at tcima@kvie.org. For more information, contact Avid at 978-640-6789 or visit www.avid.com.

twitter.com/tvtechnology | www.tvtech.com | January 2021

31


equipment guide | storage & recording devices

Sony’s Optical Disc Archive Stores And Secures MSU’s Vital Content USER REPORT By Adam Goldberg Chief Engineer, Broadcast and Media Operations Montclair State University

MONTCLAIR, N.J.—In 2015, Sony Electronics and Montclair State University (MSU) entered into a strategic alliance to give the school’s students, faculty and staff access to the same stateof-the-art Sony professional technology used by the world’s leading broadcasters—often meeting or exceeding the equipment standards students would encounter on-the-job. From switchers, servers and storage to projectors, displays and studio and PTZ cameras, MSU employs Sony’s solutions across our campus.

TOUCHLESS MEDIA One way we stay ahead of the curve and preserve our most important media is through our adoption of Sony’s Optical Disc Archive (ODA), which is critical to our long-term archival storage. We use Sony’s ODSL30M PetaSite, a scalable 30-slot master library unit to archive, safeguard and easily recall the university’s most visible live events, including graduation ceremonies, presidential addresses, theater performances and concerts. We chose Sony’s ODA for our long-term archival storage because it is a touchless media, meaning the only thing that touches the disc during the Write/Read process is a laser light. Other archival options use a physical tape that touches drums and rollers and heads. This translates to less wear and tear and a longer shelf life.

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MSU was able to go from using tapes to a touchless media setup with Sony’s Optical Disc Archive.

Another reason why we chose the ODA system is because of its backwards compatibility. If we opt to buy a next-generation system, I can take my Generation Two cartridges and the system will read off of them. I don’t have to worry about making sure that I am transferring my old media onto new media to stay current, and the readers and writers are also compatible. That translates to long-term savings for us. twitter.com/tvtechnology

SIMPLIFYING THE PROCESS In terms of workflow, we archive large-scale events and performances that represent the university. Once an event takes place, we can send the RAW files to the ingest folder. From there, Storage DNA will pick them up. We metadata tag the files for easy search, which are then sent to a cartridge into ODA. Prior to adopting ODA, we were primarily using external hard drives. Using Sony’s solution is

easier, faster and gives us peace of mind. I don’t have to worry about a hard drive sitting on the shelf for years and then plugging it in and hoping it works. Additionally, hard drives are often not labeled and in order to understand what is on the drive you have to plug it in and check. With ODA and Storage DNA, I can simply search the metadata tags for the content I’m looking for and it will locate what cartridge it’s on. This allows me to easily tell the system to grab a specific cartridge and export its contents from that folder back to our hard drive system, so that I can locate it and do what I want with the file. Previously, we were digging through hard drives or losing track of tapes and information due to personnel changes. With ODA, I know that everything that is important to the university is secure and easily discoverable. Another benefit of ODA is its scalability. It’s great that we could buy a smaller base unit with the understanding that in the future, we can just add in more bays and more drives to expand and grow the system, which has less impact on our bottom line. Between the purchase of the system, the cartridge and the backwards compatibility, we are confident it will grow along with our operations for years to come. l Adam Goldberg is Montclair State University’s chief engineer for the Broadcast and Media Operations for the College of the Arts. He has also served as the chief engineer of WMSC radio since January 2013. He can be reached at goldbergad@montclair.edu. For more information, visit www.sony.com.


equipment guide | storage & recording devices buyers briefs Quantum StorNext File System

Panasonic AG-UMR20 Portable Digital Video Recorder The AGUMR20 is a compact field recorder suited for broadcast, video production, live streaming and more. It can be used as a standalone recorder for external video sources or with an optional compact 4K POVCAM camera head (AG-UCK20). Among the AG-UMR20’s key features are low bitrate AVCHD and MP4 recording onto SDXC cards; dual card slots with relay recording; 3G-SDI input and simultaneous 3G SDI/HDMI output; streaming and IP control via LAN terminal; and a touch-panel LCD screen.

A software platform designed to manage unstructured data, the StorNext File System delivers full data lifecycle management from data creation to end. StorNext uses iSER/RDMA or IB direct to storage connections for up to 23 GB/s single stream throughput. Storage media can be NVMe or SSD Flash for sub-millisecond latency. Data can be copied or moved to Quantum LTO supported tape libraries, ActiveScale object store on premise or S3 in the public cloud. The system provides parallel access across macOS, Windows and Linux. ❚ For more information, contact Quantum at 800-677-6268 or visit www.quantum.com.

AJA Ki Pro Go AJA’s Ki Pro GO is a portable multichannel HD/ SD recorder and single-channel player. Ki Pro GO v2.0 firmware increases the maximum bitrate to 25 Mbps and adds 4:2:2 and 10-bit color space support for improved recording quality and rich imagery capture. Network file downloads in Ki Pro GO’s Web GUI provide a fast and remote workflow. Ki Pro GO can be paired with AJA Ki Pro Ultra 12G to simultane-

❚ For more information, visit

na.panasonic.com.

ously capture multiple streams of up to 4K/UltraHD Apple ProRes and 2K/HD H.264 in any combination. ❚ For more information, contact AJA at 530-2742048 or visit www.aja.com.

EditShare EFSv Seamless Designed to solve the workarounds associated with proxy editing and conforming, EFSv facilitates a true seamless proxy editing experience for all editors including Premiere Pro, Media Composer, DaVinci Resolve and Edius, improving the efficiencies of remote editing workflows and redefining the economics of editing in the cloud while improving the user experience. Making cloud editing more accessible to more facilities, EFSv optimizes the use of both object and block storage located in the cloud, allowing for savings up to 75% compared to the existing costs of cloud storage and workstations. ❚ For more information, contact EditShare at 800-433-0097 or visit www.editshare.com.

For-A Odyssey Insight Server Odyssey’s Insight Production Server is a multichannel playout system available in two- or four-channel configuration. It supports up to four SD, HD or optionally all of them configured as a single 4K channel, and channels can be teamed for video + alpha output. In standard configuration (4x2TB drives in RAID-10), the server stores 150 hours of HD content at 50 Mbps. Additional features include a web interface, supported wrappers and codecs, video playout with time delay playback and integration with For-A production video switchers, routing switchers, CG generators, GPIO-connected devices and other studio equipment. ❚ For more information, visit www.for-a.com.

Pronology rNAS.m4 Pronology’s rNAS.m4 is a portable Network Attached Storage unit designed for remote and studio production. It features a hardware raid controller, hot swappable drives and cooling. It also offers enterprise-level permissions, security and encryption options to protect content. All common cloud-based integration and connection protocols are supported. It includes standard network interface options and external information and display module to view connection and health of system data. The enclosure is roadready and comes with hard and soft cases for travel. ❚ For more information, contact Pronology at 212-660-1600 or visit www.pronology.com.

twitter.com/tvtechnology | www.tvtech.com | January 2021

33


people on the move For possible inclusion, send information to tvtechnology@futurenet.com with People News in the subject line.

HANS HOFFMANN

CHRIS BROOKS

KATHRYN WASHINGTON

ANDREW JORDAN

President SMPTE

Executive VP of Programming and Business Development VUit

Senior Vice President,TV Content Corp. for Public Broadcasting

Global Chief Technology Officer NEP Group

VUit has appointed Chris Brooks its executive vice president of programming and business development. Brooks will initially focus on expanding VUit’s content library to build out the platform’s hyper-local, affiliate driven content, as well as VUit’s originals. He also will collaborate with the UX team to maximize discovery and advertising opportunities as well as construct the VUit content product road map.

The Corp. for Public Broadcasting has promoted Kathryn Washington to the role of senior vice president of Television Content. She will lead the development and implementation of strategies for CPB’s investments in mission-focused television and digital productions. This will include working with PBS, public TV stations and independent production organizations to support innovative, diverse and creative programing and content for national public media audiences.

NEP Group has named Andrew Jordan its global chief technology officer. Reporting to NEP's COO Jeff Hughes, Jordan will lead the group responsible for global technology strategy, product/solution design and build and synchronized network operations. He will also oversee NEP’s R&D activities, working with the company’s product managers and business leaders. Previously he held executive technical positions at NBCUniversal and Thomson Reuters.

SO VANG

DANIEL URL

RENAUD LAVOIE

JONATHAN KATZ

Vice President, Emerging Technologies ONE Media 3.0

Head of Global Product Management Vizrt

Senior Vice President, Technology Riedel Communications

COO, Head of Entertainment E.W. Scripps Co.

So Vang joins the ONE Media 3.0 team as its new vice president for Emerging Technologies, the Sinclair Broadcast Group subsidiary announced. Vang, most recently the vice president of Advanced Technology at NAB, will be tasked with engineering elements of ONE Media 3.0’s deployment of next-generation broadcasting and related technologies. This includes decisions on the deployment of broadcast systems and platforms, including new business use cases.

Daniel Url has joined Vizrt Group as the company’s new head of Global Product Management, reporting to Michael Hallén, Group CEO/president, Prior to Vizrt, Url was managing director and chief sales officer for Qvest Media. Url will oversee product development for Vizrt Group’s brands NewTek, Vizrt and NDI. Url and the product management teams are expected to work with Dr. Andrew Cross, president of R&D for Vizrt Group.

Riedel has announced that Renaud Lavoie will take over the new position of senior vice president of Technology. Lavoie will be responsible for advancing Riedel’s video solutions portfolio and strengthening the company’s IP-enabled hardware and software. He also will increase interaction between Riedel’s research team by managing engineers from different R&D disciplines to explore new technologies. He will now report directly to CEO and founder Thomas Riedel.

The E.W. Scripps Co. has appointed industry veteran Jonathan Katz as chief operating officer and head of entertainment for its new national television networks business. Katz will report to Lisa Knutson and will assume his duties upon the close of Scripps’ acquisition of ION Media. In his new role, Katz will be responsible for the networks’ entertainment brands and will have additional oversight of revenue, research, marketing and programming for the entire portfolio of Scripps’ national networks.

Hans Hoffmann has been elected by SMPTE membership to serve as SMPTE president for the 2021–22 term. Hoffman, head of media fundamentals and production at the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), currently serves as SMPTE executive vice president. Hoffmann is a SMPTE Fellow and as of Jan. 1, 2021, became the first European to serve as the Society’s president.

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