TV Tech - 0469 - January 2022

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contents

January 2022 volumn 40, issue 1

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FCC Forum Highlights Closed-Captioning Issues

Shift in consumption of video leads has industry asking whether current rules are adequate By Susan Ashworth

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A Tectonic Shift in ‘Pandemic’ Television Production

For the past two years, the basic concept of the ‘studio’ has changed—perhaps forever By Frank Beacham

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Gear on the Go for TV Crews of Any Size, Market

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openGear Celebrates 15 Years of Success

Reliability, lightweight top the list of requirements By Craig Johnston

Ross’ platform proves value of open standards in signal processing By James Careless

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The Technology Behind the Beijing Winter Olympics

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Maximizing Reception for Over-the-Air TV

UHD, immersive audio and 5G highlight tech advances By Tom Butts

Antenna location is probably the most critical element By Doug Lung

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Archiving Media: Cloud or On-Prem?

They have their place By James Careless

For more news analysis, trend reports and the latest product and tech information, visit www.tvtech.com.

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editor's note

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in the news

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eye on tech

34

people

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editor's note

Can Our Industry Avoid ‘The Great Resignation?’ Last month I wrote about the havoc that COVID-19 has wreaked on trade shows within our industry, preventing colleagues from gathering in person. As we head into 2022 and the threat of omicron forces many parts of the world to face lockdowns and continued isolation policies once again, the impact that is having on our collective psyche is immense. One phenomenon that was not anticipated at the start of the pandemic was “the great resignation”—where employees are deciding that the risks and/or pay associated with their jobs are not worth the price. As recently as September, a record 4.4 million Americans quit their jobs, leading to more than 11 million job openings. A common theme among those who have quit is burnout, and while this condition is not unusual, the pressures associated with the pandemic (and often civil unrest) have made conditions progressively worse for our industry. A report from UNI Global Union (UniGlobal) found that excessive hours and “life-threatening levels of fatigue” are having a devastating impact on the health and well being of workers in the film and TV industries. Anyone who has covered live news will relate to the pressures that come from long hours and unpredictable workloads, but like the conditions that have prompted “the great resignation,” the pandemic exposed their negative impact even moreso. These deteriorating conditions led to more than 98% of voting members of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) to call for a strike in October. However a tentative agreement was struck, which calls for significant wage increases for hourly workers, boosts revenues from streaming and addresses quality-of-life issues such as rest and meal breaks. The provisions also reduce weekend hours and include 54 hours of rest for those working five consecutive days per week, and 32 hours of rest for those working six days. Advances in remote production helped our industry transition to situations that led to fewer workers on site and allowed us to adapt a work-from-home policy; however when it comes to newsgathering, there’s no substitute for being on the scene when and where news happens. Our industry is also plagued by the problems of an aging workforce and industry organizations have developed numerous initiatives designed to attract new blood. We don’t need the added burdens imposed by a pandemic to repel potential new employees or drive existing workers away. Here’s to a (hopefully) more peaceful 2022. Tom Butts Content Director tom.butts@futurenet.com Top 10 Stories on tvtech.com in 2021 1. ‘Sex and the City’ Gets HD Remastering for HBO Max 2. ATSC 3.0 Deployments: Where and When Will NextGen TV Be Available? 3. DirecTV and Dish in Terminal Orbit? Their Satellites Are About to Age Out 4. Sinclair, Bally Reveal Bally Sports Rebrand for RSNs 5. Journalists Getting COVID-19 Vaccine as Part of Phase 1c 6. New ATSC 3.0 Sets, Devices Launch at CES 2021 7. Report: Quarter of U.S. Households Intend to Cut Cable in 2021 8. Broadcasters Eye ATSC 3.0 Rollout in 16 Additional Cities by End-of-Summer, Says Pearl TV 9. Fox Weather Goes Live 10. Tegna-Dish Dispute Continues

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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 Senior Content Producer George Winslow, george.winslow@futurenet.com Contributors Gary Arlen, Susan Ashworth, James Careless, Steve Harvey, Kevin Hilton, Craig Johnston, Bob Kovacs and Mark R. Smith Production Manager Heather Tatrow Managing Design Director Nicole Cobban Design Director Cliff Newman ADVERTISING SALES Vice President, Sales, B2B Tech Group Adam Goldstein, adam.goldstein@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 Technology 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 Head of Production US & UK Mark Constance Head of Design Rodney Dive FUTURE US, INC. 130 West 42nd Street, 7th Floor, New York, NY 10036

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in the news CBS to Build Full-Scale News Operation at Detroit’s WWJ-TV DETROIT—WWJ-TV (CBS 62), the ViacomCBS-owned station in Detroit, has announced ambitious plans to build from scratch a full-scale, hyper-local news department in 2022. CBS News Detroit is currently expected to launch in the late summer or early fall of 2022. It will feature a 24/7 streaming service with live local news coverage from 4:00 AM to 11:35 PM, Monday-Sunday, for a total of 137 hours per week. In addition, CBS 62 will broadcast live CBS News Detroit newscasts 40 hours per week in early morning, midday,

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

early evening and late news time periods, the company said. “We view this as an unprecedented opportunity to start from scratch at a large-market, network-owned station and build the newsroom of the future – where we focus first on streaming and then have our content flow like water across our linear broadcast, digital and social media platforms,” said Wendy McMahon, president and co-head, CBS News and Stations. “When Brian [Watson, vice president and general manager of WWJ-TV and sister station WKBD-TV] and his team presented their vision for CBS News Detroit earlier this year, I thought to myself ‘This never happens. Until now.’” CBS News Detroit will recruit and hire a full staff as soon as they hire a news director. The reporting staff will consist of a diverse team of journalists who will be embedded full-time in communities across the Detroit area, as well as at the State Capital in Lansing, Mich. Adrienne Roark, president, CBS Stations, who has worked closely with CBS 62 on developing the plan for creating CBS News Detroit, added: “The time has come for our

NAB Pilot Launches NextGen TV Fellowship

Deployments • Atlanta: WPCH and WGCL (Meredith Local Media), WSB (Cox), WAGA (FOX Stations), and WXIA (Tegna) • Greensboro, N.C.: WMYV and WXLV (Sinclair); WGHP (Nexstar), and WXII (Hearst) • Houston: KTXH and KRIV (Fox), KIAH (Nexstar), KFTH and KXLN (Univision), KTRK, (ABC), KPRC (Graham Media Group), KHOU (Tegna), KTMD (NBCUniversal), KUHT (University of Houston/ PBS) Los Angeles: KCOP and KTTV (Fox), KIAH (Nexstar), KFT • Springfield, Mo.: KOLR (Mission Broadcasting), KSPR (Gray), and KRBK and KOZL (Nexstar) • Washington, DC: WHUT-TV (Howard University/PBS); WIAV-Class A and WJLA-TV (Sinclair), WRC-TV (NBCUniversal), WTTG (Fox), and WUSA (Tegna)

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Pilot, an innovation initiative of the National Association of Broadcasters, has launched the Pilot NextGen TV Fellowship program with support from Amazon Web Services (AWS). Structured like an earlystage start-up, the fellowship will focus on exploring capabilities of the ATSC 3.0 broadcast standard and developing a concept for a NextGen TV product or service. Working alongside industry experts, fellows will gain practical, first-hand experience with NextGen TV technology during a eight-month program that will include product training, seminars and one-on-one coaching with NextGen TV standard experts and AWS representatives. The fellowship will conclude with fellows presenting their projects at the

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Detroit employees and the communities served by CBS 62 to have a full-fledged news department that utilizes the latest advances in newsgathering and streaming technology and a team of multi-skilled journalists who will be embedded in neighborhoods across the market.” “This is a landmark moment in the history of our station and, for that matter, local news,” Watson said. “I don’t believe there is another station in a large market like ours that has done anything like this, so we are excited to help write a bold new chapter in the history of local news.” z George Winslow

2022 NAB Show in April in Las Vegas. The 2021 fellows are current Howard University students Mikaela Mosley and Sulaiman Bastien.

Spectra Reps' Educast to Deliver Educational Contact Via ATSC 3.0 SpectraRep’s EduCast datacasting service has been selected by the New Mexico Public Education Department (NMPED) to deliver classroom content via ATSC 3.0 broadcasts to students without access to sufficient broadband services in their homes. The project, which kicked off in late November 2021, marks the first time in the United States that educational datacasting will be deployed using ATSC 3.0. Project partners include: New Mexico PBS (KNME and KNMD), KENW Eastern New Mexico University, KRWG New Mexico State University, CTC Technology & Energy, and CLARO Consulting.


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in the news New FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworcel Makes History nomination to a full vote. WASHINGTON—Last month the Senate voted to confirm Federal Communications Commission Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel to another term at the commission, a move that makes her the first female non-acting chair to head the agency. The vote was 68 in favor and 31 opposed and came after the Senate voted yesterday, December 7, to move the

“It is a tremendous honor to be confirmed and designated as the first permanent Chairwoman of the Federal Communications Commission,” Rosenworcel said. “I would like to thank President Biden for the opportunity. People across the country count on the FCC to support the connections they

need for work, learning, healthcare, and access to the information we require to make decisions about our lives, our communities, and our country. "I look forward to working with the Administration, my colleagues on the Commission and FCC staff, members of Congress, and the public to make the promise of modern communications a reality for everyone, everywhere.” z George Winslow

OPINION

New Year’s Notions: Ten predictions about what will happen in the TV industry this year.

W

ith 2021 in the rearview mirror, it’s time to look forward to what the new year may hold for the television industry. • Remote workflows will continue apace regardless of whether the pandemic continues or fizzles. The M&E industry has demonstrated it can keep on keeping on with staff working from home. Workers, too, have embraced this radical departure from the status quo. Even after the pandemic, there won’t be a return to “normal.” While some may go back to the station a few days per week, working remotely will be the new normal for many. • More broadcasters will experiment with the cloud. In December 2020, ViacomCBS and Amazon Web Services inked a deal under which AWS became the preferred cloud vendor of ViacomCBS’s global broadcast media operations, including the company’s entire broadcast footprint. But many others are only beginning their cloud journey. For them, 2022 will be a year of experimentation to determine what works in the cloud and what doesn’t. • Fear of ransomware attacks will motivate a heightened focus on business continuity and disaster recovery. Industry alliances will form, best practices will be developed and attacks will continue. • The meek shall inherit the earth—at least when it comes to NextGen TV. ATSC 3.0 enables lots of flashy, whizbang new goodies for broadcasters and viewers alike. There’s 4K UHD, high dynamic range and wide color gamut, immersive audio, interactivity, addressability and more. But it will be the simpler things—like the ability to actually receive a robust OTA TV signal and Voice + to enhance dialog that will seal the deal with viewers. • India becomes the largest nation to adopt

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ATSC 3.0 and will propel mobile like they used to. Many groups are NextGen TV. South Korean populasimply shrinking their fleet size by replacing older vehicles with later tion: 52 million; U.S.: 330 million; model vans they already own and India: 1.38 billion. India will move not buying new. At the same time, forward with its ATSC 3.0 testing as C-band clearing for 5G use swings part of its larger wireless telecommuinto high gear. What other juicy, nications infrastructure, leading ultinearby tidbit remains? Why of mately to adoption. Its rollout model course, 2GHz BAS spectrum. largely will be based on 3.0 receivers • Mighty oaks from little acorns integrated into smartphones—beggrow. LPTV, a service with secondging the question, what about here? Phil Kurz • AI and machine learning play ary spectrum priority, has often been a larger role in sports production. This year treated like a second-class citizen by many in the Fox Sports and EVS developed a synthetic super broadcast community, but that’s about to change slow-motion technology called XtraMotion that in a big way. The robust nature of the ATSC 3.0 leverages the cloud and AI to interpolate between signal is a great equalizer, meaning low-power standard camera frames and generate slow motion. is poised for a breakout in 2022. Evoca—the That trend will continue with AI enhancing live pro3.0-based hybrid MVPD service delivered from duction workflows and assisting crews in new ways. LPTV stations—will add markets, some in which • Grayer, grayer and gone. In 2012, then-execit owns stations and others in which LPTV operautive director of the SBE John Poray pointed out tors will become affiliates. ARK Multicasting will during an NAB Show presentation that as of the turn on major chunks of its national LPTV-based prior year just over 65% of SBE members working Broadcast Internet network this year as well. as engineers were between 46 and 65 years old. • The first real taste of what advanced warnNot too surprisingly, 10 years prior about the ings can do. With 3.0 deployments progressing same percentage was between 36 and 55. While around the country, some NextGen TV market is not as comprehensive, the 2021 SBE salary sursure to be in the path of a tornado or hurricane or vey reveals that this large percentage of engineers experience an earthquake or some other calamity continues to move to the right on the timeline in 2022. NextGen TV broadcasters in those marwithout sufficient numbers of younger reinforcekets will have the tools they need to serve their ments to fill in. Each day a few more will retire or 3.0 viewers with geo-targeted alerts, rich media, think about retiring. Describing the situation as a evacuation routes, maps and enhanced emergency crisis might be a bit hyperbolic, but only a bit. communications, winning the thanks and praise • ENG van use continues to decline; someone of the public and government officials. notices; welcome to the next spectrum battle. Of course, all bets are off if an “Armageddon”-sized asteroid strikes the earth before Bruce IP-based backpacks are now the preferred method Willis and his crew of roughnecks arrive. But at for field contribution in many newsgathering least if that happens, No. 10 is a slam dunk. l situations, and stations aren’t buying ENG vans

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video accessibility

FCC Forum Highlights ClosedCaptioning Issues Shift in consumption of video leads has industry asking whether current rules are adequate

Vimeo

By Susan Ashworth

WASHINGTON —By 2010 standards, it was probably hard to imagine just how ubiquitous online video consumption would be in 2021. Eleven years ago the U.S. passed the Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA), a piece of legislation that gave the Federal Communications Commission the authority to regulate closed captioning for television programs that were broadcast over the air (as well as U.S.-aired programs that were then streamed online). Here in 2022, however, a growing amount of online video programming viewed by consumers does not fall under the FCC’s regulatory captioning authority at all—an issue that continues to raise implications for consumers who have hearing challenges. The realities and challenges facing the

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media industry as it tries to navigate this arena were the subject of an online forum on Dec. 2, and hosted by the commission’s Media Bureau and the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau. FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworcel, Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), video programming providers from Netflix, NBCUniversal and Amazon as well as industry stakeholders and advocacy groups discussed developments in closed captioning and the real-world challenges at hand. While the FCC has clearly defined rules on what video must be captioned, a significant portion of online-only videos and programs fall outside the commission’s existing closed captioning rules. So how must the industry evolve when it comes to closed captioning? And how should the FCC’s policies and laws change to keep pace with changes as the video marketplace changes?

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READY TO TALK “[The FCC heard] that it would be helpful to bring key stakeholders together to explore the state of closed captioning availability for online video programming and discuss ways to enhance accessibility,” Rosenworcel said in kicking off the event. “And here we are.” While the goal of the original CVAA legislation was clear—to help ensure that the deaf and hard of hearing can enjoy the same entertainment and programming as other Americans—more needs to be done, said Sen. Markey. “The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the challenges too many individuals still face in obtaining equal access,” Markey told the forum. “In particular, it is clear that we must expand access to closed captioning in the online video and streaming marketplace, as well as [promote] consistency in captioning content across video platforms.


video accessibility “As the world has moved from a television and cable model to an online model,” he said, “we have to move all of those technologies that provide accessibility… over there as well.” The two-and-a-half-hour session was split into two panels—the first looked at the technical and business issues surrounding closed captioning and ways to enhance the availability of online closed captioning. The second panel examined the scope of the commission’s authority and ways to fill the gaps in current online closed captioning requirements. So what, in short, should the industry be doing to improve captioning? Some forward-thinking work is already being done by online programming providers who are voluntarily captioning their programming, even without federal rules mandating such steps. “At Netflix… we believe that art can help build empathy and understanding and reduce prejudice as a window towards a more inclusive society,” said Heather Dowdy, director of accessibility for Netflix. “We understand that accessibility is just as important as aesthetics and speed and stability,” she said, explaining that Netflix’s viewing capabilities include

“As the world has moved from a television and cable model to an online model, we have to move all of those technologies that provide accessibility … over there as well.” SEN. ED MARKEY (D-MASS.)

assistive listening system support, brightness controls, keyboard shortcuts, compatibility with screen readers and voice commands. The company is also expanding its catalog of titles with subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing as well as audio description for people with vision disabilities, she said. Other video providSen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) ers like Amazon Prime Video are working with their in-house

studio and third-party content providers to ensure the availability of closed captions on programming. The company is also investing in automated sensor technology to detect incorrect or defective closed captions like spelling mistakes, reading “speed violations” and out-of-sync captions.

BROADCAST LEGACY NOT CONDUCIVE TO STREAMING While the prevalence of closed captioning in the marketplace may be boosted by the big programming providers, a number of technical hang-ups remain. “The technical aspects of captioning quality were not improving… and the technology has not advanced much since the 1980s, from the consumer’s perspective,” said Dr. Christian Vogler, director of the technology access program at Gallaudet University. Dr. Vogler is currently leading a five-year project that is researching how the usability of closed captions can be improved. According to Vogler, there are a whole host of challenges that consumers continue to

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video accessibility face in accessing and viewing online closed captioning. One is the lack of consistently high-quality captions, which can vary greatly depending on where the captioning is coming from, he said. Another challenge: closed captioning workflows in existence today are still very much tied to broadcast television, he said, making the appearance of closed captions appear less than ideal on a computer or mobile device. Technology companies are offering some suggestions. Google has created a live captioning tool that allows a viewer to see captioning in real time. “It is no replacement for human-generated captions but it gives someone the ability to experience what is happening in real time so they can access the communication,” said KR Liu, head of brand accessibility at Google. The company also has created tools within YouTube that allow a video creator to integrate captioning directly into their content. “More and more, that is becoming a standard and important practice—that we educate our creators on incorporating [captioning],” she said. “We are seeing captioning being ‘burned in’ to make sure that [these] captions cannot be turned on and off. There are ways that we can come together and utilize each other’s technologies and platforms to better provide access for everyone.” For Daniel Kocmarek, general manager of global video supply chain and content operations for Prime Video, the most important first step is to decide that accessibility is a priority for an organization. For example, license agreements between Prime Video and third-party content providers require that the third parties deliver closed captions in the original voice language of the content.

CUSTOMIZED CAPTIONING Members of the panel also discussed how to ensure that captions on streaming videos can be customized based on the device being used. Step one: ensure that caption settings are easy to find. Step two: provide a way for viewers to customize how captions look. Step three: advocate and adopt standard file formats. “[We] want to contribute to industry-standard documentation and content that would help engineers navigate scenarios during development and testing,” Kocmarek said. For Dr. Vogler, the time has also come to establish a common testing protocol in order to verify that captions are in compliance. “I would encourage anyone and everyone to be part of implementing something like that so we can see such a reality,” he said. And what about the best solution for creat-

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Zainab Alkebsi (L), policy counsel with the National Association of the Deaf and Jim Denney, executive vice president and chief product officer at NBCUniversal

ing captions in the first place? “There is, of course, the human creation of closed captioning, but in terms of scale I think the most promising scale is ASR,” or automated speech recognition, said Jim Denney, executive vice president and chief product officer at NBCUniversal. ASR can be an effective tool to create captions that do not already exist and the technology has the benefit of aligning with other applications in the industry. “I think that ASR is one of our most promising tools in getting closed captioning into short-form clips,” he said. And what about that vast, uncaptioned landscape of consumer-generated videos? What tools might be developed to caption those videos? Some platforms already do an excellent job at generating closed captioning, Dr. Vogler said, pointing to YouTube and the platform’s support for generating closed captioning. “YouTube is a quintessential example of making it easy to make closed captioning for user-generated content,” he said. “TikTok does a similar thing in terms of making it easy for users to generate the caption of their own content.” Unfortunately, however, there is no standardization as of yet, he added. What the industry needs is two-fold, he said. One, support for ASR captioning and the ability to modify and improve auto-generated captioning online. And two, editing tools that can support closed captioning implementations. “Often consumers have to either do a search for a third-party tool in order to add captions to that video, or pay for an expensive upgrade to get access to that,” Dr. Vogler said. Captioning also needs to be encouraged to be a part of the creative process, said Google’s Liu. “The more that we can help creators… [provide] captioning to their content, the more that is visible, the more we can encourage

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other platforms to provide those tools to help make captioning available for creators—that is what is important here,” she said. “Captioning very much is a part of communication and connecting with people. Allowing people to experience that content is really important.”

THE REGULATORY VIEW The FCC’S role in regulating the marketplace was the focus of the second panel discussion. According to Blake Reid, professor at the Technology Law & Policy Clinic at the University of Colorado Law School, the captioning requirements for media that the CVAA set up in 2010 look nothing like the media marketplace of today. “We live in this world where the FCC’s captioning rules are divided between the legacy media… and a separate set of rules for programming that is delivered via internet protocol that has been on one of those legacy media channels,” he said. “We don’t live in that world anymore—we now live in a world where legacy TV and internet-delivered video have converged. From the perspective of consumers, they are now one in the same.” It’s time for the commission to recognize the reality that consumers and the industry already see—that online video distribution services are “television” and that it is time to extend the mandate for closed captions to online video as well, he said. Others said that the commission needs more statutory authority from Congress before it can contemplate requiring online-only programmers to caption online videos. “I know there is a lot of captioning going on in that area voluntarily, or in response to market forces or legal cases, but as far as the FCC being able to require it, it doesn’t seem like they have plain and clear authority under the framework right now,” said Larry Walke,


video accessibility associate general counsel for the National Association of Broadcasters.

THE MARKET RESPONDS So how can the commission support consumer access to captioning of online programming that’s not required to be captioned? Fortunately, more and more outlets are captioning on their own because it’s the right thing to do, Walke said. As far as what the FCC can do specifically? First, the commission must work to educate and encourage online platforms to voluntarily caption more of their content. Secondly, the FCC should be careful to do no harm. “We would caution the FCC against adopting any rules that might hinder innovation or [thwart new] technologies that could make it more efficient to caption programming online,” Walke said. Jacqueline Clary, vice president and associate counsel with NCTA-The Internet and Television Association, added that the best rule for the FCC to follow is to facilitate conversations and solutions between the industry and advocates. “To the extent the FCC can encourage

“There are ways that we can come together and utilize each other’s technologies and platforms to better provide access for everyone.” KR LIU, GOOGLE

voluntary industry efforts on evolving accessibility solutions like ASR, it could be really helpful,” she said. However, Zainab Alkebsi, policy counsel with the National Association of the Deaf, believes that education and conversation is critical but not sufficient in itself. The commission should coordinate with KR Liu, head of Congress to help brand accessibility at Google shape new leg-

islation in this area so that the goal of 100% captioning of video programs can be met. “While multistakeholders are important and innovation is important, it needs to come with the legal obligations that only the FCC can bring,” Reid said. “Because we are talking about the civil rights of people with disabilities, it is not optional. It is not aspirational. It is something that is necessary to ensure an equitable society. That is what we are striving for.” The panel concluded with discussions on whether the FCC should expand captioning requirements for video clips, whether or not additional regulations would help increase the availability of online closed captioning and what role the marketplace will play in encouraging more captioning from reluctant captioners. “If an online video platform wants to win viewers and advertisers and subscribers, they are going to need to compete with other providers who are providing captions,” the NAB’s Walke said. “Beyond the competitive mandate, many of them I assume are doing it because it is the right thing to do.” l

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Shotoku’s SX200 fluid head features the company’s Truebalance system that camera crews set up faster.

Gear on the Go for TV Crews of Any Size and Market Reliability, lightweight top the list of requirements by Craig Johnston

SEATTLE—Early in my career as a news photographer, I was told that the perfect news shooter was 25 years old, with 20 years of experience. The station’s personnel department could now probably tell you how that profile violated about 100 regulations. But during those 20 years of experience gathering, that photog probably paid a lot of attention to what kind of gear made running and gunning news stories easier, or at least possible. Here are some suggestions.

POWER SUPPLIES Newsgatherers often get sent into the heart of a disaster, and among the consequences the mayhem can cause is temporarily wiping

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out the electrical power grid. Power packs for cameras, lighting equipment, cellular modems and whatnot become necessities. In addition to the reliability of their products, battery pack makers keep adding new features to their wares. PAG America Sales just rolled out a brand new battery pack family, the Mini PAG 1. “It comes in 50- or 99Wh models that are small and very lightweight,” said Bob Carr, PAG America's sales director. “They feature two built in D-taps, and the 99 has a removable USB. They’re compatible with the existing PAG battery packs and chargers already in the field.” One feature the PAG has long touted is its “PAG Link” system, which allows two or more battery packs to be plugged together. “The beauty of linking is two-fold,” Carr explained. “One is that when you’re ready to charge

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you can link up to eight battery packs up and charge them all at one time on one channel of the charger. And two, when you’re shooting you can actually add a battery at any time, so it’s a true hot swap system in a sense that you never have to stop shooting. “One other feature that we’re really excited about with the Mini PAG Link is that they’re going to be reparable in the field,” Carr added. “So now if people want to re-cell the batteries, it can be done safely, quickly, pretty much anywhere in the world.” It used to be that the media a news photographer was shooting onto, whether it be film, tape or solid state, was limited to a relatively short period of time. As long as you had enough batteries you could change to a new battery pack when you changed media. That’s not the case anymore, with the advent of much larger files, or even worse, generating a continuous stream. “We come across many users now who will use the battery up to 8, 10, 12 hours, continuously,” said Andrew Hutton, product manager for Anton/Bauer batteries of Vitec Production Solutions. “So the battery has to keep up with that sort of capacity of storage media or sending it up to the cloud. This is particularly important because very modern cameras can take up to 90 seconds to power up to shoot again.” A/B’s Dionic range is the perfect solution, Hutton said. “It features maximum porta-


gear on the go bility, but with maximum run time and is operable in all sorts of environments, such as extreme weather conditions.” Ultimately the ability to hot-swap batteries comes into play, where the cameraperson can change batteries without powering down the camera or battery powered peripherals. “We have the accessory plate so you can hot swap pretty much all of our batteries now. If you look at broadcast guys, they love the Dionic.”

LIGHTING KIT Italian LED light maker Lupo has made inroads into the U.S. professional lighting market in recent years and Pete Challenger, who manages U.S. business for the company, says its Superpanel 30 1X1 LED panel is its most popular for news standups. “They’re the brightest of the 1X1s out there— bright enough to bring up the light on somebody’s side of their face outside in the open on a bright sunny day,” Challenger said. The Superpanel 30 comes in a diffused and non-diffused version and each is available in either a Full Color model that can output variable color temperature light from 3200K to 5600K, or an RGBW model that provides more color capabilities and special effects. Challenger suggests that for newsgathering the best bet is the non-diffused 3200K to 5600K model. “For the kind of stuff we’re talking about, where you’re running quick and shooting news, nobody needs the color capability,” he said. “You’re better off getting as much light as you can. It seems like you’ve never got too much, and you can always turn it down.” Superpanel 30s can be powered by a V-mount battery pack if AC power isn’t available on location. And because the panel lights are so thin, they can be easily packed in padded cases Lupo sells. Litepanels has established itself over many years as the light of choice for many run and gun operations, according to Michael Herbert, product manager at Vitec Production Solutions. “Our original 1X1 LED fixtures were lightweight, bright and easy to move around. They could be set up in an instant and could run off AC or battery power. In a pinch they could be hand held.” Litepanel’s newest generation, the Gemini 1X1, has improved on the original. The Geminis are full RGBWW, incorporating tungsten

chips, daylight chips, and red, green and blue chips. That allows the output of the light to be controlled precisely from natural white light to fully saturated RGBWW (red green blue warm white) output in an instant. Geminis deliver an adjustable color temperature of from 2700K to 10000K. Gemini comes in two versions, Soft and Hard. The Soft provides a beam angle of 95 degrees while the Hard has a 46-degree beam angle that can be widened to 100 degrees by deploying a diffuser on its face. If a news crew could only carry one Gemini, the Hard might be best for filling in face shadows from the sun, or lighting a large space at a distance in the dark of the night, Herbert said. The Fresnel lighting fixture has long been a staple of studio and large space lighting but BB&S has just introduced its Compact Bicolor Fresnel, a small LED Fresnel fixture suited for news and other on-the-go production crews. “It has a high quality of light (97 CRI), low 40W power draw, and is fully bicolor,” said Toby Sali, BB&S co-founder. “Where a 1X1 panel light can throw light about 10 feet, our Fresnel fixture pushes light out 18 feet or more. The beam width can be adjusted from 18 to 58 degrees. Color temperature is controllable from 2700 to 5600K.” Even though it sports just a small, 5½ inch lens and weighs 3½ lbs., the new light can use barn doors to crisply control the light on the talent. The fixture can be mounted on a light stand or camera, or even hand held.

GOING STEADY A news photographer is going to get a much more steady shot if he uses a tripod, but setting up and balancing a fluid head can take time and cause a photog to possibly miss his shot. Drago Flores, marketing coordinator at Shotoku Broadcast Systems said his company’s Truebalance feature speeds that process up. “We put an external analog counterbalance indicator on our SX200 and SX260 fluid heads.” Before the camera is even mounted on the fluid head, the Truebalance system can be roughly set visually. “Once the camera is mounted on the head, final minor adjustments can be made so that Lupo's Superpanel 30 1X1 LED panel is its most popular for news standups.

Anton/Bauer's Dionic XT 14V Li-ion batteries played a starring role in the production of the BBC’s popular travel program "Mediterranean With Simon Reeve."

the counterbalance is perfect. It takes most of the guesswork out of it.” The indicator can act like a preset. For example, one setting for the bare camera, another with an on-camera light, yet another with a hot swappable battery pack, wireless mics, cellular modem systems, teleprompters, etc. “What’s great is that it’s a perfect balance system. This means when the counterbalance is perfect, the camera could be operated and tilt-balanced without any drag at all. When you take your hands off the pan handles, the camera would remain stationary at any angle of tilt.” Vinten and Sachtler, part of the Vitec Group offer their flowtech 100 tripods for camera operators on the go. It features a set of two-stage carbon-fiber tripod legs with an easy-to-remove midlevel spreader, rubber feet, and a payload capacity of 44 lbs. Quick-release brakes located at the top of the tripod enable all the legs to be deployed simultaneously and adjust automatically to the ground's surface. A unique hinge-lock mechanism allows users to capture extremely low, ground-level shots, removing the need to bring a second set of "baby legs" to each shoot. Barbara Jaumann, product manager-supports for Vitec Production Solutions explains what went into the 100, a follow up to the company’s first tripod in the product range, the flowtech75. “With flowtech100, we’ve taken everything that’s great about flowtech75 and delivered it in a tripod geared to the professional 100 mm class of users, with the ability to support the demanding payloads of hard-working field news reporters and documentarians.” l

twitter.com/tvtechnology | www.tvtech.com | January 2022

15


sports production

The Technology Behind the Beijing Winter Olympics UHD, Immersive Audio and 5G highlight tech advances

OBS/Silvio Avila

By Tom Butts

BEIJING—When the 2022 Winter Olympics Games get underway in Beijing next month (Feb. 4-20), many of the challenges that broadcasters faced when covering the Summer Olympics in Tokyo will remain as Covid continues to impact everyday life. However, there are a number of lessons learned that the Olympic Broadcasting Services will put into place to ensure a safe and smooth-running two-week event. When the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo were postponed from 2020 to the summer of 2021, broadcasters no longer had the luxury of Big Air Shougang, venue of Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics having a year and a half between the Winter and Summer Games. With the 2022 Games coming only six months after the Tokyo gathering, this created a whole tor because it allows us to build a virtual infrastructure to be established new set of challenges for OBS. long before we even go to the facility. We don’t have any limitations. “The pandemic created a very, very complex situation, where the It can be pre-tested months or even years before you really reach the two games came very close to each other,” said Sotiris Salamouris, CTO facility together with your partners. Then you just spin it down and you for Olympic Broadcasting Services. “This was totally unexpected and I spin it up again as needed.” wouldn’t say was easy to deal with.” For the Tokyo games as well as Beijing, OBS has teamed up with Alibaba When the Tokyo Games were postponed in March 2020, the InterGroup to create OBS Cloud, a suite of custom-made cloud-based solutions national Broadcast Centre (IBC) in Tokyo, home to the thousands of specifically adapted to the extremely demanding, data-heavy broadcast broadcasters covering the Games, was within several weeks of becoming workflows. OBS says its cloud service offers the high-performance connecoperational. With the event postponed, the OBS had to put a freeze tivity, processing and storage capabilities required for the broadcast of the on their plans, send their personnel back home and organize a plan to Games. Not only can rights-holding broadcasters access all OBS content maintain operations until the actual Games took place. remotely, but they are also now able to set up their own content creation, As if handling such logistics in the middle of a pandemic with the management and distribution systems within the platform. related safety precautions and travel restrictions were not enough, the postponement also forced OBS to focus on planning, building and mainUHD, IMMERSIVE AUDIO & 5G taining two operational centres at once. The Tokyo Summer Games represented the first Olympics that the OBS The Summer Games, however, were held and were a success, Salamprovided UHD/HDR coverage and the 2022 Winter Games will mark the ouris said. “Tokyo proved that you can still have a very successful major first such 4K UHD/HDR coverage of the winter event. Although various event like the Olympics, even in such conditions, and we are confident broadcasters have recently dabbled in UHD coverage of the Games, OBS that that will continue in Beijing.” developed an infrastructure that allows them to synchronize content whether it’s in 1080i HD or 4K UHD, making it easier for rights-holding broadcasters to manage and access ultra high-resolution content. THE IMPORTANCE OF THE CLOUD AND IP This setup was deployed in Tokyo and is quite unique, according to The key to providing the most comprehensive source Salamouris. “We have one unified production unit,” he said. “All of our of live programming to the world’s broadcasters when coverage is exactly the same in HD and UHD.” covering the Games is IP and the cloud, which characterFor audio, OBS expanded its options to go beyond 5.1 channel audio izes much of the way media companies have managed to that had been the norm up until Tokyo. For Beijing, OBS will provide maintain live TV coverage worldwide to meet the challenges immersive audio. of the past two years. “It’s an emerging standard that gives you an additional Salamouris says using IP tools and the cloud played an high level of audio that allows broadcasters to use it important role in planning and designing the IBC Sotiris because it’s discreet and not compressed so it can meet and its production workflows. Salamouris, the distribution standard according to their needs,” Salamouris calls the cloud “an essential facilita- OBS CTO

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sports production Salamouris said. And with a unified HD/UHD production infrastructure, “whether broadcasters pick up HD or UHD they will always be able to receive immersive audio.” Another innovation that will form an important part of OBS’s coverage is the increasing use of 5G wireless. The use of 5G “is even more important because in the Games we have a serious problem with the lack of frequencies, because we need a large number of RF crews just to do our coverage,” Salamouris said. “And 5G helps because you can rely on an established network to do our wireless transmissions instead of relying on dedicated technology that we don’t have enough of anymore.”

FACILITIES AND GEAR Since the Winter Games have always been smaller than the summer version, the Beijing IBC will likewise be smaller than Tokyo’s. And as has been the case for the past several decades, Panasonic will serve as the official provider of a large part of the broadcast production gear to cover the Games. “They are supporting us with many systems, not just cameras, and indeed they’re providing us the biggest part of our camera systems that we’re using because we have a large number of ENG teams that go around to different venues and even in the city where they’re shooting stories, all of these cameras are Panasonic,” Salamouris said. Since the Summer Games were held in Beijing in 2008, the city already had an IBC building, however for the Winter Games, a new 419,000+ square-foot facility was built, with more than 220,000 square feet dedicated to broadcast studios and production. A smaller 129,000+ squarefoot broadcast centre is strategically located in the mountains. With more than 6,000+ hours of content expected to be produced, and an increasing portion of it being delivered to non-traditional broadcast providers, the focus on producing content for the variety of digital platforms has taken on added importance, according to Salamouris. “Our support [for the right-holding broadcasters] needs to be on two fronts: First of all, to give them more content because they have more distribution channels,” Salamouris said, “And number two is to give them technology that makes this easier for them. So a lot of our common delivery now is happening in a digital-friendly manner. IP delivery is very important for the broadcasters to be able to easily to convert the content that we’re giving to them to formats that are used by the devices that they are putting online.” l

National Speed Skating Oval in Beijing


PHOTO CREDIT: Getty

content management

Archiving Media: Cloud or On-Prem? They both have their place by James Careless

OTTAWA—With their unmatchable capacity, flexibility and absence of capital costs/handson maintenance requirements for broadcasters, the cloud-based video archiving systems offered by cloud vendors like Amazon Web Services (AWS), and software providers like Avid and Telestream, among others, make on-premises (or “on-prem”) video archiving seem antiquated and inadequate by comparison. Yet some of these vendors still see a place for on-prem archiving in today’s video production environment, albeit in a transitionary capacity to the cloud.

WHY CLOUD HAS THE EDGE When broadcasters store video content with a cloud-based archiving provider, they immediately gain access to a host of advantages that on-premises archiving can’t match. First and foremost is capacity: AWS and the cloud providers used by Avid and Telestream have access to staggering amounts of server space in locations scattered across the globe. This ensures that broadcasters (and other

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chiving, these technologies can save companies on costs, ensuring that they’re only paying for what they use,” said Usman Shakeel, AWS’ director of solutions architecture for M&E. “Additionally, they support global connectivity across a range of regions and feature automated services that allow customers to automatcontent creators) have all the Dave Colantuoni, ically copy data across regions. storage headroom they could Avid’s Vice President of With these capabilities, facilities ever need, with fast broadProduct Management can build the highly resilient and band access available to their durable workflows that traditionpeople anywhere on the planet. al broadcasters expect.” On-premises systems can’t A third benefit of cloud-based match this capacity. archiving is the sophistication of Price is also important. When processing options available to broadcasters install on-prem users. Many of these options use archiving systems, they have to cutting-edge artificial intellipay the same price for hardgence algorithms to support ware and software whether the highly precise keyword-based stored content is being used on content searches at lighta regular basis, or filed away for Michael Boucke, Product ning-fast speeds. This is possible historical reasons in case it is Manager for Telestream because AI-based archiving sysever needed again. DIVA Content Storage Management tems compile databases derived In contrast, cloud-based from the content’s metadata archiving providers offer price during the upload process. breaks for content that doesn’t need to be “Cloud-based archiving has access to the readily available. The deeper the content goes massive computing power that’s needed to do into storage (resulting in longer retrieval this sort of cataloguing,” said Dave Colantuoni, times), the less it costs to store it, although vice president of product management for Avid. cloud vendors like AWS are making strides in “After all, your archived content is only valuable providing real-time retrieval/access capaif you can find, retrieve and use it.” bilities in these “coldest tiers” with newly “These solutions have proven a game announced features like S3 Glacier instance changer for facilities that may have previousretrieval. ly kept their video archives stored on tape,” “By supporting a tiered approach to ar-

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content management Shakeel said.“Not only have they helped media companies to generate new revenue with existing content, but they’ve also made it easier for them to move into the direct-to-consumer [D2C] space to expand their subscriber base.”

THE POWER OF AI Better yet, the ability of cloud-based archiving systems to search stored videos using a wide range of parameters just keeps improving thanks to advances in information technology. For instance, “as AI-enabled archiving features expand, you’ll be able to search content using facial recognition and other advanced tools,” said Michael Boucke, product manager for Telestream’s DIVA Content Storage Management platform. Yet another reason that cloud-based archiving outstrips its on-premises counterparts is speed. With the combination of AI-enabled search tools and global access via the web, broadcasters and media creators can create new content derived from their archives in a quick and efficient manner. “It makes their content more compelling,” Colantuoni said. “It makes them respond to breaking news stories more immediately.”

is happening, media companies Time and money is one reason need transitory solutions in to maintain existing on-prem the interim while the software archives. “It will be awhile bevendor solutions catch up. fore those on-premises repos“AWS is helping our customers itories can be transferred into bridge to the cloud archiving the cloud, plus it costs money easier with capabilities such as to do so,” Colantuoni said. “You Amazon snowball and Amazon can also store huge amounts of outposts that offer on-premises data for relatively low cost on storage/compute capabilities existing on-premises systems. Usman Shakeel, for on-set production, as well as So I think there’s still a need AWS’ Director of AWS Local Zones in major metro for it, at least until the time Solutions Architecture areas for low-latency storage comes for this equipment to be for M&E and compute,” Shakeel said. “We replaced.” are also working closely with our ISV partners Another reason to maintain existing that offer asset management and content on-prem archiving systems while simultaprocessing applications to port these applicaneously storing new content into the cloud: tions to the cloud fast in order to accelerate Companies such as Telestream can configure this transition.” their software to make the two work together The bottom line: Cloud-based archiving is seamlessly. the most logical option for TV broadcasters “It doesn’t matter if you’re using LTO [Linand content creators wanting to make the ear Tape-Open], ODA [Optical Disc Archive], most of their video assets, but leveraging hard drives, and/or multiple cloud vendors,” the advantages of this technology does not said Boucke. “We can provide a transparent require them to dispose of their existing layer to link them altogether and access their on-premises storage systems. Cloud-based content easily.” archiving providers can work with both. l While the move to the cloud-based archive

"As AI-enabled archiving features expand, you’ll be able to search content using facial recognition and other advanced tools.” —MICHAEL BOUCKE, TELESTREAM

Finally, there’s reliability. The vast array of redundant servers employed by cloud-based archiving providers translates into them keeping archived video truly safe and intact. By sheer virtue of scale, a much smaller on-premises archiving system cannot match AWS’ ‘99.999999999% durability’ rate for data preservation.

WHERE ON-PREM FITS IN Given the many advantages provided by cloud-based video archiving, one might reasonably conclude that the era of on-prem archiving has passed. However, there are valid reasons for broadcasters and content creators to maintain the on-premises archives they have, as they move to a cloud-based platform. twitter.com/tvtechnology | www.tvtech.com | January 2022

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media tech

A Tectonic Shift in 'Pandemic' Television Production For the past two years, the basic concept of the ‘studio’ has changed—perhaps forever

I

t is hard to fully comprehend High-quality 1080p webcams rapid change while living became almost impossible to find, through it. This certainly as digital camera makers went applies to video and sound into high gear designing new production during the pandemic software to allow their cameras to over the past two years. be used for web production. Poor Just think of how different video, sound and lighting during production was before COVID-19. online sessions became unacceptOne part of this remarkable shift able to professionals now working comes from the basic concept of from home. the “studio,” whether it’s used Multicamera switchers—both EXPERTISE for video or audio production. As in hardware and software—and Frank Beacham COVID-19 emerged, the places simple plug-and-play studio where television and music were setups became the rage as video produced were permanently changed. production moved away from traditional Large television studios migrated to private studios. Even teleprompters, once used only homes and other less formal spaces. Suddenin professional settings, found their way into ly, video news interviews were done via Zoom home studios—even for use with iPhones from locations all over the world. Network and tablets. After all, losing eye contact with talk shows originated from the homes of the the camera and leaving a poor impression on performers. Even the current President of the screen is the same anywhere—studio or home. United States campaigned via video from his basement in Delaware.

It was also quickly learned by novices that a camera’s internal microphone nearly always results in poor audio quality. An external microphone is a necessity since sound quality is actually more important than picture quality. This impacted the makers of professional microphones. For example, Shure’s SM-7B dynamic mic, long a staple of broadcast announcers, instantly became one the company’s best selling microphones during the pandemic. Why? Because high-quality, large diaphragm dynamic microphones reject extraneous sounds often found in poor acoustic environments—like the typical home studio. This unexpected success prompted not only Shure, but a range of other microphone makers to introduce lower-cost dynamics with built-in signal processing for podcasting and home studios. The same happened with other production

AMATEUR BROADCAST TECHS The concept of media from anywhere—long in development by equipment manufacturers—suddenly exploded onto the scene during the pandemic. Non-technical laymen, often the wives or kids of the performers, found themselves acting as TV camera operators or sound engineers. Total amateurs were suddenly trying to learn lighting and sound techniques. Actors, who long depended on technicians to produce their audition videos, found themselves with a list of instructions on how to self-produce those video auditions at home. Prominent musicians who previously depended on engineers to do their sound production found themselves equipping and operating their own home studios, while trying to master the operational learning curve at the same time. When COVID-19 hit, many equipment manufacturers found themselves caught offguard. Suddenly, user-friendly gear designed to operate in home environments became the rage, while more sophisticated high-end studio gear languished in the warehouse.

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CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images

"CBS This Morning" correspondent and CBSN Anchor Vladimir Duthiers broadcasts live from his home.

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media tech A reporter from WRAL-TV uses a ringlight to report from home.

Dejero

FOX Deportes’ used Dejero gear to keep its network thriving during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which forced the broadcaster to vacate its Los Angeles headquarters and quickly move to a “workfrom-home” workflow.

equipment—just as with professional studios decades ago. Piece by piece, classic studio gear was reinvented at a lower cost and made simpler to operate for amateur users. For lighting, home video streamers learned quickly that ring lights make “talking heads” look better and are easy to set-up and use. These circular lamps create an almost shadowless lighting effect without making everything else in the scene look dull and lifeless. Shaped like a glowing hula hoop, most ring lights for home use have a mounting bracket for a camera, smartphone or tablet in the open center. The illumination falls on the subject from every direction. These lights have other purposes as well, such as effectively applying makeup. And, you guessed it, sales of ring lights soared during the pandemic. Of course, the background of images from home suddenly began to matter. Outside of traditional studio sets, it became apparent that those watching streaming video interviews tended to focus on the background behind the subject in order to gaze into the subject’s private life. Some who wanted to create an erudite personal image placed certain book titles to be visible in the background (I always wonder how many actually read those books!)

THE RISE OF ‘ROOM RATER’ For well-known subjects, the video offered a glimpse into details about their home

Piece by piece, classic studio gear was reinvented at a lower cost and made simpler to operate for amateur users. and private lives, giving rise to the Twitter account @roomrater.com, which critiqued home studios. For the lesser-known others, it may just reflect the clutter in the room. In any case, those taking matters of their image seriously learned quickly that backgrounds matter to viewers. When doing a scripted on-camera video, the background can also have a major impact on how one’s story is told. Every element of the image is important to the viewer and can have an impact. The most clutter-free backgrounds are neutral and focus on the person doing the interview or presentation. If not against a painted wall, use of blue or green screen seamless paper make the best backgrounds. Streaming applications—like Zoom—allow the use of green screen technology to create artificial backgrounds. Green screens use chromakey, a technology now so proven and simple that any non-technical home user can superimpose

WRAL

his or herself onto a virtual background or animated digital backdrop. A basic green wall can become a magnificent, up-scale living room, a view of the oceanfront or a corporate logo. A background wall can be painted green; green paper can be hung between light poles; spring-loaded screens can pop-up from the floor; or green screens can even be clipped to the back of a single office chair. There are dozens of backgrounds available at a wide range of prices. With home streaming coming into play for professional level productions, a rear screen of some kind is essential for many users. The changes we have seen in media production over the past two years will not go away when COVID-19 is behind us. Like other tectonic technological shifts, the media landscape has been altered forever. Costs of high-quality professional video and audio equipment continues to go down and has become easier to use by non-technical operators. With the internet, extremely affordable television studios can now be run from anywhere. Living through this accelerated level of change may not yet be totally comprehensible to all of us, but it is a major chapter in the history of media. l Frank Beacham is a New York City-based writer and media producer.

twitter.com/tvtechnology | www.tvtech.com | January 2022

21


open standards

Ross was awarded a Technology & Engineering Emmy Award in 2017 for openGear.

openGear Celebrates 15 Years of Success Ross’ platform proves value of open standards in signal processing By James Careless

OTTAWA—In 2006, Ross Video did something that was extremely rare within the highly competitive TV equipment industry. With the support of Cobalt Digital and Ward-Beck Systems, Ross Video created “openGear,” an open-architecture modular frame system whose specifications were made freely available to other signal processing card manufacturers. Ross Video’s decision was a major boon to TV producers, broadcasters, and distributors. Thanks to openGear frames, they could now buy signal processing cards from a wide range of manufacturers without having to worry about interoperability—and manage all of them using “DashBoard,” the free touchscreen-enabled control platform from Ross. control system.

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Meanwhile, manufacturers could now focus on building specific signal processing cards based on their own expertise, rather than trying to be “jacks of all trades” by building frames and full suites of cards. Fifteen years later, “our vision of an open standard frame has been fully vindicated,” said Bill Rounopoulos, Ross Video’s business development manager for OEM & Partnerships. “We have now over 40,000 frames shipped—which is just incredible—130-plus partners, and four industry awards, including a 2017 Emmy.”

WHY THEY DID IT Ross Video didn’t embark on its openGear adventure with the intention of launching an open standard frame. Instead, the company was looking to advance into HD card production directly after the success of its 8000 series SD frame.

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“Rather than reinvent the wheel and design a new Ross frame, we thought that it would be best for us and our customers to find another company in the industry that was willing to let us develop cards that would be compatible with their existing frames,” the company said on opengear.tv. “Surprisingly, we were told by company after company that we could not make cards that were compatible with their frames. These companies made no bones about their business model, which was designed around getting a couple of their frames into a customer and then lock them in to their solution.” Frustrated by this attitude, Ross Video founder John Ross opted to create the openGear frame and control system as an industry standard that everyone could use. This decision was in line with the company’s Code of Ethics: “#1: We will always act in our customer’s best interest.”


open standards

openGear® is a registered trademark of Ross Video Ltd.

“As a platform, openGear was created with that thought top of mind,” said Eric Goodmurphy, head of Ross Video’s Infrastructure team for many years. “It just made sense— why have all these different card and chassis formats when it could be standardized and help make all our lives easier?” “We saw that there was a need for a format where multiple partners could be enabled to develop and manufacture cards,” said Chris Shaw, chief operating officer for Cobalt Digital, one of the founding developers of openGear. “By enabling them, we could propagate these cards across many, many different facilities.”

OPENGEAR’S IMPACT Since its launch in 2006, the openGear platform has undergone three upgrades to keep it in tune with the TV industry’s move to 4K and other bandwidth-intensive signal applications. During that time, openGear equipment has become a mainstay of TV production, broadcasting and distribution. The fact that 40,000-plus frames have been shipped to date speaks to the popularity of open standards in the TV industry. “Those [manufacturers] who have decided to implement the platform find a great deal of acceptance among those who buy those particular products,” said Karl Paulsen, CTO for systems integrator Diversified and TV Tech columnist. “The industry has sort of used the openGear platform much like Evertz customers have used their VistaLINK(Pro) solutions for similar functions or Miranda iControl [in its day].” Ross Video has pushed the open standards envelope in the TV equipment industry further than most. “To my knowledge, neither Evertz nor Miranda took the position of opening up their implementation to others [like the openGear.tv groups have],” Paulsen noted. “You will also see that the ‘big players’ [i.e. Sony, Evertz, Grass Valley] have not joined the openGear bandwagon.” In fact, it is focused firms such as MultiDyne—another Emmy-Award winner—that have benefited from the openGear standard, as have their customers. “A company like ours is very specialized,” said MultiDyne CEO Frank

Ross’s openGear Dashboard control system

Jachetta. “So it would be a challenge for us to place our own proprietary frame and control system, when a client may need only a few cards from us. Being able to design our cards for openGear and DashBoard has been a real selling point, whether it’s just a few circuits, or multiple frames filled with our cards.”

LOOKING AHEAD Since its launch, Ross Video’s openGear has become a defacto industry standard. Given the fact that the openGear frame and control system keeps being updated, it is likely to retain this role for the foreseeable future. “openGear really has been a resounding

success and it continues to evolve,” said Rounopoulos. “The fourth-generation ver sion of the openGear frame supports today’s most demanding UHD and IP productions while still being backward compatible. It continues to offer users the freedom to choose the very best products and technology from a wide set of partners, all managed by the free and easy-to-use dashboard control system.” “In terms of openGear’s future? We’ll just keep building on this success,” he concluded. “It’s going to be a case of more frames, more partners signing on, and more people downloading and using DashBoard every year.” l

Ross’s oGx Frame is the fourth-generation of openGear twitter.com/tvtechnology | www.tvtech.com | January 2022

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rf technology

Maximizing Reception for Over-the-Air TV

Getty Images/vichuda

Antenna location is probably the most critical element

M

analyzer with and without the ost emails I receive antenna connected and you will from readers relate to see the impact of local noise over-the-air TV resources. In my experience this ception in one way or noise can completely wipe out another—viewers and broadcastVHF TV reception on indoor ers alike want to know how to antennas unless the signal level maximize reception. This month from the transmitter is very high. I’ll look at how coverage (and The antenna gain numbers clearreception ability) is calculated ly refer to outdoor antennas—inand some ways to maximize door antennas typically have very reception. EXPERTISE little gain, if any. When the FCC defined the Doug Lung On the plus side, with indoor coverage for DTV stations, antennas there is little downlead they depended on the planning line loss. Finally, the planning factors do not factors recommended by the ATSC and the take into account the loss from a reduction former ATTC (Advanced Television Test in height or the loss getting into a building. Center). The planning factors are the basis The late Charlie Rhodes provided an for a link budget for over-the-air reception, excellent description of these losses in his looking at gains, losses and thermal noise. 2009 TV Tech column “Obstacles to DTV Table 3 (Fig. 1) from the FCC’s Office of Reception” (www.tvtechnology.com/opinions/ Engineering and Technology Bulletin 69 obstacles-to-dtv-reception). The signal differshows the elements used for determining ence between a rooftop antenna and one in reception. These planning factors resulted in the family room was 31 dB at UHF. Removing the FCC setting a required field strength of 28 dBµV/m for low VHF (Channels 2–6) and 36 dBµV/m for high VHF (7–13). At UHF, the field strength in dBµV/m is determined by the formula:

the 10 dB antenna gain and adding back in the 4 dB for line loss results in a signal requirement that is 37 dB stronger than that calculated with the planning factors and FCC antenna height. If we use 41 dBµV/m as the FCC required field strength, adding in the additional losses means a field strength of at least 78 dBµV/m will be required for indoor reception. This is consistent with the “easy indoor” field strength of 80 dBµV/m used on the rabbitears.info website and the 75.5 dBµV/m requirement Meintel, Sgrignoli & Wallace determined based on some limited early indoor measurements of DTV signals. I use 88 dBµV/m as a reference level for easy indoor reception to allow for non-optimum antenna placement. For details on the calculation of building losses, Google ITU-P2040-2, which was updated in October 2021. Note the differences in loss with different polarization—the graphs clearly show the advantage of elliptical or circular polarization.

41–20 log[615/(channel mid-frequency in MHz)]

The planning factors do not include an antenna height, but FCC rules specify that 9.1 meters (30 feet) be used when calculating coverage.

NEW SOURCES OF NOISE The parameters in the planning factors may have matched consumer TV antenna setups 30 years ago, but they don’t match what viewers expect to be able to use to receive over-the-air TV today. For VHF channels, the contribution of locally generated electrical noise from LED lamps, motors and switching power supplies isn’t included. Compare the display on a spectrum

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January 2022 | www.tvtech.com |

Fig. 1: Table 3 from the FCC’s Office of Engineering and Technology Bulletin 69 shows the elements used for determining reception.

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rf technology LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION What can be done to maximize reception? Antenna location is probably the most critical element, placing it in a location as free as possible of obstacles. This means avoiding trees (particularly pine trees) outside and minimizing the number of walls the signal must pass through with an indoor antenna. Higher isn’t always better. Ground reflections or reflections from buildings can arrive at the antenna out of phase and cancel out part of the TV band. Lowering the antenna will solve this problem. Ron Shinno, the engineer who maintains the translators for PBS Hawaii on the island of Hawaii, told me about a case where a viewer had an antenna high in the air, but it was aimed right at a tree, blocking the signal. Lowering the antenna below the level of the leaves on the tree brought the signal back. I’ve seen cases where reflections from a rooftop or metal structure canceled out a band of frequencies. When I visited with engineers at KXAS-TV in Dallas, they told me about one viewer who had difficulty receiving their OTA signal and a quick check with a spectrum analyzer showed a deep null on KXAS-TV’s channel and adjacent stations. The viewer wasn’t interested in the adjacent channels so saw this as a station problem, which he solved by lowering his antenna to a foot or two above the roof line. Raising it higher would likely have worked as well but wasn’t an option.

USE A SPECTRUM ANALYZER Unfortunately, it is almost impossible to optimize indoor antenna location using a TV set alone, especially if there isn’t line of sight to the transmitter site. A field strength meter can help but won’t show multipath—a spectrum analyzer is required. With the tinySA spectrum analyzer (www.tinysa.org/wiki) available for only $60 from R&L Electronics, there is no excuse for not having one. While the planning factors use a noise threshold of 15 dB for reception, any multipath will reduce this significantly because the adaptive equalizer in the receiver has to add gain (and noise) to fill in the nulls created by the multipath. Fig. 2 shows the

Fig. 2: The plot of a well-located Winegard Freevision FV30BB antenna.

plot of a well-located Winegard Freevision FV30-BB antenna. If the antenna was picking up multipath, the spectrum would have had ripples in it, with the spacing of the ripple dependent on the distance of the reflection and the amplitude on the strength of the reflection. When orienting an antenna with a spectrum analyzer, look for the flattest response on the desired channel and across the TV band (the tilt at the upper end of the channel is due to an LTE filter). The antenna referenced in Fig. 2 has a Winegard LNA-200 LNA at the antenna. Winegard claims a noise figure of 1 dB for this LNA, which reduces the system noise to less than the 7 dB specified in the planning factors. I use the spectrum analyzer to find the best spot and orientation for my indoor antenna in a hotel room when traveling. Where possible I try to get a room facing the transmitter site, which makes things easy, but in some cases that’s not possible. In one hotel room in Albuquerque, N.M.,

I use the spectrum analyzer to find the best spot and orientation for my indoor antenna in a hotel room when traveling.

I found I had to have the antenna in three different places in the room to get different channels, all transmitting from the Sandia Crest Tower Farm. Without the spectrum analyzer, I wouldn’t have been able to find a location with enough signal from some of the stations for the tuner to lock onto. My current choice for a travel antenna is the Walmart onn. Indoor High-Quality Clear HDTV Antenna available in most stores for less than $20. The planning factors here are for ATSC 1.0. If you are wondering about ATSC 3.0, most ATSC 3.0 stations are operating with parameters that require a noise threshold similar to that for ATSC 1.0, so these examples and required field strengths would apply to ATSC 3.0 as well. However, in ATSC 3.0, stations can change modulation and coding parameters to work at a much lower noise threshold, expanding coverage. This is particularly beneficial for LPTV and Class A TV stations that are limited to a maximum effective radiated power of 15 kW. I showed an example of how to do this at the NTA conference in Salt Lake City in May 2021. Look for details in a future column. l As always, I welcome comments and questions. Email me at dlung@transmitter.com. I try to answer all emails promptly, but if I’m busy and the email gets buried, I might

twitter.com/tvtechnology | www.tvtech.com | January 2022

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eye on tech | product and services Dejero EnGo 265 Mobile Backpack Dejero’s new EnGo 265 mobile transmitter for news teams and live events broadcasters replaces the company’s EnGo 260 with new features, bolstering security and providing even lower latency than the EnGo 260 at just 0.5 seconds over bonded cellular connections. It also features a new “GateWay mode” for wireless broadband internet connectivity and a modified backpack with a wired remote. Like its predecessor, the EnGo 265 uses Dejero’s Smart Blending Technology to combine multiple network connections to transmit broadcast-quality live video while intelligently managing the fluctuating bandwidth, packet loss, and latency differences of the individual connections in real-time. z For more information visit www.dejero.com.

Ross Video PIERO 17.0 Ross Video has released version 17.0 of PIERO, its sports graphics analysis solution that uses image recognition and state-of-the-art graphic overlays to enhance sports content. It offers new integration with Ross Video’s Voyager rendering solution for virtual studio, augmented reality and extended reality applications, allowing content creators to introduce sports graphics directly into a virtual or augmented studio production. Other key features include an updated Virtual Presenter chromakeyer with the same keying quality used by news studios with sharper and cleaner edges; improved camera tracking capability; PIERO Touch with several improvements around customization and dynamic new graphics effects; and easy-to-use presets, clip loading and on-the-fly color correction for the screen. z For more information visit www.rossvideo.com.

New Lawo Rear Plate Models for V__matrix To fully leverage the processing capacity of its V__matrix C100 blades and to allow users to derive more power from a smaller footprint, Lawo has released three new rear plates for the connection of SDI baseband equipment to an open-standards-based IP network, the io_bnc_16+16, io_bnc_11+11, and io_ bnc_16_BiDi rear plates. The io_bnc_16+16 fixed-format rear plate features 32 micro-BNC connectors (16 inputs and 16 outputs), with the ability to interface 12G single-link SDI signals and destinations on 11 inputs and as many outputs. The io_bnc_11+11 is Lawo’s first rear plate whose 11 inputs and 11 outputs are all 12G single-link capable, yielding up to 10% more overall connection density per C100 processing blade than previously available models. The io_bnc_16_BiDi rear plate provides 16 micro-BNC connectors that can be individually configured as baseband SDI inputs or outputs via software configuration. z For more information visit www.lawo.com.

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XXXXXXXX January 2022 2021 | www.tvtech.com | www.tvtechnology.com | twitter.com/tvtechnology | twitter.com/tvtechnology

Canon DP-V1830 18.4 4K/HDR Reference Display and CR-X300 4K PTZ Camera Canon USA has launched two new products, the DP-V1830 18.4-inch 4K/HDR professional reference display and the CR-X300 4K outdoor PTZ camera. The new reference display features improved core components such as a high-quality display engine, a revamped set of high-resolution algorithms, new panels and a new backlighting system. Combined with its lightweight 18.4-inch panel, the DP-V1830 is a versatile tool for demanding industry professionals that support efficient workflows in a variety of working environments. The new CR-X300 expands Canon’s remote camera systems to give users more flexibility and efficiency in their video production workflows. With its support for a range of communications standards and robust protection against environmental factors, the CR-X300 is an ideal remote PTZ camera system for video capture in many outdoor environments. z For more information visit www.usa.canon.com.

Bridge Technologies VB440 SMPTE ST 2110/ ST 2022-6 Monitoring & Analysis Platform New audio capabilities for Bridge Technologies’s VB440 SMPTE ST 2110 and ST 2022-6 monitoring and analysis solution enable audio engineers to monitor and work with immersive audio standards anywhere in the world using only an HTML-5 based browser. The VB440 can be used in the core of broadcasting networks, production studios, master control centers and OB vans and venues. The audio functions include monitoring capabilities developed with professional audio engineers, including a Gonio meter, loudness radar and the ability to measure multichannel audio across 64 channels within one flow. Channel ordering can be signaled as part of AC-3 or E-AC-3 bitstreams or per-stream-configured channel order. All are presented using an intuitive, easy-to-use GUI. z For more information visit https://bridgetech.tv.

BB&S Compact Bicolor Fresnel Light BB&S Lighting has added the Compact Bicolor Fresnel (CFL) to its family of Compact Beamlight LED studio fixtures. The CFL is billed as the smallest footprint (5.5-in/14cm) Fresnel on the market; it draws just 38W and outputs over 2400 lumens at 96 TLCI (tunable from 2700 to 5600°K). It features a genuine curved glass 90mm Fresnel lens that ensures even field distribution in addition to excellent shadow rendering and outputs a hard-shadow beam that fades from 100% at center to 50% at the edges, making it exceptional for mixing and overlapping with other lights while eliminating blinding glare. The 3.5-lb/1.6kg, fit-anywhere fixture has enough output to make it useful as key, fill or backlight from 8 to 18 feet/3 to 6 meters. z For more information visit www.bbslighting.com.


eye on tech | product and services NewTek Tricaster

Chyron CAMIO 5.0

TriCaster 1 Pro, a new addition to NewTek’s TriCasterlive video production system, supports 4K UHD switching, live streaming, recording, data-driven graphics, virtual sets, media publishing, and other features. NewTek has also added a number of new features to its flagship TriCaster 2 Elite video production system. Both the new TriCaster 1 Pro, and the upgraded TriCaster 2 Elite offer integrated flexibility of software and IP networks, providing the kind of tight NDI-native integration, available only in TriCasters. Both TriCasters also feature LiveGraphics, LivePanel and Live Story Creator tools as standard offering automation, title and motion graphics, and bespoke control surfaces. Both models now offer the latest version of Live Call Connect, integrating popular video communication applications like Facebook Messenger, FaceTime, Zoom, etc., as video inputs. z For more information, visit www.newtek.com.

With the 5.0 release, Chyron has re-architected its CAMIO news graphics platform to integrate all of its components, including LUCI, HubDrive, Render Engine and iSQ, more tightly for easier installation, management and maintenance, whether in an on-premises, cloud or hybrid configuration. CAMIO 5.0 features an improved design with a “dark look” option for the home page, asset manager and LUCI plug-in as well as other UI improvements that optimize screen real estate within MOS environments and deliver a streamlined navigational menu structure. In addition, to enhance the large preview option, Chyron has integrated animated previews into LUCI. CAMIO’s ability to identify dependent objects expands asset management functionality and helps to protect assets from accidental deletion. z For more information, visit www.chyron.com.

AVIWEST LiveGuest

Verimatrix Streamkeeper

LiveGuest is a video call solution for live production that enables broadcasters to create content for audiences by inviting remote guests to join a live video call. Integrated with broadcasters’ live production workflow, LiveGuest is easy to deploy and doesn't require a web app or software—guests click on an email link from their laptop computers, and they are on air. LiveGuest runs on any web browser and offers support for bidirectional video, allowing guests to receive, watch and hear the content being produced in the studio. With LiveGuest, video content is received in the studio by AVIWEST’s StreamHub and can then be sent over SDI, NDI or through multiple IP outputs, such as SRT, TS or RTMP. The LiveGuest solution streamlines content delivery to all major social media platforms, including YouTube, Twitch and Facebook. z For more information, visit www.aviwest.com.

Verimatrix Streamkeeper is a cybersecurity and anti-piracy solution that allows users to hunt down and take out OTT pirates who steal content, such as live sports and premium movies, as they are distributed from the source to the endpoint (mobile app/user level). The solution includes "Verimatrix Counterspy," a new, autonomous anti-piracy and app protection security agent that relies on the company’s proprietary zero code technology. It enables users to add deep, defensive countermeasures as well as monitor clients without a huge integration effort. Integration can be done in minutes. It also enables operators to offer studios and other content owners piracy visibility and protection. Currently in beta testing, Verimatrix Streamkeeper is scheduled for general availability at the end of Q1 2022. z For more information visit www.verimatrix.com.

TSL Control

PlayBox Technology AirBox

TSL Control has integrated the TSL and DNF product lines, putting all the company’s control solutions (including TallyMan, Flex Network, etc.) under one umbrella: TSL Control. This allows customers to create a combined system across product lines that is designed to address their unique workflow needs, providing them with more flexibility and potential cost-savings. Improvements to TSL Control include the new GTP-42 Flex Network Controller; solutions in cost-effective IP routing and multi-network control, playout control and automation including SCTE and DTMF monitoring; and the new TallyMan Redundancy Package. With TSL Control, operators can manage facility lighting, engage robotic camera presets, drive any content to the back of the screen, and much more. Through a single interface, the operator has full access to the core of their control system and can manage NDI, SDI and 2110 routing, all from the same control surface. z For more information, visit www.tslproducts.com.

PlayBox Technology has introduced new iterations of its AirBox platform: AirBox Connect, a software-defined streaming solution for in-house or cloud use; AirBox Connect+, a managed service for live streaming that includes asset management, ad and CDN integration and live streaming software; and AirBox Mini, for streaming from remote locations. Also new is Eurisko, a low-latency hardware encoder with SDI, H.264, H.265, SRT and NDI outputs. Two management layers have also been added: a MAM solution tracks content, provides access to workflow design, and implementation tools, ensuring automated playout and streaming is accurate, consistent and intuitive; and a complementary subscriber management layer that can be tailored to create a customized platform to manage revenues. z For more information, visit www.playboxtechnology.com. twitter.com/tvtechnology | www.tvtech.com | January 2022

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equipment guide | recording & storage devices

Capturing the Beauty of the Wilderness With Atomos Ninja V USER REPORT By Peter O’Hara Owner Silver Fern Productions

BANFF, Alberta—These days I fly back and forth between Banff, Toronto and Vancouver, mixing my own work for my own company, Silver Fern Productions, with television production. Silver Fern has managed to carve out a niche for itself by shooting for tourism boards and outdoor adventure brands in Canada. The Atomos Ninja V really comes into its own in the outdoors, especially when it comes to keeping a lightweight setup on big backcountry expeditions. Though I am currently based in Banff, in the heart of the Canadian Rockies, I received my training in television production in Toronto where I was first introduced to Atomos products. Many of the DPs and cinematographers I was shadowing were using them as they’re perfect for TV and commercials. On a recent production of “Hot Market” for HGTV Canada, we used a Sony FX9 camera, which is a great camera, but kind of big and bulky. So we supplemented some of the footage with the Sony a7s Mk II on a DJI Ronin gimbal with the Ninja V to both record and to boost the footage up to broadcast-standard 4:2:2. This allowed us to create intricate tracking shots without compromising image quality.

BUILT FOR TRAVEL We also recently did a project for Travel Yukon and were flying over Klaune National Park and Preserve, which has the largest non-polar ice field in the world. For two and half hours, I shot footage using my Sony a7s Mk II mounted on a Ronin, again with the Ninja V. It worked brilliantly, as it allowed me to boost the footage up to 4:2:2, while backing things up. Working off the monitor is so much better than relying on the camera’s comparatively smaller viewfinder, especially in a small, cramped

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aircraft, where having a fully functional, lightweight and compact rig is essential. I’ve had the Ninja V since 2018 and it pretty much does everything I want it to. It’s bright enough that I can use it as a monitor without a sunscreen. I do still photography as well and I often have it with me to make sure I’ve got the shot lined up right and free of any distractions.

A REPLAY NINJA Using the monitor on client projects also allowed me to replay footage for the client on site. As soon as we departed the plane after shooting above Klaune, I was able to show the client pictures and video we’d taken of Mt. Logan, Canada’s highest mountain. I’ve saved my LUTs to the monitor as well, which serves as a great addition on replay to see instantaneously, and with confidence, what the final image is going to look like. I’ve recently upgraded to the Sony a7s Mk III and when I hook it up to the Ninja V, the Ninja lets me record in ProRes Raw, an important feature and added benefit to making your footage look even more cinematic—not to mention the high dynamic range, which allows me to preserve highlights and shadows in the best possible way. I’m going to upgrade to the Ninja V+ shortly, and am excited for the powerful 4K 60fps feature. There is no better time to be a creative filmmaker. I’m really excited to see where this technology takes us in the future. l Peter O’Hara is based in the Bow Valley, in the heart of the Canadian Rockies and is the owner of Silver Fern Productions. He is passionate about adventure photography and filmmaking in the mountains, bringing stories to life representing nature in all of its wonders. O’Hara can be contacted at peterohara@me.com or at 416-859-4742. For more information visit www.atomos.com.

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equipment guide | recording & storage devices buyers briefs Avid Avid NEXIS For broadcast news, sports and live events, Avid NEXIS is designed to deliver real-time media performance, so teams can collaborate and turn around content faster. Users can access the entire media library across multiple storage tiers and it is designed to eliminate bottlenecks, enabling hundreds of contributors to share media in real time to deliver breaking news and highlights faster. It has a flexible architecture and in partnership with Apple, Adobe, Blackmagic Design, Autodesk, FilmLight, Grass Valley and many others, it has been extensively tested to optimize workflow integrations. Users can easily expand storage; cloud-based online, nearline and archive storage tiers can be accessed from anywhere, providing greater production flexibility via a single web browser interface on any local or remote device.

Quantum CatDV

z For more information visit www.avid.com.

Designed for organizations managing large volumes of video, images and other valuable file data that need to be cataloged and organized, CatDV allows teams to collaborate more effectively and produce content more quickly. An agile asset management and workflow orchestration platform that provides powerful asset management, automation and collaboration tools, CatDV is designed to deliver a wide variety of mediacentric capabilities, including traditional PAM, MAM and DAM, sophisticated workflow automation, and fully customized applications. It allows large content archives to be indexed and searched across local and cloud repositories and lets users leverage the latest AI/ML technology to further enrich the data further in ways that help organizations unlock the business value in their digital data. z For more information visit

www.quantum.com.

For-A ODYSSEY’s Insight Production Server For-A’s ODYSSEY Insight Production Server is a multichannel playout system, available in either two- or four-channel configurations, suitable for studio and OB vans. ODYSSEY is a bespoke server that can be customized to individual needs and it features efficient workflow with tight integration to For-A’s switchers and routers. It is designed so no dedicated operator is required and supports a variety of codecs and wrappers. The server also offers a web interface to allow control from any device without prior installation. It is specifically suited for collaborative work between multiple users and groups and allows for concurrent operation. As a bespoke server, it enables a flexible configuration depending on the user’s requirements. z For more information visit www.for-a.com.

EVS XT-VIA

Pronology rTB Thunderbolt 3 Storage Appliance

The XT-VIA production server is designed to meet the most demanding live broadcast production requirements. It integrates all new formats and protocols from HD to 8K, SDR to HDR, and SDI to IP in a single versatile solution, with capacity of up to six channels of UHD and 16+ channels of HD. Built for HDR broadcasting in all resolutions, it allows for HDR-SDR conversions from its embedded multiviewer. In addition, it provides over 370 validated I/O configurations to roll out customized workflows and offers hybrid SDI/IP connectivity and full IP interoperability with other systems. It also allows simultaneous use of both the new XNet-VIA and file-based network connectivity and supports the highest number of super-motion cameras in the market, ranging from 2x up to 16x.

Pronology’s new rTB appliance, which utilizes a Thunderbolt 3 interface, provides rugged, portable, high-performance storage for a range of applications and workflows. Compact, rackmountable and vibration/ impact resistant, rTB is suitable for users who want the industry’s best hardware RAID technology with the speed and performance of Thunderbolt connectivity. rTB is lightweight, quiet and features hot swappable drives. Its custom hard or soft carrying case allows for safe and easy transportation of invaluable media assets. rTB is available through storage product resellers and Versatile Distribution Services in the U.S. Versatile is also offering an asset management in-a-box bundle that includes Pronology rTB, Axle ai, and a Mac mini.

z For more

z For more information visit

information visit https://evs.com.

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www.pronology.com.

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equipment guide | recording & storage devices

Recording an Amazon Rainforest Fundraiser With HyperDeck Studio 4K Pro USER REPORT

By Michael Shubert Sole Proprietor

MALIBU, Calif.—As a seasoned video professional, I pride myself on doing work for worthy causes. Recently, my team and I worked with L.A.-based event company NK Production to help kick off “A Return to Origin,” a fundraising campaign benefitting the Amazon Prophecy Project. Hosted by Rev. Patrick McCollum and The McCollum Foundation—who specialize in conflict resolution by elevating marginalized and indigenous voices—the year-long campaign aims to raise money to save the Amazon rainforest and preserve indigenous cultures with special monthly fundraising events. The campaign launched on Thanksgiving Day with a global live stream, and we were brought in to provide our flypack system. There were many important components that we needed to capture, including speeches from Jane Goodall, Dr. Vandana Shiva, Chief Phil Lane, Ambassador Chowdhury and other notable visionaries, as well as performances from indigenous artists Kandy Maku and Olos.

SETTING UP TO GIVE BACK To capture these moments, we used a number of Blackmagic Design products including five HyperDeck Studio 4K Pro broadcast decks—one to record the program feed and the other four to record the camera ISO feeds. We also used an URSA Mini Pro 4.6K G2 camera on a 24foot Jimmy jib, and three URSA Broadcast cameras, with one on a camera slider next to the stage, one for reversals and side shots, and one in the back of the house with a Canon XJ72x9.3BIE-D 72x HD Box Lens. Everything was brought into our Videohub 40x40 router and then to our ATEM 4 M/E Broadcast Studio 4K switcher paired with an ATEM 2 M/E Advanced Panel for control. I then routed the program feed to the first HyperDeck Studio 4K Pro, and all four cameras went to the other four HyperDeck Studio 4K Pros, which were fitted with 1 TB SSDs. NK Production provided the media server for video playback and received my camera feeds from our switcher for streaming.

H.264 AND H.265 RECORDING We recently added the HyperDeck Studio 4K Pros to our arsenal so we could take ad-

vantage of the H.264 and H.265 recording ability. Today, certain formats are not always useful as the files can be monsters to move around. Recording H.264 in 1080p and H.265 in 4K is key for us, especially when most things are streaming online, and we don’t have a need for the bigger files. We found the recorders to be incredibly portable and with our setup and the design of the system, we were ready for the camera input in about 20 minutes. We love having the ability to dump files directly from the HyperDeck Studio 4K Pro to the internet or client sites for footage. Clients appreciate this and it also provides a backup for archives with the USB-C drive attachment. We also like the reliability of the HyperDeck Studio 4K Pro, not only in the fact that it works great no matter what type of event we are doing, but also that the SSD drive modules can be replaced if they become worn from heavy use. We use them so often that it’s important for us to keep them running reliably for many years. l Michael Shubert has been designing innovative production environments since 1973 and continues to create distinctive looks for a varied and long-standing clientele in

corporate, music and special events industries. As a technical director and video director, he has numerous award show ceremonies and lighting designs to his credit. As a lighting designer and now as a video director/ DP, he paints with this media in artful ways, not just technically. For more information, contact Michael at shub@msaprod.com For additional information, contact Blackmagic Design at 408-954-0500 or visit www. blackmagicdesign.com.

buyers brief

GB Labs FastNAS Generation 2 Designed to break down bottlenecks in shared storage— which can become sluggish as the task load grows—GB Labs’ latest FastNAS Generation 2 delivers unprecedented performance from shared storage—10x faster than before—and the capability to sit on any network with a minimum of installation effort. It handles sustained data rates of up to 4 Gbps, for all the performance any facility needs. FastNAS Generation 2 also boosts the three key technologies on which it relies: Velocity RAID engine (VRE), which now has increased intelligence to deliver very high throughput; Nitro, GB Labs’ NVMe acceleration tool; and Blueshift, which ensures that FastNAS is truly plug-and-play and can be up and running within 15 minutes of unboxing. z For more information visit

Michael Shubert used Blackmagic Design’s HyperDeck Studio 4K Pro to record a recent fundraiser to benefit the Amazon rainforest.

www.gblabs.com.

twitter.com/tvtechnology | www.tvtech.com | January 2022

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equipment guide | recording & storage devices

PMM Leverages Sony’s Ci to Transform Public Broadcasting Archive USER REPORT

By Scott Shactman Vice President of Operations Media Management’s PMM

DENVER—Media Management’s PMM broadcast technology platform serves more than 20 PBS stations and is the only cloudbased master control solution in public television. It implements new technology solutions that help our business and our clients’ streamline workflows, and transition from a restrictive CAPEX model to a flexible OPEX model by leveraging the power and scalability of the cloud. As vice president of operations, I oversee our network operations center and am also involved in project management, integrating and onboarding new stations, managing station and technology upgrades, and working with our vendor partners. Serving nearly two dozen stations and tens of millions of households means we deal with a large volume of con-

PPM uses the cloud-based storage features of Sony’s Ci to handle more than 80,000 files for many public TV stations around the U.S.

tent that needs to be acquired and coupled with metadata, transcoded to correct playout formats and delivered to customer stations.

INTO THE AWS CLOUD In the past, stations typically relied on tape storage combined with spinning disks for long-term archive. Employing the cloud for archive eliminates many of the challenges presented by outdated storage methods. The redundancy the cloud offers and the fact that Sony’s cloud-based Ci platform sits on top of AWS gives us peace of mind that our content is secure,

buyers brief AJA AJA Diskover Media Edition AJA Diskover Media Edition lets professionals and studios easily search, find, and analyze media asset data originating from on-premises, remote, and cloud storage—aggregating associated metadata into a unified global index. Users can easily identify wasted storage space, aging and unused files, data changes, and more to make informed data decisions. The software allows users to index hundreds of petabytes of data and more to easily locate files, analyze them, and pinpoint misallocated resources. Diskover Media Edition allows metadata to be seamlessly harvested to add business context and insights to files to inform business processes and streamline workflows. z For more information visit www.aja.com.

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dependable and protected. When PMM was formed, we chose to leverage the cloud using Sony’s Ci platform. Ci is used for central storage of all of PMM’s national PBS content for master control, as well as high-speed automated file transfer to all stations. Individual stations can have their own broadcast archive that seamlessly integrates with their local master control system. One of the benefits of this is that our stations no longer have to store any of the national content that PBS distributes. We acquire all the content distributed by PBS at our operations center, put it through a QC process and upload it to our Ci Workspace. Our member stations have access to that Workspace, where the PBS content is readily available and automated for their download and playout. In addition, our broadcast archive sits in Ci and is accessible to all PMM stations. Beyond PMM’s Ci Workspace, many of our member stations choose to use Ci for their own local archive. Ci is integrated with PMM in a way that enables stations at a local level to store their specific productions in a Workspace and manage the con-

tent in a workflow that allows it to be scheduled and automatically pulled down from Ci to their PMM system to playout to air.

REDUCING STORAGE COSTS Another valuable aspect to using Ci is the platform’s storage management policies. Since PMM launched in 2015, we’ve kept every single piece of content that we’ve acquired—which totals more than 80,000 files. Using Ci’s storage policy, we can easily identify any content that hasn’t been active within the last 12 months and automatically send it to archive. This saves us money and space and dramatically reduces our storage costs. This seamless process is integrated with our scheduling system with APIs—auto-restoring content scheduled for air and downloading without a need for user interaction. For PMM, we’ve found many more benefits associated with Ci and cloud archive. The flexibility it affords in reformatting our entire library is a big advantage. In addition, being able to store a large volume of content without having to worry about going to a different LTO version or doing a storage upgrade is very helpful, especially because of the number of sites we serve. Another great asset is the ability to give our stations complete access to our archive—at any time, from anywhere they’re located. Additionally, Ci extends beyond storage and archive and supports open APIs. For PMM, Ci provides a robust and collaborative production workflow environment along with effortless transcoding capabilities that can grow and scale alongside our organization. l Scott Shactman is vice president of operations for PMM. In this role, he spearheads operations for a joint master control NOC (Network Operations Center), serving more than 20 PBS stations. He can be reached at scott@pmm.org. For more information visit www.sonymcs.com.


equipment guide | recording & storage devices buyers briefs

PlayBox Neo Capture Suite

JVC GY-HC900 CONNECTED CAM

Capture Suite is a multichannel, multiserver UHD/HD/SD live ingest solution, which integrates into the production workflow of any TV network, post-production facility or playout center. It allows users to control multiple ingest channels across multiple servers from a single web user interface. Functions such as input selection, ingest presets, file-naming conventions, assignments and auto-transfer can be performed quickly and easily. Video standards of up to 4K can be ingested. New features include: manual, scheduled and compliance ingest modes with automated input switching; editing in Adobe Premiere and Grass Valley Edius Workgroup 9+ can be performed while ingesting; MXF and TS files being ingested are available for immediate playout via AirBox Neo-20 Automation without having to wait for the ingest process to complete; loudness audio meters are now included to allow precise audio level adjustment; and a web-based multiviewer with black and freeze frame alarms is now included.

JVC Professional Video’s GY-HC900 CONNECTED CAM is an ENG-style camera that offers a variety of on-board recording capabilities, including MXF and ProRes, along with HDR imaging, network streaming and remote-control functions. Built-in recording features include dual memory card slots for standard SDHX/SDXC media and flexible recording options like redundant, relay and back-up modes. For contribution quality, the camera supports recording in 10-bit ProRes HD422 to an optional SSD module for virtually lossless intra-frame compressions and enhances post-production processes. A 1TB SSD in the module can provide 25+ hours of backup capacity, depending on recording format. The GY-HC900 also supports MPEG-2 35/25Mbps as well as .MOV H.264, which can deliver production-quality 1080/60p 4:2:2 10-bit recordings. In this mode, recordings can be made at frame rates up to 120fps for ultra-smooth slow-motion effects.

z For more information visit www.

z For more information visit http://pro.jvc.com.

playboxneo.com.

EditShare Universal Media Projects Universal Media Projects, which ships as part of EditShare’s FLOW media management, brings together DaVinci Resolve, Premiere Pro, and Media Composer into a single workflow environment, giving editors real-time access to content from anywhere and collaborate freely in a mixed editing environment. Universal Media Projects seamlessly manages all the necessary project data—such as sequences, clips, bins, and markers—between editorial tools. All relevant information is available remotely through a secure web interface. It creates a metadata store that models all the key common entities of a project including clips, subclips, sequences, etc., along with extended attributes to store NLE-specific data. It facilitates a continuous exchange of this data between different editorial tools, an innovation that is particularly useful as the media industry moves towards hybrid and cloud-based workflows and remote workflows. z For more information visit https:// editshare.com.

Rohde & Schwarz SpycerNode Rohde & Schwarz SpycerNode is specifically designed for critical broadcast applications. It integrates with any cloud storage, and users can then ingest or transcode directly into a folder, where files are immediately uploaded to the cloud and synchronized with any other storage devices in other locations. This R&S solution automatically handles encryption during file transfer so remote and cloud workflows become much easier to use directly from an on-premise SpycerNode storage system. SpycerNode allows unlimited scaling from the first device, letting customers grow their storage without wasting any part of their investment. SpycerNode has also been designed to deliver a reduced carbon footprint through lower power consumption; it has integrated, no point of failures architectures; and provides uncompromising scalability. z For more information visit www.rohde-schwarz.com. twitter.com/tvtechnology | www.tvtech.com | January 2022

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

JOSEPH NAYLOR

LONI FISCUS

BRIAN PUGH

CHERYLE HARRISON

VP of Emerging Products E.W. Scripps Co.

Demo Artist, Trainer PlayBox Neo

Chief Information Officer Comscore

Head of Bounce Scripps Networks

Joseph Naylor has been hired VP of emerging products for E.W. Scripps Company’s Local Media division. He is responsible for Local Media digital thought leadership, vision, strategy, development and execution of nonlinear opportunities for Scripps’ 61 stations in 41 markets. Naylor previously served as executive director of product, programmatic and data for Cox Media Group, where he was a member of the its senior leadership team.

PlayBox Neo has hired Loni Fiscus as a Trainer for the U.S.-based team, providing training and demonstrations of the newest versions of the PlayBox Neo-20 suite of products, focusing on AirBox Neo-20 for automated content streaming and broadcast playout and Cloud2TV virtual playout solution. She has deep broadcast roots, having learned systems integration and video production through her parents’ company, AC Video Solutions.

Comscore has promoted Brian Pugh to Chief Information Officer. He joined Comscore in 2007 and held executive level positions across data science, analytics and product technology. He is responsible for launching cost-effective technology solutions that increase innovation and productivity; ensure that Comscore data is secure; and Comscore services are accredited for ISO security standards and by industry organizations like the Media Rating Council.

Scripps Networks has appointed Cheryle Harrison to head up its Bounce TV network. She has served in various roles at Bounce since it was launched in 2011 as the first Katz network. She will be responsible for the overall strategic vision for Bounce, including brand strategy, programing, marketing, social media, digital and community relations. Harrison has more than 30 years of experience in broadcasting and digital media.

NICK RADZIUL

OLIVER FRENZEL

KEISHA TAYLOR STARR

Business Development Manager Lawo

Chief Marketing Officer Scripps Networks

LARRY IRVING

NAB Television Board of Directors NAB Television Nick Radziul, senior VP of distribution and government affairs for Hearst Television, has been named to the NAB Television Board of Directors. Radziul assumes the Board seat of Patrick McCreery. McCreery was president of Meredith Corporation’s Local Media Group, which was recently acquired by Gray Television. Radziul is responsible for Hearst’s distribution rights agreements with its programming and distribution partners.

Lawo named Oliver Frenzel as business development manager for its SMART line of IP network monitoring solutions. He takes on a central role for the advancement of Lawo’s SMART product line and will support his sales colleagues in their effort to provide the best solutions for their customers’ projects. Frenzel’s role reflects Lawo’s continued growth in the domain of IP-based broadcast remote production solutions, which require strict monitoring and traffic analysis.

Scripps Networks has hired Keisha Taylor Starr as chief marketing officer. She will lead marketing strategies across the nine Scripps national networks as well as direct marketing, brand strategy and creative for each network. Taylor Starr reports to Lisa Knutson, president of Scripps Networks. She has more than 20 years of media experience across news, sports and entertainment, most recently as senior VP of marketing and public relations for The Recount.

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Chair PBS Board of Directors Larry Irving, president and CEO of the Irving Group consulting firm, has been elected to chair the PBS Board of Directors. The Irving Group provides strategic advice and assistance to international telecommunications and information technology companies, foundations and nonprofits. Irving previously served on the PBS Board of Directors from 2009–2019 and has played an instrumental role in guiding PBS through its ongoing digital transformation.