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Inside: BVE Preview, Channel in a Box, Inside Disney Benelux

TVBEUROPE £5.00/€8.00/$10.00

Europe’s television technology business magazine


Broadcasters prepare for Fast Turnaround TV Conference Preview

By Fergal Ringrose

Sports News studio: LED lighting throughout the Sky Sports News studio cuts down on heat and energy costs

Inside Sky Studios: The factory of ideas Studio Production By Philip Stevens When production of Sky Sports News moved into the broadcaster’s new facility in west London last July, it marked the start of a six-month migration of other inhouse departments. Last month saw the completion of that move, and Sky has been keen to point out the benefits of its new £233 million media centre – formerly known as Harlequin 1 and now called, not surprisingly, Sky Studios. “When we broke ground for the new building in 2007, it meant that our growth as a broadcaster had achieved a new perspective,” said John Lennon, Sky’s director of Broadcast Operations and Strategy. “Previously, we had developed in

a fast and dynamic way, but it was somewhat piecemeal. Now our efforts have been directed into a facility that can house 1300 personnel and will enable us to be far more efficient.” He says that the new building is designed to Make, Shape and Share broadcast productions. To achieve that end there are eight studios to make the programmes, 45 edit suites to shape them and a formidable array of connectivity systems to share the material. “When it comes to making, all of the studios are equipped for both HD and 3D,” he said. “We can combine studios where audience participation is involved or there is a need for large scale productions. There is no disputing that we can offer world-class facilities to our production partners.” Lennon says the extra capacity will enable Sky to increase its

creation of home grown programmes. “Our production budget for 2011 was £380 million, but this is due to increase to £600 million over the next few years.” He points out that Grass Valley has provided the LDK cameras and Kayak vision mixers for all the studios. With the exception of strategic key sources, all the lighting is based on LED technology. “We want to get the local community involved where it is appropriate, so we have built viewing galleries in some studios that will enable visitors to see what is going on – but without disrupting work on the production floor,” he said. Turn to page 34 for Philip Stevens full report and discussion with Sky’s John Lennon on the new building in West London and its completely tapeless environment.

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TVBEurope’s first Fast Turnaround TV conference will be keynoted by Andrew Ioannou, strategy director, ITV and will see in-depth case studies from Mediaset Italy and NRK Norway along with European case studies involving workflows from sponsors Dalet, Quantel and Sony.

launched last year. The Fast Turnaround TV case study will explain how Mediaset adopted Dalet newsroom, production and playout tools in Milan for Studio Aperto and a hub for newsgathering for the 24/7 channel including all 10 of Mediaset’s regional stations. NRK Norway set a Guinness World Record in Summer 2011 by broadcasting a programme lasting for 134:42:45 hours — the world’s

Among the case studies examined will be the final of The X Factor 2011

Andrew Ioannou, director of Strategy for Technology, Platforms & Business Delivery at ITV, will explain how live event-driven television programming has become the cornerstone of a broadcaster’s schedule. He will tell our audience how ITV is harnessing PC/TV convergence, mobile devices, social media and micropayment to add value to must-watch television events, with reference to the final of The X Factor 2011. Mediaset is Italy’s largest commercial broadcaster and in 2011 it initiated a project to centralise and streamline all TV news operations including a 24/7 news channel that

longest-ever live television documentary. The Hurtigruten sea journey took over 65% of Norway’s population with it across TV and web coverage. Thomas Hellum, project manager, will explain how NRK produced a five-day event, from a moving vessel at sea, live on TV that received 12 million Facebook views and 22,000,000 impressions on Twitter – and was streamed in 179 countries. Fast Turnaround TV takes place at The Soho Hotel on Tuesday 13 March and will be chaired by leading industry consultant John Ive, principal of IveTech.


See Digital Rapids and Thameside at BVE , ( Broadcast Video Expo ) 14th – 16th February 2012, Earls Court 2, London, Booth K44


Sony sees future in Crystal, not OLED By Adrian Pennington The first large screen OLED consumer display panels will ship later this year, but Sony demonstrated at CES what it believes is its successor — Crystal LED. There is no doubt about the flagship products from Samsung and LG: both presented 55-inch 3D 1080p OLED TVs to ship during 2012, with prices to be determined (though they won’t be cheap — the nearest ballpark I got was from LG’s Dave Harmon, who said it would be significantly less than $23,000). LG’s model weighed in at 7.5kg and is just 4mm thin making it the thinnest, largest and lightest such panel around. Sony, however, seems to be manoeuvring toward Crystal LED,  a technology of its own devising in  which a thin layer of six million LEDs is mounted on

Sony moves to Crystal LED, a technology of its own devising

the display itself. This technique, says Sony, results in greater light efficiency and higher contrast images in both light and dark viewing conditions.

The C-LED screen also produces a wider colour gamut because of the way the system uses the red, green and blue lights to create colour. The new screen also has

wider viewing angles compared to LCD and plasma displays. The company was showing two prototype 55-inch C-LEDs and comparing the picture quality, favourably it has to be said, against its top of the range LCD panel. According to Harold Neal, regional sales manager, North America, “C-LED will have a longer life span than [phosphorbased] OLED. We can also manufacture screens larger than 55 inches, which just now is the limit for OLED. And it will have faster response times.” When asked why Sony turned to Crystal LED vs OLED in flat screens, at a QA session following the press conference at CES, Sony Corp Chairman Sir Howard Stringer said: “It is the best TV out there and it is our technology. We are proud of it — it is the high end where we will lead the [category’s] recovery.” Sony Executive Deputy President Kazuo Hirai added that Sony has OLED on the pro side and that “as much as we are proud of the Crystal screen, we are not out of OLED. We will continue to look at it, but there is nothing to talk about now.” Sony said it would work conscientiously to bring the Crystal LED to market (full CES report on page 8).

VSN joins FIMS for standardisation push By Fergal Ringrose As a recently appointed member of the committee of General Members of the AMWA (Advanced Media Workflow Association), Spanish company VSN has joined the FIMS project’s work team (Framework for Interoperable Media Services). Other manufacturers like Sony, Avid, IBM, Harris, Harmonic, BBC or Quantel also participate in the same team. VSN will actively collaborate, along with the principal manufacturers of the sector, in defining the new FIMS specification. The project is an AMWA-EBU joint initiative for the development of a technology framework that enables greater interoperability of systems and components.

CONTENTS 1-11 News & Analysis 8 Meet the new TV The new smart TV is part of a wider connected home where devices are linked together. Adrian Pennington reports from CES 2012 in Las Vegas

11 MENOS expands

to Africa

Chris Forrester delves into the Arab world’s MENOS (Multimedia Exchange Network Over Satellite) system, which has been a huge success

12 The Business Case 12 Forbidden cloud floats off Forbidden Technologies has seen impressive growth with broadcast post sales of its cloud video platform increasing by 94% in the first half of 2011. Melanie Dayasena-Lowe reports

14-16 News & Analysis 14 Making fibre connect As broadcast infrastructures have got more demanding, so the interest in fibre has grown. Guest Opinion by Mike Purnell, Argosy

18-33 Channel in a Box Is there still a gap between optimal scheduling and playout process integration? Is content validation sufficient in existing CiaB systems? Read our all-new vendordriven Channel in a Box special debate

As the market moves away from traditional video technologies to embrace IT-based technologies, the design and management of production systems becomes a challenge for most TV broadcasters. Due to the lack of standard interfaces among the different components and systems, integrators must devote increasing resources and efforts in the development of customised adapters to integrate the technologies from different manufacturers. The future FIMS specification has been designed from scratch for greater interoperability and standardisation to production, post production, distribution and media archive applications.

Celebrating 40 years: ”With the technology of television production developing very rapidly, the GTC’s role in communication and information exchange is now more important than ever.” That is the comment of Dick Hibberd (pictured), founding member and now president of The Guild of Television Cameramen. The GTC will celebrate its 40th anniversary at the IET Birmingham: Austin Court conference centre on 11-12 May. The meeting, held in conjunction with GTC Awards 2012, will include master classes with expert tutors and a display of new and historical production equipment. — Jake Young

34-38 The Workflow 34 A new media centre Sky’s new building is designed to Make, Shape and Share broadcast productions, for both 2D and 3D. Philip Stevens talked to Sky’s Director of Broadcast Operations & Strategy John Lennon

36 Always aiming for the Top Philip Stevens talks to an OB provider setting pace with 3D facilities

38 Changing Disney workflows Disney has abandoned the traditional approach of linear broadcast workflows to adopt a centralised integrated approach for multiple linear and nonlinear workflows. David Stewart reports

40-49 BVE Preview 2012 A guide to what’s new and improved at Broadcast Video Expo in London, compiled by Melanie Dayasena-Lowe

50 News & Analysis Is the traditional post house dead? Julie Sangan, resource manager, post production at BBC Studios and Post Production, examines the remaining relevance of the post house in the tapeless or file-based world F E B R U A RY 2 0 1 2



Jérôme Tancray, Analog Way

Matt Danilowicz, Bexel

Ed Calverley, Oasys

Craig Newbury, Wohler

People on the move By Jake Young Analog Way has appointed Jérôme Tancray as global customer service and after sales support director. Adrian Corso, Analog Way’s CEO, said: “His expertise in B2B customer support management will be instrumental in the development of improved customer service.” Rainer Hercher has taken on the job of managing director at Band Pro Munich. Hercher was formerly business development manager of the Band Pro Film & Digital subsidiary. Outgoing Managing Director, Gerhard Baier, has stepped down at his own request after nearly 10 years as head of the equipment provider. Bexel, a unit of the Vitec Group’s services division, has appointed Matt Danilowicz to the position of president. Jerry Gepner, chief executive officer, said: “I believe his leadership will have a powerful and positive influence and help Bexel further secure its position as the premier equipment rental and engineering solutions provider.” Bridge Technologies has employed Olli Tuomela as regional manager for EMEA.

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Lester Cobrin, XL Video UK

Reporting to Sales Director Philip Burnham, Tuomela assumes overall responsibility for sales activities in the region, with resource and logistical support for business partner sales. “Olli’s technical knowledge and commercial acumen offer an excellent combination of skills to help provide the best guidance to our business partners, and he is a key appointment as Bridge Technologies scales up and diversifies its markets in the region,” said Burnham. Dawn Egerton has joined Bubble & Squeak as both a senior account director and partner in the business. Egerton joins the PR, marketing and events service after spending 10 years at Avid. Capture developer Cinedeck has announced changes and additions to its personnel. Co-founder CTO Charles Dautremont has taken the role of acting CEO, with Robert Stacy, Cinedeck LLC’s collaborator and supporter at Asia Media Products, promoted to vice president. Jane Sung is promoted to director of operations, while Alan Hoff, Cinedeck’s

Kevin Alexander, TC Group

Kate Robson, Prime Focus

former CEO, will remain as a company board member. DEV Systemtechnik, an RF signal handling company, has appointed Stefan Philipps as area sales manager for Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Rainer Lorger, head of sales and marketing commented: “The combination of his technical and sales expertise ensures that he will recommend the best problem solution to customers and prospects.” Emmy award winner Digital Projection (DP) has assigned Ciaran Doran as head of international sales and marketing. In a broadcast and pro AV career spanning more than 20 years, he has also held senior management roles in Harris and Sony Corporation. Carter Holland has been recruited by NewTek as executive vice president of worldwide marketing. Prior to joining the portable live production company, Holland held a range of marketing leadership positions at Avid, leading the consolidation of the Pro Tools, M-Audio, Sibelius, Pinnacle and Avid brands. Oasys, the automated playout developer, has hired Ed Calverley

as solutions design manager. “I have been aware of Oasys for some time, but when I actually saw the Oasys software in action it was a real eye opener to the true power of IT-based playout,” said Calverley. Kate Robson has been promoted to head of broadcast operations at Prime Focus. Robson, who joined the visual entertainment services company in June 2011, has already worked on the series’ of Spooks, Sherlock and Hustle. Audio console manufacturer Solid State Logic has recruited Bella McAvoy as marketing communications manager. Dan Duffell, marketing director for SSL, said: “The creation of this new senior role within our marketing team is a sign of the company’s continued expansion and is driven by the success the company is enjoying worldwide.” TC Group has appointed Kevin Alexander, CEO of subsidiary TC-Helicon, as vice president of business management MI & HD. David Hilderman, COO of TC-Helicon, will take over dayto-day operations of the companies’ vocal focused development. The Telos Alliance has taken on Christina Carroll and Kirk Harnack in new positions. Carroll has been named senior vice president of global sales for all four Telos Alliance companies, while Harnack steps up from his position as executive director of sales and marketing to the role of vice president, Telos Products. Content solutions provider Volicon has named Jennifer Knutel as senior director of marketing. The company’s new hire brings extensive marketing experience for technology-driven firms. Wall Street Communications has promoted Susan Warren to the role of agency president, while Caryn Cohen, the agency’s former president, takes on the role of founding partner. Said Cohen: “Wall Street Communications is again focused on its founding core in broadcast, and Susan is the natural fit to lead the team forward.” Wohler Technologies has hired Craig Newbury as senior sales executive, EMEA. Prior to joining Wohler, Newbury served as UK area sales manager for Axon Digital Design, a manufacturer of modular audio and video signal processing platforms.

Editorial expansion at TVBEurope : Jake Young has joined broadcast technology market leader TVBEurope as staff writer, working with Editorial Director Fergal Ringrose and Deputy Editor Melanie DayasenaLowe across all print, online and live content at the Intent Media London title. Young has most recently worked as UK online content manager at Action Cameras and since leaving college has also had professional attachments with TVBEurope’s sister title Pro Sound News Europe, as well as Sky Movies HD and Feature Story News. “We’re delighted to welcome Jake on board as we expand our team and activities in 2012,” said Ringrose. “We have an exciting and busy year ahead of us, right across TVBEurope magazine and its website and enewsletters as well as our three conferences — Fast Turnaround TV, 3D Masters and The IT Broadcast Workflow — and of course The IBC Daily and eDailies. We’re confident Jake is going to make a big impact on TVBEurope’s content offering across all platforms.”

Lester Cobrin has joined XL Video UK, the live music video rental operator, as senior project manager. “With the everincreasing crossover between video and lighting, I can use my understanding and education from one medium in new, different and inventive ways,” said Cobrin.

Rainer Hercher, Band Pro Munich

Bella McAvoy, Solid State Logic

Susan Warren, Wall Street Communications

Jake Young, TVBEurope F E B R U A RY 2 0 1 2

SmartView Duo is the perfect compact SDI rack monitoring system for post production, broadcast or live events. It features two beautiful 8” LCD screens which can be remotely adjusted via ethernet. It even includes tally. What’s more, it easily handles SD, HD and 3 Gb/s SDI video formats. SDI monitoring everywhere you need it SmartView Duo lets you build your own master control room to monitor all cameras for live production. Use it in editing desks to display all your video sources. Incredibly compact, it’s also great for broadcast vans. You can even install SmartView Duo into portable monitor racks to build lightweight flyaway kits. Intelligent Ethernet control Forget about using little screwdrivers in an attempt to match all your monitors. Now you can conveniently adjust and match every monitor remotely from your laptop or desktop. Simply connect SmartView Duo to your ethernet network and use the included Mac or PC software. *SRP is Exclusive of VAT.

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Europe’s television technology business magazine

Graphic changes in playout

EDITORIAL Editorial Director Fergal Ringrose Media House, South County Business Park, Leopardstown, Dublin 18, Ireland +3531 294 7783 Fax: +3531 294 7799 Deputy Editor Melanie Dayasena-Lowe Staff Writer Jake Young Intent Media London, 1st Floor, Suncourt House, 18-26 Essex Road, London N1 8LN, England +44 207 226 7246 Editorial Consultant Adrian Pennington Associate Editor David Fox USA Correspondent Carolyn Giardina Contributors Mike Clark, Richard Dean, Chris Forrester, Jonathan Higgins, Mark Hill, Dick Hobbs, John Ive, George Jarrett, Heather McLean, Bob Pank, Nick Radlo, Neal Romanek, Philip Stevens, Reinhard E Wagner Digital Content Manager Tim Frost Managing Director Stuart Dinsey

ART & PRODUCTION Head of Production Adam Butler Editorial Production Manager Dawn Boultwood Senior Production Executive Alistair Taylor

SALES Publisher Steve Connolly +44 207 354 6000 Fax:+44 207 354 6049 Sales Manager Ben Ewles +44 207 354 6000 Fax:+44 207 354 6049

US SALES Michael Mitchell Broadcast Media International, PO Box 44, Greenlawn, New York, NY 11740 +1 (631) 673 3199 Fax: +1 (631) 673 0072

JAPAN AND KOREA SALES Sho Harihara Sales & Project, Yukari Media Incorporated +81 6 4790 2222 Fax: +81 6 4793 0800

CIRCULATION Intent Media, Sovereign Park, Lathkill Street, Market Harborough LE16 9EF, UK Free subscriptions: Subscriptions Tel +44 1858 438786 Printing by Pensord Press, Tram Road, Pontllanfraith, Blackwood NP12 2YA

TVBEurope is published 12 times a year by Intent Media London, 1st Floor, Suncourt House, 18-26 Essex Road, London N1 8LN, England Intent Media is a member of the Periodical Publishes Association

© Intent Media 2012. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the prior permission of the copyright owner. TVB Europe is mailed to qualified persons residing on the European continent. Subscription rates £64/€96/$120. Allow 8 weeks for new subscriptions and change of address delivery. Send subscription inquiries to: Subscription Dept, Intent Media, Sovereign Park, Lathkill Street, Market Harborough LE16 7BR, England. ISSN 1461-4197


Playout Management By Fergal Ringrose Why do we keep coming back to the ‘Channel in a Box’ area of the broadcast chain? (See our CiaB section, starting page 18). In reality it’s not to do with the commoditisation of hardware used in the television broadcast chain, or whether the infrastructure you deploy is off-the-shelf or a locked-in proprietary system. It’s to do with the simplification of broadcast technology. Why is simplification important? Because every content provider in this business is now required to deliver more content to more platforms than ever before. This multiplication of channels and platforms is speeding up all the time, across regions, countries and continents. And the playout area is one of the few in the broadcast chain where there exists the possibility to simplify and streamline, so that you can reduce operational costs allowing already stretched budgets to go a bit further — and create the ability to launch new services on new platforms without recruiting more staff. Simple! That’s what it’s about, and that’s why we’re very pleased to bring you the views of the world’s leading specialist vendors in the area this issue. From a solutions architecture viewpoint, there is no ‘correct’ way to approach playout process integration. But each of these vendors believes passionately in their own direction and typically have spent many, many years developing new systems and iterations for broadcast users. As Oasys CEO Mark Errington observes, “comparing products titled ‘Channel in a Box’ or ‘IT-based Playout’ is a thankless task, as vendors take different approaches to solving the workflow challenge and there is no clearly defined technical definition of the product sets.” Errington touches on the old chestnut that each broadcaster has special needs — at least that’s the way many broadcasters still view the world — and even that each channel they broadcast has special needs. He concludes, “instead of asking ‘should I get a Channel in a Box?’, you should be asking, ‘what are my channel’s requirements from the box?’ In that way it is the functional requirement that is specified, rather than the technical specification of the hardware.” Alison Pavitt at Pebble Beach Systems says, “despite having first emerged as a concept several years ago, Channel in a Box technology continues to cause controversy and debate. The advantages of the approach seem clear in terms of cost, space, power and simplicity of installation. “But replacing all of the specialist technology in the traditional playout chain is a big ask, and the lukewarm reception that some solutions are getting in the field is not surprising when vendors’ claims are exceeding what the kit can deliver in this missioncritical space.” James Gilbert, Pixel Power, sounds another warning note. “There’s a key area that has seen many broadcasters shy away from CiaB solutions: automation. Until recently, CiaB technologies have been tied to the automation system that they are supplied with: automation lock-in. This is an important consideration for a broadcaster whose needs may change over time. CiaB technologies that benefit from this can integrate with many automation and MAM systems by way of an open XML protocol or legacy industry standard protocols.”

Click to deliver: Comparing products in the CiaB sector is ‘a thankless task’

The last word The real breakthroughs have been commodity hardware (not bespoke) and file freedom (not proprietary), according to Don Ash of PlayBox. “New technology should not just replace the old. It should do more. Making use of the biggest of all file-based systems — the internet — has enabled new workflows and opportunities for broadcasters.” What works for self-contained broadcast facilities such as major financial institutions, worship organisations and municipal services may not work for ‘disconnected’ broadcasters ingesting numerous sources in order to broadcast multiple channels across multiple platforms Gilbert Leb, ToolsOnAir, says “with Apple’s recent integration of Thunderbolt technology and increased processing power, ToolsOnAir introduced at IBC2011 the concept of a ‘TV Station in a Mac Mini’. Utilising video hardware such as Blackmagic Designs’ Ultrastudio 3D or AJA’s IO XT Box, it is now possible to implement a truly professional-grade broadcast facility, delivering playout automation, video server and realtime graphics, in a single Mac Mini with a mere 85 Watts of power consumption.” Has Grass Valley’s acquisition of PubliTronic given an official high-end broadcast blessing to the Channel in a Box sector? Or is that the wrong way to look at GV’s strategic motives and market directions? The last word in our CiaB section goes to Harold Vermuelen, formerly principal of PubliTronic and now vice president Media Playout Solutions at Grass Valley. “While every television channel has its unique challenges, there are some things that are common,” says Vermuelen. “The nature of television is unforgiving: we have come to expect a smooth stream of high-quality pictures and sound, with no glitches, freezes, blacks, or silence. That puts a very stringent demand on the idea of ‘realtime’ processing. Even today, the IT industry giants struggle to achieve anywhere near the levels of reliability that we expect from broadcast equipment as a matter of course.” That always-on ‘unforgiving’ nature of television means that premium channels may continue to rely on specialist hardware for some time to come. As Vermuelen says, “The integrated playout system is not the solution for every broadcaster, but it is appropriate for many, and it allows new services to be launched quickly and extremely cost effectively. With this modern architecture, you can realise the cost benefits without compromising on functionality or on-air quality.”

Litepanels takes centre stage By Jake Young Camera operator Johnnie Behiri has used Litepanels LED lighting as part of his new project entitled Just Ballet. The 1x1 Series lights were especially important as most of the filming took place in ballet studios with plain white walls. “The combination of modern HDDSLR film equipment and the versatile 1x1 enabled me to create the shots without exaggeration and to portray the protagonists in a very personal way,” said Behiri. “The light was often used as a direct light. However, it was also used with the filters

Johnnie Behiri, DP and co-producer of the documentary Just Ballet, relied on the 1x1 LED Photo: Stefan Nutz lights from Litepanels

included in the kit to adjust the colour temperature or to spread the light.” Behiri also appreciates the characteristics of robustness and durability. “With the 1x1 fixture, I don’t have to think about whether the equipment will weigh my luggage down too much or whether the light will survive the trip,” he explained. “I also know I can quickly assemble it on the set.” In total, Behiri spent a year working on the two 56-minute parts of the documentary about a unique ballet class from the Vienna State Opera Ballet School. He filmed eight dancers between the ages of 14 and 15 years old during rehearsals, performances and interviews. F E B R U A RY 2 0 1 2

Tomaz Lovsin, Managing Director, STN

iTX delivers the scalability, resilience and agility we need As a playout service provider for more than 300 television channels, STN requires highly scalable and resilient operations, with a low cost of ownership. That’s why it relies on iTX, the world’s most advanced IT-based automation and playout platform. By tightly integrating iTX with Miranda’s infrastructure and monitoring solutions, STN has streamlined its content delivery workflows, all the way from ingest to transmission. The result is a highly agile media business, which responds rapidly to new opportunities. Watch our STN facility tour:



Connected, voice controlled, 3D, OLED and big: meet the new TV

Now that’s a trade show crowd: jostling for position outside LVCC Central

CES Show Analysis No longer dumb, the new smart TV is part of a wider connected home where devices are linked together for the streaming, upload and sharing of professional and personal media. It’s a massive change impacting programme creation, distribution strategy and vendor R&D, reports Adrian Pennington Over 153,000 punters poured into the Las Vegas Convention Centre for January’s Consumer Electronics Show to gauge the future of home entertainment. The overriding goal of exhibiting consumer electronics manufacturers was to promote the virtues of connecting an array of devices together via the cloud, Wi-Fi or home networks like DLNA. “The average household has about 25 CE products — the next step is taking advantage of those devices with interconnectivity,” said Shawn DuBravac, research director for the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA). “This means starting to capture the vast volume of digital assets we have created, whether professional or self-generated, and beginning to organise them for search and discovery.” Or as Boo-Kuen  Yoon, president of Samsung’s CE division, put it, “We must break down barriers that exist between devices.” The global demand for new gadgets (20,000 of which were released at CES) will drive consumer spend over $1 trillion in 2012, predicts the CEA, and while smartphones and tablet PCs are the hottest products, the main hub for interconnectivity is the TV.

Getting smarter every year Samsung promised the world’s first future-proofed smart TV. Slots built into the back of select 8

sets will be able to accommodate cards which will allow the TV to be upgraded with new features, boosts in computing power and picture performance. At stake is a growing world market for web TVs forecast to nearly double from $68 billion in 2011 to $122 billion in 2016, according to IMS Research. “Samsung TVs will get smarter every year without requiring you to purchase an entire new set,” said Tim Baxter, president Samsung America, though details were vague. The fight is on to secure more and better content delivered over the top of traditional cable and satellite carriage for rental or purchase from online stores hosted by the TV makers themselves. Samsung’s Media Hub has been augmented with MGO, a movie streaming app from Technicolor; Panasonic’s Viera Connect platform will include MySpace TV and Flixter; while the Sony Entertainment Network (SEN) — an extension of the Playstation Network — streams on-demand video and music services for play back on Sony’s own devices. CES also saw a second launch for Google TV which needs hardware manufacturers to partner with at the same time as being a potential competitor to them. Android-powered sets are being built by Sony, LG, Vizio and Samsung (though it did not demonstrate this). LG is hedging its bets by allowing users to switch between the LG Smart TV platform and the Google TV interface. Google’s UI is similar to the look of Android on smartphones, and features apps from a range of content providers. Google has had 150 apps specifically built for its TV service — a fraction of the hundreds of thousands available for phones. Samsung, by contrast, already offers 2500 TV apps.

The elephant in the room is Apple, not exhibiting at CES, but widely expected to be launching into the TV market later this year. Apart from iTunes and a ready-made cloud platform, Apple’s relationships with record labels and movie studios could give it the edge in offering consumers the widest range of on-demand content they desire. Equally important is Apple’s track record in user experience design, another CES theme as companies seek to reduce the complexity of potentially unlimited search and discovery with a simplicity of experience. A key product here is LG’s Magic Motion remote which uses hand gesture to control the interface and even full body gesture for gaming. Lenovo introduced an Android-powered TV with facial recognition and voice control. Sony’s Google TV also has voice control and Apple is hinted to be incorporating its own voice recognition technology Siri into iTV.

A slow burn for 3DTV Needless to say, all smart TVs are also 3D TVs with the format taking a back seat but continuing as a standard feature. Manufacturers are playing a long game until more compelling content and advances in technology make 3D a consumer must-have. LG for one declared it would combine its Cinema 3D brand with smart TV functions in half of its 2012 product line and 3D was a consistent theme across Samsung and Sony’s product portfolio but with no breakthroughs to shout about. Glasses-free technology remains several years from maturing with viewing currently restricted to a few sweet spots and suitable only for personal devices, however the first commercial screens are emerging. Toshiba’s glasses-free 55-inch 3DTV will launch in the US priced $11,000. It splits its 4K resolution into 9 frames — or 9 views — of 720p HD with a face-tracker following the viewer’s gaze. Since the tracking system only detects one person’s face it means that, should that person move, everyone else has to shift position also. It would not be a surprise to see another big name brand sporting autostereo R&D at CES 2013 (Sony showed a glasses-free LCD prototype but kept specs under wraps) with a decent version available in 2014 and an affordable one sometime after that. In the interim the industry must work out how to produce 3D content at a cost comparable to 2D HD. Speaking at a CES panel session on the topic, Tom Cosgrove, president and CEO, 3net said:

“There was considerable hype three years ago that 3D would take over HD. That was never going to happen but by the end of this year 10-14 million households in the US will have 3DTVs. The reality is that this is a business that is going to stay but we have to narrow the economics between 2D and 3D.” Bob Zeitter, executive VP and CTO, HBO said the broadcaster had been investigating the production of 3D series drama and training producers in the format. “We are currently running about 12 3D movies a year — that volume clearly needs to grow — but there is not a cost effective way to go back and convert 2D content,” he said. “The key thing is to drive down the incremental cost of producing programming in 3D.” Also on the panel was Vince Pace, who was supervising ESPN’s first live studio show shot in 5D (joint 2D and 3D production) from a boxing ring located on the CES show floor. “One of the new technologies you will see from CPG this

given centre stage at Samsung and LG where 55-inch 3D HD OLEDs (LG’s was just 4mm thin) were showcased. Both are available later this year, though they could cost $15k or more. Sony meanwhile seems to be manoeuvring toward Crystal LED, a technology of its own devising in  which a thin  layer of 6 million LEDs is mounted on (rather than behind) the display. This technique, says Sony, results in greater light efficiency, a higher image contrast and wider colour gamut because of the way the system uses the red, green and blue lights to create colour. Two prototype 55-inch C-LEDs were compared, favourably it has to be said, against its top of the range LCD panel. There are no release plans as yet. According to Harold Neal, regional sales manager, North America, “C-LED will have a longer life span than [phosphor based] OLED. We can also manufacture screens larger than 55 inches, which just now is the limit for OLED. And it will have faster response times.” Sony  executive Deputy President Kazuo Hirai added that Sony retained OLED on the professional side and that “as much as we are proud of the Crystal screen, we are not out of OLED. We will continue to look at it.”

Demo time: Overall theme was connection of devices via networks or the cloud

year is Smart Rig which is a ‘think tank’ in a camera,” Pace revealed. “Similar to the way we can design lighting settings for a show and apply that lighting design in a consistent manner Smart Rig is a system that will develop that look for 3D. “We have shot demos where the DP, director and first assistant have gone out and shot HD in 2D and in 3D but without the added layers of a stereographer and the whole 3D entourage. We are starting to reduce the amount of crew required by making 3D a hardware play. The hardware will be intelligent enough to develop a style for an HBO show or another for ESPN, and to repeat that style during production.”

OLED, Crystal LED and 80 inches The arrival of new HD technology has also helped push 3D to one side. Thinner, crisper- OLEDs were

Sharp contended that consumers want 80-inch screens in their home, even if they are watching from 10ft away. It unveiled an 85-inch prototype of an 8K screen based on NHK’s Super-HiVision and offering 16 times HD resolution. A number of 4K technologies were presented as the successor format to HD. LG’s 4K 84-inch flagship (also 3D and Magic Remote controlled) will upres HD content and Sharp will ship a 4K model later this year. The higher resolution of 4K would seem essential in any autosterescopic technology which will inevitably chop the resolution into multiviews. Sony showed a Blu-ray player capable of upgrading HD to 4K and its new 4K home cinema projection system while JVC chose CES to launch the 4K camcorder GY-HMQ10 costing £4,300 — a technology it first previewed at NAB 2010. F E B R U A RY 2 0 1 2

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Africa comes back into world network of satellite exchanges with MENOS

ASBU’s MENOS system expands to all of Africa By Chris Forrester The Arab world’s MENOS (Multimedia Exchange Network Over Satellite) system has been a huge success. Operated in conjunction with the Arab States Broadcasting Union (ASBU), Arabsat and using equipment from Belgium-based Newtec, the technology has won the unequivocal support of the ITU and World Broadcasting Union for its simplicity and efficiency. MENOS has now been adopted by the African Union of Broadcasters (AUB) to establish its own content exchange network. A deal was signed in Accra, Ghana, in November 2011, potentially extending MENOS to the rest of Africa. European broadcasters have had Eurovision for decades, but the concept of common sharing is new, especially for some subSaharan broadcasters who have long wished to see an inexpensive,

The MENOS offering 

Fully automated radio and TV exchange sessions  Store and Forward File Transfer  VoIP Voice Coordination Channels  Secure Virtual Private Networks  Archiving of audio and video content  Internet/intranet access  Video and Audio conferencing  Distance learning and training  Automated billing of consumed services F E B R U A RY 2 0 1 2

but reliable, system available for content sharing. In essence MENOS is a simple system that allows — and encourages — member broadcasters to send and receive news, sports reports, cultural packages and programming via low-cost dedicated IP-based satellite links. MENOS enables fully automated and sharing of video (and radio) content from scattered source sites to often equally scattered recipients. Arab broadcasters have been using MENOS since June 2009, and while it was originally intended for public

responding and transmitting to Flyaway stations as well as dedicated uplink Earth stations. The new AUB MENOS system is aimed primarily at enabling professional broadcasters to share video and audio material across the African continent. It will eventually enable the exchanges between the 48 active member broadcasters of the AUB and also exchanges between African broadcasters (both public & private) and the rest of the world of news, culture, sports and other programmes. Simon Pryor, who leads Newtec’s MENOS team, explains:

AJA Io XT shipping AJA Video Systems is shipping the Io XT Thunderbolt-enabled video device. An additional Thunderbolt port is provided, enabling the Io XT to be attached to other Thunderbolt peripherals including high bandwidth storage and high resolution displays through a single interface. The portable device supports capture and playback of 4:2:2 and 4:4:4 HD and SD formats and can unify disparate formats via its 10-bit realtime Up/Down/Cross conversion capability. Io XT also provides compatibility with NLE programs, codecs, video formats and stereoscopic 3D workflows.

Archion shows project sharing

“MENOS is a star-based satellite system, and the terminals can be mobile or fixed. The user has a simple web interface where they book a time (start and end) and type of session that they need”

Simon Pryor: “Cost to broadcasters is according to a published Rate Card”

broadcasters, many of whom are cash-strapped, the system has since been adopted by many private TV broadcasters. Indeed, last Autumn Al Jazeera, the Qatarbased news broadcaster, joined the scheme for its Al Jazeera Sports channels. MENOS cost some $4 million to develop and implement, and the African extension has been part-funded by the African Development Bank. Other funds will help secure the first three years of operations and see it to commercial viability. MENOS allows digital SNG/ ENG content to be exchanged using the satellite return channel DVB-RCS system. It can even be used within a country as an internal file exchange system and as a Virtual Network. Initially, the MENOS system depended on a single Arabsat transponder,

a certain amount of transmission time within their annual commitment and this can include unilaterals or wider multilaterals and will depend on their package and their own probable needs.” “We have seen the demonstrable benefits of the MENOS platform to our members in the MENA region and are committed to providing our operational capability, expertise and content to assist the AUB in its aspirations,” said Slaheddine Maaoui, director-general of ASBU. “The creation of an African exchange of news and programming will bring Africa back into the  world network of satellite exchanges,” said EBU Director General Ingrid Deltenre. “It will enable the African continent to be seen and heard by the world, and we look forward to working with the AUB as it enters the digital era.” 

“MENOS is a star-based satellite system, and the terminals can be mobile or fixed. The user has a simple web interface where they book a time (start and end) and type of session that they need. The actual content can be live or recorded, TV or radio. “Users can specify who is allowed to view or use the material, and whether the access is automatic. Potential users can also say they want to see the content even if they are not part of the initial distribution, and the sender can confirm that request. The material can also be specified for archiving either centrally or locally. This allows the content to be played out at a later date.” “The cost to broadcasters is according to a published rate card,” he adds. “Members of the system get a preferential discounted rate for their usage, and this permits


Archion Technologies has offered Avid project sharing on its EditStor ES shared storage system. The system enables collaboration between editors and on the fly volume expansion. “EditStor ES now offers the native Avid project sharing that once only existed when using Avid shared storage solutions,” said James Tucci, chief technology officer at Archion. “We’ve now made it possible for Avid users to realise the benefits of this feature while also enjoying greater media management tools.”

Spectra to LTO-6 Data storage innovator Spectra has launched its LTO-6 tape driven pre purchase programme, providing investment protection and guaranteed access to first available shipments. Customers can now receive LTO-5 drives for use until LTO-6 drives become available. Keith Warburton, director, Global Distribution, said: “Our customers will have the libraries and infrastructure already in place, and will immediately recognise dramatic capacity and performance increases from this new technology within the same data centre footprint they use today.”



How a web-based edit system became a hit in broadcast, post and production

Forbidden cloud floats off Forbidden Technologies has seen impressive growth with broadcast post sales of its cloud video platform increasing by 94% in the first half of 2011. Melanie Dayasena-Lowe met with CEO Stephen Streater to find out what has driven the company’s rapid success rate The path to success for Forbidden Technologies has been a rocky one but the company’s determination has seen it through. Before Forbidden Technologies, CEO Stephen Streater started off in the business world with an invention for moving video editing off tape and onto computers. With the help of a venture capitalist, Streater decided to develop his idea into a business and set up a company called Eidos. The venture capitalist invested £20,000 in the company but as Streater was a PhD student his initial share capital was just £4. Within a year, the company had raised £1 million on the stock market. The company grew its customer base with the likes of the BBC and ITV signing up. Eidos made editing software for broadcast, and Streater explains why this system stood out against the competitors: “The unusual thing was that the editing was done entirely in software. All the other editing systems like Avid needed hardware, such as JPEG cards, to do the video because computers weren’t fast enough to handle video directly. “We ran our software on Acorn machines, which used the ARM chip. ARM now outsells Intel in number of units shipped each year. We were lucky to have such early access to that design. The problem was that Acorn stopped making computers so we couldn’t base our business on their platform any more.” During the 1999-2000 internet explosion, he decided to set up a company to move everything to the web. “We had a big advantage over all the other professional products

around in that my compression, and the handling of the video, all ran in software. Java was just coming out, allowing people to run software on the web —including, in principle, video playback software. So we could now make a video editing system run entirely on the web. None of our professional competitors were equipped to do that because they relied on hardware and you couldn’t run the hardware on the web.”

Forbidden is born Streater went on to found Forbidden Technologies, which started off working on video playback for web browsers, with no installation or configuration required. When, in 2001, Forbidden launched its first video player, there was nothing like it on the market. “That was partly the problem — no-one had video on their web pages. So we couldn’t go to companies and say ‘this is how to do your video’. They all used Flash — which didn’t support video,” explains Streater. A stumbling block was the sophisticated nature of making a video as you needed people to film, edit and script it but the web designers didn’t know how to make videos. Next, Forbidden approached mobile phone companies with the idea of playing full screen, full motion video on mobile phones without needing 3G. However, the mobile operators had just heavily invested in 3G: “The ones who did talk to us had just spent billions of pounds on 3G licences and the only thing they could think of that needed 3G was video. So doing full screen, full motion video on 2.5G might have forced them to write down their 3G investment. They weren’t too keen on our 2.5G solution, so we didn’t have much luck there!” In 2003 the company launched live video over the web — again without the need for any installation to play it back. “We put a live video demo on our website and we were getting 1 million hits a month.”

With FORscene a user doesn’t need to configure it on each machine — the configuration follows them around

Early adopters In 2006 more customers followed and the BBC started using it. “We saw our first trickle of early adopters coming through. Early adopters will try anything but expect you to redesign it for them. They don’t buy off the shelf. We spent all this time adding extra features that people wanted — for example supporting video shot in more tape formats. Our system has always been entirely tapeless.” A year later, Forbidden had increased its staff and had more productions on its books. “We had this system running in the cloud — no manufacture costs, easy to maintain and upgrade because it is just a webpage you update and everyone in the world has the latest version. A user doesn’t need to configure it on each

“We introduced FORscene before Flash video caught on and before YouTube was launched. No one believed you could do professional video editing on the web” — Stephen Streater

Stephen Streater: “We have 12,000 hours a week of professionally shot content through the system and have handled nearly 2 million hours of professionally shot content in total”

Forbidden presented this solution to broadcasters at IBC in 2003. “They thought it was amazing but they didn’t have the internet rights to the video, or the non-UK rights if they were a UK broadcaster, so they couldn’t put anything out on the web because they didn’t own the web rights to their TV content. So we had this amazing technology but there was no legal way to use it because the world wasn’t ready.”

Ahead of the game Forbidden continued pushing ahead in convincing the broadcast industry of its solutions. “We had this amaz-

Forbidden launched FORscene at IBC in 2004, based on a system Eidos had made in the 1990s 12

budget constraints. It used Forbidden’s technology to log the 12-part series Celebrity Holiday Reps.

ing technology years ahead of everyone else but no customers for it.” In 2004 at IBC, Forbidden launched its frame-accurate professional editing system, FORscene, based on the system Eidos had made in the 1990s. “It was before Flash video caught on and before YouTube was launched. No one believed you could do professional video editing on the web,” Streater explains. In 2004 GMTV was the first broadcast customer to sign up to the cloud editing system. Next the BBC invited Forbidden to give a demo to DigiLab in 2005. Streater explains what happened: “We borrowed a cameraphone from a BBC person in the audience, filmed a video, uploaded it over a 2.5G connection, got one of their BBC desktops and went to our website through their firewall. “We edited the video through a web browser on their computer — again with no installation. We published it and got someone with a different phone to download the edited version and play it back. They could also Bluetooth it to other phones. It was end to end from filming, editing, publishing, distribution and viewing — all entirely on BBC kit. They said ‘it will never work in practice’. But we had just shown it to them — the whole workflow, all entirely on the web — all working in practice!” Streater explains how difficult it is to convince users of new technology until you have customers signed up. “No one in this industry wants to be the first to try new technology, no one wants to take the risk. Broadcast is very conservative. The flip side is that as soon as it’s proven that it works they don’t want to be left behind.” Despite the caution in the market, by the next year Forbidden had secured its first broadcast production. Channel 5 needed an exceptionally efficient system to meet

machine — their configuration follows them around. Any machine, anywhere in the world — PC or Mac — you’ve got your keyboard configuration and shortcuts. It makes it much easier to move around,” says Streater on the benefits of FORscene. When the credit crunch hit in 2008, the company really started to see a pick up in interest in its system as people started moving their viewing to the internet. Money was tight and people needed more efficient workflows. In 2009-2010 there was rapid growth and in the first half of 2011 the company’s broadcast sales grew by 94% from the previous year. Streater attributes this growth to a “switch market where there are enough people who have jumped in so if you don’t jump in you’re going to miss your chance. These switches can be very fast. “Advertising is still moving onto the web because people now spend more time watching video on the web and phones than on broadcast TV. Recently, half our turnover has come from video for the web, mainly re-versioning of broadcast American TV programmes. The other half has been from UK broadcast post production. In the web they finish everything in FORscene — colour correction, audio levels, transitions etc. In broadcast the loggers generally log everything and the director does a rough cut and sends it off to the craft editor to finish on Avid.” Now that technology has improved and evolved, the costs have come right down. Streater comments: “The internet is 100 times faster than when we launched FORscene and 1,000 times faster than when we launched Forbidden. Continued on page 14 F E B R U A RY 2 0 1 2



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Making fibre connect for every day broadcasting Guest Opinion By Mike Purnell, business development director, Argosy As broadcast infrastructures have got more demanding, so the interest in fibre has grown. Most engineers now demand 3Gbps capabilities in any new architectures, to be ready for 1080p ‘full HD’ or for stereoscopic 3D channels. It should be emphasised that 3Gbps infrastructures can be supported by good copper installations, using the latest cables and well-matched connectors. But there is no doubt that the use of fibre is moving from long-distance interconnections into the machine room. No-one wants technology to move backwards, though, so fibre has to be as practical to use as copper co-ax has traditionally been. It has to be simple to install and to connect. It has to be rugged and reliable. And it has to be capable of simple routing through patch panels where necessary. Indeed, there is an argument that fibre needs patch panels more than co-ax does. Remember that while you can send a signal down a piece of fibre there are, to date, no optical processors, so every piece of equipment needs an optical to electrical converter at the input and an electrical to optical converter at the output, both devices needing power supplies. For connections that rarely change, a patch panel saves not just a router path but two extra pieces of powered processing so is an environmentally better solution. The good news is that the latest developments in fibre have been addressing these issues. Fibre is inherently a fragile material. The core is a strand of glass, drawn out to a diameter of just 9 microns, or around a tenth the


Fibre paths: One obstacle limiting use of fibre is the perception that it’s difficult to terminate. In the field a portable machine is used

thickness of a human hair. It can bend to a certain degree, but coil it too tightly and it will break and fail. This has limited its use in racks, unless it could be installed to length (coils in the bottom of the cabinet were not a good idea) and meant that rough handling was a bad idea. We worked with one of our cable suppliers, Draka, to develop the first ‘bend insensitive’ fibre. BendBright uses a special coating on the inside of the cable jacket that not only cushions the glass but reflects light back into the fibre, greatly reducing losses. It really works: we demonstrate BendBright by coiling it around a pencil. Inevitably this product comes at a premium price, but for applications where cables are going to be bent sharply and possibly subjected to rough treatment it is certainly worth considering. It makes patch panels practical, and indeed we offer a range of patch panels for fibre. This is a major step towards making fibre a practical broadcast solution. The other major obstacle limiting the use of fibre is the perception that it is difficult to terminate. In the past, to install fibre in a broadcast facility the job tended to be handed to a specialist contractor, usually from the IT world rather than broadcast, who would have the necessary termination equipment.

Now there are practical solutions that can be used by any wireman. One uses terminations made by the supplier in a clean room, onto short tails of fibre. In the field a portable machine is used which precisely aligns the end of the cable with the terminated tail, makes clean cuts in each, polishes the exposed ends and fuses them together. The resulting splice is strong, with virtually no signal attenuation. Fibres can be repaired using the same splicing machine if necessary. This is the best solution for heavily used multi-mode circuits because there is no constriction of bandwidth. An even more practical solution, particularly for less critical applications, uses snap-on connections. One of our suppliers, Belden, has developed this system. The kit comes with a simple tool that strips 8mm of the fibre jacket. Then you simply put the prepared end of the fibre into the connector and close the clip. If the termination is not perfect, the clip can be opened and adjusted a couple of times. BendBright can be used with the connector, so this is a great way to make up patch cords quickly. The advantages of fibre are high bandwidth and low attenuation. With the latest developments in termination and bend intolerance, it is now a practical solution for everyday broadcast applications.

Continued from page 12

Disk storage is 100 times bigger than when we launched FORscene and 1,000 times bigger than when we launched Forbidden. “Storing video in the cloud is 1,000 times cheaper. The costs are kept low as we have much higher utilisation of the system and we can re-use the cloud storage for one customer after another. Everyone has broadband now. Machines are a lot faster too.” Another factor behind its growth in sales is the take up of FORscene by facilities houses. “These days, an offline room in Soho costs more than they get — they make a loss because Soho is expensive. They realise that if they

actually do it in their own offices, at home or on location.” Clients can access FORscene through a web browser from any computer. Through word of mouth, FORscene has grown in popularity among facilities houses. “Their production company clients want it. It is quite a good fit for facilities. We sell a box and you plug it into your Avid system. Everything that goes into the Avid goes into FORscene. “A FORscene server box is quite powerful so you can ingest up to 1000 hours a week with just one box. If you are a production company you don’t necessarily want to buy your own box for one production. A big production company will use it a lot, but if you are just doing a production from time to time, it is much

“Clients have suddenly realised they don’t have to commute for an hour to a facilities house — they can actually do it in their own offices, at home or on location” use FORscene they don’t have to provide the room because people can use their own rooms. Suddenly they haven’t got these rooms full of high volume loss-making activities. Now they have huge amounts of material and people spend a lot of time organising it all, especially with reality TV. The facilities houses don’t have to use expensive space for low cost services any more. They can put expensive kit in there instead ie. grading tools etc.” Testament to this is the number of facilities houses that have signed up to use FORscene within the last year alone. “They are doing it because their clients have asked for it. Clients have suddenly realised they don’t have to commute for an hour to a facilities house – they can

Latest FORscene customers   

YouTube Gorilla Group Wall to Wall - BBC series, The Voice UK  Twenty Twenty — Hoarderholics  Princess Productions — Got to Dance series 3  Sumners  Platform Post

better for a facilities company to buy the box and you just rent it when you need it. As the facilities company has loads of productions going through, it is worthwhile to buy. “We’re at that point now where it seems everyone wants to use FORscene and it’s getting easier because a lot of facilities houses already have it and many production companies know how it works. We’ve reached a tipping point, which is why the number of sales is increasing so quickly.”

Growing partnerships Just last December, Forbidden announced it has licensed FORscene to YouTube. As is usual in bigger projects, FORscene will provide the cloud editing element in a larger integrated system. YouTube will use Forbidden Technologies’ FORscene platform to support remote video editing and publishing for web and broadcast delivery. Going forward, the company is looking to expand its work in new areas such as news and sports. Forbidden has partnerships with EVS for live sports and The Associated Press and its ENPS system for news. FORscene editing is integrated into The Associated Press ENPS system. “You can shoot on your camera, upload it into FORscene on your laptop, edit, approve it, push a button and out it goes into your playout servers and on to TV. “Our next big job is to discuss with the ENPS distributors how to sell FORscene as an upgrade for their customers. You can do live editing of sport — edit out the goals as soon as they happen, put them on the website in full 1080p HD as it happens. You don’t have to wait for the match to be digitised first. “Because it runs in the cloud, you can do things remotely. You even don’t have to upload the HD for the bits you didn’t need. You can make a real story, use library footage, and it is all accessible from the same interface,” he explains. F E B R U A RY 2 0 1 2

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Cantemo releases MediaBox DAM By Jake Young Swedish software developer Cantemo has unveiled MediaBox, a digital asset management system priced at less than £10,000. The software offers the same functionality

and quality as its enterprise level precursor, but is available in packages for five, 10 or 20 users with up to 300,000 assets and upgrade paths. “In today’s fast moving media market there is an increasing need

for small and medium sized companies to effectively manage their ever expanding number of rich media assets,” said Cantemo Chief Executive Parham Azimi. “Many of these companies will

have the same critical demands as much larger organisations.” MediaBox features tools for transcoding, managing, searching and governing data and for adding metadata. It comes complete with

The MediaBox DAM features tools for transcoding, managing, searching and governing data and for adding metadata

up to eight storage areas and a codec package. The OEM product is available via specialist resellers and third party systems integrators, who will be able to re-package and re-skin the technology, create apps and integrate it into systems. To make this possible, MediaBox has been designed as an open-ended integration platform consisting of two parts: ‘Apps’, which allows for the addition of new functionalities, the modification of existing ones and the integration of third-party systems and ‘Themes’. The latter is for fine-tuning or completely rebranding the interface on a user or group level.

Jampro welcomes ADBL to portfolio By Jake Young Californian antenna company Jampro has acquired the Alan Dick Broadcast (ADBL) division of ADC UK as part of an expanded offering. The combined company is to offer global engineering solutions for digital TV products. Alex Perchevitch, Jampro’s president, said stronger research and development, improved delivery capabilities and reduced shipping costs will benefit customers. “We couldn’t be happier to welcome the entire staff into the Jampro family and look forward to a successful future filled with expanded opportunities for our combined client base.” Rob Fisher, CEO of ADC UK, commented: “I am pleased that Jampro will take the Alan Dick broadcast products into its portfolio and continue to market them as a part of an expanded Jampro offering. Jampro will work closely with a number of Alan Dick companies, including Alan Dick Middle East, to ensure that their local product and service capabilities can provide an outstanding turnkey solution for broadcast customers.” Jampro is known for its antenna technology, combiners/filters, towers, and radio frequency components. The company is the oldest broadcast antenna company in the US, and has installed thousands of systems since its inception in 1954. Alan Dick has won multiple Queen’s Awards for its station equipment, towers, and antennas. Its credits include supplying a large number of broadband multi-channel systems to the BBC and Arqiva for the UK’s digital switchover. 16 F E B R U A RY 2 0 1 2


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CiaB: What’s the secret? By 2012 a growing community is recognising the potential of the Channel in a Box concept. So how is it really working in action? This year our Media Asset Management Columnist Russell Grute talks to heads of operations and engineering at broadcaster and service providers to find out how it is going and the secret behind a successful system From a solutions architecture viewpoint, everyone was hoping for a self-contained playout building block. One that replaced the appropriate broadcast server(s) and signal path(s) and that comprised the automation; or, a reliable and self-contained addon to the mam workflow — a ‘Channel in a Box’, in fact. This is now working well for many types of channel. Notwithstanding the complexities of channel branding, graphics and subtitling workflow, many CiaB solutions are now cost effectively and reliably playing out multilingual long-form and commercials, adding goodies such as high quality SD upconversion and aspect ratio conversion, etc, where required. So far so good. As long as all the content and the schedule are accurate, valid and delivered on time, every time, then everything is ‘tickety boo’ (British for acceptable performance...). Often however, this is not the case. Key scheduling and content preparation processes are usually managed by departments upstream of playout or, in the case of a service provider, by the client themselves. And so are any errors; individually or systemic. It’s not easy to improve and streamline these processes and many report that there is still a huge gap between optimal scheduling and playout process integration. Maksim Butsenko at Levira AS manages 21 channels from its media centre in Tallinn, Estonia. “Using a software-based channel in a box, we offer a streamlined platform. Some clients have worked closely with us and we can now trust them to deliver reliable schedules and content. Others require us to do more work checking their content against the schedule, often at the last minute,” he says.

Channel in a Box Is there still a gap between optimal scheduling and playout process integration? Is content validation sufficient in existing CiaB systems? How do you eradicate errors during file transfers? How much ‘outside the box’ thinking is still required? This issue we’re delighted to bring you an all-new vendor-driven Channel in a Box special debate, running over the next 16 pages — Fergal Ringrose

Russell Grute: Seeing red in playlists, or the wrong graphics/subtitles coming-up-next, is not the preferred way to manage multichannel playout

Computer says No Accurate content validation is now a key issue in deploying CiaB successfully from an operational point of view — particularly when working on a larger scale, where dramatically increased content throughput is required to serve more platforms and territories. Content validation means all the upstream planning, scheduling and content preparation processes ensure that TX can be certain that programmes, ads, promos and graphics are correct and ready for air. Whether material and its metadata is changed a lot or just a little, secure validation is crucial. Seeing red in playlists, or the wrong graphics or subtitles coming-up-next, is still not the preferred way to manage multichannel playout. Even when content has been safely ingested and has passed a manual or automatic file-based technical QC, cleared for compliance and parted for commercials, further on air problems are

common. These are caused by schedule to playlist errors such as incorrect transmission timecode and segmentation, incorrect programme titles and graphics template errors. Monitoring playout ‘by exception’ is now the future for many channels or certainly parts of the schedule. It helps if playout staff can be sure that all incoming material is valid and can be trusted without further routine checking, while they attend to more complex live events and unexpected problems — as they simultaneously manage 10 or more channels.

Simplified transfer processes Most frequently though, it’s errors during file transfers that are the most difficult to manage; such as from archive to TX via transcoding for example. Usually, acquired content recently ingested/uploaded or from the library is transcoded to the transmission standard. Interestingly there is an opportunity

here to dispense with unnecessary intermediate transcode processes, possibly avoid unnecessary archive use, and play content as ingested using the library master format. HD is an interesting example. Richard Allingham at IMG explains how its HD football production workflow and library, managed by Ardendo, uses material encoded using Avid’s DNxHD at 120Mbps. To launch a new HD UK Premier Football League playout service in 2011 and simplify the TX workflow TWI selected an

work ‘out of the box’ and to get the best results, careful end-to-end IT broadcast workflow design is required. Summarised nicely by Peter Elvidge at GlobeCast, “to streamline workflow and gain operational advantage with Channel in a Box, content preparation and validation processes have to be improved, in order to make them highly robust and reliable. Otherwise, the additional checking and intervention required by playout staff would sometimes negate the potential benefits and cost savings.

Richard Allingham at IMG explains how its HD football production workflow and library, managed by Ardendo, uses material encoded using Avid’s DNxHD at 120Mbps ‘integrated channel device’ that could natively play DNx. This meant that no additional content transcoding or checking was required. For some types of channel it is now cost effective to manage content at 120Mbps and higher in a playout subsystem.

So what’s the secret? Channel in a Box is finding its place less as a standalone device and more as a high performance edge device or application, plugged into the core media management ecosystem. However, it’s not always designed to

“It remains our strategy to ensure that the core media management (MAM) architecture and workflow are correct so that we can choose whichever Channel in a Box suits our clients’ on-air requirements.” As the proposition stabilises, it’s what happens with people and processes around that box that has the greatest effect on success. A ‘Kaizen’ type approach, continuously improving the scheduling and content preparation workflow upstream and working ‘outside the box’, is perhaps the secret.

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NEWS IN BRIEF dB PIE contract Systems integrator and manufacturer dB Broadcast is close to completing a major programme input equipment contract. The contract, awarded by Arqiva, is to supply and install products at 90 UK television transmitter sites as part of the digital switchover. Tom Swan, sales and marketing director at dB, said: “dB Broadcast is pleased to be part of such a large and prestigious project which is testimony to dB’s expertise in providing PIE systems.” The contract is due for completion in mid 2012.

JCA goes transatlantic Content service provider JCA has formed a partnership with LA-based post production media managers SMV Complete Media. The joint venture will allow global clients access to service centres in LA and London for both tape and file-based solutions. Simon Kay, managing director at JCA, commented: “We are pleased to be joining forces with SMV Complete Media as it too is dedicated to providing quality and flexible media solutions with a personal touch and fast turn-around.”


Working with Apple, AJA and Blackmagic Design to deliver a robust suite

TV consumerisation and computerisation By Gilbert Leb VP sales, ToolsOnAir Since 2008, ToolsOnAir has been providing our Broadcast Suite ‘TV Station in a Mac’ solution to broadcast professionals ranging from high-end networks to regional broadcasters. Our clients include such well-known names as Home Shopping Network, MTV Europe, Swiss TV, France Television and more, as well as the self-contained broadcast facilities of major financial institutions, worship organisations and municipal services. These users all share a common thread — the need for a dependable, easy-to-use solution based on a solid, proven platform. While recent acquisitions such as Grass Valley’s purchase of PubliTronic have been hailed as lending legitimacy to the ‘Channel in a Box’ movement, in reality these events do little to alter the current landscape. The end-user is still relegated to a proprietary black box system, at the mercy of a single manufacturer. By contrast, ToolsOnAir’s TV Station in a Mac solution

A channel can be built and brought online within a single day, and easily maintained by local technical personnel. We don’t focus on hardware. Rather, we believe our strength is in our engineers’ ability to be fast and innovative in software development. ToolsOnAir’s Broadcast Suite offers a complete solution for multi-camera ingest, editing and automated playout, integrating live graphics feed and more. With Apple’s recent integration of Thunderbolt technology

facility, delivering playout automation, video server and realtime graphics, in a single Mac Mini with a mere 85W of power consumption. Our customers are now looking at implementing literally dozens of channels — with redundant backups — in a closetsized space. The concept is equally groundbreaking for mobile ENG facilities, where space is always at a premium. ToolsOnAir’s Broadcast Suite has opened a world of possibili-

Gilbert Leb: At IBC2011 we introduced the concept of a ‘TV Station in a Mac Mini’

It is now possible to implement a truly professionalgrade broadcast facility, delivering playout automation, video server and realtime graphics, in a single Mac Mini with a mere 85W of power

has, from the beginning, been based on off-the-shelf Apple hardware, coupled with easily available video cards from established manufacturers like AJA and Blackmagic Design. The result is an easy-to-find, easyto-assemble system based on a proven, robust technology.

and increased processing power, ToolsOnAir introduced at IBC2011 the concept of a ‘TV Station in a Mac Mini’. Utilising video hardware such as Blackmagic Designs’ Ultrastudio 3D or AJA’s IO XT Box, it is now possible to implement a truly professional-grade broadcast

ties for not only larger broadcast facilities, but also for dedicated niche broadcasters, IPTV and web-based channels. While much has been made of the ‘consumerisation’ of the video industry, ToolsOnAir is focused on the ‘computerisation’ of the broadcast industry. F E B R U A RY 2 0 1 2


Specify the functional requirement, rather than the technical specification of the hardware

What kind of Channel from the Box? By Mark Errington, chief executive, Oasys Over the last few years many manufacturers have joined the pioneers in presenting Channel in a Box technology to the market. Discussion has centred around IT hardware, minimising cost and rack space, determining how many ‘boxes’ you actually need, suitability of non-specialised equipment, functional limitations and scalability.

on the perceived limitations of the solutions, rather than how to deploy and use them effectively. Quotes like “you shouldn’t trust your income to a PC with a video card”, “engineering challenges in specialist equipment”, “only fit for purpose for channels with prerecorded content”, “don’t scale well” and “lack of integration with existing equipment” abounded. The reality is that whether you have a green field site with a clean

sites, advertising insertion, multi channel playout facilities, or niche channel requirements.

Software evolution At Oasys we focus our developments around what broadcasters say they need to broadcast. We average over three feature releases every year, each time adding to the versatility of the software for different deployments — and each time taking the concepts of Automated Playout one step further. We add feature after feature that can be switched on or off depending on the customer needs, so that with a standard set of software tools, each broadcaster can have a customised playout solution, whether for a range of channels or a single channel. We can, on a single system, with a single piece of software, create multiple custom configurations, without having any custom software code — and whether it is a single ‘Channel in a Box’, multiple

Comparing products titled ‘Channel in a Box’ or ‘IT-based Playout’ is a thankless task, as vendors take different approaches to solving the workflow challenge Comparing products titled ‘Channel in a Box’ or ‘IT-based Playout’ is a thankless task, as vendors take different approaches to solving the workflow challenge and there is no clearly defined technical definition of the product sets. In the previous two TVBEurope features on the review of this technology, the focus has been as much

sheet, or whether you have existing broadcasting facilities, the versatility and flexibility of Automated Playout solutions make them an ideal way to bring channels to air. With engineering focused on software, special developments and features can be deployed rapidly whether it is for add-on channels, disaster recovery

Mark Errington: At Oasys we focus our developments around what broadcasters say they need to broadcast

Continued on page 24

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channels from a box, time delay, local insertion, baseband and streaming, simulcasting SD and HD, or live and near live playout. The type of channel that can be played out is not limited, whether news, entertainment, or sport. Playlists can be triggered by a human operator, an

I have heard at conferences several times that each broadcaster has special needs, and sometimes that each channel they broadcast has special needs… automation system, an inbound signal, and embedded command, or just left to continue playing without intervention.

Import and export, most likely using XML, allows integration to existing facilities, and media sharing using common file formats

allows not only traditional and Automated Playout solutions to co-exist, but also for differently branded Automated Playout solutions to co-exist — meaning that you are not locked into one vendor once you have made your initial choice. I have heard at conferences several times that each broadcaster has special needs, and sometimes

that each channel they broadcast has special needs. It used to be that these special needs were met by dedicated hardware solutions, and sometimes dedicated automation solutions. Using an Automated Playout software solution, you can use a building block approach, and if the custom configuration doesn’t fit, a feature development can be deployed in the standard software code. This means that supporting the broadcaster is a standard process and doesn’t require dedicated personnel who only understand the needs of that broadcaster.

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So, how have Oasys Automated Playout solutions been deployed? Over the last 20 years we have implemented many single channel playout systems containing a mix of pre-recorded and live feed events, including in news, sport, music and film channels. We have installed multichannel playout centres where our playout software is integrated into an IT workflow. We’ve installed multi-channel playout centres where our playout software runs alongside other IT based playout systems. We have installed single and multi-channel playout centres where our playout software runs alongside traditional automation playout systems. And we’ve provided custom configurations for Barker Channels displaying EPG information and special graphics promotions; music channels with schedules generated by SMS voting; news channels integrated into a journalist web portal; sports channels with last minute drag-and-drop advert insertion; and variable time-delayed advertising insertion for entertainment channels. Our latest solutions allow you to have up to eight live inputs directly into each channel, up to four picture in picture (DVE) with either live or pre-recorded content, up to four time delayed inputs for instant replay, multiple channels in a single system, multiple branded outputs of the same channel from a single system with a single playlist, and a variety of enriched advertising insertion solutions. So, rather than looking upon IT playout technology negatively, we prefer to embrace the versatility it provides. Whether your need is simple or unique, whether you have existing facilities or not, whether you tried the technology already but didn’t find the right solution, or whether you want to protect yourself from a site failure more cost-effectively – there is an Automated Playout solution that can handle all of this. So instead of asking “should I get a Channel in a Box?”, you should be asking, “what are my channel’s requirements from the box?” In that way it is the functional requirement that is specified, rather than the technical specification of the hardware. F E B R U A RY 2 0 1 2


New technology should not just replace the old – it should do more

Channel-in-a-Soft-Box By Don Ash, director Sales, PlayBox Technology There have been huge changes afoot. The traditional technologies employed for the playout of video material to air have been challenged. Broadcast video playout has evolved with available technology that is today traditional all-digital workflows including video servers, stills stores, graphics, QC, monitoring and automation. It works, but is, compared to the Channel in a Box, costly in equipment, infrastructure, rack space and operation. That’s not all, it leaves a big question; how does it fit into file-based workflows? Also how can it increase the reach of services? Today’s Channel in a Box can do all that in what is basically a PC platform with added hardware inside for baseband and ASI outputs (not required for IP), and the rest is just software. Right? There are myths and misunderstandings about the ‘supposedly new’ Channel in a Box. First, it is not new; PlayBox Technology has been delivering it since 2000. Recently some traditional playout system suppliers have awakened to the idea and started offering their version of ‘box’

PlayBox Technology: The company has delivered over 10,500 playout and branding channels and the product has grown in capabilities

cost can be greatly reduced with performance very much driven by the quality of the software. Today’s Intel Core i7 processor technology has taken PlayBox beyond a tipping point, supplying huge processing power that now enables running not just 1:1 playout, but performing many other live operations at the same time. This means other hardware requirements beyond the standard PC platform amount to the absolute minimum of only basic I/O cards for video or ASI. Intel’s hardware acceleration allows more channels per server and creating more features in all our products. For example, our new playout server, AirBox MPO (Multiple Parallel Outputs), can simultaneously

The headline change from tradition is the use of commodity PC platforms’ commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware, IT infrastructure and storage rather than bespoke hardware playout. This may look like a technological breakthrough but for us it has been a 12 year development programme that continues today. We have now delivered over 10,500 playout and branding channels, the product has grown in capabilities, reliability and the available platform, now Windows7-based, is vastly more powerful. Also we now have major national broadcasters among our clients. Second, when you see an installation, there is normally more than just one box. So clearly ‘Channel in a Box’ is, a misnomer but there will be a bundle of functions within one box that’s based on a computer platform. These can include automation, playout, interactive graphics and text, QC, subtitling and more. Also two boxes could be running four fully redundant playout channels, so less boxes than channels. The headline change from tradition is the use of commodity PC platforms’ commercial-off-theshelf (COTS) hardware, IT infrastructure and storage rather than bespoke hardware. This means the F E B R U A RY 2 0 1 2

scale several video streams to output different formats (SD, HD, 25fps, 30fps) and outputs (SDI, analogue, IP streaming, etc.). It can run multiple outputs to provide parallel outputs in any required combination, eg, SDI in HD and SD, and IP streaming.

Invisible conversions A standard platform is file-based and so can connect directly into a file-based environment. Starting with a green-field operation the file system can be chosen to suit the equipment. However, most new installations add to existing workflows with an existing preferred file format. Back in 2000 the start-up PlayBox was in no position to impose its own ‘pet’ video file format onto the established industry and so had to develop format codecs to work with others. This apparent problem has turned 180˚ to become a huge benefit. Following a commitment to work directly with any required video file format, it can now do just that. The conversions take place invisibly in software. As this can now run in realtime there is no need to rely on conver-

sion hardware, typically a part of the video I/O card. There is a knock-on benefit of freeing-up the choice of I/O card, as only its basic functions now are needed. Such file freedom allows straightforward plug-and-play installation into any existing filebased system, while also often streamlining operational areas where format disparities had blocked the file flow. It also allows it to be a plug-in replacement for aging file-based equipment, with the ability to directly access the existing archives, so avoiding the time, cost and generation losses of re-formatting.

Going further So far so good, but new technology should not just replace the old. It should do more. Making use of the biggest of all file-based systems — the internet — has enabled new workflows and opportunities for broadcasters. One is 24/7 remote technical support monitoring and control. This fits well with another; EdgeBox is a playout system that can operate anywhere with internet as its only connection to a distant host broadcaster. Beyond low running costs, benefits include almost instant set-up as no fibres or traditional feeds have to be ordered. Rather than replaying generic ‘global’ output, it can be fed with appropriate, up-to-date local programming, IDs, commercials and have full local branding. As channel numbers expand and budgets contract, the deployment of very cost-effective ‘Channel in a Box’ playout solutions will continue to increase. The truth is, Channel in a Box is already mainstream.

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Boxing clever in the new world of Channel in a Box There’s no doubt we’ve reached a tipping point in the world of integrated playout devices — or Channel in a Box (CiaB). The number of companies entering the market and the column inches being written are testimony to that and broadcasters are taking note. But there’s an increasing level of confusion in the market too, reports James Gilbert, joint managing director, Pixel Power Some see the CiaB technologies as only useful for basic channels, those that are thematic in nature. On the other hand, there’s a groundswell of opinion that within only a few years, CiaB technologies will dominate the market at the expense of the traditional approach. What must be clearly stated is that in some cases CiaB technologies are now highly advanced, complex solutions that in turn facilitate the playout of highly advanced, sophisticated channels and the concerns many broadcasters had are now being addressed. Before we look at the capabilities of CiaB systems, there’s one fundamental misconception that has to be dismissed: Channel in a Box does not have to equal commoditised IT hardware. This is in fact the conflation of two separate, yet in reality, very distinct trends. While there are of course many CiaB solutions that take this route, there are also true integrated playout devices that combine the benefits of bespoke hardware and software. Many of today’s converged systems do utilise standard PCs with video cards that purport to do almost anything a broadcaster will require. Although it’s perfectly possible to carry out most functions of a high-end integrated channel playout device on the powerful CPUs/GPUs now available,


hold audiences. The look and feel of channels — the overall quality of output — is vital. Some broadcasters have accepted a stopgap — using only a router and video server to simply play out the channel without the addition of appealing, tailored transitions, promotional graphics and logos that make a channel memorable. That approach belies the need to effectively brand channels in order to foster a rapport with the viewing audience. Creating an identity for a channel is critical to enticing advertisers who want to target clearly defined demographics: graphics are the fundamental tool available to differentiate, present a consistent brand image and promote content. Having a robust graphics platform as part of an integrated playout system also makes it easier to reuse graphics produced in other functional areas of a media company.

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James Gilbert: Channel in a Box does not have to equal commoditised IT hardware

it may well not be possible to do them all at the same time. It’s far from unusual to install a CiaB system and then to add a downstream device to provide high-end branding graphics that cannot be performed on the integrated system.

Full of choices Today’s equipment designers typically have a choice when it comes to implementing a particular function — and that choice can radically affect power consumption. Code can run on a general-purpose processor such as a CPU or GPU. It can also be implemented in ‘virtual hardware’ within programmable devices such as FPGAs. A third

choice is to run on fully custom devices. Typically the flexibility is greatest with the generalpurpose processor, but so is the power consumption. The key point that any broadcaster has to keep in mind is that it’s function and not form that defines the output: what does a broadcaster want the technology to achieve? The second is that CiaB systems aren’t about compromising, they are about efficiency. To succeed in today’s world broadcasters must find ways to control the operating costs of each individual channel without diminishing the channel’s quality or impact. This requires more affordable and more efficient

There’s a second key area that has seen many broadcasters shy away from CiaB solutions: automation. Until recently, CiaB technologies have been tied to the automation system that they are supplied with: automation lock-in. This automation lock-in is an important consideration for a broadcaster whose needs may change over time. CiaB technologies that benefit from this can integrate with many automation and MAM systems by way of an

The key point is that it’s function and not form that defines the output: what does a broadcaster want the technology to achieve? The second is that CiaB systems aren’t about compromising, they are about efficiency equipment, hence the growing interest in CiaB. The sheer number of channels currently being launched also leads broadcasters to CiaB solutions: playing all these out using traditional methods is simply too expensive. But there’s a crucial flip side: the sheer size of the multichannel world means that channel branding becomes ever more important in the race to win and

open XML protocol or legacy industry standard protocols. This means that it’s far easier to integrate a CiaB system with an already-installed automation system, or indeed MAM, greatly enhancing the flexibility of the technology. The optimal solution, therefore, is an integrated playout system that’s adaptable and works with a variety of automation systems so as a broadcaster’s use of CiaB grows, an already installed automation system can continue to be used across a facility. There has also been some, perhaps misplaced, concern among some broadcasters that CiaB systems have not been powerful or flexible enough — or haven’t had the requisite number of inputs, upstream router control or preview capabilities, all essential with live content — to effectively handle the challenges that live content provides: that’s simply not the case. Again, broadcasters need to define as clearly as possible what channels they will want the technology to handle and then look at the options in the market. F E B R U A RY 2 0 1 2



Genesix playout takes step forward By Goce Zdravkoski, chief executive officer, Stryme A few years ago, no one would have thought it possible that one day televisions would be small enough to fit inside a pocket. Nowadays, we don’t think twice about using our mobile phone to watch TV while we’re on the move. User benefits speak for themselves. Similarly, broadcasters benefit from the giant leaps with which IT has advanced in recent years. Gone are the days where multichannel playouts had to rely solely on large and expensive black box systems. Based on standard IT and technologies, highly advanced and innovative solutions have opened up new opportunities. They set the trend for smaller, faster and better broadcasting IT. Customer demands for increased flexibility and improved benefits packed in top-quality yet affordable solutions added impetus to these market developments. Increasingly, markets in Asia, Russia or India demand reliable and flexible multichannel broadcasting solutions at reasonable prices. Multichannel Genesix VideoServer Stryme experts have long since taken heed of these changes and decided on two new products: a high-class multichannel solution fulfilling exacting requirements, and a single channel Small Business TV Station, offering complete functionality for a 24/7 operation. Located in Vienna, Stryme has been providing professional broadcast and automation solutions for over 10 years. It

Goce Zdravkoski: Stryme wanted to offer customers the best money can buy — and stay affordable

has specialised in out-of-the-box broadcast solutions that simplify, speed up and optimise daily workflows. In the broadcasting industry, the company has made a name for itself as an expert for topquality developments. Dedicated also to programming and tailoring project-specific software, Stryme

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Professional broadcast’s preferred choice

Outsourcing in a Playout Farm By David Stewart Stryme has made best use of the Genesix VideoServer benefits by teaming up with Austrian Broadcasting Services (ORS) to develop and launch a novel business model which can handle the entire workflow: the Playout Farm. The idea is simple as well as effective: in the Playout Farm, ORS combines a central storage with a number of flexible multichannel playouts (each serving up to eight channels simultaneously) based on the Genesix VideoServer and rents these out to private TV stations, complete with a planning tool and the possibility to simply upload files via FTP. In other words, the Playout Farm allows TV stations to outsource their entire playout system. ORS takes care of the rest and guarantees a tailored, realtime and failsafe broadcasting service, via satellite or terrestrial broadcasting, DVB, etc. TV stations enjoy unprecedented benefits. The Playout Farm fully replaces high investment costs and, given the fact that the Genesix VideoServer supports all codecs and formats, another cost advantage derives from the flexibility of customised services: TV stations only pay for the services they need. F E B R U A RY 2 0 1 2

Playout Farm services are also available immediately. Even smaller TV stations can thus be up and running in no time. Anton Zodl, ORS head of DVB Operations, emphasises: “Genesix has proven its flexibility and cost-effectiveness time and again. We therefore had no second thoughts about choosing Stryme as a reliable partner to launch and realise this innovative project.” By opening up the opportunity for playout outsourcing to a provider, Stryme has also opened its doors to an entirely new customer base. CEO Goce Zdravkoski points out, “We are fully aware of the fact that outsourcing one’s playout means outsourcing the very core of one’s system. Therefore, and to remove any doubt, we have made double sure that the Playout Farm provides a more reliable and failsafe service for playout systems. Naturally, we will present all these features and benefits at NAB in Las Vegas.” ORS provides solutions across Europe for encrypted and unencrypted satellite services in collaboration with ASTRA as its partner for leading satellite operations. In Vienna, ORS also operates its own Broadcast Centre with Europe-wide coverage.

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is a long-term supplier to the Austrian Broadcast Corporation (ORF). The company handles projects for well-known customers, such as WDR, Sky, Center Systems, SBS, Sony DADC, ORS and Vitec. With the new Genesix VideoServer, a multichannel

ingest, graphic and playout solution, Stryme has taken its earlier Genesix Playout version one step further. The fully-fledged Genesix VideoServer provides everything needed to simply and flexibly operate a failsafe TV station on a PC basis — from ingest and planning to playout. It builds on proven playout features (playout automation,

The full Genesix VideoServer provides everything needed to simply and flexibly operate a failsafe television station — from ingest and planning to playout, building on proven playout features

overlay graphics, character generator, traffic management, asset management, programme scheduling, etc) and ensures reliable operation as well as integration into existing infrastructures and workflows. In addition, it is equipped with topnotch IT components and video boards that fulfill even the most demanding requirements. Just like its predecessor, the Genesix VideoServer supports all industry-standard codecs and formats (DV, DVCPRO, MPEG-2, D10, Sony XDCAM, P2, Apple ProRes, Avid DNxHD, etc.), thus guaranteeing maximum compatibility and flexibility.

More and more broadcasters are facing stringent budget restrictions and many have to grapple with declining advertising revenue Stryme’s Genesix VideoServer is more than just a Channel in a Box. With standard, yet reliable and top quality IT components such as HP DL370 and a powerful video board such as the Matrox X.MIO2, it can support up to eight SD/HD channels simultaneously. Furthermore, all common codecs and broadcasting formats are taken care of. This offers customers an enormous flexibility. They can choose the components that best suit their needs. More and more broadcasters are facing stringent budget restrictions and many have to grapple with declining advertising revenue. Despite that, Stryme wanted to offer customers the best money can buy — and stay affordable. From multichannel to single channel for small TV stations such multi-channel solutions are still beyond reach. They require a small budget alternative, without having to compromise quality. Stryme has therefore developed an all-in-one small Business TV solution that is limited to one input and one output channel. The beauty: even the tightest budgets can afford its unbeatable price of less than €10k. Still uncertain as to what a Channel in a Box can do for you? Convince yourself at NAB! 28 F E B R U A RY 2 0 1 2


Channel in a Box television: Considering the bigger picture By Alison Pavitt, Pebble Beach Systems Despite having first emerged as a concept several years ago, Channel in a Box technology continues to cause controversy and debate. The advantages of the approach seem clear in terms of cost, space, power and simplicity of installation. But replacing all of the specialist technology in the traditional playout chain is a big ask, and the lukewarm reception that some solutions are getting in the field is not surprising when vendors’ claims are exceeding what the kit can deliver in this mission-critical space. The truth is that ‘Channel in a Box’ is not a one-size-fits-all technology: there is already a huge range of offerings suitable for an equally large range of budgets and technical requirements, and as more vendors enter the space, this is set to increase. Dolphin enters the Channel in a Box debate with a more holistic approach. Operated under the control of the Pebble Beach Systems’ automation solution, Dolphin channels are integrated into the control system simply as another channel, under the umbrella of a unified media management system. With no new user interface to master, separate operational silos do not need to be created, and the addition of Dolphin channels into the wider channel bouquet is swift and straightforward. In reality the majority of enduser requirements actually fall somewhere between the traditional device output chain and the self-contained Channel in a Box concept. Few broadcasters either want or are able to simply mothball all of their legacy bestof-breed technology in favour of one or several self-contained solutions, and the media management, content validation and future-proofing issues which exclusive Channel in a Box solutions raise are not insignificant. To help shed some light on the key considerations of adopting this technology, we explore the questions that a broadcaster or service provider needs to address when evaluating and assessing the suitability of Channel in a Box solutions for their specific requirements. Will the solution fit into your existing graphics workflows without causing bottlenecks? When the functionality of each device in the output chain is incorporated into a single processor-based platform, the limiting factor in terms of display F E B R U A RY 2 0 1 2

capability will be the power of that processor. Solutions which lock the user into a proprietary graphics or subtitling feature set can seriously limit options, so an offering which can accommodate the established graphics workflow yet maintain the integrity of a channel’s onscreen look by incorporating the incumbent graphics device for complex channels will give greater display flexibility.

compatibility to be verified upstream to ensure that the Channel in a Box will be able to playout the material, so any workflow design needs to take this requirement into account. Do you need to interface to legacy equipment? Greenfield sites are a rarity. More commonly, a broadcaster or service provider has an abundance of equipment already in

Dolphin channels are integrated into the control system simply as another channel, under the umbrella of a unified media management system

This also future-proofs the solution if requirements change after the original installation, such as the need for more complex graphics which can mean that the processing power needed exceeds what is possible on the box. A solution that can be reconfigured to use external devices as and when requirements change provides ultimate flexibility and protects investment.

place, so installing self-contained Channel in a Box devices into this scenario will lead to separate silos of operation. A solution which operates under an automation control layer means that all channel types share a common media management and operator interface, and will be integrated more readily into the working practices and operator conventions already in place.

How do you check file integrity? While many solutions offer expansive claims as to the file formats and compression systems that can be handled, it is vital to be able to verify that the content received as a file from external third parties will playout successfully. There is a clear case for file

Will your choice of Channel in a Box now restrict your choices in future? Self-contained Channel in a Box solutions generally offer a fixed feature set that may meet current requirements in terms of, for example, graphics. But a system that permits the separate functions

of the various devices in the output chain to be handled by specialist devices, if requirements change in the future, will be a more flexible longterm solution. For example, the channel that only needs a static logo on launch but that evolves into a more complex channel with sophisticated graphics may necessitate the replacement of the entire CiaB solution in some cases. For service providers this can be key: if the requirements for a simple channel change and become more complex, can the solution accommodate additional complexity? How does it scale? How do you operate it as it scales? In many instances an additional channel means an additional box, with an additional control interface. If the Channel in a Box forms part of a larger, more holistically designed system under the control of an automation layer — such as that offered by Pebble Beach Systems — multiple channels can easily be controlled by a single operator via a common user interface. How static or dynamic are the channels? It is important to consider how far in advance it is likely that the channels can be locked down in terms of their schedules. If all of the requirements for video clips, graphics elements and subtitling are going to be known days ahead of the scheduled playout, such channels would lend themselves readily to being handled by a straightforward Channel in a Box solution. However, where there are likely to be late breaking changes to the schedules, with multiple live events that may result in having to drop or insert new events at short notice or where dynamic graphics control is required, a conventional Channel in a Box solution may be more of a challenge to implement.

How open is the solution to third party integration through APIs? The term Channel in a Box can tend to infer that the channel exists as a playout island, without any way for transmission operators to know the status of upstream media preparation. They simply know media does not yet exist in the playout storage. A system that offers an interface to monitor media preparation status information via dynamically updated APIs can save an operator changing schedules and substituting media unnecessarily. Having this intelligence at the playout operator layer allows for a wider range of options when handling late arriving content. How agile is the solution? While it is a given that broadcasters and service providers will seek out a Channel in a Box platform which can play out the file formats and compression systems they require today, the savvy buyer needs to consider how future-proof that solution will be. A device which uses software-based codecs will have the agility to accommodate future formats and compression systems as the requirements arise, without the need for the fundamental hardware to be changed.

In summary While ‘Channel in a Box’ is now the accepted terminology for this technology has Pebble Beach Systems have taken more of a ‘thinking outside the box’ approach with our Dolphin Channel in a Box solution. This operates under control of our own automation technology and, far from being restricted to replacing each device in the playout chain, it can integrate alongside best-of-breed video server, graphics and captioning devices for prime channels. Equally, systems can be deployed as hybrid channels, mixing Dolphin with best-of-breed discreet devices. All devices, regardless of the vendor, are brought together under a common unified user interface within the automation system. Best-of-breed and Channel in a Box need not be mutually exclusive concepts. So while there are horses for courses it is always important to study the form before placing your bets!

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With Channel in a Box systems, it’s what’s outside the box that really counts for broadcasting

Meeting your delivery commitments By Scott Rose, senior product manager, Miranda Technologies Channel in a Box systems, also known as integrated or IT-based playout systems, have been widely deployed over recent years by all types of broadcasters and service providers. The key driver behind integrated playout systems has been the requirement to make facilities scale more effectively, as they have sought to handle more channels and deliver to new platforms. Highly integrated playout systems have made this scaling much simpler by requiring significantly fewer components for the playout chain. This has made growth more linear, and without the painful step-changes commonly associated with large server and automation systems. For instance, the most highly integrated playout devices combine powerful playout automation, video/audio processing, content playout, master control switching and rich graphics branding systems. This simplification of broadcast technology has directly led to reduced operational costs for broadcasters and service providers, allowing already stretched budgets to go further and enabling the launch of new services to new platforms without having to recruit more staff. Another key factor in achieving more scalable, lower operating

cost playout with Channel in a Box style systems is the level of integration with other core systems, like traffic, archive and monitoring. Content monitoring is generally one of the most operator-intensive tasks, and therefore steps towards greater automation and workflow simplification in the control room can realise significant operating cost reductions. With the latest generation of integrated playout systems, this is addressed by deep integration with the primary monitoring systems, including SNMP-based facility monitoring and multi-viewers. For example, monitoring walls used to be a sea of pictures in which the operator had to hunt for errors. Now, using video probes and fingerprinting technology, facility-wide monitoring can be proactively used to bring errors to the operator’s attention. By incorporating an on-screen ‘penalty box’ to highlight problematic channels, operators can focus on the most important monitoring issues. In turn, this reduces the duration of incidents, and makes it easier to meet or exceed service level agreements. A highly integrated playout solution can provide alerts for a wide range of Quality of Service issues, like excessive loudness, which is rapidly becoming a regulatory issue that all broadcasters will be mandated to address as part of their license to operate. By increasing operator effectiveness with this

Enterprise Suite offers automated content preparation and VoD publishing for iTX

type of deep integration between monitoring and playout systems, it’s possible to raise the channel count per operator, and thereby further lower operator costs while also maintaining quality.

Content normalisation Over the last few years, an enormous amount of work has been done to squeeze the complexity out of the playout chain. By adding greater functionality to Channel in a Box systems, the playout process can now be handled entirely by the integrated playout device. Even complex television playout, with rich graphics, multilingual audio and a combination of live and pre-prepared content, can be readily delivered by these

Miranda’s iTX integrated playout offers tight integration with end-to-end monitoring

As playout is becoming ever more integrated, the focus is starting to shift to upstream processes with content reception and preparation representing some of the biggest challenges facing broadcasters today systems. Further development is delivering even more functionality within the integrated solution that would have been unthinkable, even a few years ago. For instance, these systems can have internal branding capabilities rivaling high-end systems, costing $60,000 or more, for a fraction of the price. It is ongoing developments such as these that are persuading broadcasters and service providers to embrace the change and gain the benefits of an integrated playout solution. As playout is becoming ever more integrated, the focus is starting to shift to upstream processes, with content reception and preparation representing some of the biggest challenges facing broadcasters today. The need to deliver content to the ever-increasing range of VoD, catch-up and over the top television services is stretching broadcasters and service providers, who often do not have the budget to increase manning to address the problem.

Instead, using automated content normalisation, VoD preparation and cross-platform branding are the only viable solutions to this critical problem. While revenue streams from these new platforms are low, there is often a corporate goal to ensure that content is available on multiple platforms. Some broadcasters are able to claim advertising credit for catch-up content to bolster their income on linear TV services, and we are seeing this as a key driver for a VoD capability that is intrinsically linked to the playout schedule. Normalising incoming content using file-based processing is a natural progression for broadcasters. By conforming arriving media to a house format, it derisks the critical processes, such as VoD publishing and playout, and errors can be spotted much earlier and corrected (normalised), including loudness correction. Branding in the VoD and catchup TV world is as important to audience retention as branding on a

Autocue meets the University Challenge with first full production suite functionality By David Stewart Autocue is a company synonymous with teleprompting, but its product range has long included end-toend newsroom, automation and video server systems. The company’s solutions and price points are designed to appeal to major networks and smaller broadcast 30

stations alike, including a number of UK colleges and universities that specialise in broadcast journalism media training. Most recently, the University of Bedfordshire’s Luton campus became the first site to deploy Autocue’s new video server ‘production suite’ functionality. At the

core of the production suite is Autocue’s Linux-based video server, which provides the usual ingest, storage and playout functionality but also includes a vision mixer with simple transition effects; an audio mixer with manual and audio-follows-video fades; simple caption generation and a still store.

When combined with any of Autocue’s scripting, newsroom, media management and automation elements, the video server provides the ability to create a comprehensive studio system without the additional broadcast hardware and associated costs normally required to achieve a similar result.

traditional linear playout channel. However, the complexity of tackling this challenge without an automated solution has led to broadcasters publishing VoD content with minimal or zero branding. With new tools which allow the playout schedule to automatically drive the creation of rich branding, broadcasters can meet their delivery commitments without hiring a new team of operators, while also ensuring all content maximises cross promotion opportunities. However, perhaps the biggest factors in determining the success of an integrated playout system are the expertise and capabilities of the solution provider. It requires a tremendous depth and breadth of knowledge to make the delivery of linear and nonlinear television both simpler and more cost effective. This demands experience across live operations, automation, signal processing, routing and system monitoring, as well as an understanding of how to best integrate linear and nonlinear television workflows. So in the end, to meet the ever increasing challenges of modern broadcasting, what’s outside the box matters just as much as what goes into it. Because the Autocue system is almost entirely software-based, it is typically more cost-effective than Channel in a Box systems that predominantly rely on hardware components. Moreover, each function within the newsroom or production workflow can easily be split into multiple client/workstations, thereby creating a true multi-user environment for simultaneous learning rather than forcing students to crowd around a single piece of hardware for instruction. Continued on page 32 F E B R U A RY 2 0 1 2

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Market forces are turning traditional media operations on their heads

Important characteristics of a true Channel in a Box solution By Neil Maycock, chief architect, Snell These are challenging times for media and broadcasting companies. More and more of today’s consumers are expecting to view content when and where it’s convenient and on the device of their choosing — meaning that services such as video-on-demand, multiplatform delivery, and internetconnected TV are no longer options for a competitive media enterprise. These market dynamics are turning traditional media operations on their heads, forcing broadcasters to offer a broader range of services without a commensurate increase in revenue per service to finance the supporting infrastructure. For broadcasters, the expression ‘doing more with less’ has never been more apt. Out of these requirements has emerged the concept of a ‘Channel in a Box,’ a turnkey broadcast production system that combines several key master control and playout functions into a single, compact unit. By reducing the number of complex, highmaintenance systems in a production workflow, a Channel in a Box solution offers great potential for reducing capital and operating expenses and helping broadcasters run a leaner, meaner, and more nimble operation. But not all CiaBs are up to the task.

Reduced complexity for lower CAPEX and OPEX By including as much of the transmission chain as possible in a single device, a CiaB can offer a powerful tool for a broadcast operation to lower the capital and operating expenses required to support new multi-platform delivery channels and services. With less complexity and fewer devices to manage in the operation, installation costs are lower and there is less wiring to contend with, which translates into fewer points of failure. Service costs are reduced because there are fewer equipment vendors involved and fewer systems to integrate. Running costs are lower because fewer boxes mean reduced power consumption, reduced space and cooling requirements, and lower maintenance and upgrading costs. Plus, the reduced carbon footprint is good for the planet.

Focus on the channel needs not the platform In the broadcast technology market, solutions labeled ‘Channel in a Box’ are beginning to pop up like 32

outputs to allow mixing of live and pre-recorded content, and also to enable external key and fill to be fed into the system. In addition, ICE offers a low and constant latency from input to output. Since each playout operation is different, the CiaB solution should be able to dynamically adapt to the broadcaster’s established workflows. The FlexiCore technology within Snell’s ICE, for instance, is able to accurately emulate a master control environment, enabling the resources within ICE to be dynamically allocated to specific channels based on the broadcaster’s requirements.

Reliability for primetime Neil Maycock: “Not all CiaBs are up to the task”

mushrooms — but many of these products consist of not much more than a video server packaged with some graphics or channel

Often, broadcasters are eager to access the savings and efficiencies promised by CiaB but they’re held back by the perceived risk of bringing new playout technology into their environment. After all, automation and playout of content represents the main revenue generator for any station, and

It is this philosophy of focusing on what the channel needs, rather than what’s in the box, that separates a best-of-breed CiaB solution from the rest of the pack branding capabilities. Of course, the modern, IT-based digital broadcast operation is much more complex, with a requirement for many more functions including: subtitles, aspect ratio signaling, multi-channel audio, SD-HD upand down-conversion, and voiceovers, just to name a few. Snell’s ICE Channel in a Box, for instance, combines a comprehensive range of these features in a single IT platform. Most importantly, the system addresses the true nature of a channel; in other words, the breadth of functions required and the varied ways in which they are used, including graphics DVE keyers, a router and multiple mixers, up/down/afd format conversion, audio processing including voiceover and multilanguage, captioning including closed captions, subtitles, and multi-format video servers. It is this philosophy of focusing on what the channel needs, rather than what’s in the box, that separates a best-of-breed CiaB solution from the rest of the pack. To put this in more concrete terms, take the example of input and output handling. While many CiaB systems provide only one input and one output, Snell’s ICE supports multiple inputs and

many broadcasters are reluctant to fix what’s not broken. Therefore, any effective CiaB solution must have built-in engineering to ensure that it is resilient and fit for the purpose of prime-time TV broadcasting.

One example Snell has introduced is content pre-validation, which automatically analyses each content file to ensure that the file wrapper contains accurate information about the file’s contents; even the slightest inconsistency can cause the file to be played out incorrectly and produce an air-time error. Other features that ensure ultra-reliable 24/7 playout in a CiaB system include dual redundant power supplies, RAID media storage, and N+1 redundancy.

Scalability from 1 to 100 A true CiaB solution adapts to the changing requirements of the broadcaster, making it easy to bring new revenue-generating channels and services online quickly without disrupting operations. The system should be equally at home in a singlechannel operation or a complex multichannel playout environment, with a user interface that remains consistent as the operation grows. To summarise, the ideal CiaB is one that delivers on its promise to enable broadcasters to bring new channels to air as quickly and as cost-effectively as possible. With the proper architecture and feature set, a CiaB can add tremendous value in a wide range of broadcasting environments including station master control, regional broadcasters, corporate and government broadcasters, religious and educational channels, and community television.

ICE as pie: The system addresses the true nature of a channel; in other words, the breadth of functions required

Part of the University of Bedfordshire gallery and newsroom system by Digital Garage and Autocue 31

Continued from page 30

With its teleprompting, scripting and newsroom production heritage, Autocue can also offer a broad production workflow, as Richard Satchell, Autocue business development director, explains, “We are the only manufacturer to provide a single solution for newsroom, scripting, automation, media management, video servers, broadcast monitors and teleprompters with complete, scalable local TV packages,” he says. “In this case, the university also installed a 46-inch S-series broadcast monitor, a 24-inch E-series monitor, and two Professionalseries 12-inch teleprompters, all from Autocue. It’s not surprising that academic centres are finding our solutions so appealing once they learn that the successful systems already implemented by mainstream broadcasters, corporate entities and other academic institutions can be obtained from a single supplier.” The installation at Luton was led by Autocue reseller and systems integrator Digital Garage. The Autocue system at the university is specifically designed to support the university’s broadcast journalism degree course, which provides an opportunity to gain experience in television production and journalism within a dedicated newsroom. According to Digital Garage Managing Director Michael Whelan, “We looked at systems from a range of well-known newsroom computer system manufacturers. What clearly set Autocue apart was that it did not offer the newsroom system in isolation, it also offered all of the components necessary to create a comprehensive workflow. And because all of the elements came from a single manufacturer, it met the university’s requirement for a low cost solution from a single provider.” The university’s multi-disciplinary broadcast journalism courses include those designed to provide a complete understanding of the requirements for multiplatform delivery. The Autocue system’s vast number of configurable options enables the system to be customised to suit specific environments, including radio, and any number of production workflow styles, which provides practical multiplatform experience across a broad range of contemporary delivery platforms. F E B R U A RY 2 0 1 2


New developments in playout management The continued effect of Moore’s Law allows many to argue that off-the-shelf hardware has enough brute strength to run a television channel — the so-called Channel in a Box solution. In truth it is not quite as simple as that. The CiaB perspective of Harold Vermeulen, vice president Media Playout Solutions at Grass Valley F E B R U A RY 2 0 1 2

What makes all this possible is the use of open standards and simple, service oriented interfaces. OpenGL makes for sophisticated graphics processing, FTP to move content around, and XML for metadata. For most interfaces, you can write a simple translation script in XML — something that is readily done and updated by an in-house engineer, giving the architecture complete flexibility.

Even today, the IT industry giants struggle to achieve anywhere near the levels of reliability that we expect from broadcast equipment as a matter of course

Harold Vermeulen: Without investment in extremely resilient architecture, you cannot rely on the system

network on an N+1 basis, or fully mirrored. Each playout node is based on standard, commoditised hardware, for economy. IT manufacturers have huge R&D budgets and it

seems stupid not to take advantage of that. But this is not just any old PC. It needs to be a purpose-built device with multi-core processing, running very sophisticated multithreaded software, to provide the

knows where the content is and ensures that it arrives at the playout node in plenty of time for transmission. And, as you might expect, all content moves around the network as files. The third element is a creative tool, to design the look and feel of the channel. This can be run on a conventional Mac or PC, and it can use content created by the graphics authoring package of choice, such as Adobe Creative Suite or 3ds Max.

The integrated playout system is not the solution for every broadcaster, but it is appropriate for many, and it allows new services to be launched quickly and extremely cost effectively. With this modern architecture, you can realise the cost benefits without compromising on functionality or on-air quality.

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and click on SUBSCRIBE on the top of the homepage Grass Valley K2 Edge: Redundancy can be added to the network on an N+1 basis, or fully mirrored

Shaping the Future of Sports

Sports Production

While every television channel has its unique challenges, there are some things that are common. The nature of television is unforgiving: we have come to expect a smooth stream of high-quality pictures and sound, with no glitches, freezes, blacks, or silence. That puts a very stringent demand on the idea of ‘realtime’ processing. Even today, the IT industry giants struggle to achieve anywhere near the levels of reliability that we expect from broadcast equipment as a matter of course. For that reason, most accept, for now and the foreseeable future, that premium channels will be broadcast from specialist hardware: the sort of servers and switchers that are core Grass Valley products. There are a number of vendors worldwide who specialise in developing systems to bring together — under common control — servers, switchers, graphics, and all the other elements necessary to deliver the premium channel experience, usually across a number of outputs. These companies are our partners, and we continue to work with them. But there are a growing number of channels whose business model needs a low cost, simple — but reliable to broadcast standards — playout solution. These include small thematic channels, secondary and incremental channels, +1 services, and more. Large playout centres might choose to place their disaster recovery in a simpler installation which can be on-air very quickly. This is where the integrated playout device is best suited. But even though such a system is often called ‘channel-in-a-box’, it needs to be part of a larger integrated playout installation. In turn, the playout management device can exist as a node in a larger, automated centre for those channels that are best suited to it. At Grass Valley, our approach is to look at the requirement as three elements. The most obvious is the playout node, which draws in files to its local storage, adds graphics and other content, and delivers the video output. The graphics are based on stored templates that are populated at runtime. The playout node sits on a network. There’s one node for each channel to be transmitted. Redundancy can be added to the

resilience as well as the performance that television professionals expect and audiences demand. That takes just a few words to describe, but it is the absolute key to success: without that investment in extremely resilient architecture, you cannot rely on the system. Also sitting on the network is a database server. This is not asset management in the extended sense, but functional targeted asset management in that it

Designed to Perform



A new media centre Sky’s new building is designed to make, shape and share broadcast productions, for both 2D and 3D. Capacity for home-grown programmes is increased. The new tapeless environment does away from the previous 4,500 movements of tape per day. Philip Stevens talked to Sky Studios Operations & Strategy head John Lennon When production of Sky Sports News moved into the broadcaster’s new facility in west London last July, it marked the start of a sixmonth migration of other inhouse departments. Last month saw the completion of that move, and Sky has been keen to point out the benefits of its new £233 million media centre — formerly known as Harlequin 1, now called, not surprisingly, Sky Studios. “When we broke ground for the new building in 2007, it meant that our growth as a broadcaster had achieved a new perspective,” says John Lennon, Sky’s director of Broadcast Operations and Strategy. “Previously, we had developed in a fast and dynamic way, but it was somewhat piecemeal. Now our efforts have been directed into a facility that can house 1,300 personnel and will enable us to be far more efficient.” He says the new building is designed to Make, Shape and Share broadcast productions. To achieve that end there are eight studios to make the programmes, 45 edit suites to shape them and a formidable array of connectivity systems to share the material. “When it comes to making, all of the studios are equipped for both HD and 3D,” he says. “We can combine studios where audience participation is involved or there is a need for large scale productions. There is no disputing that we can offer world class facilities to our production partners.” He says the extra capacity will enable Sky to increase its creation of home-grown programmes. “Our production budget for 2011 was £380 million, but this is due to increase to £600 million over the next few years.” Lennon points out that Grass Valley has provided the LDK cameras and Kayak vision mixers for all the studios. With the exception of strategic key sources, all the lighting is based on LED technology. “We want to get the local community involved where it is appropriate, so we have built viewing galleries in some studios that will enable visitors to see what is going on — but without disrupting work on the production floor.”

Tapeless from the start John Lennon is excited about one of its main production features — a completely tapeless environment. Having said that, he does concede that there are two tape 34

begin within moments of the material arriving. “We are more interested in quality than quantity,” Lennon emphasises. “Our feeds are set at 100MB, and we made a decision some time ago that we would only operate three channels on one transponder — and with Sky Sports this is reduced to two channels.” He continues, “Our tapeless system has Quality Control checks built in using a Cerify by Tektronix system. However, we also carry out some traditional QC checks so that our quality is second to none.”

Environmental equations John Lennon is excited about the move to a tapeless setting

Beyond the technical specification of the new building, Lennon explains that the design has also

“We are more interested in quality than quantity. Our feeds are set at 100MB, and we made a decision some time ago that we would only operate three channels on one transponder” – John Lennon

New studio block in west London that cost £233 million to construct and equip

machines in the building, just in case the need arises! “I am very enthusiastic about this aspect of the studios. Previously, on average, we had 4,500 movements of tape each day, and that is hardly efficient. We have had no resistance to the new technology, although I suppose there was some trepidation when the day for changeover was nearing. However, once it was used in a production situation, we found people were very relaxed about it and enjoyed the new technology.” Alongside the ability to edit at their desks, production staff have several ‘soft’ areas where they can take laptops to carry out the same function. Those areas can also be used for meetings and writing. To ensure these additional areas are fully efficient, the building has installed a robust Wi-Fi system. Lennon emphasises that training of staff is a priority and he will always make services available to ensure everyone is fully conversant with the technology changes. The move to a completely tapeless setting has seen Sky News and Sky Sports use Panasonic P2 as a

standard for its single camera shooting. When the material arrives at the Sky Studios, both low and high resolution copies are made at the time of initial ingesting. The low res versions are then used for initial logging and editing. “The systems we use in the new facility include AVC-Intra, IMX 50, IBM disks and LTO-5 data tapes,” reports Lennon. Online editors have the use of 45 suites equipped with Avid systems, with some being complemented with EVS units where fast turnaround packages are needed. In addition, there are 12 international commentary booths and an associated control room that can handle eight live events simultaneously. For sharing Sky has developed a comprehensive network of communication around the building. At the heart of the tapeless operation are Omneon servers for both ingest and playout. “We can accommodate 160 feeds coming into the building from all over the world. We used to have line up in one building and the video tape recording in another. That was not very efficient. Now all ingest and outgest facilities are co-located on one floor,” says Lennon. The feeds are directed into the Ardendo Media Asset Management system supplied by VizRT and are instantly available to the relevant departments. Editing can

taken into account the actual working environment — and, of course, ‘green’ considerations. “We spent a great deal of time evaluating workflows, so that people’s working conditions are the most efficient. We have done away with the concept, ‘this is a technical area and this is an office space’. They are all integrated to make life easier. “Generally speaking, the areas where people are working are on the outside of the building, enabling them to have windows to see what is going on outside. Today’s viewing screens are such

that you no longer have to work in a darkened room.” Lennon says that creating a sustainable environment was a priority. “We don’t just pay lip service to these considerations. When companies were bidding to provide goods and services, they had to show they had thought about the question of sustainability. Woven into every aspect of the facility are sustainable elements — right down to the carpet tiles and windows.” Through the use of 13 ‘chimneys’ in the stairwells, natural ventilation for 65% of the building has been achieved. Other ‘green’ factors include recycled rainwater being used to flush toilets. Located close to the building is a wind vane that produces enough electricity to light the whole facility with the exception of the studio lighting grids. In fact, the building has achieved an A Star rating for its energy efficiency. “We believe this is the most sustainable broadcast facility in Europe,” states Lennon. “We have tried to be progressive so we can produce the very best output for our viewers.” He concludes, “It is an important factor that we do not just think about clever technical innovations, although we do have that, of course. Rather what we do is deliver creative content from this new building. I like to think about it as a factory of ideas.”

TX area at Sky Studios: modern screens allow use of windows in these production areas. Creating a sustainable environment was a priority F E B R U A RY 2 0 1 2

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Philip Stevens talks to an OB provider setting pace with 3D facilities, complementing its HD commitment

Always aiming for the Top There can’t be many outside broadcast production facilities companies that can list a former professional footballer among its founders. Yet in 1993, former Bayern München goalkeeper Manfred Müller, along with broadcast professional Achim Jendges joined forces to create Berlinbased TopVision Telekommunikation. A year later, the company offered the services of the first fully digital SDI OB truck in Germany. Over the following decade, the fleet list grew with TopVision providing the first digital vehicles with expanding sides in the country. In 2005, the first HD football match was covered for Sky Germany, and within 12 months the company had its full HD 1080i25 or 720p50 OB van on the road. Although sports coverage plays a major part of the company’s activities, the portfolio includes high profile concerts and other events. Besides Sky Germany, the client list includes ARD, ZDF, Sportcast, Plazamedia, Swiss Television, Austrian Television ORF, DFB, Infront, Kentaro, and Music Delight Concert. Outside of its native Germany, TopVision operates in countries as far apart as Japan, the US, Korea, Greece, Russia and the UK. “We have always seen ourselves as trendsetters,” states Eduard Palasan, TopVision’s chief operating officer. “Seven years ago, we started to invest heavily in high defintition and for some considerable time now 100% of our work has been in the format. In fact, we no longer operate any SD vehicles.” Now, that commitment to high definition is being complemented by an increasing amount of 3D production

Commitment to cameras

TopVision commissioned the first 3D-enabled OB vehicle in Germany built by BFE of Mainz

working alongside HD simulcasts. And to meet that requirement, TopVision commissioned unit OB1.3D, the first dedicated 3D truck in Germany. “We had input from many different sources when it came to the design of the interior,” emphasises Palasan. “We were asked to ensure there were facilities for more 3D cameras than normal, including those with slow-motion capabilities. To accommodate that, there had to be inputs for many signals from numerous sources. The engineers, of course, wanted more space. But there was also a call for a second production room for unilateral output, for editing, the creation of highlights, virtual enhancements or graphics and so on.”

In HD mode, this truck (indeed all of TopVision’s OB vehicles) can accommodate up to 34 cameras — a mixture of Sony HDC1000, 1500 and 1550, with HDC3300 being used for SuperSloMo. “We also use up to 10 LMP HD 1200 mini-cameras where space is very limited. They have the advantage of being remotely controlled over long distances and can support 1080p, 1080i and 720p formats.” The LMP HD 1200 cameras also figure in the 3D specification, along with 10 HDC1500R and four Sony HDC-P1 cameras. Palasan believes that the narrow body of the P1 — it is just 86mm — makes it ideal for 3D requirements. The camera has three 2.2-million pixel 2/3-inch type Power HAD FX CCDs and a 14-bit A/D converter that produces a sensitivity of F11 at 1080/50i.

“The engineers, of course, wanted more space. But there was also a call for a second production room for unilateral output, editing, creation of highlights, virtual enhancements and so on” — Eduard Palasan He adds that room was found in the main production gallery for the client’s producer, lighting cameraman, editor in chief, and other executive personnel. All those needs were met in a truck which is 16.5m long and has an expanded width of up to 4.6m. It was built in Germany by BFE of Mainz. “Obviously, the truck can also be used for HD production,” declares Palasan, “but there is an increasing call for its 3D capabilities.”

All the cameras are fitted with Canon lenses. The truck is equipped with seven Element Technica Quasar, Pulsar and LMP 3D rigs. Just as the main cameras come from Sony, so the vision mixers (there are two MVS-8000G with 4M/E) originate from the same source. Palasan is lavish in his praise for that manufacturer. “As far as we are concerned they always provide the best and most modern equipment with the most up-to-date software and innovations. In particular, they offer special solutions and enable us to capture quickly those ‘surprising moments’ during a live event. Oh yes, they also provide the best price when it comes to value for money!” Sony, along with Panasonic, provides the VTRs in the form of Sony HDCAM and XDCAM HD, Panasonic DVC Pro50, AJ1800 and P2 AJ2500. “We also have Avid Sports editing fully networked to eight EVS HD XT [2] and XT [3] on each OB Van.”

Graphics parameters On board graphics is supplied by a Vizrt 3D HD Trio character generator and Viz Engine rendering system. From the vision mixer, the right and left eye images are streamed in full HD 1920 x 1080 to the 3D monitors. The crew can then view flicker-free images using circular-polarised 3D glasses. Palasan makes the point that live production graphics needs are quite different from recorded programmes. “Obviously, you need to utilise realtime tools like the Viz Engine, so that operators can modify every parameter and see those changes right away.” Audio mixing is handled by a 40-fader Aurus digital mixing console. This system is based on Stagetec technology which includes EBU-R128-compliant loudness metering, a spectrum analyser and truepeak metering. The TFT screens on the unit can be switched between showing the RTW meter and the Aurus display. 36 F E B R U A RY 2 0 1 2


“Because TopVision transmits not only sports fixtures, but also concerts and other musical events, we feel that Stagetec Aurus is the best and most compact unit with more features and effects than any other live OB console,” declares Palasan.

Major musical event The audio capabilities — along with other technological innovations in TopVision’s 3D truck — were put to a demanding test during a 2011 event of the Heavy Metal group The Scorpions. The show was recorded as live in Saarbrücken for a 3D Blu-ray disk. “We had to use 10 3D cameras for this production,” explains Palasan. “This was more cameras than had ever been previously used for a 3D concert, and included a Steadicam, a Polecam, SupertecnoCrane, a panther and a Dolly CruiseCam PMT. Not only that, we utilised a 3D ENG camera for gathering audience shots and other material relevant to the bonus track on the Blu-ray. It was a challenge, but everyone worked very hard and made it a superb success.” About 20% of TopVision’s current work is produced in 3D, and Palasan is determined that will increase in the coming months. “I am very optimistic. With an increasing number of 3D channels, there will be a need for content, content, content!

“With an increasing number of 3D channels, there will be a need for content, content, content! However, I cannot see too many new developments in 3D technology in the near future. Everything is far too expensive” — Eduard Palasan However, to be honest, I cannot see too many new developments in 3D technology in the near future. Everything is far too expensive and getting finance for anything new will be difficult in the present climate.” “But,” he concludes, “if there is to be progress I would like to see enhanced lenses, improved 3D editing software and the introduction of better and integrated analysis software.”

NEWS IN BRIEF Blackmagic ships HyperDeck Shuttle 2

TopVision supplied 3D coverage for Scorpions concert using a variety of mounts

French rep for Object Matrix Data storage expert Object Matrix has partnered with IVORY in the French territories. Founded in September by Julien Gachot, IVORY helps companies to define and execute their sales strategy. “Julien has outstanding experience within the international creative video market,” stated Nick Pearce, co-founder, Object Matrix. “We intend to fully benefit from his strong domain expertise and extensive network which spans all elements of content production workflow.”

3D coverage provided for the German Bundesliga matches using Sony cameras

 TVBEurope is the proven European market leader in television broadcasting technology analysis. Through our monthly magazine, electronic newsletters and constant news presence at we publish more original, journalist-written content every month than all our competitors combined.

Blackmagic Design has released its HyperDeck Shuttle 2 with Avid DNxHD recording and playback. The product allows uncompressed video by recording from SDI and HDMI directly to 10-bit QuickTime or Avid DNxHD MXF format. “Recording DNxHD files straight to disk now costs less per minute than recording to professional tape,” said Grant Petty, CEO, Blackmagic Design. “It’s the most efficient workflow possible.” HyperDeck Shuttle 2 is shipping now and available from Blackmagic Design resellers worldwide.



 TVBEurope leads the market in discussion of digital


NAB Product Preview

workflows for acquisition, operations, post, playout and delivery – with a business-led approach that is insightful, readable and relevant.


NAB Show Issue

Media Asset Management


London Olympics Countdown

Broadcasting in the Cloud


NAB Wrap-Up


London Olympics Issue


IBC Product Preview


IBC Show Issue


Best of IBC Editors’ Awards


IBC Wrap-Up


Media Asset Management

 In addition to the Issue Specials outlined, in every issue our three established core sections anchor TVBEurope’s reporting of the television broadcast workflow. News & Analysis delivers headlines, context and explanation of the big stories. The Workflow is our bedrock coverage of end-user moves to HD, tapeless operation, an IT infrastructure and multi-platform delivery. And The Business Case is still unique to TVBEurope: every issue, an examination of a vendor’s business and how it impacts the European marketplace.


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Archiving & Storage Reference Monitor Shoot-Out IT Broadcast Workflow Wrap-Up 3D Production Close-Up Audio For Broadcast Tapeless Video Recording News Broadcast Workflows

For all advertising and sponsorship opportunities, contact the sales team: Europe Steve Connolly: +44 (0) 20 7354 6000, or Ben Ewles: +44 (0) 20 7354 6000,, USA Mike Mitchell +1 631 673 3199, F E B R U A RY 2 0 1 2



Changing Disney workflows in Netherlands and Belgium

The Disney approach: Managing content and rights in a multiplatform era

By abandoning the traditional approach of linear broadcast workflows and adopting a centralised integrated approach for multiple linear and nonlinear workflows, Disney has maintained high service levels, reduced cost and improved its ability to change in a fast-moving media world. By David Stewart Disney Channels Benelux, a division of the Walt Disney Company, was one of the first media companies to understand the benefits of using a web-based user interface to schedule and control a complete national TV channel. In 2006, Disney selected media business and content management software company Vivesta, and Netherlands network service provider KPN Broadcast Services, to design an end-to-end playout solution for the Dutch national Jetix channel (now Disney). The designed workflow was completely file-based and all operations were done in a webbased user interface. The project was successful and since then Disney has expanded the platform with more channels

and cable VoD services in the Netherlands and Belgium. In 2011, Disney Channel Benelux issued a new Request for Proposal. Key objective was to propose a unique solution that presents cost advantages and enables Disney to adapt to a rapidly changing media industry, while maintaining a high service level of 99.99%. Managing content and rights in today’s multiplatform era has become an increasingly complex task as broadcasters are faced with different distribution deals, content formats, rights and metadata specifications for multiple linear and nonlinear distribution outlets. After a careful selection process, Disney selected the approach proposed by KPN and SGT Vivesta. In this approach, the benefits of a reliable and scalable playout solution, based on VEDA automation and Omneon servers, are combined with the flexibility and efficiency of a centralised and fully integrated MediaFlow business and content management system. With VEDA and MediaFlow, SGT Vivesta provides a modular end-to-end

solution for media business management, content management and broadcast automation.

The benefits Improved flexibility and time-tomarket: The solution automates and simplifies the workflows drastically as all business and content processes for multiple outlets are centralised and integrated in a single MediaFlow platform. MediaFlow manages all tasks related to scheduling, rights management, programme management,

QC, file movements, archiving and transcoding for all linear and nonlinear outlets. It also allows Disney to track every step in the business and content workflow better. By moving away the intelligence and information from the distribution outlet, flexibility is greatly improved and new services can be introduced much faster. Automated validation of content and schedules: To simplify and reduce manual operation further, an innovative template-based scheduling feature has been introduced. When Disney creates a new package of VoD items, templates can be applied which predefine publish conditions, categories, prices, publication periods and other parameters for one or more distribution outlets. In a matter of seconds, complete series can be scheduled and published across multiple outlets without the need for technical knowledge. MediaFlow automatically validates all content and schedules and adapts the content to the requirements of each specific outlet. Only the exceptions are made visible to operators which reduces checking time drastically. Meeting a service level of 99.99%: Another challenge to meet was the scalable transmission architecture. Engineers of KPN

and SGT Vivesta worked closely together and designed a highly redundant transmission architecture based on a reliable and scalable VEDA playout automation system controlling Omneon Spectrum servers. The VEDA transmission automation controls all transmission components, including Screen Subtitle and Pixel Power graphic systems and provides an Active-Active fail-over functionality to automatically switch from the primary to the secondary playout transmission chain. Open, web-services based architecture: The web services based architecture is designed for three full redundant channels with future expansion in mind. Playlists are delivered from the MediaFlow scheduling system to VEDA in the BXF format to ensure open standards and interoperability with other systems. Web service API’s allow for integration with thirdparty systems and processes. Full web-based, centralised operation: all scheduling and MAM operations are done in MediaFlow in a single web-based user interface. Depending on the role and user, information and functionality can be made accessible. New features or changes are implemented centrally at KPN Broadcast, eliminating the need for software updates and maintenance cost at Disney premises. Transmission operation is provided by KPN Broadcast, based on the VEDA automation software. As Disney prepares complete frame-accurate schedules remotely in the central business system, last minute changes are decreased and service levels can be improved.

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38 F E B R U A RY 2 0 1 2

New technologies and workflows behind big live/as-live TV productions

end? t t a d l u o of irectors Who sh


fficer; D O ts; g in t era oadcas r p B O f e ie id Ch uts ad of O n e H ; s n io roductio P ; n io Operat t c f Produ r Sound io n e Head o S ; r of Manage s e c r u r; Head o o t c e Res ir rD me r; Senio o is rogram v r P e ; r e e Sup r ngin Directo Chief E ; ; r s e a c r u e d ro Cam nager; P a M hnology s c n e io T t f a r o ad Ope ting; He s a c d a of Bro

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The first Fast Turnaround TV conference will examine the technologies and ilkie on Contact Lucy W workflows behind 000 or +44 207 354 6 big live/as-live lucy.wilkie@ productions and is k .u o .c ia d e tm inten chaired by John Ive, currently director of Business Development & Technology at the IABM. Ive is a consultant and technologist at IveTech and formerly Director of Strategic Planning at Sony Broadcast. Ive also chairs TVBEurope’s annual 3D Masters conference and his experience spans senior management, technology, operations, marketing, training and research & development.


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Keep connected with C-Cast second screen EVS By David Davies The Belgian maker of live broadcast and media production systems will introduce a set of allround solutions for sports broadcasting and fast turnaround studio productions. C-Cast is a new cloud casting application designed to give multitaskers instant access to complementary or exclusive content of live and near-live broadcast programmes on connected devices, such as tablets, smartphones and laptops. It is a simple add-on solution to any existing EVS live production infrastructure and offers a fully open architecture based on API, allowing broadcasters and media distributors to build their own web interface. As a result, clips created during a live production can be instantly available on any connected device.

C-Cast is a new cloud casting application designed to give multitaskers instant access to complementary or exclusive content

Also at BVE, EVS will unveil Insio ProNotes, a new software application designed to help assistants log footage with keywords and take notes on a PC or tablet during a shoot. The notes are automatically linked to the footage and can be displayed as markers in the timeline of third-party craft editors. All notes and keywords are stored on the Insio database, where they can easily be transferred to

post production. ProNotes also allows producers to subsequently add comments, which increases the accuracy of the notes and saves time when editing. EVS will also showcase Sports360°, which helps broadcasters, producers and rightsholders to maximise content value with: extended multicam recording capabilities and new 3G connectivity; ‘breathtaking’ action replays based on Live Slow Motion and unique Ultra Motion live replay systems; rapid package productions performed during live recordings; instant access to live media and archives due to advanced connectivity between remote and studio operations (including remote access to content via extended web browsing); from venue to multiplatform delivery; and complementary and/or exclusive content on web connected devices. E30

Have we got camera supports for you Sachtler By David Davies Vitec Group brand Sachtler will present its new Ace fluid head and tripod system, described as the perfect camera support for the growing market of videographers and DSLR filmmakers. Designed for a variety of pro applications, Ace offers a payload of up to 4kg, making it ideal for smaller HDV camcorders and video-enabled DSLR cameras. Features include a special composite material that makes the system very lightweight, and a 5-step counterbalance that makes fast counterbalancing of the camera set-up very simple. Also included is

the new, patented drag, SA drag (Synchronised Actuated Drag). Sachtler will also show its Cine camera support as well as the Video 18 S1 and the Video 20 S1, the latest models of the Video 18 and Video 20 ENG/EFP heads. Both products have a 16-step counterbalance. The Video 18 S1 has a payload range of 2-18kg, while the payload range of the Video 20 S1 is 2-25 kg. Both heads provide the Sachtler Speedbalance Technology and a Touch & Go plate. The artemis modular camera stabiliser system will also be on show. artemis Cine HD Pro features modular construction, dual video processing, HiCap wiring and HotSwap technology. I30

Ace offers a payload of up to 4kg, ideal for smaller HDV camcorders and video-enabled DSLR cameras

WHAT’S NEW FOR BVE The Broadcast Video Expo show continues to grow and many new products now receive key UK previews ahead of world launch at NAB. Our writing team — David Davies, Melanie Dayasena-Lowe, Fergal Ringrose and Jake Young — present here a focused guide to the best broadcast and production product innovations at BVE 2012 — Fergal Ringrose

First Sony F65 4K cameras shipping Sony By David Fox Sony has shipped its first consignment of F65 CineAlta cameras into Europe, with UK dealers CVP and Top-Teks receiving the first units of the high-resolution, large-sensor camera. So far, there have been about 400 pre-orders worldwide for the 4K camera, which uses a new 8K CMOS image sensor with approximately 20 megapixels and 16-bit linear raw file output capability. “Sony was committed to bringing the F65 CineAlta camera to market before the spring shooting season began,” said Dave Cheesman, UK Media Channel manager at Sony Professional Solutions Europe. “The fact we have already received such a high volume of orders is a testament to the F65’s outstanding performance and superb value for money. Clearly the industry has gained a significant appetite for 4K technology and we are proud that dealers such as CVP and Top-Teks have chosen to work with us.” Phil Baxter, CEO of CVP group, commented: “The F65 is the most exciting camera to emerge from Sony over the last 10 years and as such we’ve already received substantial interest and many advanced orders. Like us, our clients recognise that the F65’s outstanding 4K image

F65 “the most exciting Sony camera over the last 10 years”

quality combined with CVP’s engineering investment and total commitment to customer support will provide them with the unparalleled ownership experience the highest echelon of Digital Cinematography production deserves.” Mike Thomas, sales director of Top-Teks, added: “The launch of the F65 signals a new era in digital cinematography and as such we’ve invested heavily to ensure we can deliver Sony’s state of the art camera alongside Top-Tek’s trademark top quality service.” A basic F65 package costs about £60,000 (€72,000), and includes the camera, Sony HDVF-C30WR Colour HD Viewfinder and Sony SR-R4 SRMASTER Memory Recorder. The Sony stand I20 at BVE has been designed with customer needs in mind, and will have four specific areas covering corporate and live event production, ENG and EFP, live production, and digital cinematography.

Restoration with Phoenix Image Systems By Melanie Dayasena-Lowe Phoenix and Nucoda software products from Image Systems will be on show at BVE. Phoenix provides video, film and digital restoration tools for archives and content owners. The company’s Nucoda software portfolio incorporates a suite of colour grading and finishing solutions used in film and television post production, while its 40

Golden Eye film scanners provide optimal high resolution scanning for DI, archive and restoration, handling negative, print and intermediate in all major film formats. Phoenix is claimed to be unique as it’s the only high-end restoration and mastering solution that provides film, video and file-based restoration tools allowing users to get the most from their film and digital archives. Working in 64-bit Phoenix significantly improves speed and per-

formance when restoring memory intensive projects. The system has been used recently by facilities including Éclair who restored Pathé’s 1940s French masterpiece Les Enfants du Paradis, Mars Motel who restored the iconic film Autumn Sonata starring Ingrid Bergman and Deluxe 142 who are rescuing the Hitchcock 9. Shipping to more than 50 customers worldwide, the next generation Precision control surface for the Nucoda grading solutions features

Iconic images: 64-bit Phoenix improves speed and performance

five high resolution touchscreens with unique menu navigation and toolset control. The latest version of

Nucoda now includes new features for the Precision grading panel. M40 F E B R U A RY 2 0 1 2


UK debut for Safe Switch 3G with full framestore synchroniser on each input

Key enhanced technology Crystal Vision By David Davies Products on show will include a 2 x 2 switch with full framestore synchroniser on each input, along with an audio/video delay designed for correcting large lip-sync errors. Making its UK exhibition debut, the Safe Switch 3G provides clean and intelligent 2 x 2 switching between two 3Gbps, HD or SD sources, with a full framestore synchroniser on each input, allowing it to correct for any timing difference between the two inputs. It can be switched

Safe Switch 3G provides intelligent 2x2 switching between two 3Gbps, HD or SD

manually or 16 different fault conditions can automatically trigger a switch, while loss of reference protection keeps the output valid at all times even on a loss of reference. AVDELAY 3G is an audio/video delay designed for correcting large lip-sync errors by eye on incoming 3Gbps, HD or SD signals. The audio and video delay are adjustable independently, allowing the user to change the relative audio/video timing in either direction, with up to 10 seconds of video delay available in SD, five seconds in HD and two seconds in 3Gbps, along with 10 seconds of AES audio delay.

The video delay is adjustable in frames, while four delay controls can be assigned to the audio on a mono channel basis. Up-Down-AS 3G is a synchronising up/down/cross converter which takes all the projectwinning features of the popular UpDown-3G and adds signal timing functionality. Available in five versions to suit a variety of applications, Up-Down-AS 3G allows flexible up, down and cross conversions between 3Gbps, HD and SD sources and provides an output picture quality that broadcasters standardise on. BVE will also see further enhancements to Crystal Vision’s MultiLogo logo keyer. New to the MultiLogo specification is the Preset Import/Export feature, which allows the operator to easily copy settings from one board to another and is suitable for those systems involving multiple logo keyers. E56

Taking the A networking showcase right path Riedel Nevion By Jake Young Demonstrations of Nevion’s new VideoIPath solution for IP and optical networks will take place at BVE. The provider of managed video services for broadcasters, service providers and government entities worldwide will showcase its integrated hardware and software platform for delivering managed video services in any network infrastructure. This includes delivery over an IP-based media network of a telecommunica-

By David Davies Riedel Communications will present MediorNet – described as the cost-effective entry into the Riedel MediorNet world of integrated media signal distribution and processing – at BVE 2012. MediorNet Compact is said to provide the flexibility of a true realtime media network, including integrated signal processing, at the cost of simple multiplexing point-to-point products. With a network bandwidth of 50 Gbps

MediorNet Compact provides sufficient capacity for bi-directional transport of 12 HD-SDI signals, dozens of MADI streams and hundreds of audio channels. Also on display will be Riedel’s AVB product line, designed to provide a realtime solution for professional intercom users. The Riedel suite of AVB products includes the AVB-108 G2 Client, the Connect AVB and Connect AVBx8 panel interfaces. They offer intercom applications over LAN infrastructures such as matrix-to-control panel connections, audio distribution, matrix-to-matrix trunking

MediorNet Compact provides capacity for bi-directional transport of 12 HD-SDI signals

connections or distribution of digital partylines. Riedel will also highlight the RiLink solution, a global fibre service for long-distance HD video, audio and data transport. Based on Riedel’s own global backbone, the RiLink Global

Fiber Service provides bidirectional links between distant locations, allowing not only the transport of 3G/HD/SD-SDI broadcast signals, but also return video feeds, full-duplex communications, VoIP telephony and IP data. H60

Nevion will showcase components of the VideoIPath system at BVE

tions service provider or a broadcaster’s fully redundant optical network. “Professional video transport is changing dramatically and creating a completely new approach to video networking,” said Nick Pywell, MD UK operations at Nevion. “With the introduction of our VideoIPath managed video services platform and the other solutions we’ll be highlighting, we can provide efficient and cost-effective solutions for broadcasters to meet these changes.” VideoIPath provides video transport with end-to-end control, monitoring and management and features comprehensive services including provisioning, connection management, bandwidth optimisation, analytics and network inventory. G46 F E B R U A RY 2 0 1 2


Global leaders in

broadcast audio technology From acquisition and production, through post to transmission, HHB’s Sales and Technical Support teams have unrivalled experience in broadcast audio technology. No wonder leading Broadcasters and Systems Integrators worldwide rely on HHB to achieve maximum returns on their investments in audio equipment. Contact the HHB Broadcast Sales Team at: E: / T: +44 (0)20 8962 5000 See us at Stand C40

TVBEU R O PE BV E 2 0 1 2 P R E V I E W

Audio loudness in focus HHB Communications By David Davies TC Electronic’s LM6 Radar Loudness Meter (pictured) will be part of a comprehensive showcase of professional audio loudness tools proffered by HHB Communications at BVE. As new loudness standards gain traction in Europe those in the media supply chain are adopting a mix of hardware and software loudness technologies for both linear and nonlinear

environments. HHB will be focusing on four loudness applications: OB and live production, post production, playout and archive with technologies from DKTechnologies, Dolby, Nugen, RTW, TC Electronic and Wohler. HHB product specialists will be on hand to discuss the latest in loudness technology. Alongside Scrub, its Sohobased subsidiary specialising in serving the post production industry, HHB will also be demonstrating Avid’s new Pro Tools 10 software and HDX hardware.

In addition, visitors are invited to stop by the HHB stand to collect a free copy of the new HHB 2012 Catalogue and to enter a free prize draw to win an Olympus LS-20M Portable Audio and Video Recorder. The HHB stand will also feature new portable recorders from Olympus (2-Ch LS-100) and Roland (6-Ch R-26), new consoles from Studer (OnAir 1500) and Yamaha (01V96i) and the latest in audio technology from other leading brands including Dynaudio, Genelec, Mogami, Neyrinck, RØDE and Soundfield. HHB is also sponsoring the show’s Audio Room, where industry-leading audio and broadcast professionals host seminars on the latest industry topics. C40

Mistika makes 4D magic for Blackpool Tower Observer showcase for BVE Volicon

SGO By David Davies

By Melanie Dayasena-Lowe

A presentation by BSkyB and a case study based around the Blackpool Tower 4D Experience film will be part of the lineup at the 3D Revolution Theatre, of which SGO is again a key sponsor. This year, the SGO Mistika sessions will feature two striking presentations. The first by BSkyB on the Continuing Developments for 3D in broadcast by online stereographer Francisco Ramos will include BSkyB’s new Stereo 3D test card and various new projects for television. The second will be a case study of the Blackpool Tower 4D Experience film, courtesy of production company Sharp Cookies. All aspects of the 4D film, from

The new Observer TS logging system gives broadcasters, networks, and cable operators the ability to handle MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 transport streams natively and efficiently over the WAN with a low-resolution proxy, retaining the content and associated metadata within the stream. Complementing the existing Observer Enterprise analogue, SD-SDI, and HD-SDI systems, this new interface simplifies signal flow, allows for greater signal density and flexibility, and enables full-quality content logging. It opens the door to new use cases — such as rebroadcasting high-resolution data, interactive content, and dialnorm

Mistika was used at the heart of the post production process on Blackpool Tower 4D (Photo: courtesy of Merlin Entertainments Group Experience, Sharp Cookies Ltd

production through to post, and how Mistika was used at the heart of the post production process, will be presented.

The Francisco Ramos session takes place on 14 February at 1pm, while the Mistika case study commences at 4pm on 15 February.

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reporting — for logged content. Using Observer TS for compliance logging and air checks, operators can easily extract MPEG metadata and troubleshoot the MPEG transport stream live or from the Observer log. The new release of Observer Enterprise version 6.0 includes several new features, including fully ITU-R BS.1770 compliant Loudness Monitoring, AC-3 (Dolby Digital) decoding, and additional updates. Based on Microsoft Silverlight, the Observer Professional includes an intuitive, streamlined user interface for both Mac and PC platforms that supports Internet Explorer, Safari, Google Chrome, and Firefox browsers, as well as integrated export functionality to H.264, Flash, MPEG-2, or MPEG-4. H42

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UK launch of Artemis Light Calrec By Melanie Dayasena-Lowe The newest member of Calrec’s Artemis family of Bluefin2/ Hydra2 audio consoles, Artemis Light, introduces a new compact processing rack dedicated to delivering DSP and routing capabilities in a 4U enclosure. Like all Artemis consoles, Artemis Light incorporates

Bluefin2 High Density Signal Processing and Hydra2 networking technologies in the same compact yet scalable control surface used by Artemis Shine and Beam. Employing the same hardware and software architecture, the Artemis Light can be fully integrated with any existing Hydra2 network. “No sacrifice has been made to quality, reliability or specifica-

Artemis Light has Bluefin2 high density signal processing and Hydra2 networking

tion. This is a powerful, fullfeatured broadcast-production audio console with full redundancy, designed to be an integral part of the Bluefin2/Hydra2 family,” said Henry Goodman, head of sales and marketing at Calrec. “Full compatibility with other Hydra2 networks means the Artemis Light is scalable beyond its standalone capabilities, providing a cost-effective platform that can be easily expanded if production environments become more demanding of resources.” The Artemis Light router has 8 x Hydra2 ports for interfacing with the extensive Hydra2 I/O range, as well as other Hydra2 routers and their I/O. The flexibility of the Hydra2 I/O range means a large amount of I/O can be connected in various formats, tailored to the specific needs of each environment. Like the rest of the product range, Artemis Light also supports point to multipoint routing, the Calrec H2O router control GUI, and third-party remote control protocols SW-P-08 and EMBER, allowing remote control of router and console functions. C4

Mobile apps: Next-generation Signiant Media Exchange (MX) is a private cloud solution for fast, secure file transfer designed specifically for the business needs of media content providers — from major studios and global broadcasters to regional post production houses. In addition to a browser-based client for sharing large files more efficiently, MX 9.5 expands user access options with powerfully simple clients that automate the unattended delivery of content to any desktop or mobile device. Once content is downloaded, MX users can log in with the same credentials they use with their browser client and then select the channels of content to which they wish to subscribe. Users receive unattended updates as they become available — without having to check for new content or wait for downloads — and they can quickly upload content to users or preselected channels. - Melanie Dayasena-Lowe L54

Flexibility in post Digital Film Technology By Melanie Dayasena-Lowe DFT Digital Film Technology, provider of high-end film and digital post production solutions that preserve, manage, and deliver your pictures, will showcase version 1.2 of its FLEXXITY post production software suite. Visitors can receive a demonstration of the new FLEXXITY 1.2, and receive a hands-on experience for how it can apply to their

specific post production workflow. Whether working with film or digital, on-set dailies, post dailies, playout and mastering, or archive workflows, FLEXXITY offers a specialised software suite that aggregates a number of key functions in one software interface. It helps facilities maximise the value and delivery of content by streamlining audio ingest, image ingest, audio/video synchronisation, metadata logging, grading, and playout/file generation. M13

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UK launch as prompting apps for Apple, Android accelerate

Prompter rig for tablets

Rx centre-stage at BVE Phabrix By David Davies

Datavideo By Jake Young In the wake of new prompting apps that support both Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android operating systems, Datavideo has unveiled a prompter rig that extends hardware support to Android tablets as well as the iPad and iPad 2. Demonstrated for the first time at BVE in London, the Datavideo TP-300 Prompter Kit features a new adaptable mounting bracket that can be adjusted to receive virtually any 5 inch to 10.1 inch tablet. According to Allan Leonhardsen of the distributor Holdan: “There are over 100

tablet designs currently in the market and the already diverse range of screen sizes is only likely to increase over the coming year. Datavideo’s latest prompter kit meets this challenge with a very cost-effective new system.” Like its sister product, the iPad-only TP-200 kit, the new TP300 comes complete with a quick release camera plate, tablet mounting bracket, two-way reflective glass and black camera snood for a light and flexible production tool. The TP-300 is quick and simple to use: prepared scripts or cue sheets can be transferred into the free DV prompter app software on the tablet and scrolled automatically or controlled by a user with the wired or wireless remote

The Datavideo TP-300 Prompter Kit extends hardware support to Android tablets as well as the iPad and iPad 2

according to the producer’s wishes. A number of clear fonts, colours and text sizes are available making reading comfortable from a variety of distances. It is ideal for use in either a theatre setting or a video studio. I10

Graphics creation enters the Cloud “The many benefits of working with a cloud-based graphics creation platform include the sharing and repurposing of graphics within an organisation, which in turn allows reporters and news producers to access the same content and take timely stories to air more quickly,” said Glasgow. “During our BVE presentation, we’ll outline this model and then venture into how integration of the cloud-based platform with leading applications such as

Apple Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premiere Pro, Adobe Photoshop, and ENPS publishing software within a cloud-based workflow can enable greater operational efficiency.” Glasgow and Martin are slated to present ‘Cloud 2.0’ at 12pm on 15 February. At its stand, Chyron will be showcasing its range of products including BlueNet for graphics workflows, Channel Box2, Axis World Graphics and HyperX3.1. E14

Paul Nicholls, Phabrix’s head of sales and marketing, said that interest in the new modular Rx rackmount products has been “outstanding”, with demand “literally outstripping production”. The company recently announced the sale of 27 of the Rx rack-mount instruments in the UK. The major new product suite was initiated last year with the introduction of the Rx2000 modular T&M instrument. Nicholls commented: “The interest in our new modular Phabrix Rx rackmount products has been outstanding and now with full production in place, demand is literally outstripping production. Our major focus is the release of the second stage of our developments on the Phabrix Rx

platform, including the groundbreaking rasterisers with full SDI and HDMI layered instrumentation at 1920 x 1080 output. As concerns over investment costs become polarised, the value proposition and the technological innovation these products represent is outstanding.” As well as the Rx, BVE will also find Phabrix showcasing a full suite of modular cards, including multiple analyser and generator cards, as well as the latest eye and jitter technology. Portable test and measurement solutions from the Sx range will also be on display, while Phabrix will also highlight ‘another world first’ evident across the product range: a dedicated Dolby closed loop testing solution allowing engineers to both generate Dolby streams and analyse them. H46

Smart size for audio: The DK Meter, a highly portable Compact Audio Loudness Meter that retails at €995.00 in Europe, will be on show at BVE, writes Jake Young. Richard Kelley, sales and marketing director for DK-Technologies, said: “We have never seen anything like this before. The new DK meter has received more enquiries per week than any other product we have sold in the past, proving that there is huge demand from the industry for an affordable audio metering solution that not only delivers conventional metering but also ITU, EBU R128 and ATSC-compliant loudness metering at the same time, on the same display and in a single box.” No bigger than a smartphone, the DK Meter has no interface box to hide behind the equipment or in the console and comes in two versions – the stereo DK1 and the 5.1 surround sound DK2. Both versions are easy to use, easy to install and can be powered from a computer USB port, making it ideal for location recording. E15

Paul Glasgow: “Benefits include the sharing and repurposing of graphics”

Chyron By Fergal Ringrose Chyron’s Paul Glasgow, vice president of EMEA sales, and Todd Martin, senior vice president, Strategic Solutions Group, will present ‘Cloud 2.0’ at BVE. The featured presentation is part of a one-day BVE event entitled, ‘Demystifying the Cloud,’ which will examine today’s cloudbased technologies. The Chyron session will explore the use of cloud-based technologies across the broadcast and post production communities and provide a detailed discussion of how such technology can integrate with users’ groundbased software applications to improve efficiency in quality graphics production. F E B R U A RY 2 0 1 2


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Legal parameters in dual-channel LE-3D Eyeheight By David Davies The LE-3D dual-channel stereoscopic 3D video legaliser was developed in co-operation with one of London’s leading broadcast production, post production and distribution facilities. The new launch allows legalisation parameters for left and right video channels to be adjusted from a single operating panel to ensure precise compliance.

Claimed to be world’s first dual-channel stereoscopic 3D video legaliser

User-adjustable settings include RGB, YUV or composite mode selection, clipping level, soft clipping knee, luma and chroma gain, black level, and hue rotation. Six user memories are available to store group settings. EBU 2003

standard legalisation presets are also provided. Based on Eyeheight’s geNETics platform, the LE-3D has two independent HD-SDI inputs and outputs. Processing is to full 10-bit depth throughout.

Multiple LE-3D modules can be accommodated in a 1 RU 19inch chassis for operation under local control from an Eyeheight FP-9 generic control panel. All geNETics products are driven via a unified hardware or software menu system giving fast and easy access to all relevant parameters. Video legalisers are a simple way of helping edited programmes pass broadcasters’ technical quality-assurance requirements. They automatically detect and correct

The standard package provides eight inputs and outputs that are expandable to 24 and 12 respectively. Other standard features include two keyer and four DSK channels, four stills stores, dual-channel 16split multiviewer, two channels of dedicated picture-in-picture, and more than 100 2D and 3D transitions and effects. The latest version includes a clip store, animation playback, CG wipe and enhanced control of external devices. In addition, FOR-A will display its FA-9500 multi-purpose signal processor, LTR-120HS LTO-5 Video Archiving Recorder and LTR-100HS. I50

Vision mixer unveiled FOR-A By Melanie Dayasena-Lowe The new HVS-4000 HANABI multi-format vision mixer is available as 2 M/E, 2.5 M/E, or 3 M/E. Features include support for mixed SD, HD and 3 Gbps inputs, video files and stereoscopic 3D. It also offers 2.5D and 3D DVE, a built-in 4/10/16-split multiviewer and external device control – making it a useful core device in a video production system. Across

the range there is a choice of four control panels, a maximum of 48 inputs and 24 outputs and an up/down/cross converter allowing cutting between most asynchronous SD and HD input formats. BVE 2012 provides another opportunity to see the HVS350HS 1.5M/E vision mixer. This has become a popular choice for a wide range of applications including broadcast OB vans, at events and in studios. It can operate in SD, HD and 3D and can input directly from a PC.

any parts of a video signal that do not conform to industry-agreed component RGB, YUV or composite colour space levels. Also on show at BVE will be the CC-3D, described as the world’s first multi-rate stereoscopic 3D colour corrector. Designed for use in broadcast production, post production and playout centres, the Eyeheight CC-3D allows both channels of a stereoscopic 3D pair to be corrected under common single control. A1

The new HVS-4000 HANABI multi-format vision mixer

Compass takes new direction Miller Camera Support By Melanie Dayasena-Lowe

First time for automated playout: Oasys, which is celebrating 20 years of pioneering IT-based automated playout systems, will showcase its modular software solutions at BVE for the first time, writes Melanie DayasenaLowe. Visitors can see demonstrations of the wide variety of ways in which to set up solutions for different channel requirements, including live events, advertising insertion, single and multiple channels and redundancy management. Mark Errington, CEO, Oasys, said, “We’re delighted to bring our automated playout systems to BVE for the first time. Our knowledge and experience, accumulated over 20 years, have given us a deep understanding of our clients’ key requirements – reliability and flexibility with a highly professional on-screen look – and that’s what we deliver.” L15

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Miller Camera Support’s Compass range of fluid heads has been extended with the release of the new Compass 12 system packages. The Compass 12’s easy to use design incorporates features like a wide payload range, selectable pan and tilt drag settings, illuminated bubble level in a compact and lightweight 75mm ball levelling fluid head. The Compass range now includes the Compass 12, Compass 15, Compass 20 and the 100mm ball based Compass 25 fluid heads, ideal for the latest

generation HDV, DVCAM, XDCAM, P2HD, ENG and highly accessorised DSLR cameras. The Compass range includes the same fluid drag system components used in the Arrow range. This results in soft take offs, super stable pan/tilt moves and smooth stops in addition to several settings of distinct levels of drag resistance. The 75mm Compass 12, Compass 15 and Compass 20 fluid heads provide professional performance for the latest lightweight cameras and camera configurations with a payload range between 2-10kg (4-22 lbs) for Compass 12 and Compass 15 models and 2-12kg (4-26 lbs) for Compass 20.

The 100mm Compass 25 fluid head has a selectable 4-14kg (830lbs) payload range which provides for a variety of camera configurations to be used, both field based or studio-based cameras. F28 Compass 12 Solo DV two stage carbon fibre tripod system

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Integrated approach with ChannelMaster Pixel Power By Melanie Dayasena-Lowe For the first time in the UK, Pixel Power is exhibiting its integrated playout technology ChannelMaster. The fully integrated playout solution frees broadcasters from compromise. It incorporates all the functionality to deliver a channel to air but with playout capabilities that make Channel in a Box an exciting choice for broadcasters across the region. The need for sophisticated integrated playout systems continues to grow as the number of channels being launched requires a new level of playout efficiency and this technology meets that need. It integrates storage, graphics, DVE, audio, subtitling, master control, live feed and long-form video playout within a single dedicated hardware platform. By placing Pixel Power’s graphics engine at its core, ChannelMaster includes dedicated processing for the full range of sophisticated graphics including realtime 3D, multichannel clips with alpha and unlimited layers. A single ChannelMaster unit can be configured as one complex

Q-Ball bounces into UK at BVE Camera Corps By Melanie Dayasena-Lowe BVE 2012 will mark the UK launch of Camera Corps’ Q-Ball Pre-Set compact remotely controlled pan/tilt/zoom HD/SD camera. Shown at IBC2011 and now in full production, Q-Ball Pre-Set was developed in response to demand from clients who want to be able to store and rapidly recall pan, tilt, zoom and focus data. “Q-Ball robotic camera systems are being used increasingly to capture content that would be impossible to deliver in any other way,” commented Camera Corps Technical Director Jim Daniels. “Fully compatible with our PTZF switcher and joystick control unit, each QBall Pre-Set can store up to 18 system configurations, enabling an operator to switch the head quickly from one setting to another.” Used for reality shows, sports broadcasting and televised stage events, Q-Ball is an ultra-compact remotely-controlled camera with integral 10-times zoom optical lens and smooth-accelerating pan/tilt motors. Housed in a robust 115 mm diameter aluminium sphere, Q-Ball is compatible with all existing Camera Corps robotic control systems and CCU panels. B10 F E B R U A RY 2 0 1 2

channel with preview or two simpler channels. One of the key benefits of this technology is no automation lock-in: ChannelMaster can integrate with many automation and MAM systems by way of an open XML protocol or legacy

industry standard protocols providing a level of flexibility not always previously seen. Alternatively it can be controlled by Pixel Power’s new Gallium scheduling, asset management and automation solution. H6

A single ChannelMaster unit can be configured as one complex channel with preview or two simpler channels


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New London Parking archive initiative safeguards files Marquis Broadcast By David Davies First previewed at IBC, Project Parking is now available and offers a fast, cost-effective archive and restore process by creating a complete copy of any Avid project onto any storage device. The solution will be shown on both the Disk Archive (L18) and Global Distribution (C26) stands. “Project Parking provides a simple vehicle for archiving all media associated with a project,

enabling Avid users to archive complete projects safely, quickly and easily between systems within the same facility or between sites,” said Chris Steele, product manager, Marquis Broadcast. “The portable nature of parked projects also makes them ideal for disaster recovery procedures, business continuity and intersite workflows. “Project Parking takes an Avid project and collates a complete list of all the media that that project has used, whether in a timeline, or simply in a bin and then

A new HD voice: As part of the seminar programme on 16 February, Glensound’s Chief Designer Paul Grant will present a session headed ‘HD Voice – Your new secret weapon’, writes David Davies. A new technological approach that is still to be discovered by broadcasters, HD Voice (AMR-WB) allows any compatible phone to connect automatically and provide 7khz audio bandwidth via Orange or 3 Networks. Apart from pro broadcasters’ phones manufactured by Glensound, this includes many currently available smartphones. Although 3G is required, it is seen by the phone network as a voice call – not data – meaning no set-up requirements or data charges. In his session – which will take place in the Audio Room at 3pm – Grant will explain the technology involved, demonstrate how it works and sounds, and explain the potential benefits to the sports and news reporting worlds. F46

searches all the attached workspaces for that media. At the end of this analysis, Project Parking can tell you whether all the media is online, or if not, where it was last located, eliminating the need to search for media across different workstations. “Project Parking then goes on to copy all the project files and all the media that it references to a new location, checking all the files (with MD5 checksums) to ensure they are faithful copies. “File-based workflows have many benefits. However, keeping

Project Parking provides a simple vehicle for archiving all media associated with a project, ideal for disaster recovery procedures

track of media files is one of the main challenges associated with digitalisation. In this way, Project Parking is particularly relevant for

HD and 3D production where the larger file sizes impact on limited edit resources.” L18/C26

root6 to highlight contribution to Digital Production Partnership

Streamlining workflows and managing more data root6 By Melanie Dayasena-Lowe Visitors to the root6 stand at BVE will experience the latest technologies from leading vendors integrated in workflows for file-based broadcast deliverables using the new standard defined by the Digital Production Partnership (DPP.) This industry-wide collaboration is led by the UK broadcast community with technological expertise drawn from the production and post production sectors to determine a standard for standard and high definition file-

based deliverables, including a minimum requirement for editorial and technical metadata. File-based capture, management, editing, storage and archive will be demonstrated using technologies from DVS, Cinegy, Avid, Apple, XenData and Object Matrix with secure and accelerated delivery from Aspera. Transcoding to the new standard, based on the MXF format with AVC Intra for high definition, will be handled by the latest iteration of ContentAgent, the file-based management platform from root6 Technology. The system will also be used to insert the required metadata

fields as defined by the AMWAAS11 standard. Seen with the latest software, ContentAgent is now integrated with automated file-based QC systems from Tektronix and Vidchecker, disc publishing from Rimage and ProRes transcoding from Telestream, introducing and automating proven third-party technologies within endto-end workflows. In addition to root6 technical and commercial staff, visitors to the stand will also be able to meet representatives from leading vendors including Avid, Gallery, XenData, Vidchecker, Rimage, Aspera and Cinegy. G30

Affordable building blocks Lynx Technik By Melanie Dayasena-Lowe Showing for the first time is the new Lynx Technik yellobrik CHD 1812, a self-contained HDMI to SDI converter with integrated frame synchroniser. With this brick, facilities can convert HDMI to HD or SD-SDI such as sources coming from broadcast video cameras. A key feature of this yellobrik is the built-in frame synchroniser, which eliminates the need to purchase a separate and expensive frame sync unit. It is an ideal solution for any application that requires a fully synchronised SDI input 48

from an external asynchronous HDMI source. A flexible reference input allows the unit to be cross-locked between formats. It also includes

The new yellobrik CHD 1812: a selfcontained HDMI to SDI converter with integrated frame synchroniser

full audio support and embeds audio from the HDMI stream into the SDI outputs with two external analogue audio inputs. The audio inputs can be embedded if required. Lynx Technik will also show its new PVD 5840 FlexCard ‘one module-many solutions’ card, which is part of the Series 5000 product line. The PVD 5840 FlexCard is a 3G/HD/SD dual channel frame synchroniser with up/down/cross converter that also includes image processing functions for aspect ratio conversion, noise reduction, and RGB gain and life colour correction. It also includes audio processing functionality. D56 F E B R U A RY 2 0 1 2

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Snell’s route to Vega Snell By Melanie Dayasena-Lowe New from Snell is Vega, a routing platform that allows users to configure any signal port independently for fibre and/or coax (copper), easing a mixed connectivity environment. Its unique design also enables any port to be configured as either an input or output, providing the industry’s most flexible asymmetric routing solution within a space-saving 2RU 96-port router. Vega uses proprietary algorithms to monitor every subassembly continuously and offers a full range of options for maximum redundancy: dual crosspoints, dual controllers, dual power supplies, and dual fans. All are ‘hot’ pluggable or replaceable.

Vega is a single solution for standard and non-standard routing apps with 50% more inputs and outputs than a traditional 2RU router

Vega is a single solution for a huge range of standard and non-standard routing applications with 50 percent more inputs and outputs than a traditional 2RU router. The Sirius 830 routing switcher is the smallest in the state-of-theart Sirius 800 range of multi-format, expandable, hybrid routers. It offers a compact 15RU, 288 x 288 frame, with the ability to add an additional 140 independently controllable multi-viewer outputs,

without compromising crosspoint redundancy, making it ideal for studio or OB productions. New to the Sirius 830 — and to the entire Sirius 800 Series router line — is support for embedded audio routing and for audio track swapping on inputs and outputs. Unlike many routers with embedded audio, users don’t lose video I/O by adding embedded audio cards — 1152 remains 1152. G20

Screen is connected at BVE 2012 Screen By Fergal Ringrose Screen will be exhibiting ScreenConnect, its new connected TV publishing tool at this year’s BVE in London. The show will also be Screen’s first industry exhibition incorporating its extended product range following the acquisition of SysMedia. Despite the significant revenuegenerating opportunities presented by connected TV, Gordon Maynard, Screen’s product manager for connected TV, suggests that pick-up is generally slow due to deployment barriers — obstacles that are alleviated by ScreenConnect. Maynard said: “The benefits of connected TV are very clear but the challenges faced by service providers

Gordon Maynard will lead a Connected TV seminar in the Content Room on 15 February at 5pm at BVE

in producing content for the profusion of different connected TV platforms is proving to be prohibitive.” Because an application has to be written and then updated for each and every platform it is driving many companies away from

New ERA for flow and edit ERA By Melanie Dayasena-Lowe ERA, an IT infrastructure and application reseller specialising in post production, broadcast and media, will showcase its latest multiclient workflow automation solution and launch a new cost-effective platform for secure collaborative editing. ERA MediaFlow is an enterprise-class multi-client workflow automation solution that allows broadcasters and post production companies to effectively control media assets, projects and resources, both technical and human – all through a single platform. At BVE 2012, the team will demonstrate how ERA MediaFlow, through a web-based interface, lets users access and collaborate on their content, F E B R U A RY 2 0 1 2

invoke workflows and interact with clients in reviews and approvals from wherever they are. Also on show will be ERA MediaEdit, the company’s new

the market, even though the fundamental desire to enter is there.” ScreenConnect allows media companies to access and deliver services to the maximum number of connected TV and tablet outlets without having to devote the significant time and cost associated with writing applications for each of the many platforms available. ScreenConnect provides the platform to build a service for connected TV platforms, including the navigation structure and the definition of content panels across that service. A browser-based tool is used to edit and manage content with flexible control of content display. That content can be global or platform-specific, with sites generated in a platform-neutral format for delivery to display applications. K56 platform for secure collaborative editing. It is designed to enable editing workgroups to share and manage virtualised project files securely, with guaranteed high performance and minimal infrastructure costs. K54

Dedicated desks: UK-based console manufacturer DiGiCo will show the new broadcastspecific SD7B, SD10B and SD11B from its latest SD series of consoles, writes David Davies. The SD Series is based on the power of FPGA technology and Stealth Digital Processing, and adopts a multi-application approach. It is this that has enabled it to develop application specific- feature sets, resulting in dedicated broadcast versions of its SD7, SD10 and SD11 consoles. “We have a heritage within the broadcast industry from our Soundtracs days,” said DiGiCo’s Managing Director James Gordon. “It’s exciting to be back with a set of consoles that address the entire scope of the broadcast market’s needs.” New for 2012, and making its debut at BVE will be the SD11B. Designed to be equally at home as a desktop console or mounted in a 19” rack, it is set to be the most powerful broadcast console yet for its size. All consoles are compatible with DiGiCo’s SD Rack, which serves as a multi-sample rate signal splitter that also allows the ‘ultra-smooth’ DiGiCo microphone preamps to replace the standard mic preamps of an analogue or other digital console. C2

New cameras in the frame Panasonic By David Davies Products on show will include the AG-AF101EJ, the compact camera designed to enable straightforward production of ‘cinema-like’ footage in HD. The AG-AF101 4/3 HD camcorder is described as the world’s first professional HD camera recorder to come equipped with a four-thirds MOS image sensor and is the first model in the Panasonic AVCCAM series to offer the possibility of exchangeable lenses. Optimised for high-definition video recording, the large image sensor on the AF101 enables professional users to achieve cinemalike wide-angle footage with shallow depth of field. Also on show at the Panasonic stand will be the P2 format AGHPX250EJ, the first 10 bit hand-held model to feature the AVC-Intra 100 codec. The specification includes progressive-compatible ULT (Ultra Luminance Technology), 1/3-type 2.2-megapixel 3MOS sensor and 22x zoom lens with wide coverage from wide-angle to telephoto.

The AG-AF101 4/3 HD camcorder comes equipped with a four-thirds MOS image sensor

In addition, Panasonic will showcase its AG-AC130EJ and AG-AC160EJ AVCCAM camcorders, as well as new professional plasma monitors like the BT-300 series. In addition, official Panasonic distributor Holdan will demonstrate a variety of Panasonic products on its own stand, including the HDC-Z10000, the first integrated twin-lens 2D/3D camcorder compatible with the AVCHD 3D/Progressive standard. K30








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‘Projects like Endemol’s I Can Cook are proof of the benefits of going tapeless – planning is everything

Is the traditional post house dead? Billed for many years as the greatest thing since sliced bread, tapeless or file-based workflows were touted as making TV programme productions much cheaper, easier and faster. And to an extent, they have. But on the flipside, they’ve brought a whole bunch of extra logistical and financial issues to the fore. But whose fault is that? The client? The post house? A bit of both? And how can and should we work together to get the best possible results? The problem is that there are a lot of industry people — manufacturers, DoPs and data wranglers — with vested interests. For example, a DoP who has just bought a particular tapeless camera may ‘force’ this on the production, even though it may not be the best tool for the job. This causes issues further down the production chain. Much of it is about education. While post houses can’t expect clients to lovingly embrace codecs, metadata, high definition compression formats or shooting ratios, they do need

to have a basic understanding of what these things mean, and importantly, their impact on the end programme.

and how to capture. Quite often the client is wary because of a post house misadvising them in the past. Trust is the key.

The facilities of today are more like production workflow consultants, not just the guys you come to at the end of the project for polishing Bottom line…the client needs to be secure enough to ask for advice on how to plan their shoot, and the post house sufficiently confident and knowledgeable to give that advice on how to shoot

To work, both clients and post houses need to move away from a silo mentality — tapeless productions will all too easily highlight the failings of this traditional approach, where a

producer would deliver a bunch of tapes to the post house at the end of the day. In today’s filebased world, there needs to be joined-up thinking, planning, implementation and delivery — from shoot to screen. Otherwise it’s going to take more time, cost more money and end up a badly managed mess. Planning is everything. A close working relationship is crucial. The role of the post house is changing. The facilities of today are more like production workflow consultants, not just the guys you come to at the end of the project for polishing. We should be there to advise clients on everything from how to shoot and transfer for file-based productions, and the impact of file structure and metadata naming conventions on their production. A decent post house will be advising the client long before the first frame is shot. Typically, with a tapeless production, we’re spending three or four times longer in pre-planning meetings than we used to. But it’s worth it in the long run, and ultimately means the results will be better and often cheaper. Recent projects we’ve been involved in — like BBC’s Watchdog consumer show, with its huge volumes of hidden camera footage, and Endemol’s I Can Cook — are living proof of the benefits of going tapeless. Especially today, where budgets and margins are being squeezed ever tighter, post facilities need to adapt to survive. The days of the big budgets are gone. On the one hand we need to improve efficiencies to streamline processes and cut costs but we also need to sell our workflow expertise as an added value service. Rather than being tacked on at the end of a project, we should be seen as a safe pair of hands to guide clients through this everchanging and complex tapeless world we now live in. In fact the term ‘post’ house is probably redundant…we’re much more than that and should be seen as integral to the whole production.

Julie Sangan: Both clients and post houses need to move away from a silo mentality F E B R U A RY 2 0 1 2

TVBE February 2012 Digital Edition  

Europe's television technology business magazine

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