Video: Building A Studio

The fundamentals of building a studio are the same whether for TV or Radio. You want to keep sound out…and in. This has forever been a challenge which doesn’t stop when the room’s built. Before it’s pressed into use, you have to lay it out correctly, considering the equipment, acoustic treatments and keep it cool.

Fortunately, experts from the BBC and Global are here to talk us through it at this Masterclass from Radio TechCon. Dave Walters from the BBC kicks off explaining how the aim of isolating your studio from physical vibration both through the structure and through gaps in the walls, floor or ceiling. Once isolated from the outside, the task is to manage the sound in the room and that calls for acoustic treatment. Dave goes through the options for lining the ceiling and walls showing that there’s acoustic treatment at all budgets. Dave finishes by highlighting that the aim is to dissipate sound and not let it bounce around. This means reflective surfaces such as glass windows need to be angled so they don’t directly point at any other hard surface.

With a deadened acoustic and a quiet atmosphere, your studio is ready to be occupied. Stephen Clarke from Global talks through laying out the studio taking into account what people do and don’t want to see. The presenter, for instance, will want to see through to the control room for visual cues during the programme, but it’s best to keep guests pointed away without distraction. This can also extend to the placement of TVs, computers and other equipment. Equipment, of course, is a concern in itself. As it generates heat and, often noise, it’s best to minimise in-studio equipment which can be done with a KVM system. Stephen talks us through a photo of the Today studio to see these principles in action.

To finish up, Global’s Simon Price talks about making holes in the studio that Dave managed to isolate. The inconvenient truth is that people need oxygen, generate heat and generate odour. Any one of those three is a good reason to put air con into the studio so Simon explains the use of baffles in ducting used to introduce the air. This absorbs sound from the air’s movement and also any external sounds that happen to come in. Simon concludes by explaining safe electrical distribution for studios keeping wiring to a minimum and reducing fire risk.

Before leaving, the team have just enough time to answer a question about studios with large amounts of glass and how to choose how ‘dead’ you want the reverb in the studio to be asking ‘can you go too far’ in minimising sound.

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Dave Walters Dave Walters
Head of Systems and Services: TV, Radio & Archive
Stephen Clarke Stephen Clarke
Broadcast Engineer,
Global Radio
Simon Price Simon Price
Broadcast Engineering Manager,
Global Radio

Webinar: Creating brand loyalty and new TV revenues with next-generation voice control

With smart speakers, mobile phones and computers all sporting voice-controlled interfaces, it’s no surprise that smart TVs, Apple TVs and others can be voice controlled. This webinar looks at how much consumers expect control and what they expect.

Getting voice right, can be a really big differentiator in terms of enjoyment and confidence of a service and the speakers discuss how that can enhance retention and growth.

As seen with a recent update to Apple’s HomePod which allows it to recognise who’s speaking, voice can be used for personalisation, security and privacy when carefully applied to the service.

The webinar will also discuss fraud reduction and ecommerce opportunities.

Register now


Sebastian Reeve Sebastian Reeve
Director, EMEA, Intelligent Engagement
Nuance Communications
Pieter Vervoort Pieter Vervoort
VP Entertainment Products,
Liberty Global
Daniel Whaley Daniel Whaley
Senior Architect, Product (Voice & AI)

Video: BBC Cardiff Central Square – Update

It’s being closely watched throughout the industry, a long-in-the-making project to deploy SMPTE ST 2110 throughout a fully green-field development. Its failure would be a big setback for the push to a completely network-based broadcast workflow.

The BBC Cardiff Central Square project is nearing completion now and is a great example of the early-adopter approach to bringing cutting-edge, complex, large-scale projects to market. They chose a single principle vendor so that they could work closely in partnership at a time when the market for ST 2110 was very sparse. This gave them leverage over the product roadmap and allowed to the for the tight integration which would be required to bring this project to market.

Nowadays, the market for ST 2110 products continues to mature and whilst it has still quite a way to go, it has also come a long way in the past four years. Companies embarking similar projects now have a better choice of products and some may now feel they can start to pick ‘best of breed’ rather than taking the BBC approach. Whichever approach is taken there is still a lot to be gained by following and learning from the mistakes and successes of others. Fortunately, Mark Patrick, Lead Architect on the project is here to provide an update on the project.

Mark starts by giving and overview of the project, its scale and its aims. He presents the opportunities and challenges it presents and the key achievements and milestones passed to date.

Live IP has benefits and risks. Mark takes some time to explain the benefits of the flexibility and increasingly lower cost of the infrastructure and weighs them agains the the risks which include the continually developing standards and skills challenges

The progress overview names Grass Vally as the main vendor, control via BNCS having being designed and virtualised, ST 2110 network topology deployed and now the final commissioning and acceptance testing is in progress.

The media topology for the system uses an principal of an A and a B network plus a separate control network. It’s fundamentally a leaf and spine network and Mark shows how this links in to both the Grass Valley equipment but also the audio equipment via Dante and AES67. Mark takes some time to discuss the separate networks they’ve deployed for the audio part of the project, driven by compatibility issues but also within the constraints of this project, it was better to separate the networks rather than address the changes necessary to force them together.

PTP timing is discussed with a nod to the fact that PTP design can be difficult and that it can be expensive too. NMOS issues are also actively being worked on and remains an outstanding issue in terms of getting enough vendors to support it, but also having compatible systems once an implementation is deployed. This has driven the BBC to use NMOS in a more limited way than desired and creating fall-back systems.

From this we can deduce, if it wasn’t already understood, that interoperability testing is a vital aspect of the project, but Mark explains that formalised testing (i.e. IT-style automated) is really important in creating a uniform way of ensuring problems have been fully addressed and there are no regressions. ST 2110 systems are complex and fault finding can be similarly complex and time consuming.

Mark leaves us by explaining what keeps him awake at night which includes items such as lack of available test equipment, lack of single-stream UHD support and NMOS which leads him to a few comments on ST 2110 readiness such as the need for vendors to put much more effort into configuration and management tools.

Anyone with an interest in IP in broadcast will be very grateful at Mark’s, and the BBC’s, willingness to share the project’s successes and challenges in such a constructive way.

Watch now!


Mark Patrick Mark Patrick
Lead Architect,
BBC Major Projects Infrastructure

Video: Securing NMOS Apps

The still-growing NMOS suite of specifications from AMWA defines ways in which your IP network can find and register new devices plugged in to it (e.g. camera, microphone etc.), manage their connections and control them. They fit neatly along side the SMPTE ST 2110 suite of standards which define the way that the essences (video, audio, metadata) are sent over networks intended for professional media.

As such, they are core to a network and as the market for uncompressed media products matures, the attention is on the details such as whether they scale and security.

In this talk, Simon Rankine from BBC R&D starts by explaining the objectives which means looking at the different aspects of security which is split into three; securing data transfer, ensuring data goes to the right place, ensuring only authorised people can act.

TLS, standing for Transport Layer Security, is the same protocol used for secure websites; those which start with https://. It is also referred to by the name of the protocol it replaced, SSL. Given the NMOS APIs are sent over HTTP, TLS is a perfect match for the use case. TLS provides not only the ability to encrypt the connection but also provides the basis for certificate exchange which allows us trust that the data is being sent to the right place. Simon then covers ciphers and TLS versions before talking about certificate management.

This talk was given at the IP Showcase at NAB 2019.

Watch now!


Simon Rankine Simon Rankine
Research Engineer,