It’s never been easy building a large OB van. Keeping within axel weight, getting enough technology in and working within a tight project timeline, not to mention keeping the expanding sections cool and water-tight is no easy task. Add on that social distancing thanks to SARS-CoV-2 and life gets particularly tricky.
This project was intriguing before Covid-19 because it called for two identical SMPTE ST-2110 IP trucks to be built, explains Geert Thoelen from NEP Belgium. Both are 16-camera trucks with 3 EVS each. The idea being that people could walk into truck A on Saturday and do a show then walk into truck B on Sunday and work in exactly the same show but on a different match. Being identical, when these trucks will be delivered to Belgium public broadcaster RTBF, production crews won’t need to worry about getting a better or worse truck then the other programmes.. The added benefit is that weight is reduced compared to SDI baseband. The trucks come loaded with Sony Cameras, Arista Switches, Lawo audio, EVS replays and Riedel intercoms. It’s ready to take a software upgrade for UHD and offers 32 frame-synched and colour-corrected inputs plus 32 outputs.
Broadcast Solutions have worked with NEP Belgium for many years, an ironically close relationship which became a key asset in this project which had to be completed under social distancing rules. Working open book and having an existing trust between the parties, we hear, was important in completing this project on time. Broadcast Solutions separated internet access for the truck to access the truck as it was being built with 24/7 remote access for vendors.
Axel Kühlem fro broadcast solutions address a question from the audience of the benefits of 2110. He confirms that weight is reduced compared to SDI by about half, comparing like for like equipment. Furthermore, he says the power is reduced. The aim of having two identical trucks is to allow them to be occasionally joined for large events or even connected into RTBF’s studio infrastructure for those times when you just don’t have enough facilities. Geert points out that IP on its own is still more expensive than baseband, but you are paying for the ability to scale in the future. Once you count the flexibility it affords both the productions and the broadcaster, it may well turn out cheaper over its lifetime.
Is the industry successfully delivering what we need with SMPTE’s ST 2110 suite of standards? What are the benefits of IP and how can we tackle the difficulties?
In this panel from Broadcast Solutions’ Innovation Day, we hear from 5 vendors understanding their perspectives and plans for the future. Claus Pfeifer from Sony say they have now 60 sites up and running in IP. Lawo’s Phil Myers follows up saying “People know they have to go IP, it’s a matter of when they go IP.”
Whilst this is a positive start, the panel moves on to talking briefly about difficulties implementing SMPTE ST 2110. Jan Eveleens from Riedel points out many of the issues will go as we are waiting for technology to catch up regarding CPUs and bandwidth. We no longer have the same processing issues we used to for audio. Similarly with video, technology will improve and remove many of the challenges. Phil Myers feels that cloud implementation issues are not a large problem at the moment as he sees a move to bring equipment into private clouds rather than public. This way they are doing ‘remote production for buildings’.
After each vendor outlined their future plans for IP, Zoltan highlighted that IP allows NDI to co-exist with ST 2110. Many may want to use 2110 for high end sports, for others NDI fits well. Then panel felt that a concerning area of IP is the worry of how to fix problems. The knowledge level is different from country to country. So vendors not only need to work on education about IP, both for NDI and 2110, but they need to do this in a focussed way for the different markets.
As the panel comes towards the end, Claus feels that the industry started to talk too early about pure technology. “Did not discuss enough about the business benefits.” he explains such as remote production and more efficient use of equipment – avoiding ‘sleeping Capex’. Installing IP makes a lot of sense for large-scale systems. Recently broadcasters have been working at a scale requiring much more than 1024 squared routers roughly where SDI routers top out. But also, these large systems tend to have a life of over 10 years. Faced with SDI development, particularly in routers, is slowing down or stopping, for these long-lived systems it makes much more sense to use IP.
Held a couple of months before SMPTE 2110 was ratified at IBC, this panel discussion with Riedel, Evertz, EVS and Grass Valley looks at the state of SDI and IP: Which technologies are relevant now and which will win in the long run?
The conversation covers these topics and more:
12G Vs 3G SDI
Versions of UHD SDI
When should a vendor implement IP?
Will the future include compression?
How do you handle variable latencies with compression?
With the first all-IP and 12G-SDI OB trucks beginning to hit the road, and an increasing number of broadcast centres implementing comprehensive IP-based or hybrid infrastructures, this discussion will focus on the issue of connectivity and whether it is advantageous to use SDI or IP infrastructures – or indeed hybrid approaches utilising both. This panel discussion discussed the imperatives behind this dramatic technological change, the challenges that it presents, and the probable roadmap for the next few years. There will also be analysis of current industry initiatives such as AIMS and the ways in which these can help smooth the transition.
This Panel was part of the Broadcast Innovation Day hold by Broadcast Solutions GmbH.
Laurent Petit, VP Products, EVS
Simon Reed, Managing Director, Evertz UK
Thomas Riedel, CEO, RIEDEL Communications GmbH & Co. KG
Phil Myers, Former IP Product Manager, Grass Valley (formerly Snell Advanced Media (SAM))
Moderation: David Davies, Managing Editor, SVG Europe
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