More than just selling cable


Chris Smeeton - new TV-Bay Magazine
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Choices facing technology decision-makers are becoming increasingly complex due to rapid changes in the industry like broadcast and IP technology convergence, multiplatform demands, and the rise of 4K and 8K. It is now a constant challenge to balance the need to maintain already-installed equipment and fulfil the desire to provide the highest resolution picture and sound.

This challenge is no more evident than in the Outside Broadcast (OB) market. OB firms have been operating in an increasingly competitive environment and are now hampered by ambiguity around which technology should be adopted, and when it should be rolled out. Engineers constantly have to breathe new life into legacy equipment that was originally designed to handle HD-SDI but must now become 4K- or 8K-capable. Fortunately, the industry's supply chain is also evolving by becoming more service-oriented. For a distributor like Argosy, that has meant undergoing a variety of organizational shifts that have enabled us to accommodate the increasingly unique nature of each project.

The most modest of these shifts was a renewed focus on consultative selling. There are plenty of options that many broadcasters just aren't aware of when it comes to balancing quality and cost. For example, fibre is usually the go-to cable type when upgrading to 4K. In the OB realm this applies to critical signals running to and from mobile production vehicles at live sporting events. However, standard coax is actually adequate for 4K signals over shorter cable runs -- across rack-rooms, for example.

In the case of an OB truck with coaxial cable inside, the run lengths will be relatively short, meaning legacy equipment can be used and complemented with 4K hardware. So, instead of throwing out the existing equipment and starting again at great cost, suppliers are focused on providing engineers some insight and guidance on what the existing coaxial solution is capable of: Does it need replacing? Do certain lengths need to be re-run? What cable options are available?

A recent solution we employed for OB vehicles was advocating for installation of the Image 360 cable, a lighter and thinner product than the traditionally used Image 2000. This alternative solution will handle 4K within a truck, while taking up less room in the cable tray and inside the racks, and at a much lower cost. A simple cable replacement improved the ease of install and decreased the customer's procurement and operating costs.

Many suppliers have also sought to improve their ability to react to unique operational needs. For example, OB companies are constantly seeking new ways to reduce rigging and de-rigging times at events. Collaborating with a client led to the development of a deployable case assembly. This pre-terminated cable maintains high signal quality but brings additional value by reducing labour time onsite, one of the largest costs of an install project.

Perhaps these changes are representative of those in the middle of the chain shifting their focus from simply delivering products to delivering business solutions. One pain point for OB operators is the propensity to return from an event with damaged cables. In theory, this is a great problem for a supplier. But, it impacts the customer's profitability, and therefore the supplier's long-term outlook as well. In response, we launched cleaning and repair services for damaged cables, seeking to maximise their life-cycle. While not as immediately gainful as the sale of a new cable, it prevents clients from having to renew their stock at greater cost and demonstrates supplier commitment to providing commercially sound support. Again, a solution for the outside broadcaster's ROI, not just product delivery.

To support this shift in focus, it's important that a cable supplier invests in additional infrastructure to meet these ongoing demands. We invested in a fibre termination facility with a clean room, fibre connectivity, and a splicing and polishing machine to enable the termination of multi-way fibres. An assembly department also develops, builds, and tests products to ensure they reach certain distances, with test and measurement equipment to validate signals on various type of equipment, fostering our ability to consult with our broadcast customers.

Cabling is now an area where OBs are actively approaching suppliers for help in maximising existing investments. This has presented an opportunity to reinforce the value experts bring in a particular field (like cabling), transforming companies like Argosy from pure product shifters into service providers.


Tags: iss123 | argosy | cable | infrastructure | hd-sdi | 4k | coaxial | Chris Smeeton - new
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Submitted by Joe Walsh Click to read or download PDF
State of the Nation
Dick Hobbs - new

On the most recent occasion I was trimmed, my hairdresser had just returned from a holiday in Hawaii.

Where she thought she was going to die. She thought this because the state’s emergency alert system was triggered, sending messages across all available platforms, for 38 minutes, that a ballistic missile was about to strike. That, I suspect, is the sort of thing that casts a pall across your holiday.

Why did it happen? Essentially it happened because an operator selected the wrong menu item. “I feel very badly from what’s happened,” he is quoted as saying, in a somewhat mangled version of English which may at least in part explain his difficulties with menu items.

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Submitted by Dick Hobbs - new Click to read or download PDF
Interview with Peter Rowsell, Polar Graphics
Polar If you don’t recognise the name Peter Rowsell instantly you no doubt would recognise him in person, from the famous ‘Pink Coconut’ parties during IBC (Brighton) in the 80s or the name ‘Polar Video or Polar Graphics’ both companies which he’s built up over the years.
Tags: iss130 | polar graphics | apantac | bluefish | cinedeck | focalpoint | mediaproxy | stardom | storagedna | Polar
Submitted by Polar Click to read or download PDF
State of the Nation
Dick Hobbs - new This morning I was eating my healthy muesli and idly listening to Radio 4 when someone came on who claimed to be from the Oxford University Computational Propaganda Project.
Tags: iss129 | fake news | facebook | tv globo | amagi | robot | ai | artificial intelligence | Dick Hobbs - new
Submitted by Dick Hobbs - new Click to read or download PDF
Taking the lead in the HEVC and 4k revolution
Malcolm Harland There’s probably a good reason that BVE is held in late February — it offers you a few weeks to set your annual plans in place. Then, once you’ve decided on the opportunities you want to take advantage of and improvements you want to make, you have a chance to visit this massive exhibition to see the latest technological innovations that will help to bring your plans to fruition.
Tags: iss129 | garland | hevc | liveu | hc11000 | media excel | ntt | bws | lu600 | Malcolm Harland
Submitted by Malcolm Harland Click to read or download PDF
Class: Do we still need standards
Bruce Devlin - new On the 1st January 2018, I officially took on the post of SMPTE Standards Vice President. The role has responsibility for all of SMPTE’s standardisation activities and it fills me with equal measures of excitement and terror.
Tags: iss129 | smpte | st2110 | dpp | Bruce Devlin - new
Submitted by Bruce Devlin - new Click to read or download PDF
Empowering connectivity choice in the field
Yvonne Monterroso Reliability, flexibility and ease of use are the key requirements when covering the news and live events, especially when the location could be anywhere. Connectivity is one of the biggest concerns in the field when the pressure is on to capture a key event – if you cannot establish a reliable transmission path to send your video back to the broadcast studio, there is no story.
Tags: iss129 | dejero | satellite | streaming | ku-band | cloud | Yvonne Monterroso
Submitted by Yvonne Monterroso Click to read or download PDF
Canon C200: Tried and Tested
Ben Sherriff There are many reviews about this camera online and a heap of incredibly detailed comparison and behind the scenes footage that will really give you a full insight into what it can do. So first a disclaimer - this review is less detailed and based on my personal reading of what this camera means for Canon and all other camera manufacturers and us – the users of these technologies. So, what’s all the fuss about?
Tags: iss129 | spellbinder | canon | c200 | c100mkii | c300 | red | alexa | asx-r7 | Ben Sherriff
Submitted by Ben Sherriff Click to read or download PDF
A new AEON in Wireless 4k
JP Delport Whatever production companies are doing right here, right now, today, with wireless HD production tools, they want to do right here, right now, today with 4K UHD. That’s great, but common wisdom would share a host of challenges around 4k UHD, not least, the fact that 4K UHD requires 8x the processing power to transmit, then demands additional horsepower (and bandwidth) to accommodate the data and controls, wireless or otherwise, and of course, when you ramp up processing power, you ramp up heat generation, which needs to be efficiently evacuated.
Tags: iss129 | 4k | uhd | wireless | domo | JP Delport
Submitted by JP Delport Click to read or download PDF
Steadicam M-1 Volt: Tried and Tested
John E Fry Early in November some of us lucky Steadicam Operators from around the UK were invited to try out the new Tiffen M1 Volt, which is essentially an electronic motorized horizon assist unit attached to the gimbal of the latest Steadicam M1. Is it a good idea? As experienced Steadicam Operators, directors or producers, why would we be interested? Let’s investigate KitPlus fans!
Tags: iss129 | steadicam | volt | tiffen | m1 | John E Fry
Submitted by John E Fry Click to read or download PDF
Innovation in cameras moving to 4k
Tony Valentino For a number of reasons, wireless camera links needed time to migrate to 4K. However Broadcast Sports International, BSI, designs their own cameras and builds their own hardware and their transition to 4K is already complete.
Tags: iss129 | bsi | ref-cam | wireless | 4k | Tony Valentino
Submitted by Tony Valentino Click to read or download PDF
The Outlook for 2018
Duncan Payne January has arrived…and the New Year promises great opportunities for those prepared to seek them out, with the one certainty that change is constant.
Tags: iss129 | adamantean | finance | cvp | netflix | amazon | arri | hdr | sadie groom | rise | Duncan Payne
Submitted by Duncan Payne Click to read or download PDF
TVFutures: Learning is the key
Abbie Neill If you asked me the question ‘where do you see yourself after you graduate’ three years ago I would have probably answered  ‘in a lot of debt, but if you don't think about it, it doesn't exist because three years is a long time right ?’. WRONG! These three years studying Television and Broadcasting at the University of Portsmouth have been the quickest three years of my life. Back when I started I didn't really have any idea what I wanted to specialise in and the dreaded four letter word AVID used to be my biggest enemy. However I persevered through the 3792871 hours of lectures learning how to use the software, how it functions, neither did I think I'd be a one woman match of the day by graduation'.
Tags: iss129 | ccitv | portsmouth | university | avid | Abbie Neill
Submitted by Abbie Neill Click to read or download PDF
Epictech makes headway: A case study
Daniel Harker Barnes Founded in January 2014, EpicTech Media have been providing high end video production to companies and musicians across the U.K. for over three and a half years. When approached earlier this year by the band Bodkin Lane, we relished the challenge of producing a video of their charity concert, in aid of Headway (www.headway.org.uk), despite the challenging size of the venue. 
Tags: iss129 | polecam | epictech media | ptz | povcam | Daniel Harker Barnes
Submitted by Daniel Harker Barnes Click to read or download PDF
A Pandoras Box to empower the filmmaker
KitPlus The setting was Celebro Studios London, home to their fully 4k television studios, where journalists and industry commentators gathered late last November to witness the launch of the revolutionary Rotolight Anova PRO 2. This was no ordinary unveiling though, the launch was streamed live on Facebook and YouTube and hosted by award winning news anchor man Martin Stanford with Wesley Dodd, CEO of Celebro Media Group and Rotolight MD Rod Gammons in the studio.
Tags: iss129 | rotolight | celebro | anova pro 2 | led | lighting | wesley dodd | rod gammons | KitPlus
Submitted by KitPlus Click to read or download PDF
Playing with Pink Floyd
KitPlus For the founder of London-based Hangman, James Tonkin, this has indeed been a summer to remember. After sixteen years of working in the same suites, he designed and moved his team into a new future proofed facility in Kew Gardens created specifically for the manipulation and delivery of formats in up to 8K HDR.
Tags: iss129 | hangman | james tonkin | david gilmour | pink floyd | Sony F55 | Sony A7RII | RED Dragon | URSA Mini | blackmagic | DJI Drone | KitPlus
Submitted by KitPlus Click to read or download PDF
A Bluffers Guide to Batteries
Mike Colyer The Christmas decorations are down; the family have all headed home – and the New Year’s festivities have drawn to a close. I put my hand up to it – I’m a little drained. As such, I figured I’d start the new year with a Bluffer’s Guide to Batteries. With the cold weather setting in, it can be a nightmare to pick the right disposable batteries for small kit – and maintain rechargeable batteries in larger items. This article will take an overview of which batteries will last longer under certain usage conditions – and how to achieve the cell’s maximum potential.   
Tags: iss129 | batteries | alkaline | ni-mh | li-ion | lithium | Mike Colyer
Submitted by Mike Colyer Click to read or download PDF
Panasonic GH5: Tried and Tested
Tim Bearder My journey as a filmmaker began with a select number of enthusiastic BBC reporters picked out and trained in the concept of Personal Digital Production by the American Video Journalist Michael Rosenblum.
Tags: iss129 | panasonic | gh5 | dslr | senheirser avx | c200 | Tim Bearder
Submitted by Tim Bearder Click to read or download PDF
IP for everyone and 4k everywhere - that will be 2018
John Smith -new My first prediction for the coming year is that the use of IP to move broadcast content will increase dramatically.  Ultimately, it will become the commonplace, just as the use of IP has become part of our everyday, consumer lives.  Live sports are closely linked to this growth, as conversion of broadcast signals for transportation across established telecos networks enables content to be viewed in real-time, regardless if it’s in the next room or across the globe.
Tags: iss129 | medialinks | 4k | ip | vr | ai | John Smith -new
Submitted by John Smith -new Click to read or download PDF