Capture and Produce

Will Strauss#

Author: Will Strauss#

Published 1st November 2014

Issue 94 - October 2014

One of the hot topics at this year’s IBC was undoubtedly the growing adoption of end-to-end IP production and the imminent death of SDI. During a panel session, hosted by Mediasmiths and Cognizant, and including representatives from BBC, Sony and more, the key point made was that the adoption of IP production technology and workflows is inevitable, and that it will be highly disruptive: but not in a ‘big bang’ way.

The emergence of what was described as ‘Software Defined Infrastructures” (ironically, a new acronym with the letters SDI!) is seen as a lower cost alternative to cable-based workflows primarily because it uses more commoditised technologies. And we’ve seen plenty of that trend over recent years.

What is really interesting though is how you roll out this new way of working within production. In the good old days, following some testing, a box was ripped out and replaced with a new one. Bang! With the move to IP that isn’t considered best practice.

Instead, you simply ‘grow out’ the old and slowly blend in the new. During the session the speaker from Fox TV in the US gave the example of choosing one area, eg monitoring, as a place that was well suited and had a good good business case. Once that works, IP can be cascaded across to other areas.

The news that Stagebox and Trilogy are working together to take IP deeper into production is indicative that products and solutions are appearing to support this trend. Innovations like this will make IP easier to plug and play, allowing many more broadcasters and production companies to dip their toes in.


Riedel Communications has released an interface product that allows the consumer voice and video over IP service Skype to be used in a professional broadcast environment. The STX-200 integrates Microsoft’s Skype TX software into an intercom set-up and offers users broadcast-quality HD-SDI and balanced XLR audio I/Os. Riedel chief executive Thomas Riedel said: “Broadcasters now have live access to quality video from the more than 300 million regular Skype users around the world.” Riedel has also launched Tango TNG-200, the company’s first fully networked comms platform based on the AES67 and AVB standards.

RTS Intercom Systems used IBC as the springboard to launch the OEI-2 (OMNEO External Interface-2). The OEI-2 connects analogue audio sources and legacy RTS keypanels to an OMNEO network, allowing users to maintain existing infrastructure and the equity of their original equipment investment while updating to highperformance media networking architecture that utilise IP Ethernet.


Autoscript has launched an iOS-based teleprompting system that delivers up-to-date scripts to users in the fi eld or to remote news bureaus and smaller newsroom operations. WinPlus Remote works in conjunction with the iOS app, picoPrompt, and is supplied with a hand control. The software enables a script to be automatically uploaded to an FTP site where it can be downloaded onto an iPad and kept constantly updated. Martin Collett, senior programme director at Channel 4 News, said: WinPlus Remote is invaluable when more conventional prompting is either logistically or technically impractical.”

Portaprompt has launched the 365 Personal Prompting Assistant, a lightweight system that rigs on to 15mm bars providing prompting for either tablets or micro prompt screens and 10.4-inch and 12-inch oncamera head up displays. The system can be rigged for hand held shooting, conventional cameras rigs and tripods, Jimmy Jibs and Steadicam operations or used as a passive Interrotron. The rig comes with Glass Frame, Folding Cloth Hood, Mounting Clamps, two T10 Glass Refl ectors, long and short 15mm rigging rods and a lightweight carrying case.


Picture Canning North has continued to expand its camera fl eet adding 2 Premium licensed Arri Amira Cameras, an additional Canon EOS C300, Sony PMW 300. And the SONY FS7 arrives later this month. Other purchases include a Canon CINE-SERVO 17-120mm T2.95 lens, an Arri WCU-4 with wireless remote control unit and an Arri M18 – with high - speed ballast and the DJI Ronin camera stabilising system.


IO Industries has developed a 4k camera for getting tight shots in diffi cult locations that are otherwise impossible with larger camera systems. The 4KSDI is a single-piece 4K/UHD camera head with 3G/HDSDI outputs for connecting to separate recorders and monitors. It features a Super-35mm global shutter sensor, interchangeable lens mount and outputs to multiple formats. Designed for use in professional broadcast and production environments, it also suits remote video applications with unmanned aerial or underwater vehicles.

Sony has added to its XDCAM range of solid-state memory camcorders with the launch of PXW-X200, a successor to its PMW-200. The new shooter incorporates a 1/2 inch-type Exmor 3CMOS sensor, a 17x zoom lens and XAVC Intra/Long GOP recording with 4:2:2 10-bit sampling. It can output Full HD pictures, high sensitivity (F12 at 1080/59.94i, F13 at 1080/50i), low noise (S/N ratio of 58dB) and a wide dynamic range when shooting in low light. Sony also unveiled the PXW-FS7, a 4k XDCam camera with a Super35 CMOS sensor.

Gearhouse Broadcast has agreed a multi-million pound deal to buy the fi rst 50 units of Hitachi’s new broadcast 4k Ultra HD camera system. The SKUHD4000s will be delivered by December 2014 and will be used at the 2015 AFC Asian Cup international football tournament that takes place in Australia in January 2015. Some of the 50 will be used as part of an OB truck being built by the Australian arm of Gearhouse, with others available in the US and in the UK. The SK-UHD4000 features a newly developed 2/3-inch CMOS sensor and can take the 2/3-inch B4 mount lenses that are used on a conventional HD broadcast camera.


Codex has developed a recording and workfl ow system for Arri’s new ALEXA 65 large format camera. The Vault Lab 65 is a high-performance, in-built camera recorder plus an on-set and near-set data management system that combine to deliver camera-to-post workfl ows. The development is made up of an enhanced Codex Vault S, GPU processing and 8TB solid-state transfer drives.

IP production

Trilogy Communicat ions’ Gemini IP intercom system has been adapted to work alongside the BBC R&D developed camera-mounted Stagebox device. The combination will allow programme makers to link multiple cameras, and move HD content over a standard IP network. Stagebox is a commercial broadcast production product developed by BBC R&D that attaches to the back of a camera and combines all of the various cables and feeds required for IP-based production.


Atomos has revealed that it will begin shipping its new Shogun 4k/HD monitor and recorder to resellers in October. The Shogun has 12G SDI and 4k HDMI connections and is compatible with 4K ProRes, RAW and AvidDNxHD including high frame rate (120fps) HD. It features a 1920x1200 SuperAtom IPS 7” touchscreen and has genlock-in for synced recording and playout.


Cinedeck has brought to market the Cinedeck ZX, a modular 4k, HD and SD platform, that allows users to custom-build camera-to-post workfl ows for a wide range of digital cinema and broadcast applications. The ZX comes in three hardware options to which a range of Cinedeck-developed plug-in workfl ow packages can be added. Builtin touchscreen display, jog-shuttle control and solid-state card readers, as found on the MX, are not included. Instead users can use off-theshelf monitoring, control panels and memory card readers.

Camera support

Adorama has expanded its Flashpoint ZeroGrav stabilizer line with the addition of the 2-Axis Digital Gyro Stabilizer. Featuring the latest gyroscope accelerometer grip, Gyro is compatible with DSLRs and the Blackmagic Cinema Camera and is specially designed to detect a camera’s angular velocity and acceleration in 3D space, calculating its position to provide stability assistance on complicated motion shoots.

CARTONI debuted their new low-cost SMARTPRO & upgraded FOCUS HD “TRUE” Fluid- Heads and STABILO spreader-less 3 stage Carbon Fibre Tripod at IBC 2014. The new STABILIO is a compact and lightweight (3kg) spreader-less 3-stage, carbon fi bre tripod that folds to only 63.5cm making it perfect for carry-on or for backpack use. Its legs extend from 22.5cm in low mode to an amazing 182.5cm in high mode, with leg extension secured by three rotating easy-grips that can be set to three different angles, eliminating the need for a spreader to maintain position.

Unveiled at IBC 2014, the Master Pan from Konova is an add-on for all current and existing K-Series sliders (K3, K5 & K7) that pans the camera automatically as you slide. With the Master Pan installed, users can chose between two modes of operation. The fi rst is inward panning that can be used to automatically keep a pre-determined subject in frame whilst sliding, creating a ‘parallax’ effect. The second is outward panning that allows users to capture an entire scene or landscape with one sweeping shot.


AJA Video Systems has revealed the list of third-party camera accessory developers that are supporting its new CION camera. Included is Alphatron with its electronic viewfi nder (EVF-035W-3G) and a full line of accessories including matte boxes, follow focusses, camera plates and a pedestal. At the same time MTF has announced a host of new lens adapters: Nikon/G, Canon EF, Canon EF (electric), Canon FD, ARRI Bayonet and an optical B4 to CION package. The other developers working on CION enabled gear are Wooden Camera, Vocas and Zacuto.


Visio’s full range of LED Fresnels is now shipping. The lineup includes 100w, 200w and 350w models, in daylight and tungsten options. The units are fully focusable and have a maximum output equivalent to 2Kw Tungsten.

Litepanels has introduced the ASTRA 1x1 Bi-Color panel, a daylight to tungsten tuneable colour LED light that will be the fi rst of a new range. Building on the legacy of the company’s original 1x1 fi xture, ASTRA 1x1 Bi-Color offers a light output that is said to be up to four times brighter than the company’s traditional 1x1 Bi-Color fi xture and includes high CRI (Color Rendering Index) and user selectable active or passive cooling modes.

Pinewood Studios based Rotolight has launched the NEO, a new on-camera location and studio LED lighting fi xture. Featuring Bi-Colour LED lighting technology with “best in class” colour rendering, NEO is said to be the world’s fi rst on-camera lighting system with accurate electronic colour temperature display (CCT) to enable fast, tunable colour on location and delivers 1077 lux at 3 feet, whilst providing a soft light source, along with on-camera battery performance and Rotolight’s signature ‘Ring-light’ Effect.

Now available in three sizes, the VELVET 1 (1 x 1 panel size) & VELVET 2 & 4 (KinoFlo Celeb 200 & 400 sizes), are European made professional LED lights that require no extra diffusion or gels. All three VELVET lights offer superior performance not just in the usability, softness, output and quality of the light but in price too, now making THELIGHT’s advanced LED technology even more accessible.

The super-soft, fl icker free, 95CRI VELVET 2 & New VELVET 4 are superior lights. Like the VELVET 2, the new VELVET 4 offers twice the light output, a larger light surface with thinner side profi le and extended colour temperature variation of 2700K – 6500K compared to their rivals.


BT Sport has created a fl eet of cellular newsgathering (CNG) vehicles using mobile uplinking technology from LiveU. Working with Garland Partners, three Vauxhall Astra cars have been fi tted with the LU500 backpack unit and Xtender remote antenna technology. Each LU500 can be connected wirelessly, at distances of up to 300 meters, or via Ethernet, to the Xtender that sits on top of each vehicle. BT Sport chief engineer Andy Beale said: “We now have a fl eet-footed and effective way of allowing sports journalists to get the story back to us. We value the fl exibility and speed of deployment of the LiveU solution.”


Sennheiser’s Esfera surround microphone system has been recognised with an IABM Design and Innovation Award. The Esfera system consists of aSPM 8000 twochannel microphone unit and an SPB 8000 processer that uses an algorithm that is matched to the microphones in order to generate a 5.1 surround signal with sampling rates of up to 96 kHz.

HHB Communications hosted the world debut of the new RODE Stereo VideoMic X at IBC. Providing broadcast-quality audio via an acoustically matched pair of true-condenser capsules, the VideoMix X can output audio with either a 3.5mm stereo output or a balanced signal via mini XLR. SVMX’s externally-biased, condenser capsules are independently housed in integrated Rycote Lyre multi-axis shock mounts to provide the transducers with isolation from bumps or vibration.

Vision mixing FOR-A has launched a new video production switcher capable of transforming a traditional AUX bus into a functional M/E with cut, mix, wipe and key control. The HVS-XT2000 (XT2k) 2 M/E switcher allows up to 40 SDI inputs and 22 outputs. Amongst the features is MELite which offers the AUX bus transformation function and provides the XT2k with the capabilities of a 6 M/E switcher as well as the building blocks for upstream and downstream transition effects.

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