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Mo-Sys launches G30 gyro-stabilized head

Mo-Sys Engineering, a world leader in image robotics virtual production and remote production, has announced the availability of its ground-breaking G30 gyro-stabilized head. The unique design has been refined using extensive real-world experience resulting in a stabilized head that has the performance of much more expensive systems, but with the usability and ease of setup of much simpler gimbal devices.

Key technologies designed based on early adopter feedback, include:

• Balance assist – smart axis hold feature for significantly faster set-up of camera payloads

• Innovative control console - for fast, accurate operation in the heat of production

• Universal camera cage - to accommodate all practical camera payloads

The goal of Mo-Sys in designing the G30 was to make a gyro-stabilized head that would meet the needs of any broadcast or movie application; simple setup and operation, minimised complexity by negating sliprings and counter-balance weights, and support for the widest range of camera payloads.

At the heart of the G30 is a unique 45˚ frame geometry, large enough to accommodate any camera rig including large ENG cameras and complete digital cinematography camera rigs. The short, stiff frame provides rigidity for camera payloads up to 30kg, with high-torque direct drive motors for smooth, precise movement along with excellent stabilization. The result is a gyro-stabilized head that has complete freedom of pan and tilt in any configuration, along with ±45˚ roll.

“In conversation with early adopters, the feedback was for simpler operation and faster setup,” said Michael Geissler, CEO of Mo-Sys. “In response, we modified elements of the design, such as the frame size, but we also took the opportunity to suggest some smart technologies we were developing. These were well received and so were also implemented into the G30 design”.

“One of these is the balance assist feature which enables an operator to balance each axis in isolation while the remaining two axes hold the camera, significantly reducing the setup time,” Geissler continued. “Another is inertia sensing with pre-sets for various camera packages, along with recallable custom settings for previously used camera packages.”

For more information, watch the video: https://youtu.be/NbHaU4s7Y34.

NCME Brings JSTV Playout Operations In-House with Rohde & Schwarz Gallium, StreamMaster and SpycerNode

Rohde & Schwarz and Pixel Power provide Europe’s leading Japanese-language broadcaster with a high performance, high availability solution for ingest, storage and playout.   

Pixel Power, the global leader in master control playout, automation, graphics & branding, has been contracted to deliver an end-to-end ingest, storage and playout solution to NHK CosmoMedia (Europe) Limited [NCME]. NCME’s JSTV services provide audiences in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa with premium television content in the Japanese language. The broadcaster is implementing a new workflow comprising Gallium automation, StreamMaster ingest and master control playout and SpycerNode intelligent media storage. The new playout operation replaces JSTV’s previously outsourced playout service and supports its two channels JSTV 1 HD and JSTV 2 HD via satellite and OTT distributions.

Gallium PLAYOUT enables channels to be launched rapidly and provides multiple functional units incorporated into a single system. Combined with StreamMaster it offers a powerful, highly customisable software toolset designed to meet the needs of broadcasters of all sizes. SpycerNode brings high performance and high availability media storage capacity and will accommodate a growing volume of material.

Located in Italy, NCME’s new playout operation is managed and controlled remotely from London. With resilience, high-performance and future-proofing key factors in its choice of technology, Pixel Power, a Rohde & Schwarz company, was chosen to deliver the solution. Pixel Power demonstrated its ability to deliver a sophisticated end-to-end workflow, from ingest through to playout, with integrated high-performance storage, that met all the requirements and added critical new capabilities. This new workflow also allows the JSTV team to seamlessly stitch two recordings together using Gallium Factory. The team worked in close cooperation with NCME to implement a solution that offered high availability and scalability with ease of use. The software-defined nature of the Rohde & Schwarz and Pixel Power solution means licences can be added to support additional codecs or audio as required.

Steve Palmer, Broadcast Operations Manager for NCME commented: “We have had many years of experience of the quality and reliability that Pixel Power and Rohde & Schwarz systems deliver, and once again they proved to be up to the task, meeting our exacting standards and offering the high availability required to support our premium services. Our viewers rightly demand an excellent quality of service and the Pixel Power and Rohde & Schwarz team were able to deliver an impressive SLA package that met our stringent requirements. The solution is operationally smart, efficient, cost-effective and future-proof – all without compromising the quality of the output.”

"The broadcast industry has seen the immense value of controlling and managing appliances remotely over the last year. Taking a software-defined approach makes this simple to implement, while our flexible licensing model means users can add functionality as they require it,” said James Gilbert, CEO, Pixel Power. “This project is a perfect illustration of the compelling offering that Pixel Power and Rohde & Schwarz can bring to the table, and we are immensely proud that NCME selected solutions from right across our portfolio for this important milestone in their broadcasting history.”

nxtedition is top of the pack for Alfa TV’s second studio

Finnish broadcaster relies on nxtedition automation for its expansion into news 

Finland’s Alfa TV is going live with a second studio built around nxtedition’s production automation solution. Based in Kerava, the commercial broadcaster serves the whole of Finland and will use its new studio to expand its offering with a news service as well as ensuring its facility is both futureproof and scalable. This latest studio deployment by Alfa TV joins a 2019 studio installation used by the broadcaster, also powered by nxtedition, and allows the broadcaster to engage with its audience across multiple platforms.

Majority owned by Christian media ministry IRR-TV, Alfa TV has been delivering a broad range of content, from music and entertainment to sports and political discussions, including live debates in the evening, via broadcast, cable and online starting with broadcast in 2013. When planning its second studio the broadcaster chose nxtedition for its proven reliability, customisation and cost-efficiency having first-hand experience of the system from its existing studio.

nxtedition’s production automation and asset management platform is built from a suite of microservices, running as virtual machines on COTS hardware. This allows the system to be highly configured to the specific needs of individual broadcasters, easy to maintain and use, and extremely cost-effective. Alfa TV is expanding onto social media as a key means of engagement with its audience and one of the strengths of the nxtedition platform is the speed with which video clips can be delivered to social media. The production team can simply define in and out points and publish with one click. This ensures social media is updated very quickly with interesting and relevant material from the broadcaster’s output.

“We know nxtedition well and have full confidence in what the system can do for us; it is light enough to meet our current needs but powerful enough to grow with us,” said Alexander Store, from the technical team. “It has a good price/performance ratio and most importantly, it is user friendly making it easier for more people to make great content and ensures we can engage with our audience on linear, online and on social platforms.”

In an organisation with limited resources and staff but with a commitment to high quality programming, ease of use is a key requirement for the Finnish broadcaster. The configuration and workflows were developed by a team drawn from every part of the broadcaster’s organisation.

“It is great to see Alfa TV come back to us for a second gallery,” said Roger Persson, head of sales and marketing at nxtedition. “The first studio is incredibly productive, and we were pleased to be able to help them develop their news strategy through the difficult times of the last year. Because nxtedition is virtualised it is perfect for remote working, and thanks to Alfa’s experience with the system we got the second studio up and running without the need to visit the site in person.”

Greenland’s KNR chooses nxtedition as its primary production system for another five years

Broadcast microservices specialists nxtedition has inked a five-year deal with KNR (Kalaallit Nunaata Radioa), the Greenlandic Broadcasting Corporation, which has chosen to maintain nxtedition’s end-to-end system as their primary broadcast solution. KNR first installed nxtedition as part of its new production infrastructure in 2017 and relies on it to deliver a futureproof workflow for streamlining all their broadcast, web, and social media production needs.

Using nxtedition’s story-centric workflow, KNR journalists can run their programs themselves, without having to rely on a lot of technical support. The system encompasses pre-production, ingest, media management, script writing, graphics, prompting, live studio automation and social media management. Everything is elegantly controlled from within a single user interface.

Karl-Henrik Simonsen, CEO of KNR said: “We have seen just how reliable the nxtedition technology is and the way it makes the process of creating and delivering content to digital and terrestrial platforms makes it the best choice for us. We have no hesitation in extending our collaboration with them; nxtedition has great support and deliver what they promise. We look forward to our continued cooperation for many years to come.”

Since the initial installation, KNR once again placed nxtedition technology at the heart of its new radio production system.

Ola Malmgren, CEO, nxtedition explained: “Great storytelling is what audiences come to television for and too often production workflows put the story last. At nxtedition we have changed the game; by allowing journalists to take control of their stories, we are empowering broadcasters to give audiences what they really want – a fantastic viewing experience with an engaging story.”

Sky Deutschland Upgrades to Next-Generation UHD Rohde & Schwarz VENICE and SpycerNode for Sport Production

Broadcaster gains flexibility, scale to support ingest, transcoding and playout for premium football coverage

Rohde & Schwarz, a global leader in media technologies, has supplied the latest version of its R&S®VENICE media server and R&S®SpycerNode intelligent storage solution to Sky Deutschland. The German broadcaster will now benefit from a highly robust workflow, with full built-in redundancy and no single point of failure, for its coverage of premium sports content, such as the Bundesliga and Champions League.

The broadcaster has invested in six new VENICE units, along with a new SpycerNode, delivering a total of 24 channels of scalable centralised and external storage capability as well as support for UHDp50. The upgraded workflow handles ingest to VENICE and transfers files directly into SpycerNode, allowing the Sky Deutschland team to access and edit growing files, pull out clips for highlights packages and playout directly. VENICE also ensures correct flagging and handling of UHD and HDR material, eliminating errors in the delivery chain without the need for external third-party systems.

“Consistency and quality are the bedrock of our brand and two things we pride ourselves on. As we meet our viewers’ demands for higher volumes of richer content, having a rock-solid 24/7 channel playout workflow that can meet our evolving needs is a must have,” said Christian Barth, Director of Production Platforms & Playout at Sky Deutschland. “Rohde & Schwarz has a clear understanding of our requirements and with this new generation of VENICE and SpycerNode, we have all the scalability we need now, and in the future. This upgrade also gives us the redundancy necessary in our playout environment.”

VENICE is specifically designed to support mission-critical broadcast applications, such as group ingest and playout to studio and master control, managing complex signal processing and storage requirements. The system provides scheduled recording, clip transforms and playout, integrating with Rohde & Schwarz shared storage, SpycerNode as well as certified third-party systems. This solution offers support for 4K Ultra HD signals, using either single link 12G SDI or quad link 3G SDI (incl. 2SI option), and is also capable of SMPTE ST-2110.

SpycerNode leverages High Performance Computing (HPC) file systems for high scalability and full redundancy with even the smallest unit. Easily configurable to meet broadcasters’ capacity and bandwidth requirements – including during operation – this solution offers shared storage to support fast turnaround workflows.

In addition, Rohde & Schwarz VSA (Virtual Storage Access) technology is being deployed at Sky Deutschland and provides maximum fail safety and seamless redundancy for all R&S applications for ingest and playout. This software-based solution ensures maximum flexibility for further deployments and system expansion.

“Today broadcasters need efficient ways of working in high-pressure live environments. They also need solutions that deliver an unmatched level of reliability and the scalability to ensure their operations can keep pace with the growing demand for high quality content.,” said Andreas Loges, Vice President of Media Solutions. “At Rohde & Schwarz, we are focused on developing solutions that meet our customers real world challenges today but will also grow with them in future. We are extremely proud that Sky Deutschland has chosen to implement the latest iterations of our VENICE and SpycerNode solutions and extend our long-standing partnership.”

iSIZE BitSave Wins 2021 VideoTech Innovation Award for Sustainability

iSIZE today announces that it has won the 2021 Digital TV Europe (DTVE) VideoTech Innovation Award for Sustainability with its BitSave pre-processor for video.

With global internet traffic set to reach 4.8 zetabytes a year in 2022, and 80% of this resulting from video, there is a significant environmental cost. Today the internet is using an estimated 10% of the world’s total energy consumption, putting its carbon footprint at the same level as air travel. Anything that can reduce the traffic on the internet means a reduction in that environmental impact. The challenge is working with an infrastructure for distributing online and mobile video that is already well established and largely unchangeable. Upgrading codecs takes time and deployment risks are high. Enter BitSave.

iSIZE's BitSave preprocesses the input video prior to encoding and removes imperceptible information that is costly to encode by all existing video encoders. By being encoder agnostic, BitSave brings benefits to all video coding standards, like AVC/H.264, HEVC/H.265, VVC/H.266 or VP9 and AV1. No changes are required in the encoding, stream packaging, streaming and decoding.

Using iSIZE’s deep neural network solution, developed specifically for media content, means valuable bandwidth reduction without compromising the quality. To create BitSave, the iSIZE team undertook extensive scientific research on visual perception and visual quality scoring to deliver a video preprocessing solution that preserves all visually salient characteristics of each input frame, while attenuating details that are imperceptible by viewers and incur significant cost when encoding with standard encoders.

Sergio Grce, CEO at iSIZE commented, “We are delighted to have been recognised for our contribution to making video streaming more sustainable. Instead of the traditional approach of using simple signal-to-noise analysis or broad-brush bitrate reduction, we have deployed our rich artificial intelligence and machine learning to process individual video streams dynamically. While it is a highly sophisticated solution, BitSave runs on standard workstation hardware, making it simple and easy to implement. The consumer benefits from a more reliable service even in marginal conditions, because of the reduced bandwidth.”

TV2 Nord delivers dynamic election day coverage with nxtedition

Broadcast microservices specialists nxtedition played a leading role in customer TV2 Nord’s coverage of the Danish local elections on November 16. The election covered 98 of the country’s municipal seats and five regional councils and the broadcaster relied on its nxtedition system to handle video wall and graphics automation throughout.

nxtedition sent data to CasparCG's dynamic HTML5 graphics templates and delivered live link and data for transmission and the studio's video walls. The system was also used to pull in social media interactions, harvesting comments from the station’s Facebook page and delivering them into graphics templates. The studio presenters controlled data and graphics delivery to the video wall on the fly from their tablet shotboxes.

TV2 Nord’s nxtedition system is its platform of choice for news production and was already integrated into its production workflow, meaning the studio presenters and staff were very familiar with it.

TV2 Nord CTO, Peter Zanchetta said: “Working with nxtedition on the election project made the operation so much smoother. It’s easy to customise the system and the content, which is a huge advantage. And we didn’t need to integrate another technology platform to handle social media like we used to in the past, which again simplifies the whole process. nxtedition has a track record for reliability, which was vital to this project, and are always on hand 24/7 whenever we ask for support.”

Live debates in each municipality or region being contested are always a main part of TV2 Nord’s election coverage. Normally, this means having to set up an OB truck and send journalists and technical crews out on location. This year, they took a different approach, with live debates hosted in their studio. Voters were able to engage and submit questions, in realtime, via the broadcaster’s Facebook channel.

Ola Malmgren, CEO, nxtedition added: “Election coverage means fast response times and the ability to pull up graphics with updating data in an instant. This is where nxtedition shows its power – one platform can handle everything seamlessly, including social media integration.”

nxtedition introduces nxt|cloud

Migrating nxtedition’s ‘best of breed’ microservices to the public cloud

Broadcast microservice specialist nxtedition has further enhanced the consolidated production and playout platform with nxt|cloud, a complete deployment of nxtedition which runs in the public cloud.

Previously, playout in nxtedition utilised the switching, layering and real-time rendering power of CasparCG to achieve high production values using COTS hardware. This latest development has seen nxtedition develop a fully containerised, Linux version of CasparCG, providing the same playout functionality, flexibility and quality as a scalable, elastic and secure microservice in the cloud.

The architecture of nxtedition is unique in being entirely built in JavaScript, ensuring the platform is positioned to take advantage of all developments in web technology. The developers of nxtedition had previously been deeply involved with CasparCG, the open-source broadcast graphics platform now widely used around the world.

The nxtedition solution contains all the elements required for broadcast, from ingest and transcode through asset management and archiving to delivery to multiple platforms, automatically repackaging news stories for social media. The fully virtualized architecture means that systems can be built to precisely match the individual workflow requirements, with the appropriate level of resilience and a large reduction in complexity that microservices bring. This centralisation of content for the users allows more productivity and speed with the content to repurpose it for broadcast, OTT, digital, social, podcasts and radio.

“With nxt|cloud we can offer an identical experience in the cloud: the same quality, the same functionality, the same user experience, the same responsiveness,” said Adam Leah, creative director at nxtedition. “That includes sophisticated added- value features like localisation: we can, for example, take in a single live sports feed over SRT and split into, say, eight identical CasparCG channels, but sending each channel a separate commentary audio and graphics feed in different languages - all driven by the timestamped metadata authoring and the layering in nxtedition.

“Private cloud on premise is the pragmatic choice for most broadcasters when it comes to production. But while that gives them control over their content, it also gives them a concern over disaster recovery. A widespread power failure, for example, could take them off air.”

We designed nxt|cloud to also provide new and existing on-prem clients with a hybrid cloud solution for disaster recovery. By using seamless replication, not only are the playout channels mirrored from the ground, but the scripts and media are mirrored too. If the client has an emergency, then the entire team switches to the cloud and carries on where they left off. The UI is the same, everything is the same – from ground to sky.

Mo-Sys and APG Media Join Forces to Provide End-to-End Virtual Production Solutions 

Mo-Sys™ Engineering (www.mo-sys.com), a leader in virtual production and image robotics, and APG Media (www.apgmedia.com), a leading LED volume rental provider and distributor, have partnered to provide customers with access to complete end-to-end LED virtual production set-ups, combining Mo-Sys' StarTracker and VP Pro XR with APG Media’s HyperPixel, customised LED wall solutions.

The Mo-Sys StarTracker camera/lens tracking system has become the technology of choice for leading-edge virtual productions. The advanced tools in VP Pro XR content server include the unique ability to pull focus seamlessly between real and virtual objects. By partnering with APG Media, Mo-Sys can now offer custom engineered LED tiles and a comprehensive package for tailored LED volume, multi-camera production systems.

“The appetite for high production values means virtual production is no longer exclusive to big budget movies,” said Michael Geissler, CEO of Mo-Sys. “In cinematography, the quality of LED walls has to be as high as possible to deliver the best results and HyperPixel meets this requirement. Through this collaboration with APG Media we are removing the technical complexity from the equation and freeing up production teams to express their full creativity with an immaculate end result.”

David Weatherhead, CEO at APG Media added “Virtual production is taking off as cinematographers and content producers recognise the impact this model can have on their final output - if they use the right technology. In a segment that is already at the cutting edge, Mo-Sys is a pioneer and a market leader, and this partnership brings huge value to both our customers. By combining our offerings, we can now open the doors to the best technology and help cinematographers to create the stunning content that audiences demand.”

The new Mo-Sys Refinery in Los Angeles will feature a HyperPixel high resolution LED wall, featuring ultra-tight seams for the ultimate in immersive visual experiences. APG Media will add a Mo-Sys VP Pro XR and StarTracker to the offering within its rapidly growing specialist virtual production division. The two companies will cooperate on marketing and exhibition, as well as providing support for sales channels.

High Frame Rate Mo-Sys StarTracker and NearTime for LED boost ICVFX workflows

Mo-Sys Engineering (www.mo-sys.com), world leader in image robotics and virtual production solutions, today reveals new solutions for LED virtual production with a high frame rate (HFR) StarTracker camera tracking system and the award-winning NearTime® workflow extended to LED volumes.

NearTime for LED is a smart solution to solve multiple challenges when shooting in-camera visual effects (ICVFX) in an LED volume. At its most basic level it is an automated background re-rendering service for improving the quality and/or resolution of Unreal based virtual production scenes, and is used simultaneously alongside a real-time ICVFX shoot. NearTime solves one of the key challenges of LED ICVFX shoots, which is balancing Unreal image quality whilst maintaining real-time frame rates. Currently every Unreal scene created for ICVFX has to be reduced in quality in order to guarantee real-time playback.

Using NearTime with an LED ‘green frustum’, the same Unreal scene can be automatically re-rendered with higher quality or resolution, and this version can replace the original background Unreal scene. Whilst it takes longer to do this, no traditional post-production costs or time have been used, plus moiré issues can be avoided completely!

Mo-Sys CEO Michael Geissler said, “We patented NearTime almost 8 years ago knowing that real-time graphics quality versus playback frame rate was always going to be an issue with ICVFX shoots. At that time we were focussing on green/blue screen use, but today LED volumes have exactly the same challenge.”

Mo-Sys is also announcing a special StarTracker for LED that provides camera and lens tracking up to 240fps for slo-mo shots, as would be typically used for fight scenes in high impact action films. In this scenario, rather than drive the LED wall at high frame rates to match the camera, which requires significant hardware processing and comes with an Unreal image quality impact, NearTime for LED is used to post-render the Unreal scene at HFR following the HFR ‘green frustum’ shoot of the talent performing. During the slo-mo shot review, the re-rendered Unreal background and the talent foreground are re-combined, delivering a significantly higher quality composited shot.

“Proxies were used as a smart solution to solving computer processing limits in the early days of digital compositing and colour grading,” Geissler commented. “Similarly, HFR StarTracker and NearTime for LED is a smart solution to shooting slo-mo shots in an LED volume.”

The HFR StarTracker for LED has been designed in anticipation of future GPU processing improvements enabling higher frame rate Unreal scene playback. In conjunction with Mo-Sys’ VP Pro XR content server, the HFR StarTracker’s programmable phase shift feature can utilise Brompton Technology’s Frame Remapping or Megapixel VR’s GhostFrame capability for simultaneous multi-camera shoots in an LED volume.

NearTime for LED will be available in Q4 to Mo-Sys customers with VP Pro and VP Pro XR. The HFR StarTracker for LED will be available early Q1 2022.

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