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GB Labs unveils Unify Hub, the modern remote working management platform

Aldermaston, UK, 29 September 2020 - GB Labs, innovators of powerful and intelligent storage solutions for the media and entertainment industries, has launched Unify Hub, a platform designed to meet all the challenges of today’s media production environment combining on premise and cloud content, empowering remote production while maintaining data integrity and security.

Unify Hub is a data management platform designed for today’s changed world. It manages storage – on site or in the cloud; from GB Labs or from other vendors – to provide a working environment which is simple and fast, providing the tools for maximum productivity from production and post production artists.

“For most of this year, collaborative production has been impacted,” said Dominic Harland, CEO and CTO at GB Labs. “Content is back to being stored in multiple locations, with all the problems of delays in moving material from place to place, the risk of creating multiple ‘master’ versions, and of course poor security.

“First and foremost, Unify Hub provides a unified approach to content and metadata,” Harland added. “Wherever your material is physically stored, the content you need appears as a single, secure and coherent source. That makes it ideal for high-efficiency collaborative and remote working.”

Unify Hub offers five key pillars of advances in productivity, connectivity and security:

Unify Hub Cloud Mounts: Align the local user permissions with cloud accounts to facilitate single sign-in and simplify the secure access of cloud accounts on-premise

Acceleration: Leverage GB Labs technology to speed up the user experience, as well as reducing costs and saving internet bandwidth
S3 Endpoint: Connect on-premise workspaces to cloud services or remote users

Remote Working: Provide remote workers with a seamless experience, regardless of your location

Virtual Workspaces: Simply select what is needed and securely make available everywhere, instantly

Through its management structure, Unify Hub allows users and groups to be established for each project. All appropriate cloud accounts can then be accessed through the single sign-on, with pre-authenticated cloud endpoints appearing as SMB storage shares. For system administrators Unify Hub File Manager provides a single pane of glass overview and control; for users their log-in brings all the material they need to their workstation, wherever they are working and the content is stored.

Unify Hub is the winner of the Best of Show Award 2020 during IBC 2020 from TVBEurope magazine.

GB Labs showcases storage solutions for today at virtual BroadcastAsia

Aldermaston, UK, 29 Sept - 1 Oct 2020 - GB Labs, innovators of powerful and intelligent storage solutions for the media and entertainment industries, is proud to be part of the inaugural BroadcastAsia (29 September – 1 October) immersive virtual convention. As well as a fully staffed booth, GB Labs is making two presentations on key products: CloakDR and the award-winning Unify Hub, which will be launched at the event.

Unify Hub was designed for today’s changed world, a storage appliance which has support for remote production and distanced implementation baked in. Unify Hub is a powerful control layer, tuned to the challenging needs of broadcast, which manages storage – from GB Labs or other vendors – whether that storage is on premises or in the cloud; local or remote. So it can leverage existing storage as well as providing a sure foundation for future plans.

“The pandemic has forced changes on the way we work, bringing remote collaborative working to the fore,” said Ben Pearce, CBO Asia and Co-Founder at GB Labs. “The temptation is to go back to the bad old days of material stored in multiple locations, with all the problems of delays in moving material from place to place, the risk of creating multiple ‘master’ versions, and of course poor security.

“As the name suggests, Unify Hub provides a simple, unified approach to content and metadata, so that wherever it is physically stored, it appears as a single, secure and coherent source, ideal for high-efficiency collaborative and remote working,” Pearce explained.” Unify Hub is a winner of the Best of Show Award 2020 during IBC 2020 from TVBEurope magazine.

The other featured product at BroadcastAsia is CloakDR, a revolutionary approach to 'no single point of failure' content security from GB Labs. The intelligence in GB Labs servers uses CloakDR software to build redundant storage systems which are always synchronised from the moment of ingest. This allows CloakDR to dynamically allocate one appliance as primary, one as secondary, and to provide instant failover whatever the incident.

The inherent intelligence maintains a single IP address for storage, so the rest of the infrastructure can continue unaware of any issues. The result is perfect resilience: content is read from and written to the servers without interruption.

“We are excited to be involved in this year’s BroadcastAsia,” added Pearce “The organisers of the parent event, ConnecTechAsia, have gone to extraordinary lengths to create a virtual experience that is as real as possible, with staff on booths ready to answer questions and presentations on key new technologies. The technology they have brought together to make this a satisfying and engaging experience for ‘visitors’ looks excellent, and we are looking forward to taking part.”

Fancy Film Accelerates with GB Labs FastNAS

Aldermaston, UK, 21 September 2020 - GB Labs, the leader in intelligent storage solutions, has provided its FastNAS storage system to Fancy Film, Los Angeles, enabling the facility to complete colour correction and other finishing services on a major new documentary TV series.

Tony Shek, Fancy Film CTO, said, “We were rapidly getting into 4K finishing and HDR Dolby Vision, which meant that we had to start looking for shared storage that was fast enough to run in real-time but was also cost effective. We researched a lot of companies, but in terms of cost effectiveness, the quotes we received were anything but.”

Fancy Film Online Editor Jacob Fisher added, “When high volumes of ultra-high resolution content starts pouring in, you need the ability to work on that content from multiple workstations at speed, which at the time was a capability we didn’t have.”

Rave reviews during NAB 2019 from existing GB Labs storage users convinced Shek that he may have located a solution. A subsequent referral from a user to GB Labs’ West Coast representative and installer, New Media Hollywood, meant that Fancy Film had found what it needed in FastNAS.

FastNAS shared storage combines the benefits of hard disk and solid state drives in a single device and has become the high performance storage system of choice worldwide, all at a highly affordable price point.

Shek said, “We took on a high-profile job, and even though we knew ahead of time that the majority of the footage was going to arrive in ultra-high resolution, it was a relief to discover soon into our trial with FastNAS - during which we pushed it to its limits for a solid week - that we didn’t have to worry. It just worked. The FastNAS system didn’t even break a sweat. All we had to do then was focus on the creative, and the results are marvellous.”

Adi Antariksa, GB Labs Chief Business Officer for the Americas said, “It’s deeply gratifying to have our storage systems deliver on what they promise, and then some, especially when it comes to household brand projects like this. We look forward to continuing to support Fancy Film in current and future projects as we get almost as much satisfaction from their success as they do.”

Mo-Sys to demonstrate virtual studio technologies at BroadcastAsia 2020

London, UK, 22 September 2020: Mo-Sys, a world leader in precision camera tracking solutions for virtual studios and augmented reality, will be showcasing its award-winning StarTracker Studio at BroadcastAsia 2020’s all-new virtual reality experience running from September 29 to October 1 2020.

Having recently won a Virtual Best of Show Award during IBC 2020, Mo-Sys StarTracker Studio, the world’s first pre-configured virtual production system, brings moving camera virtual production within reach of all market sectors.

StarTracker from Mo-Sys is proven as the most precise and reliable camera tracking technology, using dots on the studio ceiling (“stars”) which are placed at random and tracked to plot camera positions with extraordinary accuracy.

StarTracker Studio combines StarTracker camera tracking with a powerful all-in-one virtual production system capable of working with green screen studios or LED volumes. The system uses Mo-Sys VP Pro software to connect camera tracking data from up to 16 cameras to the Unreal Engine graphics. StarTracker Studio uses a smart system design to reduce the typical hardware required for multi-camera virtual production, and the whole system comes pre-configured in a flight-cased rack.

“We’re looking forward to demonstrating the performance, flexibility and simplicity StarTracker Studio offers to companies who need to create virtual studio and augmented reality content,” said Michael Geissler, CEO of Mo-Sys. 

Mo-Sys will also be detailing how its VP Pro and StarTracker technologies operate with LED volumes for virtual productions that want to use on-set finishing techniques.

“LED-wall technology now offers a viable alternative to the traditional green screen / post-production workflow for visual effects (VFX) shooting. Specifically, LED walls enable a composited shot to be captured on-set, rather than just previewed on-set, thereby removing the need for downstream post-production,” Geissler continued. “LED walls won’t replace green screen, both will co-exist going forwards as each is suited to a different type of VFX shot. The benefit of StarTracker Studio is that it handles both workflows”.

To register for the BCA Virtual Event and visit Mo-Sys’s virtual booth, please visit: https://l.feathr.co/bca-exhibitor-landing-page--mo-sys-engineering

British high-tech companies highlighted in UK Pavilion at virtual ConnecTechAsia

UK Pavilion, ConnecTechAsia 22 September 2020: The UK Pavilion at ConnecTechAsia has provided a valuable showcase for broadcast, telecom and IT technology companies from Great Britain and Northern Ireland in recent years. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, this year's exhibition will be a virtual event but is still set to be a valuable platform for the latest and best in high-tech equipment and systems from the United Kingdom.

Organised by Tradefair on behalf of techUK, which promotes the British digital technology sector, the UK Pavilion for 2020 will give participating firms a presence across the three specialist shows that come under the umbrella of ConnecTechAsia. The super-technology expo, usually held in Singapore, comprises BroadcastAsia (broadcasting, pro audio, film and digital media), CommunicAsia (information and communication technology) and SatelliteAsia (satellite communication technology). These will run in parallel with TechXLR8Asia, which covers enterprise technology and integration.

The shows will focus on the new and emerging technologies that are providing the basis for the interconnected media, consumer and business markets of the future. These include 5G, AI and ML (artificial intelligence and machine learning), the Internet of Things (IoT), OTT, satellite, the cloud, data analytics, virtual and artificial realities (VR/AR), cyber security and blockchain.

The three-day, virtualised version of ConnecTechAsia will feature more than 180 virtual exhibitor booths that will recreate as closely as possible the experience of visiting companies at a real-world show. There is also a full online conference programme of stimulating presentations, with 220 live keynotes plus Q&A and breakout sessions. As at previous ConnecTechAsia shows, there will be networking and VIP lounges, invitation-only roundtables and opportunities to meet the speakers.

ConnecTechAsia 2020 takes place from 29th September to 1st October.

UK Pavilion companies come under one or several of the technology sub-groups that are exhibiting at ConnecTechAsia.

A2P (Application to Person) Business Messaging
TMT Analysis
 
Acquisition/Production (including 4K/UHD, cameras, drones, lighting, motion capture, VR)
Exterity, Hitomi, Mo-Sys
 
Artificial Intelligence
Air for Life
 
Business Intelligence/Business Support Systems (BSS)
Emeldi Group
 
Captioning and subtitling
Broadstream
 
Content Distribution and Delivery
Exterity, GB Labs, Hitomi, Open Broadcast, Varnish Software
 
Content Management and Systems
Broadstream, Exterity, GB Labs, TSL Products
 
Content Security
Exterity, GB Labs
 
CRM Systems
Emeldi Group
 
Digital Signage
Emeldi Group
 
E-commerce and marketplaces
Emeldi Group
 
Esports
Hitomi
 
Integrated Playout Systems
Broadstream
 
High-throughput Satellite (HTS)
Vialite Communications
 
Lip Sync Solutions
Hitomi
 
Mobile Identity
TMT Analysis
 
Mobile Numbering Data and Intelligence
TMT Analysis
 
Mobile Satellite
Vialite Communications
 
TMT Analysis
Varnish Software
 
Post-Production
GB Labs
 
Professional Audio/Radio
Hitomi, TSL Products
 
RF Microwave
Vialite Communications
 
Satellite Broadband Communications and Operators
Vialite Communications
 
Smart Living
Air for Life

StreamMaster PRIME provides simple replacement for graphics, thematic channel playout and master control devices

Cambridge, UK, 15 September 2020: Pixel Power, the global leader in playout, automation and graphics, has added StreamMaster PRIME to its range of graphics and playout products. Leveraging its renowned StreamMaster Media Processing technology platform, StreamMaster PRIME is a turnkey appliance with a flexible function set, designed primarily as a replacement for individual devices in a traditional architecture.

“Many of the broadcasters we talk to have told us that they are not yet in a position to move to an all new, software-defined playout architecture, but that individual items in their legacy systems need replacing,” explained James Gilbert, CEO of Pixel Power. “StreamMaster PRIME gives them a single, cost-effective appliance, connecting over SDI, with all the usual automation interfaces, so it is a simple plug-in replacement for a life-expired master control switcher, video server or graphics inserter.

“Most importantly, the software licences for StreamMaster PRIME are transferable, so when the broadcaster begins to migrate towards a new architecture or deployment model, the existing functionality can be transferred at no additional cost,” he added.

StreamMaster PRIME is a dedicated appliance, capable of supporting automated branding graphics, multi-layer static and animated logos, clocks, text crawls, tickers, DVE moves and more. Options include dual port video server, audio processing for multi-channel sound and master control functionality.

It is capable of autonomous operation, with hardware or software UI control panels also available. It is plug-and-play with all major automation systems.

“This is a direct response to a real need from the industry,” said Gilbert. “It’s a standard appliance with sufficient hardware power to run the software applications likely to be needed, tailored to the user’s requirements. For those who need to keep a legacy broadcast chain running, or perhaps an outside broadcast truck needing motion graphics playback, it is a very welcome solution.”

StreamMaster PRIME is available now.

Installing a complete newsroom remotely in a pandemic

Malmö, Sweden, 9 September 2020: Production automation specialists nxtedition recently installed, commissioned, trained and handed over a four-studio newsroom system for Stockholm-based Expressen TV. Because of the restrictions imposed by COVID-19, nxtedition was forced to achieve all this remotely, yet still got the new system on-air, on-time and on-budget.

nxtedition’s newsroom system is built on a suite of microservices to create a virtualised architecture, running on COTS hardware. For Expressen TV, the system was initially built at nxtedition’s headquarters in Malmö, more than 600km away. The kit was shipped to Stockholm where Expressen’s partners installed it in place.

Ordinarily, teams would be sent from nxtedition to test and commission a new installation and train the staff. But the microservices architecture means that the system is inherently ready for remote access and operation, so all these activities were carried out from the homes of each nxtedition team member. Deployments and configurations were performed remotely, and all the training was done using Google Hangouts, with the trainer logging into the Expressen installation remotely via VPN.

Journalists, editors, producers and engineers rapidly gained familiarisation with nxtedition's intuitive operation. This allowed for a phased cutover to the new technology and also to effectively meet the full on-air date of 2nd June 2020. Even with Sweden’s relatively light touch isolation policy, this was still a remarkable achievement while maintaining safety of both teams through remote working practices and social distancing.

“I am really impressed that we could make this transition so easily and fast,” said Robin Jansson, head of technology for Expressen TV. “Our window of opportunity to switch the entire broadcast system was very slim, but the design and structure of nxtedition makes complex and time-consuming things much easier and convenient.”

For nxtedition, Roger Persson, head of sales and marketing, added, “The world is changing, and not just because of COVID-19. Newsroom technology has to be flexible, capable of being accessed from anywhere, to deliver the fast and accurate facts first which audiences seek. Remote training was forced upon us by the pandemic, but it really brought home to the Expressen TV team just how simple it is to create scripts, modify rundowns, cue events and add live content from anywhere at any time. That agility was a key benefit when Expressen TV chose our suite of software and in today’s environment we can see it’s even more important than ever.”

Side Street Post and VFX opts for GB Labs SPACE SSD

Aldermaston, UK, 3 September 2020 - GB Labs, innovators of powerful and intelligent storage solutions for the media and entertainment industries, today announced that Side Street Post and VFX, Vancouver, supported by GDS Communications, has chosen GB Labs’ SPACE SSD NAS shared storage system to drive Side Street’s DaVinci Resolve Studio systems.

More than 300TB of GB Labs "SPACE SSD" shared storage solution, with its massive disc performance of 12GB/s now enables all of Side Street’s DaVinci Resolve Studio workstations to simultaneously playback 4K DPX streams at full resolution, with no network slow-down or dropped frames.

Side Street Post and VFX’s President, Gary Shaw, said, “Our legacy SAN storage system was no longer meeting our needs, and limited our ability to fully utilise Resolve in higher resolutions. We needed a solution that would enable all our colour correction suites to operate simultaneously at 4K resolution or higher and more efficiently.”

Gary’s view, shared by many, was that the current fibre channel storage systems could not affordably achieve the concurrent speeds needed, and the technical development of such systems is generally thought as having been eclipsed by ethernet solutions. For Side Street, NAS was the way to go.

Gary said, “Vancouver is a major market for episodic television and feature film production, a lot of it captured with high-end cameras that shoot at 4K, 6K or 8K, so a lot of raw camera footage arrives which in the grading process requires a very high data rate. Both technically and ethically, we don’t really want to downscale and work in HD. We want our clients to experience the true image quality especially on Dolby Vision projects.

"To deal with such high data rates and file sizes, you need a system that can handle them, and SPACE SSD from GB Labs provided both the bandwidth and file management capability that fits our needs."

SPACE SSD is the world's fastest and most scalable NAS platform, with performance up to 18GB/s and capacity up to 10PB. The Side Street system transfers data at 12GB/s and is linked to a 100GbE switch.

According to GB Labs CEO-CTO Dominic Harland, “Side Street Post is very forward-thinking and knew that a fibre channel system could not achieve what it needed. Speed was of the essence and they needed all colour workstations running at full capacity, simultaneously, in 4K, 6K, 8K and, eventually, beyond. SPACE SSD NAS copes with that easily, with plenty of headroom.”

A major differentiator with all GB Labs storage systems is that they do not require the user to replace or dispose of their existing storage. Like many other GB Labs users, Side Street was able to make use of its existing SAN by incorporating GB Labs ECHO Bridge as a way of accessing SAN data, or moving files to it for near-line storage.

“It’s a case of using the old storage for secondary purposes, essentially cold storage, and empowering SPACE SSD for the heavy lifting,” added Shaw. “After a few minutes of on-site tweaks to configure the system to our preferences, we were up and running – at astonishing speed - without the slightest disruption to our operations.”

 

 

Hitomi Broadcast to demonstrate live lip-sync alignment at BCA 2020

Cookham Dean, UK, 02 September 2020: Hitomi Broadcast, manufacturer of MatchBox, the industry’s premier audio video alignment toolbox, will demonstrate a broadcasting lineup using its MatchBox solutions with live feeds into the Hitomi virtual stand at BroadcastAsia 2020 which is running from 29th September to 1st October 2020.

Hitomi will be showcasing the benefits of the newest member of the MatchBox family of solutions, Glass, for live remote production. This sophisticated iOS app is designed for fast and precise remote lip-sync measurement. Used on location at the point of content capture, Glass takes its measurement from in front of the camera and through the microphones in the same way as the live action.

Back in the MCR or OB Truck, the signals generated by this app are quickly analysed by the MatchBox Analyser and any alignment issues can be rapidly corrected with great precision. Additional checks further down the chain can be run using test patterns generated by the MatchBox Generator. Not only can audio to video be aligned but also audio to audio and video to video. Where MatchBox measures zero difference, perfect timing has been achieved and the audience will hear what it sees.

Hitomi takes guesswork out of the equation, replacing subjective estimates with highly accurate, electronic test audio and video generators along with a state-of-the-art analyser. MatchBox enables the production team to measure when it’s wrong and know when it’s right.

With many international events being cancelled or replaced by online versions, BroadcastAsia 2020 stands out due to the all-new virtual reality experience used by the organisers to recreate the physical experience of visiting a tradeshow.

Hitomi Broadcast Director Russell Johnson said, “Whilst nothing beats face to face meetings for establishing new business connections and communicating with potential customers, the BCA virtual event offers an opportunity to do so at a time when physical meet-ups are not possible and we’re happy to take advantage of this to bring our broadcast solutions to the Asian film industry.”

 

ProSiebenSat.1 streamline their live production workflows with Hitomi

Cookham Dean, UK, 24 August 2020: Hitomi Broadcast, manufacturer of MatchBox, the industry’s premier audio video alignment toolbox, has announced that the Germany-based ProSiebenSat.1 Media SE, Europe’s leading satellite and cable broadcaster, operating television channels, digital VoD platforms and e-commerce brands, has purchased a MatchBox system comprising xFrame, MatchBox Generator and MatchBox Analyser 3G.

The MatchBox installation was supplied to ProSiebenSat.1 by Hitomi reseller, Vidi GmbH, based in Germany, via the manufacturer-independent international systems integrator, BFE Studio und Medien Systeme GmbH, as part of a solution-focused project to help streamline their live production workflows.

ProSiebenSat.1 combines leading entertainment brands with a successful production business and a rapidly growing retail portfolio under one roof, making it one of the most diversified media companies in Europe. The company offers the best entertainment - whenever, wherever and on any device. With its 15 free- and pay-TV channels, it reaches over 45 million TV households in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

MatchBox is a state-of-the-art toolkit that streamlines live broadcast synchronisation and is relied on by broadcasters worldwide to ensure the timing of live sports, news and events. A two part solution, the MatchBox Analyser tool looks and listens for the specific Hitomi video and audio signatures produced by the hardware MatchBox Generator. The measurement performed by the analyser is very fast - just a few seconds - and highly effective, vastly speeding up the process and ultimately helping to eliminate the headaches and frustrations of last-minute lip-sync issues.

Hitomi Broadcast Director Russell Johnson said, “What MatchBox ultimately means is that instead of having someone tapping a mic or clapping a board in front of a camera to take subjective readings from, you have a known, verified, highly precise test pattern that in turn enables you to measure and confirm the veracity of your links before you start sending video or audio signals down them.”

Complete with an intuitive identing feature, rapid measurement of lip sync, audio coherence, audio levels, phase inversions and video timing, MatchBox is also a 4K test pattern generator.

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