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Starfish simplifies antipiracy protection with transport stream watermark insertion

Starfish Technologies, a pioneer in transport streaming processing, has added to its market leading family of products for broadcasters and streamers. The new addition inserts watermark sequences directly into encoded media streams and will be launched at NAB 2022 (24 – 27 April, Las Vegas Convention Center, booth N2031). 

There is frequently a requirement to protect content when distributing valuable media over streaming feeds. The TS Watermark Inserter is a completely self-contained application that runs on COTS hardware. The device accepts an incoming transport stream or streams (SPTS or MPTS), decodes it, adds the watermark overlay then re-encodes to the same format and bit rate. 

The watermark sequence is stored within the application and can be readily updated by the user. “This is one of those requirements that many organisations have for broadcast, IPTV and OTT,” said Peter Blatchford, CEO of Starfish. “You need to add anti-piracy protection but do not want to add a complex multi vendors solution. This is an integrated software application that does the job, seamlessly and cost-effectively.” 

TS Watermark Inserter, part of the extended range of transport stream processing technology from Starfish, runs on an enterprise grade server and multiple channels, each inserting unique watermarks, can run on a single server. “We have been continuing to work closely with our users over the past couple of years to develop and enhance our product range in line with their transport stream requirements”, Blatchford added. “We very much look forward to the opportunity of meeting again face-to-face at NAB 2022”.  

Mo-Sys And VFX World Partner To Offer Virtual Production Solutions

Mo-Sys Engineering, a world leader in virtual production, remote production, and image robotics, has formed a powerful new partnership with VFX World (https://vfxworld.co.uk/), a leader in on-set VFX solutions for cinematic productions.

Mo-Sys brings to the partnership a team of pioneering innovators with over 25 years' experience of developing virtual production technology, and who today are at the forefront of LED volume innovation. VFX World brings extensive on-set VFX experience from major cinematic productions, blending traditional green/blue screen know-how with the latest in LED volume innovation. Together the two companies present a powerful combination of expertise and knowledge.

At the BSC Expo (7 – 9 April, Battersea Evolution London, stand 158) on the VFX World stand, both companies will show the core components of LED virtual production, and will detail new developments specifically aimed at cinematic LED virtual production.

The stand will feature a ROE Diamond 2.6 LED wall, Brompton SX40 processor, with Mo-Sys providing camera tracking using its widely recognised StarTracker system, and real-time virtual graphics using the Mo-Sys VP Pro XR LED content server.

“Combining experienced VFX onset crews with products from the leading innovator in virtual production technology today, represents a powerful resource for productions shooting VFX heavy content,” said Jem Morton, Director of VFX World.

“We are very excited to be partnering with movie specialist VFX World,” said Michael Geissler, CEO of Mo-Sys. “Together we are far ahead of other offerings in this field, with unique features offering Cinematographers greater creative freedom and improved virtual production imagery.”

The first generation of LED virtual production solutions utilized primarily live events technology, because that was what was available at the time. Mo-Sys' VP Pro XR LED content server and StarTracker camera tracking system, along with higher quality LED tiles and LED processors, represent a technically superior approach to cinematic LED virtual production, providing increased fidelity and smarter workflows.

At BSC Expo, VFX World will be detailing two Mo-Sys patented technologies. The first is Cinematic XR Focus, a method of pulling focus from talent to virtual objects positioned behind the plane of the LED volume. The second is a unique solution for increasing the composite image quality from a real-time VFX production.

As well as the joint presentation on stand 158, Mo-Sys will also have its own stand, E15, where it will focus on its new G30 heavy-duty gyro-stabilized remote head. Engineered for high quality broadcast and movie work, it features an ultra-stiff frame and oversized high torque motors for precision movement and superior image stabilization.

For virtual production applications the G30 also includes built-in positional encoders, making it fast to set up, intuitive to operate and precise in tracking and stabilization.

GB Labs Marshals Storage For British Army

GB Labs, innovators of powerful and intelligent storage solutions, has provided a powerful new NAS infrastructure, installed at the British Army HQ in Andover by GB Labs distributor AGX Holdings Ltd. (www.agxuk.com). The FastNAS installation supplements an existing GB Labs storage network at the site, extending the capacity, agility and flexibility.

The new storage network is used by the Army photographic team: it runs alongside an existing FastNAS cluster used by the Army design team. The fully redundant GB Labs installation provides highly secure storage for both work in progress and archive, supporting large numbers of concurrent users.

FastNAS is built on three key technologies from GB Labs: the Velocity RAID engine controls and manages the disk array; Nitro the acceleration tool which provides a huge speed boost; and Blueshift, which enables the specialist architecture of FastNAS to sit on a conventional network and deliver to clients over standard protocols. This is vital in this implementation, as it allows the Army teams to connect their preferred design and image processing software to the powerful store and archive.

The GB Labs installation at Andover includes three fully mirrored 64 TB disk arrays, connected over a 10 gigabit ethernet network. The main FN16 production server delivers sustained data rates of 2.5 gigabytes a second with the backup and archive server running at 2.0 gigabytes a second.

“FastNAS is a unique product, which combines dedicated hardware and industry-leading software to manage in detail the process of reading and writing large amounts of data to disk,” said Dominic Harland, CEO/CTO of GB Labs. “This ensures fast, consistent and extremely reliable storage for large data files and large numbers of users. This project has significantly upgraded the agility, as well as the capacity, supporting the vital work of these two critical parts of the British Army, and we are pleased to have been able to work with them to achieve their goals.”

The new storage system for the photographic team was delivered and installed in January 2022.

Mo-Sys Innovation Solves Multi-Camera Switching For LED Volumes at NAB Show 2022

Mo-Sys Engineering, a world leader in virtual production (VP), remote production, and image robotics, today announced that its award-winning cinematic content server for LED volumes, VP Pro XR has been further improved to incorporate seamless multi-camera switching. The upgrade fully orchestrates multi-camera switching to overcome the typical 5-6 frame refresh delay experienced by all LED volumes when switching between cameras.

The company introduced VP Pro XR, the industry’s first cinematic LED content server solution, ahead of NAB 2021 where it picked up the prestigious Product of The Year award. Designed specifically for use with LED volumes, with or without set extensions, VP Pro XR delivers cinematic standards for LED virtual production.

“Switching between multiple cameras pointing at an LED volume presents a challenge” explained Michael Geissler, CEO of Mo-Sys. “While the camera outputs can be switched in 1 frame, the virtual scene displayed on the LED volume typically take 5-6 frames to update. This means on every camera switch there will be 5-6 frames of the previous camera’s virtual scene displayed on the LED volume, before it updates with the correct perspective view for the new camera. Effectively you get a background flash on every camera switch, which is unusable in production.”

With a new version of software for VP Pro XR, and the addition of a simple Black Magic Design video switcher, VP Pro XR will now orchestrate the delay between the operator switching between cameras, and the LED volume updating with the correct perspective view of the live camera. Importantly, it will do this at up to the full UHD4K resolution of the LED processor input, whereas previous workarounds would reduce the resolution of the content to HD to achieve the same outcome.

“Full resolution multi-cam switching is yet another unique feature of VP Pro XR joining Cinematic XR Focus for pulling focus between real and virtual elements, and NearTime for solving real-time VFX graphics quality,” concluded Geissler. “This follows on from the Cinematic XR objectives originally outlined when we launched our LED content server system last year.”

Mo-Sys Multi-Cam switching for VP Pro XR is available now. For more information visit www.mo-sys.com, alternatively contact the Mo-Sys sales team on Tel: +44 208 858 3205 (EMEA & APAC) or +1 424 374 4011 (The Americas) or email .

See the Mo-Sys Multi-Cam in action in this video: https://youtu.be/RcHv4Ok34VE

Ortana Media Group Fully Acquired by Iyuno-SDI

Ortana Media Group (“Ortana”), leading asset management, orchestration and automation solutions provider has been 100% acquired by Iyuno-SDI, a global localisation and media services partner to the world's leading content producers and distributors. This acquisition comes shortly after Iyuno-SDI announced its strategic investment in Ortana in October 2021.

Ortana will operate as a wholly independent subsidiary company of Iyuno-SDI and will continue to offer its full range of Cubix based SaaS and managed service solutions to their existing customers, new customers, technical and channel partners.

Iyuno-SDI will accelerate their deployment of Ortana’s Cubix platform to centralise its global media asset management, workflow automation and tool integration across its 67 facilities worldwide. This will provide the backbone of the company’s extensive expansion of media and distribution services allowing Iyuno-SDI to manage increased demands for end-to-end localisation services.

James Gibson will remain Chief Executive Officer of Ortana and additionally take on the position of VP Product and Architecture for Iyuno-SDI. James will report to Iyuno-SDI Chief Information Officer, Allan Dembry.

“We are delighted to have Ortana and James Gibson join the Iyuno-SDI Group. He has clearly demonstrated an industry-leading approach to workflow automation and media asset management,” said Allan Dembry, CIO of Iyuno-SDI.

“I could not be happier to join the Iyuno-SDI Group. The combination of Iyuno-SDI's depth of scale, global reach and truly talented people with Ortana’s technology and solutions will make us the clear choice for businesses in need of localisation and media management solutions,” said James Gibson, CEO Ortana.

As a result of the acquisition, Fraser Jardine will be promoted to Managing Director of Ortana Media Group. Jardine will continue to focus on the company's strategic initiatives whilst remaining actively involved in the business's commercial development.

"After a long association with Ortana, it's incredibly exciting to be a part of this significant new chapter in the company's history. I'm delighted to now be taking on this role as Managing Director and to lead our highly motivated team as we continue to expand the company globally," says Fraser Jardine, Ortana Media Group Managing Director.

The company will continue its expansion of sales, engineering, and support teams that has seen the company nearly double its skilled staff headcount in key departments.

Intinor Demonstrates Raft Of New Capabilities At NAB Show 2022 Including Ultra-Low Latency

Intinor, Sweden’s leading developer of products and solutions for high-quality video over internet, will give visitors to NAB Show 2022 a look at its latest capabilities, including its ultra-low latency feature, synchronized streams, and full support for SRT/RIST along with Bifrost, to ensure multivendor interoperability. As a participant in the new Future of Delivery zone in the West Hall, Intinor will also demonstrate how its solutions can deliver greater efficiency to remote production and remote commentary workflows.

The latest “ultra-low latency” feature for Intinor’s Direkt series delivers less than half a second end-to-end for complex contribution links. Customers benefit from latencies almost as low as WebRTC (for example Zoom), but with zero compromise on the full broadcast quality audio and video the audience demands. Using Direkt, two-way interviews are made easier than ever, while the issue of people talking over each other has been eliminated altogether. Broadcasters now have a plug-and-play solution to support remote production without compromising operational flexibility or on-screen quality.

A strong advocate of multivendor interoperability and now a member of RIST Forum, Intinor will be showing how it supports multiple open source transport protocols – whether that is SRT, RIST or its own Bifrost Reliable Transport (Bifrost™). Optimized for live video via public internet, BRT combines adaptive bitrate streaming with error correction and network bonding (fixed internet and cellular) offering redundancy for internet connections with the highest possible robustness to ensure streams are delivered without a single point of failure.

As remote production adoption ramps up, so does the importance of stream synchronization. With a fixed end-to-end delay on multiple encoders from different cameras, Intinor allows customers to gain exact frame sync between the cameras on the receiver. Whether undertaking REMI with a single unit with multiple SDI inputs, or multiple units, Intinor ensures the workflow runs smoothly.

Intinor is also adding full support for AES67 to its intercom solution, planned for release in April 2022, which will further simplify remote production and remote commentary workflows.

“Our Direkt series has the power and flexibility to send video streams to receivers from multiple vendors – as well as our own. We are looking forward to sharing the latest enhancements and showing customers exactly what they can achieve with our solutions at NAB Show 2022,” commented Intinor’s Regional sales manager, Daniel Lundstedt. “We are also excited to return to engaging with customers and partners face to face after so long.”

Intinor’s Daniel Lundstedt, regional sales manager will deliver a session on interoperability in the CMIP Presentation Theater (W11300) on Sunday April 24 at 4pm.

GB Labs Unveils Powerful Enhancements For HyperSpace With The Launch Of Generation 3 At NAB Show 2022

GB Labs will give visitors to NAB Show 2022 a first look at HyperSpace Generation 3, the latest iteration of its rack-based SSD accelerator. Now delivering double the performance and an exponential increase in flexibility compared to the previous version, HyperSpace gives users access to the fastest data rates on the market when combined with GB Labs SPACE and SPACE+.

Workflows have changed significantly since the last version of HyperSpace was developed, with the increased need for flexible and remote working production creating much larger throughput highs and lows through different periods during the day and week. Creative teams are now more geographically diverse and access data through a variety of ways – on-premise as well as via hybrid or cloud-based platforms. This significantly increases random access resulting in ‘peaky’ demand that other central storage fails to deliver, leading to compromised performance and workflows. With HyperSpace Generation 3, GB Labs delivers more robust, faster and smarter algorithms that meet these shifting real-world needs.

HyperSpace Generation 3 delivers a significant uptick in performance compared to previous versions. The combination of this new technology with GB Labs’ SPACE or SPACE+ gives creative teams exceptional performance of up to 9GB/s for simultaneous read and write tasks.

Now shipping, HyperSpace Generation 3 eliminates the need for customers to install additional racks of storage to support ‘peaky’ usage. Instead, this GB Labs solution delivers storage enhancements without increasing the environmental impact in an additional 1RU. HyperSpace Generation 3 can satisfy the needs of even the busiest facility, regardless of whether creative teams are working on site, or accessing data via hybrid or cloud-based workflows. Together with SPACE, HyperSpace Generation 3 delivers the equivalent performance of numerous spinning disk drives and provides a three to ten times reduction in power consumption. HyperSpace Generation 3 provides the best-in-market for not only performance, but also power consumption, low support costs and incredible flexibility.

Dominic Harland, CEO and CTO, GB Labs commented: “Today’s production and post production workflows are becoming increasingly complex, and facilities must manage users on site, working remotely and via cloud platforms. While our customers’ operations have evolved, what has not changed is the need for zero downtime or compromises to the seamless running of a workflow. This means the demands on storage systems have drastically increased; add in the growing demand for collaborative, remote and home working and the strain on shared storage soon mounts up and places a significant load on available bandwidth. HyperSpace Generation 3 not only supercharges the performance of customers’ existing SPACE products – a game-changer, it also provides a more sustainable solution for a true, agile working environment and a flexible future.”

GB Labs launches HyperSpace Generation 3 and showcases FastNAS Generation 2 and Unify Hub at NAB 2022

GB Labs will launch HyperSpace Generation 3 at NAB Show 2022, bringing significant enhancements to performance, functionality and environmental impact. The latest version of FastNAS (Generation 2), along with the new Unify Hub data management system, will make their NAB debut and visitors to the show will also have access to a range of GB Labs’ other intelligent storage technology such as Cloak DR, Mosaic and the latest CORE.4. GB Labs will highlight its ability to support on-premise, cloud-based and hybrid workflows.

The new HyperSpace Generation 3 delivers double the performance of the previous version, giving users access to the fastest data rates on the market when combined with GB Labs SPACE and SPACE+. GB Labs has taken its deep understanding of production workflows to create intelligent software and hardware enhancements to the underlying HyperSpace engine. The addition of new, predictive capability brings greater efficiency to fast-paced and often chaotic environments.

Launched earlier this year and making its debut at NAB is FastNAS Generation 2, which now delivers a 1000% boost in capability, with up to 4GBytes/sec real deliverable network performance. The system is up to ten times as quick for mixed tasks compared to the previous generation, delivering massive efficiencies. Today’s workflows typically require an effective multi-tasking storage with fast simultaneous read and write data rates and FastNAS Generation 2 easily meets these needs.

Visitors to the show will be able to see the new Unify Hub platform in action for the first time since its launch in September 2021. Designed for scenarios that combine on-premise and cloud content, this solution is available as a standalone solution or as a software upgrade to existing GB Labs appliances. Unify Hub empowers remote production while maintaining data integrity and security, managing storage – on site or in the cloud, from GB Labs or from other vendors – to create an ultra-productive environment which is simple and fast.

Dominic Harland, CEO and CTO, GB Labs commented: “At GB Labs we are driven by creating solutions that support the real-world needs of our customers, allowing them to focus on the job of creating amazing content. We are excited to show our latest innovations to customers in person at NAB Show after a long hiatus. We are also delighted to be working in close collaboration with technology partners such as Wasabi and Archiware to give customers even better performance across their creative workflows.”

FOR-A delivers Charisma’s First post-COVID Studio

Charisma Group is one of the largest and most successful production companies in the Middle East. Its success meant that it needed to add studio capacity quickly. Last March they chose an end-to-end system from FOR-A

Charisma has production capabilities across the Middle East, and works with international broadcasters like NBC Universal, Warner Brothers, ViacomCBS. As the COVID lockdown eased, the company needed to ramp up productions very quickly, and looked to expand. 

It elected to build a new facility in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to cope with the unprecedented demand for entertainment and events. Since the studios had to go live quickly, and the project had limited manpower, Charisma needed a strong, trusted, local technology partner. Charisma brought in Ideas Concepts as a system integrator who has experience in fast-track project delivery. 

“Internally we went through a detailed exercise to explore the best possible options,” said Aiman Al-Ziyoud, CEO of Charisma Group. “The timescale was the most challenging factor we faced. Although we had numerous dealings with all the industry’s top players, we opted for a solution from FOR-A.” 

The production system installed at the new Charisma facility includes the FOR-A HVS-2000 production switcher, MFR-3000 router, FA-9600 multi-purpose audio and video processor, ClassX dual channel graphics generator and InSight production servers. FOR-A also provided monitors and sync pulse generators from LEADER.   

“Through detailed discussions with the Charisma team, we understood their clear vision of what they want to achieve now and how they will expand it in the future, including the prospect of scaling to 4k Ultra HD” said Khalid Sweidan, senior sales manager of FOR-A in the Middle East. “As a result, we were able to realise their vision with a system that guarantees efficiency, reliability, time savings and exceptional quality.” 

FOR-A, Ideas Concept and Charisma engineers worked collaboratively on installation, commissioning and training. The system was completed within 60 days and went live on 1 September 2021. Since then, the studio is in use for as much as 12 hours a day to meet the ever-growing demand for Charisma-produced content from the major broadcasters in the region, including MBC, Saudi Broadcast Authority (SBA), Rotana and Dubai Media Inc. 

“It has been a great pleasure to work with the Charisma team in Saudi Arabia during these challenging times,” said Khalid Sweidan. “They have been extremely co-operative before, during and after the installation. We are all proud of our work on this remarkable production facility, delivered in a very tight timeframe.”

Monumental Sports & Entertainment Raise Their Game with New Live Production Capabilities Delivered by FOR-A

FOR-A Corporation played a key role in the $15 million dollar A/V upgrade of Washington, D.C.’s Capital One Arena. The extensive improvements by owner Monumental Sports & Entertainment (MSE) focus on technological enhancements to the in-arena viewing experience for fans of professional sports teams NBA Wizards and NHL Capitals, as well as college basketball, including the Georgetown Hoyas plus the NCAA, ACC and Big Ten tournaments. 
 
The arena’s video displays combine to deliver almost 20,000 square feet of 4K UHD quality video, greatly contributing to the storytelling process of live sports coverage. The centrepiece of the in-arena fan experience is the new centre-hung scoreboard. It features a 360-degree continuous screen with 4K UHD video across eight distinct display areas. Four two-sided, curved video screens installed in the corners of the arena give even the fans in the upper levels access to stats, out-of-town scores, replays, and live action video. 
 
Behind the scenes, it requires an integrated system of video production switchers, multi-viewers, servers, keyers, recorders, character generators and slow-motion replay systems to create the monumental memories MSE demands for the Capital One Arena. 
 
In planning for their video production upgrades, MSE compared numerous systems for features, price, functionality, and reliability, as well as the customer service vital to ensure seamless entertainment up on the big screens. “I had lengthy experience with FOR-A systems at previous employers,” said Ryan Dillenbeck, Chief Broadcast Engineer at Capital One Arena, “and it’s always been a pleasure working with their reps. They have the answers I need, are quick to respond, and the equipment is always top notch and affordable.” 
 
The centrepiece of the FOR-A system is the HVS-2000 Production Switcher. With its patented MELite technology, the two M/E switcher offers six M/E performance. With a three M/E HVS-3320 panel, the switcher is expandable up to 48 inputs/18 outputs or 40 inputs/22 outputs. “It’s the primary switcher for our centre-hung scoreboard, and has expanded our keying capability and ability to easily send more feeds to more places,” said Dillenbeck. “It also has more source inputs than our previous switcher, and easy macros let us go rapidly from one in-game element to another. The result is more complex productions delivered to more screens within the building, which the fans really enjoy.” 
 
After an exhaustive, one-month testing period, the MSE video production team chose an Envivo Replay System from Variant Systems Group where its functionality, ease of use, and price point sealed the deal. This slow-motion replay system provides up to six SDI inputs and two SDI outputs, for more replay channels and more camera angles. “It was originally connected to our primary control system as a second replay system, but we’re using it as a primary now since its ability to output a highlights package at the end of the night is so much faster,” said Dillenbeck. “It has quick and easy social media plugins that make it easy to push clips to the web. The integrated tools let us publish clips, playlists or stills with branding. That it’s easy to set up and easy to learn for anyone with just basic computer skills was a huge plus.” 
 
Located in the arena’s primary control room, the MV-3240 External Multiviewer provides custom multi-view windows for producers, directors, and team coaches, and integrates easily into the switcher’s tally system. “The crop/resize feature for creating many different MV layouts for the various shows is a huge plus,” said Dillenbeck. “And the available outputs and tallys allow me to use legacy equipment and expand the system seamlessly.” 
 
The Insight Production Server lets Dillenbeck’s team record and play back packages and pre-production elements with ease. “It accepts a wide variety of file formats, so we are not constantly going back to the editors and content providers for new transcodes. Things just work seamlessly on the fly.” 
 
Dillenbeck chose the LTR-200HS7 Linear Tape Recorder/Player, a multi-format LTO-7 archiving recorder with six TB of internal storage for the arena’s archiving and exchange of recorded materials. “It lets us store whole seasons and more onto one compact, long-term archival storage tape. Each sport has its own tape, which holds two seasons, freeing up much sought-after real estate in the building. The video editors like that it works like a VTR deck, alone and without any computers or software, and has an easy interface whenever they need to get videos from the tape to the edit suite.” 
 
As one of the busiest sports venues in the U.S., Capital One Arena’s video team makes every seat in the “front row,” with an in-arena experience that incorporates instant replays, live action video, stats and out-of-town scores playing on screens throughout the facility. In addition to instantly accessing the ideal video, audio, or graphic element to run after a dramatic three-point shot wins the game, the arena enjoys the ability to push assets to social media. Dillenbeck said, “Fan love the more complex productions even if they don’t know what goes into creating that complexity.” With the switchers, multi-viewers, servers, keyers, recorders, character generators and slow-motion replay systems that MSE has purchased from FOR-A, they’re enjoying not just industry-best features and functionality, but “great value, 100% reliability and amazing customer service” that delivers a fan experience that is second to none.

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