AIMS Welcomes Its 100th Member, National TeleConsultants

NTC provides strategic technology and operations consulting, engineering design, software development, and systems integration to the media and entertainment industry. Digital media companies, film and television production studios, broadcast and cable networks, and multichannel video programming distributors rely on NTC’s industry expertise to select, customize, develop, and deploy innovative advanced technology solutions.

“It’s gratifying to see that the industry believes so enthusiastically in the AIMS mission that we’ve grown to be 100 members strong,” said Michael Cronk, AIMS board chair. “The engagement and collaboration with our membership has given AIMS a strong voice at a critical juncture in our industry.”

AIMS members represent the lion’s share of the industry in terms of workflow and operations impacted by IP — all of whom agree that the AIMS roadmap is the best way to achieve a common IP workflow. That roadmap, which incorporates the work of standards and specifications bodies such as AES, AMWA, SMPTE, and VSF, has found wide acceptance throughout the industry.

Streamteam picks Nevion Virtuoso to help deliver live coverage of Finnish Elite ice-hockey league

Nevion, the award-winning provider of virtualized media production solutions, announced today that technical broadcast production service provider Streamteam Nordic Oy, has deployed Nevion Virtuoso to help the IP-based remote production (aka REMI in North America) of the Finnish Elite ice-hockey league, SM-liiga. Nevion’s flagship software defined media nodes are used to transport feeds in real-time from the ice-hockey arenas across the country to the central production facility in Helsinki. Nevion also provided professional services for the network architecture design for the project, as well as for the deployment.

Streamteam was commissioned in December 2017 to produce the coverage for the games by telecom service provider Telia, which acquired the rights for the ice-hockey league in Finland for six years starting with the 2018-2019 season. Streamteam proposed to use remote production for the games, which dramatically decreases the amount of equipment and number of staff needed on location, thereby reducing costs and optimizing the use of production resources.

Streamteam selected Broadcast Solutions to provide the infrastructure for this. The solution went live in time for the start of the hockey season, on September 14, 2018.

On every match day, seven games take place simultaneously across the country. Telia is broadcasting every game on Telia TV, with IPTV and media box, on cable TV, and on mobile, tablet and PC.

The Nevion Virtuosos are used to transport the video feeds from each of the venues to the central production facility, over 10GbE fiber links. For the two highest profile games, the production involves one UHD/4K and fourteen 3G-HD feeds, as well as two return feeds. For the other five games, one UHD/4K, nine 3G-HD and two return feeds are used. Given the number of feeds and the bandwidth available, the Nevion Virtuosos use JPEG 2000 encoding for all the signals. The units are also used to provide SMPTE 2022-7 SIPS (Seamless IP Protection Switching configuration) dual path transport protection.

Roni Kianta, Chief Production Officer, Streamteam says: “The plan to remote-produce all seven games simultaneously on every match day was very ambitious and technically challenging. In particular, it required a comparatively large number of video feeds to be transported reliably from the venues in real-time. The Nevion Virtuosos have been up to the task though.”

Nevion-SZ2A3400_Photo_PasiSalminen_com

Andreas Dyballa, System Architect, Broadcast Solutions adds: ”Picking the right products was obviously crucial, but like in all such projects, the key to success has been the people involved. In this case, we have had an excellent collaboration between Streamteam, Broadcast Solutions and Nevion’s professional services. In particular, Nevion’s expertise in media network architecture, design and deployment greatly contributed to the positive outcome of project.”

Nevion-A82I2728_Photo_PasiSalminen_com

Hans Hasselbach, Chief Commercial Officer, Nevion concludes: “There is a real momentum across the world behind the concept of remote production for live sports, for both economic and practical reasons. We are very proud to have demonstrated once again that Nevion’s products and services are up to the challenge of delivering the transport infrastructure that is needed to make remote production a reality.”

More info

Barix Redundix Overcomes Audio-Impacting Internet Connectivity Issues for IP-Based STL at Vectis Radio

Serving as “the island’s voice” for the Isle of Wight off the south coast of England, Vectis Radio delivers news, weather forecasts and community programming about the local economy and culture. Launched originally as an Internet-only radio stream in 2009, the station went live with their first FM broadcast on 104.6 late last year. Faced with infrastructure challenges in linking their studio to their uniquely-situated 25W transmitter, Vectis Radio bolstered the Barix audio encoder and decoder in its STL workflow with the new Barix Redundix IP audio resiliency solution.

“Our transmitter site is a rented space at a golf club on top of a hill basically in the middle of nowhere, while our studio is almost at sea level,” explained Kelvin Currie, director, Vectis Radio CIC. “We could not use a direct microwave link, as part of the hill is in the way. As dedicated private circuits were cost-prohibitive, we chose an Internet-based approach. The Barix Instreamer at our studio and Exstreamer at our transmitter site worked great right away, but I can’t say the same for the Internet connectivity between them.”

Barix_Redundix_Exstreamer_Vectis_RadioThe reliable Internet Service Provider (ISP) Vectis Radio uses at its studio could not provide a high-speed connection at the transmitter location, which is far from any main communications highways. The local ISP near the transmission site put in a short microwave link to the transmitter, but like any such link, it is subject to issues like packet loss and rain fade. As a result, the station’s on-air signal initially suffered from sporadic, unpredictable audio glitches.

Working with Barix support and Andrew Nordbruch, managing director of local IT consultancy Wight Computers Ltd., Currie identified the cause of the glitches as significant, irregular packet loss on the Internet link.

“The packet loss varies considerably for no good reason,” he said. “Weather does play a factor, but we’ll sometimes experience a great amount of loss even in clear conditions. The problem was so erratic that the ISPs were unable to resolve it for us.”

Barix_Redundix_HardwareBarix’s new Redundix product proved to be the ideal solution for Vectis Radio’s problem. Redundix is designed to avoid such audible glitches by repairing lost RTP packets in the audio stream using temporal redundancy on a single network link, by sending a redundant stream over a second path, or through a combination of both methods.

With just one Internet connection to the transmitter, Vectis Radio chose the time-redundant approach. A Redundix unit at the studio sends the 128Kbps, MP3-encoded RTP stream from the Instreamer encoder twice, once with a time delay; the second Redundix unit at the transmitter site effectively merges the two into a single “healed” stream. Working together, Currie and Nordbruch determined the optimal delay for their needs to be 800ms – a small latency that the station can happily live with to ensure stable, high-quality delivery.

“The Redundix units work well and clean up the transmission considerably,” said Currie. “Our packet loss is severe enough that we still get glitches on occasion, but Redundix has eliminated almost all of them and the glitches are significantly shorter too, to the point that most listeners won’t even detect them. At some point in the future we may add a second link to the transmitter site as a backup and enable Redundix’s path-based redundancy as well, which I expect would eliminate the few tiny remaining glitches.”

Currie notes that the Redundix user interface provides a lot of valuable information about the station’s network connectivity, and praises the convenience of being able to access the Barix Instreamer, Exstreamer and Redundix units through web-based interfaces for remote troubleshooting. However, most important to him is the impact that Redundix has had on his audience’s radio experience.

“Redundix has helped us overcome our biggest issue, minimizing the effects of network packet loss and thus improving our audio quality for our listeners,” he concluded.

 

More info

TNDV Amplifies Value of Social Media Broadcast Distribution for Harley-Davidson’s 115th Anniversary Celebration

To capture the excitement of its 115th anniversary celebration during the 2018 Labor Day Weekend, iconic motorcycle brand Harley-Davidson asked Nashville-based TNDV to provide facilities for live HD coverage of three motorcycle races around Milwaukee within an intensive, fast-paced 18-hour window.

Throughout the weekend, thousands of motorcycles filled the streets, and spectators gathered at three venues to watch the Flat Out Friday, Hill Climb, and Beach Brawl race events on venue Jumbotrons. The events were also produced for distribution over Facebook Live.

TNDV served as technical producer, managing two of the company’s high-end HD mobile units and TV crews, and worked closely with sports specialist Ohlmeyer-Kussero Group, which produced all three races. For the Hill Climb and Beach Brawl events, TNDV managed, crewed and operated the venue AV systems, including five large-scale GoVision LED walls and public address (PA) systems.

At the start of each event, TNDV sent a main and back-up program feed to Switchboard Live, a cloud-based content distribution service. Switchboard Live’s on-site technicians handled live encoding and streaming of the shows to more than 700 Facebook pages simultaneously, including sites associated with Harley-Davidson, their dealers, and fan clubs worldwide, making it appear as though the live events were originating from each of these pages. The service also provides in-depth reporting on delivery performance, audience reach and more.

“Harley-Davidson is an enterprise, and their objective was to extend the reach of their content to their global deal network, athletes, partners and other sponsors to a variety of consumer-facing, video sharing platforms,” said Jayson Fuhlbruck, Growth and Partnerships for Switchboard Live. “Our job was to provide the scale and reach they desired to connect their social media destinations, and activate their audiences wherever they were located. Working with TNDV, we demonstrated an exceptionally strong ROI compared to traditional broadcast delivery that really defines a new direction for the distribution of corporate and entertainment events.”

TNDV_Truck_ProductionControl

“This entire project involved coordinating a myriad of time-sensitive activities, tasks and resources at each production venue to flawlessly deliver the three multi-hour, action-packed live shows one after another,” said Nic Dugger, TNDV Owner and President. “We brought two of our most nimble trucks, Elevation and Inspiration, for rapid deployment in very tight spaces. Getting these trucks loaded and unloaded quickly and efficiently was crucial to staying on schedule during this challenging, two-day event. Producer/director Chris Ohlmeyer assembled an outstanding team of professionals to make the shows happen.”

Flat Out Friday

The first of the three events, “Flat Out Friday,” pitted motorcyclists “bar to bar” for a competitive, high-speed race around a flat, oval race track within the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena, Friday, August 31 from 8-11pm. While this is not an official Harley-Davidson event, the company has sponsored it—and held the broadcast rights to it—for the past few years as part of its celebratory anniversary weekend. TNDV deployed Elevation, one of its custom HD mobile units, for this special indoor circle track event.

Hill Climb

The very next morning, it was off to Little Switzerland, a ski resort 45 minutes north of Milwaukee, which, in the summertime, serves as a mecca for bikers that want to ride on the grass and dirt-covered slopes. For this three-hour, vertical Hill Climb Race at 9am on Saturday, September 1, TNDV used Inspiration, another of its capable mobile units, to produce content of the bikers riding up one side of the mountain and down the other to the finish line.

Beach Brawl

While the Hill Climb was underway, another TNDV crew was packing up all the gear needed for the Harley-Davidson Beach Brawl into Elevation, and drove it to Bradford Beach on the Lake Michigan shoreline to set-up in time for its 1pm start. This race featured motorcycles outfitted with specialized tires that could get traction on sand.

Fan Engagement

At each event, TNDV managed the playback of pre-produced video packages during the races, live reporters on the sidelines, and talent—including play by play and color announcers—sitting on small sets close to the action. Technical crews and talent used David Clark headsets to hear each other over the roar of the bikes and spectators. This ambience was also captured by specialized microphones to add excitement to the shows.

Working with Karmarush, a sports technology firm, TNDV also incorporated real-time rider tracking and live graphics. Karmarush’s workflow included active RFID chips from PrimeTime Timing, which acquired and converted real-time data for integration into custom-built templates for broadcast-quality graphics. This specialized telemetrics technology tracked which biker was in which position at any given time, with data updated every lap. These real-time metrics also enhanced on-screen graphics with leader boards throughout the races.

“Bringing live, real-time data to the screen requires the commitment of everyone involved, from the race director to the TNDV production team and others such as Karmarush in between,” said Dipen D. Shah, Owner, Karmarush. “This coordination, along with our custom results platform, allowed Karmarush to enhance the viewer experience with up-to-date start lists, live lap-by-lap standings, and real-time results for fans at the venue, at home, or on the move.”

TNDV_Hitachi_FlatOutFriday

The TNDV Infrastructure

TNDV’s Elevation and Inspiration trucks provided ample seating for crews along with top-flight, broadcast-quality production gear. The technical infrastructure included Hitachi HD-1200 broadcast cameras, Ross Vision production switchers, Imagine Communications Platinum routers, Abekas Mira slo-mo instant replay systems, and various graphics systems to produce uncompromised HD quality broadcasts.

Single-mode fiber was deployed across all three locations, using MultiDyne SMPTE-HUT transceivers to carry camera feeds over long distances; and Sescom SES-FA2BAL-BD extenders to move audio to the PA systems. TNDV also integrated special technologies for challenging elements of the live production, including the use of Marshall Electronics CV343-CSB cameras to capture motorcycles in areas where manned cameras were a safety concern.

“The best thing about working with TNDV is the positive attitude and professionalism they bring,” said Fuhlbruck. “When you show up to a site, they already have everything finalized from a production standpoint. They bring Grade A talent, broadcast-quality workflows and infrastructure, and a can-do approach that demonstrates their flexibility and commitment.”

TNDV_BeachBrawl_Race

More info