TNDV: Television Follows Bluegrass Underground to New Venue for Season Nine

TNDV: Television returns as the exclusive mobile production service provider for Bluegrass Underground’s ninth season, as the nationally syndicated PBS program moves to its new venue at the base of Monteagle Mountain. Located 80 miles outside of Nashville, the new venue, known as The Caverns, provides TNDV with a permanent and efficient infrastructure to optimize production capabilities, labor and costs.

For the past six seasons, TNDV has provided all equipment and technical crew to support video and audio production services from Cumberland Caverns, a challenging location that lacked a permanent infrastructure. Like the previous venue, The Caverns is a naturally occurring underground cave structure located well below sea level. The new venue removes the need to set up and tear down for each performance thanks to a fixed infrastructure built to support video, audio and lighting systems. The Caverns also provides a permanent power infrastructure that eliminates generators and expensive fuel costs.

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“We have permanently installed single-mode fiber, which eliminates the labor of running nearly 1,000 feet of cable from the underground facility to our truck parked outside the cave for each performance,” said Nic Dugger, President and Owner, TNDV: Television. “And with permanent high-voltage power onsite, we no longer need to bring main and backup generators that burn gallons of diesel fuel. We simply run our heavy-duty power cable to a disconnect box, power up the truck, and we’re ready to shoot.”

TNDV will continue to bring its Aspiration truck to Bluegrass Underground performances, which this season includes Steve Earle, The Devil Makes Three and Keb’ Mo’ among other globally-recognized musicians. The TNDV team will use up to eight Hitachi SK-HD1200 cameras for native 1080p content acquisition, and has upgraded video production capabilities on the truck with a Grass Valley Kayenne 4 M/E switcher. Aja KiPro recorders preserve and protect all video content, which TNDV sends to external post-production services following color correction.

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Audio production infrastructure includes a Soundcraft Vi3000 mixer and ProTools multitrack recording, with Sound Devices Pix270 recorders for redundancy – just one of several protective measures TNDV has built into the infrastructure.

“We opted for two fibers to move audio from the stage from the truck, which provides a main and backup transport stream for 64 channels of uncompressed audio,” said Dugger. “We’re using these the same strategy to move video feeds not only to the truck but to other positions around the stage, including the lighting director’s desk and backstage monitors. The overall environment inside The Caverns is far more production-friendly, and provides with a much greater level of freedom and flexibility.”

Season Nine production is currently underway, with TNDV capturing performances well into May. Bluegrass Underground currently airs on more than 300 TV stations in the national PBS system as well as a large number of radio stations, with a flagship weekly broadcast on legendary Nashville station WSM(AM), home of The Grand Ole Opry (the world’s longest running radio program).

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Cablecast Community Media Amplifies Versatility and Cost Savings with Launch of Next-Generation Video Servers

Tightrope Media Systems today announced the new Cablecast VIO family, the latest generation of multi-format video servers for the highly-acclaimed Cablecast Community Media platform. First previewed at the 2019 NAB Show earlier this month, the new servers expand on the versatility, efficiency and cost-effectiveness of preceding models by consolidating more of the platform’s rich functionality into a single hardware unit and offering broader live and file-based native format support.

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Cablecast VIO provides a powerful and reliable foundation for station automation, playout, branding and multi-platform content distribution. Users can take complete control of content scheduling, publishing and playout from anywhere, on any device, through an intuitive, web-based interface. The Cablecast VIO series amplifies the Cablecast platform’s efficient workflow integration by enabling more of its software options to run together on just one server, significantly lowering hardware costs while minimizing space, power, cooling and maintenance requirements.

Most notably, broadcasters can now operate their community bulletin boards on the same server that powers their scheduling, automation and playout. Each Cablecast VIO server can run multiple instances of Cablecast CG, the broadcast-optimized bulletin board software based on the Carousel digital signage engine.

“While Cablecast has long offered seamless workflow integration between its automation and bulletin board capabilities, customers previously deployed our bulletin board software on separate hardware,” said Steve Israelsky, President, Cablecast Community Media. “With Cablecast VIO, stations can add Cablecast CG software for each channel’s bulletin board directly within their playout and automation server, reducing both equipment and operating costs. Bringing the bulletin board software onto the same system as channel playout and on-air graphics such as live branding and crawls will also enable new software capabilities and efficiencies in the future.”

The Cablecast VIO series further minimizes hardware requirements by delivering increased channel density. The flagship Cablecast VIO 4 Plus model provides six SDI interfaces that can be configured as four outputs with two recording channels, or as three inputs and three outputs. “This is perfect for PEG broadcasters with public, education and government access offerings, as they can run all three channels and their bulletin boards on one server, significantly reducing the overall system price,” added Israelsky.

Cablecast VIO’s extensive baseband I/O is complemented by support for live, IP-based inputs. Building on the RTP stream input feature first introduced on Cablecast Flex servers, Cablecast VIO can ingest live, H.264-encoded RTP, RTMP or HLS streams without needing an external decoder or consuming an SDI interface. Users can bring in live feeds of events such as council meetings and sports from remote sites over an IP network, or pull in sources such as YouTube or Facebook Live streams for integration into their channels.

Cablecast VIO video servers also expand on the Cablecast family’s renowned multi-format playout capabilities, which enable media files encoded in a wide variety of formats to be directly played out without transcoding. New codec compatibility including VP8 and Theora combines with support for non-broadcast-standard frame rates to enable easy use of Internet-originated content. Cablecast VIO also adds space-efficient H.264 encoding for channel recording, reducing storage consumption to maximize available recording time while maintaining stellar visual quality.

Additional Cablecast VIO models offer optimized configurations for customers with lower channel requirements than the Cablecast VIO 4 Plus. Cablecast VIO Lite includes 8TB of storage and two SDI interfaces, which can be configured as two outputs or one input and one output. The Cablecast VIO 2 features the same I/O capabilities as Cablecast VIO Lite but includes from 10TB to 40TB of storage, while the Cablecast VIO 4 provides four SDI channels that can be flexibly configured as either inputs or outputs. All of the above models include the latest version of the Cablecast Broadcast Automation software, with Cablecast CG available as an option. For users without automation and playout requirements, the specialized Cablecast VIO CG model sports the same hardware as Cablecast Lite for dedicated bulletin board applications.

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Supersphere Launches Audiophile Series, Bringing Native Ambisonic Sound to Immersive Live Events

Available on Oculus Venues, the series marks the first time that live VR/360° broadcasts will offer end-to-end natively mixed ambisonic audio for primary delivery, enhancing the level of event experiences so that fans worldwide can feel even closer to the show.

“We’re thrilled to launch the Audiophile Series and bring an unmatched level of fidelity and audio quality to the world of live performance in VR and 360°,” shared Lucas Wilson, Founder and Executive Producer at Supersphere. “Since our work with Paul McCartney and Geoff Emerick years ago, we have always valued the power of live experiences and worked to deliver the highest quality productions to truly transport fans. Now with end-to-end live streaming of ambisonic audio, we are raising the bar for what fans can expect from an immersive live stream.”

The Audiophile Series will kick off in New Orleans in May with three shows: The Revivalists (at the Fillmore on May 2), Preservation Hall’s 14th annual Midnight Preserves show (May 3), and Galactic (at Tipitina’s on May 4). Supersphere is partnering with leading Nashville-based studio TNDV, which has produced major live events from The Final Four to the CMA Awards, and Grammy Award-winning audio engineer Mills Logan, to capture the New Orleans shows.

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“Ambisonic primary delivery helps complete the VR/360° production package,” said TNDV owner Nic Dugger. “Along with the audio engineering team from TNDV, Supersphere has built a sonic experience with a selection of upcoming performances from historic venues that transport listeners into the middle of the audience, from the comfort of their own home.”

Supersphere has continually broken new ground in immersive live streaming, covering concerts, esports tournaments, sporting events, and more with custom end-to-end workflows. The company has been a trusted production partner of Oculus since the launch of Venues, and partnered with Oculus at last year’s OC5 Conference to live stream the keynotes and additional content in Venues.

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MultiDyne Reduces Fiber-Optic Investment for Videoworks While Improving Performance

MultiDyne Fiber Optic Solutions’ global reputation for problem-solving has taken on new meaning for the team at Videoworks, a full-service, California-based mobile production and rental house specializing in mid-sized events. The company selected MultiDyne SMPTE HUT camera transceivers to pair with its Sony fiber camera systems following performance and service challenges with its initial choice.

The switch to MultiDyne immediately solved those problems at a much lower cost, while overall optimizing performance and return on investment for long-distance fiber-topic transport. ProFlixSales, an Atlanta-based online equipment retailer specializing in video production, recommended MultiDyne after Videoworks reported ongoing signal problems with the previous solution.

“We had consistent error and warning lights on their Sony HDC1500R cameras and companion camera control units, which correlated to the transceivers in the fiber-optic infrastructure,” said Mike Porter, owner, Videoworks. “While the transceivers were technically working, the error and warning lights nonetheless were a distraction and caused alarm during live productions. There is typically a different camera operator and shader for each project.”

The vendor’s service department also required that Videoworks replace circuit boards to fix the problem. While reluctant to do so, Videoworks engineers replaced the boards, yet the problems persisted.

“We were confident that we could find a solution for our customer and Multidyne’s SMPTE HUT fit the bill perfectly,” said Shimon Hirschhorn, vice president of sales and marketing for ProFlixSales. “Not only did MultiDyne bring peace of mind by simply delivering working transceivers; they also saved our customer $260 per device. This is a huge benefit to a smaller mobile production company like Videoworks with a limited equipment budget. They intend to order additional transceivers in the near future.”

Hirschhorn points to the Pasadena Pops Summer Concert Series and the Long Beach Pops as examples of the efficiencies that MultiDyne’s SMPTE HUT transceivers have delivered for live productions. Videoworks recently transitioned from very expensive SMPTE fiber cable to far more cost-efficient tactical cables. The Pasadena project required the Videoworks team to pull wire and fiber cables underground, with two front of house cameras outfitted with SMPTE HUT devices to move video and data to the truck. Videoworks also uses SMPTE HUT devices to transport intercom and video content for the venue screens over single-fiber connections to the Videoworks truck for the Long Beach Pops project.

“The fiber-optic infrastructure is the heart of the camera system for companies like use, and solutions from companies like MultiDyne need to solve problems rather than cause them,” said Porter. “We are sometimes moving media over distances of 3500 feet while maintaining signal integrity, and reducing labor by being able to plug the SMPTE HUT devices directly into the camera HDCU or I/O panel at the truck without additional integration requirements.

Porter notes that the streamlined architecture and maintenance of the SMPTE HUT for these and other projects saves Videoworks “a ton of money on fiber cable.” The SMPTE HUT also simplifies adaptation to different kinds of cameras when needed, with clear labeling that enables configuration changes in less than 10 seconds.

“There are no more blinking red lights causing alarm,” added Hirschhorn. “Everyone can concentrate on making video images look great for their live productions.”

Dielectric Combines Multiple Repacked UHF Broadcasters into Common RF Architecture

As Dielectric builds on its market-leading share of US repack antenna business, the company celebrates the launch of a unique ATSC 3.0-ready multi-channel combiner and waveguide switching system installed at DTV Utah’s community TV transmission facility. Dielectric won the challenging multi-station repack project because of the quick turnaround of a complex system that met all size and performance specifications, including mask requirements on three adjacent channels in the system, resulting in a clean signal for each of the stations.

DTV Utah is the owner and operator of the facility, which houses transmission systems for nine Salt Lake City-area stations. Eight stations, six of which were repacked to new channel assignments, broadcast from specialized multi-channel antennas (two main and one backup). James and James Consulting managed the project, including the design, integration, and commissioning of the Dielectric system. The owner of the consultancy, Greg James, was a former director of engineering for one of the repacked stations (KSL-DT) and intimately involved with the original DTV Utah facility design.

“The DTV Utah site is an interesting mix of public, commercial and independent stations, most of which operate on a common antenna system that changed with the repack,” said James. “The site is located 3500 feet above average ground level (9050 feet above sea level) and transmits across the challenging Wasatch Front terrain, north and south of Salt Lake City, with specialized antennas built for the original system in 1999. We had no way to retune the RF system for all these newly repacked channels, which meant we had to replace the combiner system. Dielectric was the one vendor who could meet all of the challenging requirements across timeline, technical specifications and within space limitations.”

Available space was particularly important, given that the previous combiner — also a Dielectric system — had to remain operable during the transition. The old combiner system and mask filters were located in the ceiling of the building, and could not be removed. This inspired Dielectric to innovate its most compact combiner to date.

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Dielectric DTV Utah Combiner Channel Systems

“We had a 17×20-foot space for a tenth transmitter that wasn’t installed, and Dielectric designed a 14×16-foot system that could combine all of our channels and leave room for the tenth transmitter,” said James. “Of most importance, we had to install the combiner before integrating the new repack transmitters. Dielectric was the only company that could deliver such a complex system, and on time.”

“The technical challenges were also substantial,” according to James. “The three adjacent channels required sharply tuned filters, allowing the full use of each channel’s bandwidth. While the group delay measurement is increased slightly from a more broadly tuned filter, the new GatesAir and Rhode & Schwarz transmitters in the facility provide the necessary correction, making the group delay at the channel edge negligible.”

In addition to the RF, Dielectric provided the waveguide switching on the combiner’s input, allowing for various combinations of main and backup antennas.

“The switching network was complex and had to fit into a small space,” said James. “Dielectric designed a new compact waveguide switch for our requirement. The combiner is not trivial, because switching between three antennas across any combination of transmitters is very complicated to achieve. The performance across all transmitters and antennas is optimized and adaptable to any condition. Overall, the system that was installed and commissioned by Marsand, Inc., offers a very sound and high-performance solution to a very unique operating environment.”

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ENCO’s New enTranslate and Updated enCaption Solutions Win Coveted “Best of Show” Awards at NAB 2019

ENCO‘s launch of the new enTranslate automated, live translation system and upgrades to the enCaption4 automated captioning solution garnered the company two prestigious accolades at the 2019 NAB Show. enTranslate received Future’s Best of Show award presented by TV Technology, while the updated enCaption was similarly honored by Government Video.ENCO_enTranslate

The patented, software-defined enCaption4 solution provides automated closed and open captioning for live and pre-recorded content in near-real-time, enabling broadcasters and content producers to cost-effectively meet regulatory requirements and growing consumer demand. enCaption4 combines machine learning with a neural-network speech-to-text engine to deliver exceptional accuracy with extremely low latency. The newest enCaption 4 enhancements further improve its speech recognition precision and speed, while expanding the array of source integrations from which the system can learn new vocabulary and names. The new update also leverages AI to distinguish changes between people speaking even within a mixed audio feed.

enTranslate builds on enCaption’s powerful speech-to-text foundation with advanced translation powered by Veritone, making live and pre-recorded content understandable to non-native-speaking audiences by providing near-real-time translation for alternative-language closed captioning, in-venue subtitle displays and more. Blending artificial intelligence with sophisticated linguistics modelling to provide high-quality, context-aware translations, enTranslate offers broadcasters and live presenters an easy and affordable solution to automatically translate television programming, board meetings, legislative sessions, lectures, worship sermons and other content.

“enCaption4 already offered an unmatched combination of accuracy, performance and cost-efficiency, and our latest updates make it even more powerful,” said Ken Frommert, President of ENCO. “Meanwhile, enTranslate is a great example of how we are extending our proven core technologies and expertise to solve new problems and empower content creators and live presenters to reach new audiences. We are delighted that the TV Technology and Government Video judges have honored us with these awards.”

Future’s Best of Show Awards are evaluated by a panel of engineers and industry experts, and are selected based on innovation, feature set, cost efficiency and performance in serving the industry and the target readership of each particular publication. TV Technology, the digital television authority, serves the broadcast, cable, production, post production, business and new media markets, while Government Video is a key resource for federal, military, state and local government media professionals.

“The Future Best of Show Awards at NAB are in their sixth year,” said Paul McLane, Future managing director, content. “The program focuses attention on superb innovations in technology as seen around the million-square-foot exhibit floor of the industry’s top trade show. The list of 2019 winners and nominees shows where media technology businesses are headed.”

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Qligent Celebrates Two Prestigious Awards at 2019 NAB Show

Qligent tied a neat ribbon around its most successful NAB Show to date with two prestigious industry awards for its new Vision Analytics platform. Recognized by IABM and Future, the awards demonstrate how Qligent has hit the right buttons around the power that advanced analytics brings to fighting viewer and customer churn in an increasingly fractured television marketplace.

Qligent’s Vision Analytics offers a powerful cloud-based big data solution to monitor the quality of viewer engagement, and protect media brand value across multiple delivery platforms. Vision Analytics harnesses the power of data mining, machine learning, and predictive data analytics to help its customers quickly address quality issues and take corrective action.

The power of Vision Analytics comes through its ability to sample video content globally across any content distribution channel, and monitor the viewer’s quality of experience on any platform, network, channel, or app at any given moment—uniquely out to the last mile. Following the mining and analysis of these massive data sets, Vision Analytics gives broadcasters, MVPDs and other content owners a valuable assessment of the health of their media operations, ranging from broad visibility to granular, in-depth reporting.

“With infinite media entertainment options available, viewers will quickly grow frustrated and move on to alternative content if they experience problems finding, accessing, or watching a particular show,” said Ted Korte, CTO, Qligent. “Vision Analytics provides critical real-time insights to six or more departments ranging from efficient technical support, risk and cost reductions, and brand and loyalty improvements.”

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Qligent received its award at the IABM BaM Awards® 2019 reception. From left to right: Anatoly Shishin and Ted Korte of Qligent, IABM CEO Peter White.

Qligent was recognized in the Monetize category of the IABM BaM Awards® 2019. Vision Analytics puts the power back in the hands of broadcasters, service providers and content owners to effectively fight subscriber churn and audience erosion. All shortlisted entries were submitted to an independent panel of specialist judges that ultimately chose each category winner. Qligent was one of 40 entrants selected out of 160 IABM BaM Awards® 2019 submissions.

Future’s Best of Show Awards are evaluated by a panel of engineers and industry experts. They are selected based on innovation, feature set, cost efficiency and performance in serving the industry and particularly the target readership of each specific publication. Future’s TV Technology publication is the digital television authority, serves the broadcast, cable, production, post production, business and new media markets.

“The Future Best of Show Awards at NAB are in their sixth year,” said Paul McLane, Future managing director, content for media technology titles. “The program focuses attention on superb innovations in technology as seen around the million-square-foot exhibit floor of the industry’s top trade show. The list of 2019 winners and nominees shows where media technology businesses are headed.”