Sky News Australia installs vinten robotics and autoscript intelligent prompting in remote studios

Cutting-Edge, IP-Based Solutions Reduce Operational Costs Through Centralised Control of Remote Broadcasts

Sky News Australia has made a major investment in state-of-the-art robotic camera support systems from Vinten and Intelligent Prompting solutions from Autoscript for its six remote studios located throughout Australia. With the latest build-out just completed in Sky News’ Canberra Parliament House studio, the Vinten and Autoscript equipment is a vital link in the network’s strategy to reduce operational costs through centralised, IP-based control of remote broadcasts.

Sky News is a 24/7 multi-channel network providing international news, local news, and current affairs programmes to viewers throughout Australia and New Zealand. With headquarters, master control, and main studio based in Sydney, the network operates remote studios in Canberra, Adelaide, Perth, Melbourne, and Brisbane.

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In the newest project, Sky News has fitted out its Canberra Parliament House studio with three Vinten FH-145 robotic pan/tilt camera heads, driven by the Vinten HD-VRC control system, three Vinten Quattro pedestals, and three Autoscript EPIC-IP 19″ prompting monitors with integrated talent feedback monitors, driven by Autoscript WinPlus-IP News prompting software. Amber Technology, a Vitec Production Solutions Premier Partner, supplied the Vinten and Autoscript solutions and is partner for the build-out.

“Cost is a significant factor in today’s television production environment,” said Rick Zecevic, chief technology officer, Sky News Australia. “By allowing us to control all of our remote studios from Sydney, IP-based networks and technologies like those from Vinten and Autoscript are playing a huge role in helping us operate as cost-effectively as possible. At the same time, we have the flexibility of local control at each location when the need arises.”

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Rick Zecevic, CTO at Sky News Australia, and Tom Pavicic, Regional Sales Manager, Australia and New Zealand, at Vitec Production Solutions.

Zecevic added, “The Vinten robotic heads and pedestals, coupled with Autoscript’s prompting solutions, are a perfect choice because of their outstanding remote-control-over-IP capabilities, renowned reliability and performance, and advanced features. Plus, Amber Technology is providing us with outstanding local support throughout the process.”

With the completion of Sky News Studio 1 in Sydney, all six of the network’s studios will be fitted out with robotic heads from Vinten and pedestals working in concert with Autoscript Intelligent Prompting solutions.

“Sky News Australia is already reaping the benefits of lower overhead and operational costs since implementing our cutting-edge Vinten robotics and Autoscript prompting systems, which can be remotely controlled over an IP network with minimal local operator involvement,” said Tom Pavicic, regional sales manager for Australia and New Zealand, Vitec Production Solutions. “The ability to reduce costs while increasing quality is an ongoing goal for so many of our broadcast customers, and leveraging state-of-the-art robotics and prompting technologies, particularly within IP-based workflows, is allowing our customers to achieve this goal, just as we’ve seen with Sky News.”

Broadcast Solutions Finland modernises Director’s Cut production control rooms

The Finnish production company Director’s Cut, based in Helsinki, has recently equipped part of its production facilities with new technology and optimised workflows.

Broadcast Solutions, with its Finnish subsidiary, planned and implemented the measures. The aim of the modernisation was, besides renewing the technology, to increase flexibility in daily work and optimise production workflows. Director’s Cut’s existing infrastructure proved too outdated and inflexible to cope with the increasing number of simultaneously produced sports programs.

In the two renewed multipurpose control rooms, Director’s Cut creates the Finnish national programmes for international sporting events (e.g. football Champions League, ice hockey or tennis). Director’s Cut’s primary customer is MTV3, Finland’s largest private television station.

After the successful implementation, it is now possible to produce up to six Finnish-language programme feeds simultaneously from two multipurpose control rooms with only two producers. One Mainfeed and two Sidefeeds can be produced per control room. Audio processing takes place in a Lawo Powercore. Control is via Lawo VisTool user interfaces and an 8-fader Ruby console for the Mainfeed and via two 4-fader Ruby consoles for the two Sidefeeds. Broadcast Solutions created the VisTool interfaces especially to meet the individual workflows of Director’s Cut.

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The new facility also includes six commentator booths equipped with Lawo LCUs and 43″ Sony monitors. One Grass Valley 1ME Kula vision mixer and two Grass Valley channel branding processors are available per control room for image processing.

As part of the renewal, Broadcast Solutions also replaced the video matrix, which had become too small, with a 168×168 Grass Valley Sirius 830 matrix with an integrated 96 x 12 multiviewer. A Lawo VSM system controls the complete installation.

One challenge of the successfully implemented project was the short project period and the fact that the modernisation was carried out during ongoing operation with only ten days available for the actual switch-over.

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Over IP and higher education

While « Over IP » is the new trend on the media technology market, the number of companies adopting this technology evolves sluggishly. Following the latest IBC, the technology is clearly there, but there is a lack of knowledge on the system integrator side to provide both IT and Broadcast expertise in environments with are evolving towards the perfect blend of both technologies.

Two years ago, Broadcasting Center Europe set the ball rolling, with the first over IP headquarters including the broadcast centre, the production and postproduction platforms as well as the ingest and news workflows.

IP-based platforms allow us to rapidly setup new channels,” comments Costas Colombus, Technology Projects & Support Director at BCE. “Whereas it is for continuous or ephemeral channels, we are able to give a fast answer and start broadcasting the content worldwide.”

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Playout over IP at Broadcasting Center Europe

“We recognized a strong consumer demand for pristine content but need to also provide for that demand in the most cost-effective and efficient manner,” said Julian Ankiah, Head of Technology Engineering at MultiChoice Support Services. “We needed to take advantage of the benefits of IP signal reticulation, while ensuring tight integration with our existing platforms, and particularly our business services.”

Multichoice moved to an IP playout platform thanks to Imagine Communications, Megahertz started to work with major US broadcasters for the implementation and tests of IP, CCTV renovated its platforms with NDT and RadioFr and La Télé, both swiss private broadcasters, upgraded to an all IP broadcast centre with SLG Broadcast AG.

“MEDIAParc is the first all-IP mediahouse in Switzerland, and as such it represents the successful realisation of an ambitious vision encompassing cross-media workflows,” said Marc Straehl, CEO of SLG Broadcast AG. “RadioFr wanted all-IP infrastructure for both radio and TV sides of the house. They wanted to virtualise the production environment, so that editorial PCs could contribute programming directly via the network.”

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Studio at RadioFr

What about audiovisual education and high schools? It is paramount to make the roots evolve as soon as possible, in order to have qualified employees in our next generation media companies. Of course, it is part of our job to train the actual staff to meet the new technology, but it would be much more effective to change the student curriculum and include immediately over IP knowledge.

Recently the BTS Audiovisual Henri Martin, in the City of Saint-Quentin in France, decided to upgrade to IP SMPTE-2110 its infrastructure. The school decided to keep both SDI and IP technologies, in order to be sure that their students will be well prepared for any type of infrastructure. The choice is quite smart, since there is still a lot of media players that are not equipped with this technology, but it will be an undeniable asset for the companies to have employees which can evolve easily with future upgrades.

Jacques Tabary, the headmaster of Henri Martin High School told us that they were looking forward to evolving to IP for a long time but that they did not know themselves how to start such a transition. To do so they were helped by Boite à Outils Broadcast which helped them draft a specification and publish a tender. Broadcasting Center Europe (BCE) was selected and worked hand in hand with the teachers and the students to answer all their needs in technology and training.

“We have fifteen teachers on the technical part at the BTS. You must rely on teachers who have been able to take this type of training, but also on professionals – for example we have a chief editor who comes from Canal+. As part of this project, we had not sized the importance of training on the hardware and related new technologies such as IP. BCE has trained our teachers so that they can acquire the skills necessary to use the equipment,” comments Jacques Tabary.

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Production control room over IP at the BTS Henri Martin

A few weeks ago, we heard that Orange Business Services, a network operator and a digital services integrator teamed up with BCE for the Radio France project. The massive French radio group has announced that it will transform the media infrastructure of its headquarters, Maison de la Radio, to next generation, full IP technology.

“The combined expertise of Orange Business Services and BCE, complemented by the professionalism of Maison de la Radio’s project teams, will allow us to innovate and facilitate the production and broadcast of programs while meeting the highest standards required by the media sector,” comments Patrick Fasso, Technical and Information Systems Director at Radio France.

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Radio France headquarters

Radio France transforms Maison de la Radio with next generation IP technology with Orange Business Services and BCE

Following a public tender, this project was entrusted to Orange Business Services, a global digital services operator and integrator, and to BCE, a European expert in media services, and is the largest of its kind in the European media sector to date. The migration to the latest generation of IP infrastructure is key to facilitate the development of audiovisual broadcasting and production tools. This project is part of Radio France’s ambition to invest heavily to modernize its production and broadcasting tools for all radio and radio-related content by 2022.

The transformation program led by Orange Business Services and BCE involves the infrastructure of all Maison de la Radio’s studios. The new audiovisual production facilities will rely on a robust, next generation IP infrastructure based on Cisco technology for the transport and broadcast of voice and video.

“The combined expertise of Orange Business Services and BCE, complemented by the professionalism of Maison de la Radio’s project teams, will allow us to innovate and facilitate the production and broadcast of programs while meeting the highest standards required by the media sector,” comments Patrick Fasso, Technical and Information Systems Director at Radio France.

To ensure perfect convergence of the IT and media broadcast worlds, Radio France’s project teams are supported by Orange Business Services, the market leader for solution integration. Orange Business Services will ensure that all of Radio France’s needs are met, including mastering its next generation tools. The SMPTE 2110 standard, a specific protocol for the media industry, has been retained.

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Radio France / Christophe Abramowitz

Radio France’s teams are supported by BCE France because of its recognized expertise in the customized integration of media ecosystems, apparent at many European radio and television stations. BCE has in-depth knowledge of the sector and the needs of the media, and is a master of IP workflow infrastructures which it has demonstrated to Radio France in the past, for example, during the transition of France Info to the Maison de la Radio premises.

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Broadcast Solutions acquires Videlio Middle-East to accelerate its operations in the Arab world and Africa

“Our goal is to expand our activities in the Middle-East and beyond into Africa”, explains Stefan Breder, CEO of Broadcast Solutions GmbH. “This acquisition dramatically increases our ability to service regional broadcasters and propose fixed installations and facilities in addition to our OB vans and mobile platforms.”

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Broadcast Solutions Middle-East team

With a team of a dozen professionals based out of Dubai Media City, Videlio Middle-East was set-up five years ago. It services UAE and GCC-based broadcasters, as well as provides Command and Control (C2) systems to corporate and enterprise clients such as ADCO, Total, Dassault Systems, Dubai Petroleum or Emirates NBD.

“We are excited to join Broadcast Solutions. We gain additional resources and skills to better service our existing and future clients”, explains Laurent Mairet, Managing Partner of Broadcast Solutions FZ LLC. Broadcast Solutions expertise in live production was a natural fit to our news, post-production and archive practice.”

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Broadcast Solutions proves flexible vehicle design with its new Concept Van

The Van on display at their outdoor stand (O.E02) is a perfect example of a platform that easily can be tailored for different mobile production purposes and is based on a Mercedes Sprinter.

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At the show, Broadcast Solutions showcases it primarily as a wireless transmission hub vehicle powered by Silvus Technologies IP Mesh radios. New to the outstanding wireless radios from Silvus is the new enhanced E-series of radios which will be on display.

With roots in US military communications research, Silvus’ StreamCaster radios were developed to handle the most challenging military operations on earth. Now, this technology is rapidly adopted by Broadcasters around the world. This cutting-edge wireless transmission technology ensures bi-directional communication, data and video transfer even under the harshest condition. The Mobile Networked MIMO technology enables stable connections between multiple sites, even under non-line-of-site conditions where other wireless technologies fail.

To be as flexible and independent as possible when being in the field or on the road, played a crucial role in the development of the concept vehicle. Equipped with a large battery bank, the Van can operate independent and silent for up to 20 hours.

The Broadcast Solutions Concept Van design can be adapted to the customers’ needs and then materialise in different versions serving the intended purpose. Depending on the final fit-out it can serve as a wireless hub for news, sports and events, a VAR / edit / replay vehicle or a command and control centre for security and surveillance purposes.

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ATG Danmon To Promote Full Range of Systems Integration and Support Services at IBC 2019

“IBC continues to generate useful networking opportunities even in today’s online world,” says ATG Danmon Managing Director Russell Peirson-Hagger. “We will be promoting our skills as a project management partner with proven experience in all aspects of project planning, workflow configuration, system design and implementation, testing, commissioning, documentation, training, technical support and post-installation maintenance.”

“One of our key strengths is our ability to make informed recommendations and deliver cost-effective solutions, including 4K production, hybrid SDI/IP infrastructures, IT-centric workflows and cloud-based virtualisation. We have the skills and resources necessary to handle projects of any scale, ranging from flyaway systems and OB vehicles to complete turnkey production and transmission facilities. We are also able to draw on the capabilities of partner companies within the Danmon Group to create solutions for every element of the media chain.”

“2019 has included a major upgrade of our own operational and engineering facilities with a move to new headquarters. This move enables us to operate more effectively at every level of the project process.”

Recent ATG Danmon activity has included an integrated system for the Royal Opera House in London’s Covent Garden, providing video recording, storage and archiving together with media asset management. This included integration with the existing IT network and full training.

For the main news studio at ITN’s London headquarters, ATG Danmon has completed a robotic camera tracking system. This centred on the integration of optical tracking with ITN’s existing cameras and virtual studio graphics.

ATG Danmon has also designed, supplied and integrated of equipment into two news studios and a news presentation room for the School of Journalism at one of Britain’s leading universities. The facilities simulate the functionality and processes of a real broadcast environment, the output being used for academic review.

ATG Danmon recently commenced a large-scale systems integration project for Riverside Studios in Hammersmith, London. This includes the installation and interconnection of production infrastructure at a new building across the sites of Riverside’s former studios and the neighbouring Queen’s Wharf. The venue will include state-of-the-art facilities with three flexible studio spaces for television, theatre, dance, opera, music and comedy, as well as a cinema, screening room, archive, community and rehearsal space plus a local events and entertainment space. Multifunction venues of this type are becoming increasingly popular around the world and Riverside looks set to be one of the most advanced of its kind in the UK.

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