Best of Show: The Tools and Technologies Recognized by Digital Video at the 2015 NAB Show6/12/2015 1:15 PM Eastern
Many video delivery applications can benefit from delivering multiple synchronized camera angles to viewers, who can then choose the angle they want to watch. One popular application is classroom video, where one camera might be focused on the instructor, another on the whiteboard, a third on the classroom and a fourth on the video image from the instructor’s laptop. If the video signal for each angle is sent as a separate OTT stream, ensuring smooth switching among them is difficult because of the challenges of aligning the video and audio chunks in the different streams and managing different buffers. In particular, it’s hard to switch audio without causing disruptive clicks and pops. By using the U-Switch appliance at the video source, all four streams are sent as a single OTT stream, along with a common audio track. For live or VOD playback, any device with an Internet browser can be used to change camera angles at any time with no impact on the audio track and no need to wait for video buffers to fill after every switch. U-Stream makes an OTT multicamera experience much more satisfying.
Creating compelling content in a single broadcast format is hard; creating it in all the different flavors required to support the range of user devices and OTT distribution formats in today’s market is almost impossible without serious amounts of automation. This is where Anvato focuses its efforts, providing a pure software end-to-end ecosystem for broadcasters to generate live and on-demand content that can be played across an array of viewing devices. Content creators and broadcasters can make edits to live content in the field, in the studio or elsewhere. Via a tablet connected over IP to Anvato’s cloud-based Media Content Platform, editors can clip and create HD content using Express Mode editing capabilities, without the need for complex and costly equipment. Clips can be pushed directly to premium destinations like Netflix and Hulu, as well as to social media sites like Facebook and YouTube.
ATEM 2 M/E Broadcast Studio 4K
As the number of viewer-owned devices that can display 4K/UHD video continues to increase (700 percent year-over-year growth, according to some sources), OTT content distributors will be looking for UHD content to add to their content libraries. This demand will in turn incentivize more content creators to produce video in UHD, requiring an upgrade of many different parts of their production infrastructure. HD-only production switchers will need to be upgraded to work with 4K cameras, which is the goal of the surprisingly compact ATEM 2 M/E. The unit provides 20 12 Gb/s SDI inputs that can each handle a 3840 x 2160 60p 10-bit 4:2:2 video feed, and 13 video outputs in various forms. Two 1080i monitors can be attached to act as multiviewers to display up to 16 camera feeds. Software tools support a variety of advanced graphics, keying and layering capabilities. The ATEM 2 M/E can be controlled by the user’s choice of hardware control panels as well as via a pure software interface.
Blackmagic URSA Mini
With the URSA Mini, Blackmagic took an existing technology and downsized it to accommodate more uses. The camera will begin shipping in July. By shaving off a few inches in length and height and more than 10 pounds of weight, this Super 35 camera offering will no doubt be easier to carry on handheld shoots. The URSA Mini comes with either a 4.6K (4680 x 2592) sensor or a lower-cost 4K (4000 x 2160) sensor. Ultra HD (3480 x 2160) can be shot at 60 fps and output using a 12 Gb SDI connector (10-bit 4:2:2). Both versions of the camera (4.6K/4K) can be ordered with either a PL or EF lens mount. Dual CF slots allow memory cards to be hot-swapped to support continuous recording. The URSA Mini comes with a fold-out 5-inch touchscreen monitor and a full suite of connectors (reference, timecode, LANC, dual microphone in, audio out) for professional shooting setups.
DataDirect Networks (DDN)
Effective media asset management requires both software and hardware to properly manage the huge files comprising modern multimedia content. Software is needed to ensure that media assets are properly filed together, and that they are available whenever and wherever they are needed for editing, production and playout. Hardware is needed not only to run the software but also to store the terabytes and petabytes of data created throughout the media lifecycle. The latter aspect is where the MEDIAScaler system from DDN really shines. With seamless tiering capabilities, MEDIAScaler supports file storage, object storage, Active Archive, cloud and tape to enable customers to retain large media content in high-performance archive or remote locations. The MEDIAScaler system is optimized for speedy file access across multiple locations, a benefit for today’s real-time, social media-driven world of online content distribution.
Delta Video Delivery Platform
Creating OTT video assets from live streams that can be efficiently distributed to viewers across multiple platforms can often require separate workflows for each combination of device type and provider. With a proliferation of formats (now including MPEG DASH), a variety of encryption and DRM schemes, and multiple compression standards (such as H.264 and HEVC), broadcasters can be faced with a multitude of devices and software packages to manage. To address this issue, Elemental’s Delta platform uses just-in-time encoding, which allows media assets to be customized with specific formats as they are needed. This workflow helps prevent having to pre-encode and manage a large catalog of different versions that may not be used, and supports special functions such as dynamic ad insertion and replacement. Delta’s speed also decreases the time it takes to create VOD versions of live broadcasts, to the point that clips can be ready almost simultaneously with the end of the live broadcast, thereby improving engagement levels across social media and broadcaster-hosted platforms.
Professional sports venues are faced with the challenge of developing ways to encourage fans to attend live sporting events in person, particularly those fans who have become accustomed to watching their favorite athletes via rich media at home. With instant replays, isolated camera angles, social media commenting and advanced information feeds, the home viewing experience has become a highly interactive, engaging environment for viewers. When these same fans travel to a stadium to watch an event in person, they can experience a form of sensory deprivation. To fill this void, many stadium owners are deploying rich media tools to produce content that can be delivered to mobile devices using private wireless networks that cover the fan seating areas. EVS’ FanCast system provides a range of tools to push clips and related metadata during live productions to support a variety of OTT publishing options. The FanCast package includes EVS’ XT3 server, IPDirector and C-Cast cloud-based multimedia distribution platform.
Monarch HDX Encoder
The compact, dual channel Monarch HDX H.264 encoder and recorder packs a lot of power into a small package for less than $2,000. From a common input, the device can be configured to produce two outputs, record to two different files/devices, or stream one output while simultaneously recording a compressed stream to an external USB drive or to an SD card inserted into the handy front-panel slot. In the dual-output mode, one stream can be RTMP for compatibility with Adobe Flash Live Media Encoder, and the other can be RTSP for feeding to the Wowza Streaming engine, with both streams being accompanied by the necessary XML credentials to connect directly from the Monarch HDX. The encoder can also generate a 300 Kb/s RTSP thumbnail stream that can be used to monitor the video signal through a web connection using a player like VLC. Control and configuration of the Monarch HDX is provided via built-in web pages that can be accessed by PC, smartphone or tablet.
MGW Ace Encoder
When the first products in the category launched last year, most of the real-time HEVC encoders on the market were beasts: large, multi-rack-unit servers with dozens of processor cores and power consumption to match. While these solutions are fine for large studio-based installations, there are many video professionals who could put a smaller, lighter, more power-efficient HEVC encoder to good use. To serve this sector of the market, VITEC developed the compact, portable MGW Ace HEVC encoder. Inside this device, which is about the size of a hardcover book and weighs less than 5 pounds, are two hardware encoding chips: one for HEVC compression and another for MPEG-4 H.264. The MGW Ace Encoder can accept up to 1080p video from SDI, DVI or HDMI sources with embedded or discrete audio. A built-in video matrix enables routing of video sources to both the HEVC and H.264 compression cores to generate streams in both H.265 and H.264 formats. Output is available in a number of IP-based streaming formats including RTP TS and SMPTE 2022 with FEC.
Read more about the Best of Show winners in our free e-book, available at www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/newbay/nab2015_bestofshow/.