TV News Studio for IBC 2019

Media IP Networks’ Rupert Kelly was appointed Technical Manager for the design and delivery of the TV News studio facilities in the core of the vast International Broadcast Conference, held annually at Amsterdam’s RAI exhibition complex. The TV News studio is used continuously during show opening hours for prerecorded interviews, live panel discussions, technology briefings and glitzy product launches.

Immediately on contract, Media IP Networks secured Jeff Laing as Chief Engineer to oversee the system build and train technical operators. By tradition, many junior operators for IBC are students from the UK’s leading broadcast training institutions, Jeff had a distinguished career break as a lecturer for BBC Academy.

In close partnership with Kev Connor and Roy Callow for IBC Resources and Anna Valley’s Jenny Bigrave and Steve Jones, Media IP Networks was directed by the IBC’s Matthew Tompkinson to develop the project to improve on 2018’s success with yet more cutting edge 2110 technogy from EVS and Grass Valley. This required a major rewrite and rationalisation for the documentation to define a plan that could be agreed by all sponsors. The schematic below captured all technical and operational possibilities and offered resilience, efficiency and performance.

Schematic showing wrap-around SMPTE2110 S-COREMaster orchestrator (in yellow) hosted on Arista7050 with Embyonix SFPs interfacing to HDSDI devices (blue) and backup Sirius matrix (green)

Previous years had seen the migration from a straightforward 5x camera HD SDI installation with discrete analogue and AES digital audio processing for a single studio floor up to a hybrid SMPE2110 / HDSDI design with several major manufacturers offering exhilerating new SMPTE2110 products and techniques, dedicated galleries and commercial wet hire. Several PTZ remote control cameras and a 2nd green screen set were added in 2018 and further upgraded with augmented reality (by Pixotope) and simultaneous recording in 2019.

As a main sponsor, EVS provided not only their legendary XT media servers, mostly configured for SMPTE2110, but also the ubiquitous Arista switches, their ‘S-core Master’ SDN control layer and upwards of 100 Emryonix HDSDI<->SMPTE2110 SFP+ converters. Fortunately EVS also brought several of their very best engineers to IBC, Jeff and I were well supported in all of the design and build stages in Liege (at EVS’ fabulous new facility – wow!) and on show during the rig and transmission days. Special thanks to Johan Engelen for his patient determination, good humour and brilliance.

IBC TV News’s very public studio floor.

Grass Valley Group provided the regular LXD86XF ‘World’ cameras channels with SMPTE2110 adaptors in their XCUs and K-Frame vision mixer crates populated with 2110 cards. GVG were also very supportive with access to their top engineer at the IBC, Geert de Neve, to iron out a few timing and sync errors when the 2110 system had been commissioned.

Additional HDSDI equipment such as a 128×128 Snell Sirius matrix, Evertz synchronizers and multiviewers, HD glue etc was provided by Gearhouse. Pixotope ingeniously turned the green screen, lit precisely by Biff, into a truely amazing Augemented Reality demonstration, popular as a stylised commercial product presentation facility.

Grass Valley provided both vision mixer and 5 full camera chains with full SMPTE2110 delivery paths which seamlessly integrated with the Embryonix HDSDI adaptors in the Arista switch frames under the S-COREMaster control palne..

An Andiamo MADI converter was used to interface with the sounds desk to feed AES into the ingest XTs. A Clearcom intercom system was deployed across all galleries, the floor and remotely to other IBC areas over the SM fibre-connected Baumann multiplexor.

TV News crew 2019. Special shout out to Neil McLeod and Gillian Kelly

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