Grass Valley Director aims to enhance low, mid-level productions

Grass Valley heads to NAB with GV Director, a new integrated nonlinear live production center that the company says brings a dynamic new paradigm to live production workflows.

GV Director is based around a simple touchscreen, traditional vision mixer buttons and T-bar controls, making it easy to use. The company says it is very much software based and runs on mostly common hardware components forming a scalable CPU and GPU platform with robust Grass Valley designed I/O technology. As a result it has virtually unlimited M/E buses, keyers, 2D/3D graphics, localised clip storage and the ability to handle baseband and file-based sources.

“GV Director is a new approach to live production; by simplifying the processes — from set-up, to building a show and driving the live production, we have abstracted the complex technology layer, enabling operators to have control of all the components and become more creative,” says Graham Sharp, SVP and Chief Marketing Officer for Grass Valley. “GV Director is a game changer and will get Grass Valley back into the low and mid markets with a paradigm shifting product.”

Shows (called Program packs) can be built offline on a Mac or PC using GV Director, the same production engine used during the live program. The show can be built creatively (and collaboratively, if desired) with graphics, transitions, multicamera set-ups, data feeds, and more, all with no physical constraints as to the numbers of layers used. Programme designers can easily mix pre-built or custom-designed effects with media objects, secure in the knowledge that the Program Pack can be dynamically updated—even while on-air—with last minute changes. Elements can even be shared between Program Packs of different programs, so that a branded and consistent “look and feel” can be created.

The Program Pack is loaded and the live show is run on the GV Director panel—a simple 26-button panel with OLED labels, T-bar, and 8-inch portrait touchscreen. Six tabs on the touchscreen represent the basic elements necessary to run the show, such as live sources, graphics, effects, and file-based media. Any element (media or transition) can be assigned to any one of the 24 “action” buttons on the panel, including cameras, feeds, and graphics for a traditional cut bus, transition effects, or as a one button trigger for a sequence of events. In this way, complex branding, graphics, and transitions can be created offline and simply recalled. GV Director can be programmed for dual-feed output of the same program, providing clean feed as well as a branded program.

Unlike traditional hardware-based production vision mixers, where control panel resources have to be aggregated for each effect, the software based GV Director eliminates this restriction as there are virtually unlimited live mixer resources available, usually at the push of a single button. GV Director also makes use of the traditional shot box concept, allowing users to populate the touchscreen as a virtual shot box and call up assets to air either by touching the icon on the touchscreen or by pressing an assigned button.

Two buttons on the GV Director panel serve as “stage” and “take” buttons. Pressing the stage button brings the touchscreen into stage mode (with panel buttons remaining active for on-air switching). With stage mode, users can preview media and transition effects off-air, including replays, graphics placement and timing, and live feeds, and then simply take those elements to air.

GV Director also includes simple audio mixing capabilities to handle embedded digital audio and external analogue audio, while providing two stereo analogue output pairs.

GV Director pricing starts at $35,000, for an eight inputs four outputs fully featured system and it is expected to ship at the end of June 2013.

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