Grass Valley’s Leo Smeding discusses 4K studio and truck project with NEP Switzerland
Earlier this month NEP Switzerland revealed that it is building two large 4K/UHD OB trucks, a 4K/UHD studio and playout facility, and a remote studio. Constituting the first time that a full 4K/UHD workflow and playout solution has been installed in OB vans and studios in Switzerland, the new facilities make extensive use of production and content delivery solutions from Grass Valley, a Belden Brand.
Each of the two OB vans feature 16 LDX 86N Native HD/3G/4K/High-Speed System Cameras and 9 M/E K-Frame Switchers with Karrera and Korona control surfaces. The studio facility in Zurich is equipped with two large 9 M/E K-Frame Switchers with two Karrera and two Korona control panels, eight LDX 86N 4K camera chains, a 4K/UHD capable NVISION 8576 Router with 369 x 774 I/Os, and a Kaleido-Modular-X Multiviewer System with 320 independent inputs. The iTX Integrated Playout Platform handles 20 channels of live and 24/7 playout including two 4K/UHD event channels. A satellite facility in Rossens near Geneva is equipped with four LDX 86N 4K camera chains that are remotely controlled from the Zurich studio.
One of the centerpieces of NEP Switzerland’s 4K/UHD capability, the LDX 86N Native HD/3G/4K/High-Speed System Camera with its XensiumHAWK CMOS imagers and the DPMUltra feature delivers uncompromised 3G/HD performance as well as the ultimate 4K resolution with native 4K imaging. As with all the LDX Series cameras, they support the GV-eLicense software upgrade path for easy upgradability as needed. With the GV-eLicense, users can activate native HDR operation with an outstanding range of up to 15 F-stops; and because both standardized HDR OETFs are directly supported, no proprietary in-between curve with intrinsic negative effects is required.
Playout is also a critical ingredient in the deployment of the NEP Switzerland solution. Using the latest version of iTX, the UHD channels feature new Vertigo UHD graphics capability as well as an updated secondary record to capture UHD files for later replay. The iTX system is also present at the second site.
Leo Smeding, Sales Manager, Benelux at Grass Valley, sat down with SVG Europe to discuss the origins of the project and the methodology underpinning the 4K deployment…
What was the starting point for Grass Valley’s involvement with this large-scale project?
We began working on this project with NEP Switzerland in October 2016, kicking off with discussions about what they were trying to accomplish. At that point, our 4K technology was already well-established in the market and had caught their attention.
As a key project partner how did Grass Valley go about advising NEP on the right solutions for 4K production now and in the future?
NEP did a lot of market research to evaluate the capabilities of all the suppliers before choosing us for the project. Our experts at every level, from regional sales and solution architects to product line vice presidents, spent a lot of time at the customer site ensuring that everything went smoothly and the right components were put in place for efficient 4K production. Because all of our products and solutions are designed to be future-ready, NEP was very confident that what we install will help them grow down the road.
In what ways is the approach to 4K production being taken here unusual or unique?
This project is unique because it represents the first 4K end-to-end production channel in Switzerland. We are seeing many more customers adopt 4K technology as they look to improve the quality of the content they deliver to their viewers. Many are choosing Grass Valley because we have developed an entire portfolio that enables a true native 4K workflow from capture to delivery.
In what ways will Grass Valley be supporting NEP post-project completion?
We have been with NEP every step of the way as we are with all customers and will continue to support them as they move forward with this 4K project. Our new production leader is fully supporting this project, having developed several customized features that were needed in NEP’s environment. We have also made some adjustments to our R&D roadmap to make sure we meet all of NEP’s deadlines. This has been a very important, high-profile project for us, and we are thankful that NEP chose us for our commitment to deliver first-class solutions.