NAB Perspectives: Markertek’s Barth on the Rapidly Growing Fiber Industry

Markertek continues to expand its fiber capabilities, and its demo line at NAB 2014 reflected that fact.

Among the highlights at the company’s booth was the BlackJack-1 camera-mount interface with Blackmagic SWRCONV and ATEM-SC. The device connects as many as four camera converters up to 28 miles away via optical fiber with bidirectional video plus tally and talkback.

Andy Barth, VP of sales, Markertek

Andy Barth, VP of sales, at Markertek’s NAB 2014 booth

SVG had a chance to catch up with Andy Barth, VP of sales at Markertek, to chat about the growing fiber market and how the intimidation factor among customers is on the decline.

Anything particular coming from sports clients at NAB 2014?
We know full well that the video at sporting events is expanding extremely fast and into even lower-level markets, such as high schools. So you know we’re pretty impressed with the focus that’s being put on these by these institutions and the upgrades that they’re taking on to produce solid video on their school’s behalf.

It seems like, with the migration of 4K, migration of fiber away from copper is inevitable. I think you’re going to see copper dwindle pretty fast in my opinion.

Specifically with colleges, many institutions are looking to build centralized control rooms to connect multiple venues around campus. Is there an intimidation factor when it comes to fibering up a whole campus?
I don’t think we run into that much. What we’re trying to do — and we’re just starting this phase now — is educate the clientele and the market as much as we can, whether it’s through an SVG summit or our own online videos. We’re trying to do a lot of how-tos and incorporate that into what you would need to buy at the end, whether it’s cleaning or testing or installation.

When I started in this business 20 years ago, we were selling fiber. It was extremely intimidating to me, so I would think that it is for people that it’s new to. Anything new can be intimidating. A lot of people hit it head-on, but we’re trying to help them with that through education. That’s going to be a process, but that’s what we see is going to help us.

Tell us more about BlackJack.
The camera back takes the Blackmagic side and the ATEM fiber converter and allows you to run optical 1,000, 2,000, 3,000 ft. It’s an elegant solution because, without it, where are you putting that ATEM unit? It’s either hanging off or velcroed on.

So we’ve coupled Blackmagic’s very good solution with an elegant mounting solution, and it offers versatility to the customers. We’re real excited about that one.

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