IBC 2015 Q&A: EVS’s Bourdon discusses the move IP, new enhancements
EVS is at IBC with a number of new innovations and its stand at the show is once again the place to be to check out some of the latest developments and also network with sports production associates as well as, of course the team at EVS. Nicolas Bourdon SVP of marketing, offers up his take on the company’s offerings this year and market needs.
Kerschbaumer: IBC is always a time to see some of the introductions at NAB become a reality and also to introduce some new products. What are some of the key highlights visitors can expect to see at the EVS stand?
Bourdon: IBC is always an important show for EVS and this year is particularly significant as we launch IP4Live, a strategic approach to the industry transition to IP. We’ll show how we’re bringing the benefits of IP-based workflows to live production while preserving customers’ existing investments – which we feel is critical to a smooth transition to the IP migration. We’re spending extraordinary time and resources to develop value-driven, smart solutions for an IT-based broadcast future. This means working with industry players like Cisco and Imagine Communications to design best-of-breed, end-to-end solutions, and supporting multiple standards and compression initiatives.
At IBC, broadcasters will see how they can achieve unprecedented levels of flexible and efficient remote production with Cisco. Together, we’re demonstrating multi-feed live remote production – via SMPTE 2022 uncompressed video – over an IP network using Cisco’s standard IP switches and software defined networking (SDN). The demo, which attendees can see in either the Cisco or EVS booth, shows how software SDN guarantees reliable, low-latency, high-quality video flow between remote sites, ensuring the necessary bandwidth for production-critical video flows while dynamically allocating remaining bandwidth to best-effort traffic such as file transfers.
Alongside other industry leaders, EVS is also involved in the LiveIP Project led by the European Broadcast Union (EBU) and Belgian public broadcasting company VRT. We’ve worked collectively to build and implement the world’s first fully IP-based live production studio at VRT’s headquarters in Brussels. Using state-of-the-art IT-centric hardware and software, the studio enables broadcasters to produce programming quickly, efficiently and cost effectively. The project has been nominated for a 2015 IABM Design and Innovation award, which will be presented at the show. IBC attendess can also see a scaled-down demonstration version of the studio at EBU’s booth (10.F20).
Our practical innovations are all about delivering IP’s many benefits – from economies of scale to more efficient, flexible workflows – to broadcasters, content owners and rights holders. The progressive migration to IP will require a combination of smart management of hybrid SDI/IP workflows, integration of off-the-shelf networking equipment, and new solutions that optimize production technology resources and define new distributed workflow operations like the ability to produce content remotely – already made possible through EVS’ IP-based DYVI switcher.
Kerschbaumer: EVS has been making positive news in the marketplace with products like the MultiReview system gaining traction and also the latest version of Multicam software getting a warm reception. What are some of the reasons you think those developments are resonating with EVS operators?
Bourdon: We’re always looking to make it easier for operators to enhance content – faster and more efficiently. These two solutions in particular meet these key objectives. Our new Multicam software brings new power and flexibility to the 12-channel XT3 server, providing the highest high frame rate and SuperMotion camera configurations in the market – with double 6x and 8x SuperMotion camera support – and uniquely delivers audio with SuperMotion clips. In addition, with our new Dual LSM mode two LSM operators can maximize working from a single 12- channel server with independent workflows for greater efficiency, flexibility and ROI.
MultiReview is another example of extending operator capabilities. Through access to every camera used in a production, MultiReview allows directors to make critical slomo selection decisions on the fly, saving time and resources, while streamlining the slomo workflow. New for MultiReview at IBC is Smart Replay: in just a few seconds, operators can create premium replay sequences with the best camera angles.
Earlier this year, Fox Sports used four MultiReview systems for the US Open Championships of golf. Game Creek Video’s massive remote production for this prestigious North American sports event included 37 XT3 servers and 164 channels of replay, 19 IPDirectors and other integrated EVS solutions. Collectively, nearly 6,000 clips and 16,000 hours of record space resulted in the largest remote EVS network ever deployed in a remote television production. MultiReview played an important role, enabling operators to call up templates for different holes and easily see all available camera angles.
Sports productions continue to push the envelope of what’s possible as broadcasters look to meet – and exceed – viewers’ expectations. EVS operators have a different objective. They’re looking for the easiest, fastest way to tell compelling stories. The more creativity we can enable, the better. That’s why we work so closely with operators and value their input. We strive to give them not just the tools they need, but also something more. The operators who use our solutions are continuously coming up with new and unexpected ways to tell their stories. We’re looking to develop solutions that enable their creativity, not just ease and efficiency.
Kerschbaumer: There are two major technological shifts challenging manufacturers and production professionals alike: the move to IP-based production and also the potential for 4K/UHD services. Beginning first with the replay server side of things, what are the latest developments from EVS to help make sure you are ready to meet your customers needs on those fronts and are the two shifts related?
Bourdon: As your readers probably know, IP has been part of our systems and solutions for some time now. IP is used routinely in broadcast centers and remote production trucks for functions like content management, browsing, metadata flows, stats integrations and file movement. But the live environment seems the last area of the broadcast chain to adopt IP for end-to-end workflows. So, there’s a push – and now a strategic initiative – to bring IP to all workflow aspects and deliver broadly on the promise of IP.
We’ve been steadily advancing our XT server over recent years to accommodate the higher resolutions and bitrates we’re now seeing and the move to IP. We introduced the 4K version of our XT3 several years ago, and our newest advances to the 12-channel XT3 Multicam engine offer the highest number of configurations for high frame rate and SuperMotion cameras. At IBC, we’ve introduced the XiP gateway that enables in/out IP links to our live video servers.
We’ve also joined the TICO Alliance, which is working to establish a new visually lossless video compression standard that enables 4K/UHD transport over existing SDI infrastructures as well as 10 GigE IP production and contribution networks.
The move to 4K/UHD and beyond is pushing technology innovations at the same time. In fact, 4K and IP are strongly connected. The move to 4K live production will only accelerate IP adoption. It just makes sense from a technical perspective. A 10 Gbps Ethernet cable can transmit much more efficiently and cost effectively than traditional cabling. 4K will mature alongside IP. IP’s scalability, resilience, cost efficiency and ubiquitous connectivity, when properly monitored and managed, are an ideal match for IP.
Kerschbaumer: A conversation about IP and EVS also needs to include a question about the DYVI production switcher. What can visitors expect to see related to that system at the show?
Bourdon: DYVI is the only system that allows remote sharing of production resources and can transfer uncompressed video and auxiliary data from any remote location. This brings reduced operational costs, increased production flexibility and more space for creativity – which is on the minds of all broadcasters. We’re gratified to report that the DYVI production switcher continues to be adopted by industry leaders like Gearhouse Broadcast, which is using it to cut together 4K camera signals delivered via IP as part of its live remote production demonstration at its booth (10.B39) at IBC.
The demonstration will feature transport of UHD footage from a Hitachi SK-UHD4000 4K camera in position on the Hitachi booth (11.D39). Feeds from this and a HD unit will be sent via fiber to Gearhouse’s booth where they’ll be cut together using DYVI, which will also carry audio and comms signals.
In addition, our live IP-based remote production demo with Cisco at the show also extends to DYVI. Visitors will see a live distributed system at work, one that incorporates multiple workflows over the same network infrastructure and allows production to interact with content from the distant site as if it were local. That’s the beauty of DYVI and why it’s resonating with our customers.
Kerschbaumer: What other key messages is EVS looking to get out to the marketplace this year?
Bourdon: Beyond significant strides in the IP arena, EVS is innovating around cloud-based multimedia distribution and live replay content management. The goal is always to provide better, faster and more efficient ways to enhance live content and create better audience experiences – regardless of the size of the viewing screen.
For example, our ‘LSM Cockpit’ at IBC showcases LSM Connect, MultiReview and Epsio, in a single, cohesive EVS environment that lets operators completely pilot live productions. With the latest Epsio FX Reveal mode, LSM operators can provide even more detail around the game as it’s unfolding, by enriching live replays with synchronized game and external data.
We’ve also brought SOA foundations to our trusted IPDirector software suite for enhanced web-based tools, collaboration and content exchange between venues and studio, automated clip management, as well as metadata integration and archive management, a processing portal that automatically transforms, legalizes and masterizes all ingest formats has the power to dramatically improve live production workflows. Content is made ready to air or easily configured for post production or archive, handling different video and audio content as well as data using a single interface that relies on BPM principles.
Finally, as viewer behaviors evolve, our C-Cast multimedia distribution platform provides new ways to monetize enriched live and near-live video content. This advanced cloud-based system enables live replay content management, IP-based content contribution between venue and studio, and remote production operations for in-stadium screens and mobile devices. C-Cast gives stakeholders the ability to engage audiences on an emotional level, create bespoke entertainment packages, create more brand loyalty, and generate new revenue opportunities.