SVG@NAB Perspectives: SAM Targets Sports-Replay, 4K-Production Needs

Snell Advanced Media (SAM) hit NAB 2016 with one goal in mind: to change live-production workflows. “That’s the most interesting thing about what we are doing,” says Tim Felstead, head of product marketing, SAM. “The LiveTouch recording, replay-server, and control system has been updated significantly.”

LiveTouch is built on a dedicated video server, a new control panel, and directly attached video editing. Its fully scalable architecture enables easy addition of inputs, outputs, and storage capacity. Events marked with LiveTouch are also instantly available for editing via the supplied sQ Edit software, with finished edits quickly played out via the LiveTouch Panel.

“The Go remote-production suite is an adaptive-bitrate encoding system that allows browser-based viewing or editing, and even Adobe Premier editors can view content,” says Felstead. “And they don’t have to move or transfer the media before it is available to loggers, shot selectors, or directors. It’s not dealing with proxy video: it’s straight off the disc.”

SAM’s NAB booth featured the technologies used by The Netherlands’ DutchView Infostrada to build an all-IP live-TV facility.

SAM’s NAB booth featured the technologies used by The Netherlands’ DutchView Infostrada to build an all-IP live-TV facility.

The system also records 4K video as a single raster, a move that Felstead says gives the system solid performance.

“We’ve also improved the user interface,” he adds, “so it is more familiar to traditional replay operators.”

The Kahuna production switcher, a key offering from SAM, is currently the backbone of 4K production for BT Sport in the UK. The key to recent success has been the switcher’s 4K performance as well as the Maverik control panel that can be reconfigured to look very similar to the Grass Valley and Sony control surfaces, according to Neil Maycock, EVP, marketing, GM software systems, SAM.

SAM is also putting a lot of effort behind Kula, a derivation of Kahuna targeting users who need less fire power. It’s available in 1M/E or 2M/E configurations for SD or HD, and the 2M/E version can be converted to 1M/E operation, providing capability today and future-proofing for tomorrow. Kula also has bidirectional SD/HD ports for inputs and outputs: users can change configurations from show to show, changing, for example, inputs from 18 to 24 or outputs from six to 12.

“It has a very aggressive low price point, starting at $17,000, and is an extremely capable SD/HD product with a ridiculous number of keyers and resources,” says Felstead. “We believe it is the most powerful switcher in its class. It can also easily be put into a flyaway kit.”

The Kahuna production switcher, meanwhile, continues to gain converts, thanks in part to the transition to 4K production.

Canada’s Rogers Sportsnet, for example, was looking for a master-control solution. When first approached by SAM about using the Kahuna production switcher as a master-control unit, the network’s operations team balked. But the Kahuna Maverik control panel can be reconfigured in a wide number of ways (including to resemble a Sony or Grass Valley switcher control surface).

“We took a half dozen Kahuna modules and configured it into a small master-control switcher,” adds Felstead. “It’s the same switcher that BT Sport [in the UK] is using, and we think we can sell other Kahunas into master-control applications.”

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