If 2020 was considered a disruptive one for the television production community, 2021 was a year where trial and error and the lessons learned became real-world REMI deployments to keep live sports and entertainment content on the air. Production studios too learned to adapt with fewer crew allowed inside and social distancing becoming the new normal.
Back in the fall of 2020, several months after private equity firm Black Dragon Capital completed its acquisition of Grass Valley, it became apparent to the company’s management team that it had an unpolished jewel in the GV portfolio that needed attention. Given the virtualization changes, cost cutting and high demand for new content occurring within the industry, customers who served as beta testers told them, “this AMPP thing is going to change the industry.”
Planning for any kind of live TV broadcasting starts with a ‘what-if?’ list. What if the power source fails? What if a key production person gets sick or hurt? What if broadband internet access becomes unstable? What are the chances for each ‘what-if?’ and what back-up alternatives fit the budget? The list should be as lengthy as it is easy to edit.
Most live remote outside broadcasts are thoroughly planned by producers and directors who are often too busy to consider potential equipment problems. Technology is an engineering responsibility. Engineers must be ready for any circumstances that threaten to take the show off-script or off-air, from dead wireless mic batteries to unexpected foul weather. In live TV, anything can happen and probably will, usually at the worst possible time.
As broadcast facilities and other organizations that use media to educate and inform continue to carefully make the move to video over IP, they currently face two main options, with a range of others in the wings. They may opt for a full SMPTE ST 2110 design that leverages uncompressed pristine quality video for higher profile productions or lightly compressed NDI networking, which brings with it less costs and easy access to an expanding ecosystem of compliant products and systems.
While cameras continue to be its forte’, Sony’s most recent virtual press conference made it abundantly clear that the company has gone to considerable lengths over the past few years to emerge as a comprehensive solutions provider that is no longer just helping customers make pretty pictures. Sharing those files, collaborative workflows and remote production are all part of the portfolio now.
Live TV production may not be the best fit for perfectionists who can’t recognize ‘good enough’ and move on. Live TV has no patience, no second chances and can never be late. Every live shot is a first impression.
In the last article in this series, we looked at why integrated monitoring is a necessity in modern broadcast IP workflows. In this article, we dig deeper to understand what is new in IP monitoring and how this integrates with traditional workflows.