Bexel ESS Offers A (Worldwide) Team Approach To Systems Design

When a premiere TV broadcaster in Bangalore, India wanted to launch a new local channel, they sought the expertise of Bexel’s ESS (Engineered Systems and Solutions). For Bexel ESS, such a long-distance project was not an unusual request.

Bexel ESS offers clients a unique view on the selection, implementation and integration of broadcast and media technology. Their custom solutions are fine tuned to deliver outstanding product performance and broadcast workflow. For this particular project, Bexel ESS provided design services and project management for a multi-camera studio. The biggest challenge Bexel ESS faced was the physical size allotted for the studio; the room dimensions were limited as well as the ceiling height for the lighting grid. The company installed an ETC Paradigm Architectural Processor and Central Server, and a variety of Kino Flo and Colorsource lights. Bexel ESS worked closely with its partner Ross to design a Furio Rail Camera system that fit within the limited space but provided the maximum use of the Pro Cyc Green Screen.

Bexel ESS also deployed the self-contained Crewless Studiosolution to provide the network with the quality of a professional studio in a cost-effective, compact and efficient form factor. Traditional methods, like satellite links, take too long to commission and are costly. Bexel ESS designed and built an efficient solution, helping broadcasters gather interview content quickly, and with more flexibility. The Crewless Studio is an innovative system that enables talent to go on-air immediately.

The Crewless Studio uses HD encoders from Haivision that are sued to stream bi-directional, low latency video over a private or public network, with the ability to encode up to 1080p video for interactive communications between the remote commentator to the studio during a live broadcast. 

The Bexel ESS Crewless Studio is a self-contained, multi-purpose studio solution that provides the quality of a professional studio in a cost effective, compact and efficient form factor.

The Bexel ESS Crewless Studio is a self-contained, multi-purpose studio solution that provides the quality of a professional studio in a cost effective, compact and efficient form factor.

The units also include an AW-HE60SN Panasonic camera and Litepanels 1x1 Bi-color panels, both of which can be controlled remotely, allowing the client to pan, tilt, zoom the image or adjust the light intensity.

The custom case includes a UPS to control power, an IP power switch, a network switch that keeps the circuit open, and audio/video support that provides the IFB and camera feeds.

Speed to market is crucial, and the implementation of the Crewless Studio has been very effective in delivering breaking news. Depending on clients’ needs, the system allows for a variety of configurations including multiple cameras, comms, IFB and multiple audio channels. The modular design helps with space constrictions and allows for easy installation in a variety of locations and the ability to be on-air within minutes of setup. The Crewless Studio has also been successfully deployed at FOX, Big Ten Network, and in the Enterprise Video market worldwide.

“This was a good example of the type of service we offer clients, whether they are located down the street or around the world,” said Scott Nardelli, Vice President and General Manager of Bexel’s ESS division. He added that Bexel ESS worked closely with a local systems integrator to install the equipment in Bangalore. “There isn't a place or project on Earth that Bexel can't support. Logistics and customer support are the hallmarks of what we do.”

Bexel ESS was introduced 16 years after Bexel was founded as a rental house and staffed by a group of former telecommunications employees with a passion for implementing projects both on the road and within permanent studio settings. They soon focused on sports stadium infrastructure, becoming one of the first media production companies to understand fiber-optic technologies and how to help the broadcast television business move audio and video signals faster and with less expense and manpower.

“We work as an in-house augmentation to our clients’ engineering teams,” Nardelli said. “They share confidential information with us that is imperative to our detailed designs. This level of trust comes from our own knowledge base and our experience within the industry. That is what brings clients to us. Our results bring them back.”

Bexel handled complete RF system integration and provided its Managed Antenna System (MAS) at cable network Fusion and WCBS-TV, both in New York City.

Bexel handled complete RF system integration and provided its Managed Antenna System (MAS) at cable network Fusion and WCBS-TV, both in New York City.

Bexel ESS offers a full range of Managed Services beyond the implementation of broadcast systems to ensure an event has all the proper technical components for a successful broadcast. Within their portfolio, Bexel ESS provides Stadium/Arena Commissioning, Camera Mapping, Infrastructure Management, Game Day Engineering Support, and Rights Holder Management. Some of Bexel’s innovations offered exclusively by Bexel ESS include a Managed Antenna System, which allows a talent to freely walk throughout a production facility without dropping the signal. The MAS-500 series provides an invisible, silent tool that enables low power radio frequency devices to function throughout a facility. Adding this capability to low power devices, specifically, zero or near-zero, high time-fidelity portable transmitters and receivers for on-air talent cueing, on-air talent microphones and crew communication greatly increase their usefulness.

Additionally, Bexel ESS has developed specialized AV coaching systems and Centralized Replay systems for professional sports leagues, and provides long-term logistics services, whereby Bexel ESS will store, maintain and ship out equipment owned by a client as needed.

“No one provides the level of detail that we do,” Nardelli said. “We get right down to what types of power connectors we are going to put on equipment so that it can transfer from the U.S. to the UK to other countries, without any compatibility problems. The uniqueness of what we do is how thorough we are in the proof of concept, the design, and engineering.”

Another example of this was evident on a recent professional skiing event in a wintry setting. Bexel ESS engineers installed special heaters into the onsite equipment racks to keep the gear functioning properly under the harsh conditions. 

Bexel’s Scott Nardelli was on hand at Super Bowl 50 with a new instant replay system, developed by Bexel, that includes next-generation features supporting the move to IP-based audio for communications and additional levels of redundancy.

Bexel’s Scott Nardelli was on hand at Super Bowl 50 with a new instant replay system, developed by Bexel, that includes next-generation features supporting the move to IP-based audio for communications and additional levels of redundancy.

That might sound like a no-brainer,” Nardelli said, “but it’s surprising how many production companies overlook these important details. At Bexel, we make accommodations in anticipation of any type of equipment failure, so that one never occurs.”

Bexel ESS has a staff of 20 fulltime engineers that increases as the need arises. For example, Super Bowl 50 utilized 60 on-site technicians. The company recently completed a project that required five ESS engineers working in eight different locations at the same time, so multi-site coordination is a big part of the Bexel ESS story.

“We don't dictate, we listen,” said Nardelli. “Whether it’s a custom design, an off-the-shelf product, or a client-provided solution that we implement, we look at these requests as long-term partnerships, not just one and done projects.”

The company continues to experiment with new technologies, like 4K and IP, to keep their clients on the cutting edge of technology, while saving money on service contracts and warranties, often negotiating terms on behalf of their clients.

“At the end of the day, we’re honest with our clients. Most are not used to that level of transparency from a vendor, but we care about the success of the project. That is of utmost importance to everyone involved,” Nardelli said.

From CAD design, engineering, and needs assessment to the selection of vendors and individual technology, the Bexel ESS team puts it all together so their clients don't have to. Delivering first-rate systems and engineering expertise on a national and international scale illustrates their extensive capabilities and reach. No project is too far, or too complex for Bexel ESS to handle. Their clients think of them as another employee, even if (in the case of Bangalore) they might be located some 9,248 miles away.

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