“The ability to send live video signals through an IP network for broadcast applications ushers in a new era of multi-camera production,” said Olivier Bovis, Sony’s head of AV media about the new NXL-IP55 video network unit that ships in January. It can transfer multiple HD images, audio signals and control signals over a single network cable removing the complexity and cost of cabling on location. As product specialist Fernando Muro explained, this is more than an HD to IP convertor. “It is designed specifically for live production,” he said. “In an ideal world live production would all be controlled through IP. Teams could go to the location, plug in one cable, and site all control and post production and the rest of the processes in any other place. That’s not the situation now, but it is coming. With these boxes we can take an HD-SDI video signal from the camera and link it to a local area network using a standard IP connection.” What’s more, this allows the transmission of up to four HD-SDI video streams (three downstream and one upstream, or two downstream and two upstream). The system supports up to ten audio channels, including intercom, control signals, Tally, GPIO and genlock. This allows the NXL-IP55 to drastically reduce the number of cables required and significantly simplifies the operation compared to a conventional system with coaxial cables. As to operational distance, this is likely to improve as the tech advances. Explained Muro: “You have to guarantee 1GB connection so if you are using Cat5 or Cat6 cables this would be over a distance of 100m, but by using an Ethernet switcher we can convert the signals to work over optical fibre and by using a single optical fibre we can get kilometres of distance. In tests to date over a single optical fibre we can reach 500km. That’s with a latency of just half a frame at broadcast quality.” Applications include coverage of sports like horse racing or golf where vast areas have to be run with cable or SMPTE fibre. “Another example in sports could be a set-up of three HD cameras at different points of the stadium, connected to the NXL-IP55 and configured efficiently with minimum cabling,” said Muro. “This allows the production team to capture different scenes through multiple cameras in HD quality.” It’s a key item on the agenda of incoming VP of Sony’s Professional Solutions Europe, Katsunori Yamanouchi: “The efficiencies make it possible to cover not just high ticket events but also more second tier events at lower cost and high production value,” he said. “The picture quality and latency were an issue in this type of product before, but we have overcome these points. IP live production is a practical and game-changing solution to its cost and complexity.” As well as the benefits it provides in simplifying cabling for live events, the NXL-IP55 can also help OB companies to control remote operations from distant cities at a lower cost. The low cost of LAN Gigabit-E links combined with increased access to secure and dedicated fibre links worldwide will enable broadcasters to use IP in conjunction with the NXL-IP55 to generate low latency, which is key for the broadcast market. The unit, which ships from January, costs €9,000 with both a transmitter and receiver being required for each workflow. The first orders have been received from rental house TwentyFourSeven, which develops and delivers technical solutions for TV, sport and event production. – Adrian Penningtonwww.pro.sony.eu
“The ability to send live video signals through an IP network for broadcast applications ushers in a new era of multi-camera production,” said Olivier Bovis, Sony’s head of AV media about the new NXL-IP55 video network unit that ships in January.