DNF Controls has a new Production Control Application for broadcasters that is claimed to provide fast, simple, and reliable control over video and graphic playout devices for live and as-live programming, writes David Fox.
It is the first in a series of infrastructure control systems built on DNF's Flex Control Network, a modular platform of IP-based machine controllers designed to solve a variety of operational control problems.
The Production Control Application is a complete, semi-automated solution that works with existing control room equipment to simplify production control, expand production capabilities, enhance production look and branding, and minimize production errors.
Broadcasters can control up to 24 channels of VTRs, DDRs, video servers, and graphic devices for on-air and on-set playout from highly reliable, easy-to-use, tactile control panels and their production switcher. Because the application can automatically control multiple machines synchronously at the touch of a button, the technical director is free to concentrate on the production rather than the technology.
The application also streamlines pre-production setup and last-minute on-air changes for late-breaking and unscripted events.
"Despite the complex nature of today's broadcast operations, our customers still want a more simplified and intuitive workflow," said Dan Fogel, CTO of DNF Controls.
"This system does just that. Not only does it improve workflow and reliability by automating and timing complex interactions, the simple setup and configuration means reduced engineering involvement and cost. Groups have local control while creating centralized and shared equipment centres, and an error management tool can improve on-air performance and accuracy."
The Production Control Application consists of dual DC20 device controllers that control up to four devices each, along with two types of control panels — a CP20 event-based, cue-marking, VTR-style control panel, and an ST420 shotbox for instantaneous access to trigger complex events.
By adding device controllers, the application expands to control up to 24 channels. The result is an integrated, standalone tactile control system, or a sophisticated, cost-effective backup and manual playout control system.
The control panels talk over Ethernet to the device controllers, which contain the correct control protocols. By separating the control panels and device controllers, broadcasters can create centralized systems in an equipment or control room, or distributed systems that allows users to control playout devices with frame accuracy via Ethernet from anywhere in the world. This distributed system architecture means that failure of an individual piece will not cripple the entire system.
The Flex Control platform on which it is based consists of device controllers with 25 drivers and interfaces that combine with a range of control panels to create applications for solving complex control problems existing IP infrastructure.