Ross Video is preparing to launch a major new line of video servers at NAB 2007. The SoftMetal Video Servers will deliver a more integrated production solution promises the company and one that will complement the existing Ross product line, writes Fergal Ringrose.
SoftMetal is designed to provide the broadcast industry with an advanced video server incorporating key elements that includes: multi-definition capability with on-the-fly resolution scaling, graphics workflow support, client/server architecture for distributed control, robust IT server-class hardware and flexible, software-based codecs.
"We are thrilled to be introducing SoftMetal. Our customers have been requesting more integrated solutions and with SoftMetal they can expect a competitively priced, feature-rich product, with the same Ross superior customer experience," said Jeff Moore, president, Ross Video. "The SoftMetal Video Server product line makes a great companion to our Synergy Series Production Switchers and OverDrive Production Control System. The goal is to expand the Ross portfolio of products to meet the needs of our customer's complex live productions."
As a multi-definition server, SoftMetal comes equipped with on-the-fly scaling on every output, converting clips from SD to HD or HD to SD automatically as they play to air. This feature is ideal for today's productions, which rely on a mix of SD and HD source material.
In a production setting, SoftMetal provides support for completing the graphics workflows by accepting networked transfers of targa stills, targa animations and pre-compressed graphics clips with available SoftMetal codecs. SoftMetal offers the ability to link video and alpha channel clips and adjust and lock timing for production playback, right in the server.
SoftMetal control is based on a client/server architecture with the client side applications written in Java and able to run on a Mac, PC or Linux computer. This allows control of a SoftMetal system from the user's desktop of choice. IT server-class components are used throughout SoftMetal servers, providing a robust and reliable system with features such as RAID-1 mirrored system drives, RAID-5 protected MediaDrives, redundant power supplies and hot-swappable mid-chassis system fans. Software-based codecs meanwhile provide SoftMetal with a flexible, future-proof architecture that is adaptable to future compression schemes and formats as they emerge.
SoftMetal Video Servers are available for order in 36 different configurations, 18 standard definition models and 18 multi-definition models with delivery scheduled for April 2007.