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NAB Perspectives: Deluxe’s Cimelli on How IP Workflows Are Revolutionizing Remote Production

April 21st, 2015 Posted in Headlines By Jason Dachman

With an eye on avoiding the costly investment that goes with onsite hardware, more and more broadcasters are finding ways to slim down remote productions by using IP workflows that leave a large chunk of the production operation at the broadcast center. Sitting at the center of this “at-home–production” trend at NAB 2015 was Deluxe MediaCloud, an IP-based software platform that gives broadcasters an alternative to the hardware-centric broadcast infrastructure to offer a more agile, resilient, and cost-effective solution.

At the show, Deluxe demonstrated an end-to-end linear 4K workflow that linked a control room in Sweden directly to the Deluxe booth at the LVCC.

SVG sat down with Managing Director Maurizio Cimelli to discuss the growing interest in IP-based contribution and delivery, the potential rise of 4K, and how the tone at Deluxe’s booth has changed since MediaCloud was launched three years ago.

Maurizio Cimelli, Managing Director, Deluxe, at the “TV station” in the company’s NAB 2015 booth

Maurizio Cimelli, Managing Director, Deluxe, at the “TV station” in the company’s NAB 2015 booth

How has the industry’s reception of MediaCloud changed since Deluxe launched the platform? And have you seen sports production embrace the platform?
Last year [at the NAB Show], lots of people said they were interested and thought it was innovative, so they asked for a leaflet. This year, they are asking how quickly we can set them up and can they have it running next week. It’s really encouraging.

When we set up the business three years ago, we didn’t necessarily [foresee] this, but it is becoming much more sports-oriented. The more the sports federations and rightsholders use this and see the flexibility and efficiency and speed, the more they seem to be lining up. Yesterday, 50% of the people that asked for in-depth demos were sports-related.

There is a lot more comfort now around IP, and I think the benefits that it is bringing in terms of flexibility are now becoming very visible [in] cost savings alone. Two years ago, there was some hesitation regarding IP, but, from our perspective, it offers so much more control and visibility and security that it’s much easier to provide resilience compared to the traditional method.

Can you tell me a bit about the 4K MediaCloud demonstration that Deluxe has set up at the booth?
This 4K [content] is coming from Sweden all the way to the show at 40 MBps, and we have not had a single drop or glitch. We have essentially created a TV station here online. Within a few hours of arriving on Saturday morning, we configured our network and took control of the TV station. We have a 4K camera filming our NOC [network-operations center] and doing a circuit.

If you imagine setting this up, there is pretty much zero [capital expenditure], whereas, if you look at a traditional MCR [master-control room], that is not the case at all. Running the 4K from [Europe] to here, the cost is pretty negligible rather than the multimillion dollars that it would take by other means.

The platform that we operate is agnostic, so it will take whatever feed we present to it. Therefore, if you have this platform delivering HD, there’s no reason it can’t just be switched to send 4K. We have the ability to handle multiple formats at the same time, so you could have the game coming across in HD and 4K, and then, at the other end, depending on who’s got the rights to the 4K or the HD, you can distribute accordingly.

How can Deluxe MediaCloud contribute to “at-home–production” workflows that have proliferated throughout sports production recently?
That is very topical at the moment: moving the production from track- or pitch-side to the studio facility. We have a technology called BlueLabel, which is a 1RU device that manages the point-to-point delivery of a stream or can handle multiple streams. So this means that we can place one of these into the stadium, it could receive all the camera feeds, and every one of those individual camera feeds could be synced, very cost-effectively, to a studio in another location or multiple studios in locations anywhere on the planet, which is very interesting.

If BBC wants a certain edit and certain package of an event but Sky wants something completely different, and so on, this is a solution that can make that possible.

This is a completely new model, which is going to do three things. A, it’s going to bring the cost down. B, it’s going to better utilize capacity of the existing studios. And C, it’s going to increase speed because you can get all those feeds simultaneously out to everyone and insert them live into whatever they want.

There are two models that are being sought out at the moment. One is a customer that just wants occasional use. The other, when [the user] doesn’t know how long they are going to use it, so they just pay a fixed monthly fee and use it as much as they want. We see both models growing very quickly.