NAB Perspectives: Azzurro Systems Integrations’ Lowden Details Path of AzzurroCam 3.0
On display at the Azzurro Systems Integration booth at the NAB Show this week, AzzurroCam 3.0, the latest edition of the HD-camera series, features a completely new graphical user interface and gives users the ability to manage multiple remote sites equipped with single- or multiple-camera studio configurations from one or multiple locations.
AzzurroCam 3.0 follows the industry trend toward simpler remote-production complements and integration with the iPad. The path to developing AzzurroCam 3.0 is another story.
“The initial [AzzurroCam] system was developed to go after financial institutions,” notes VP of Sales Mark Lowden.
An analyst could make a televised report from his or her desk, where an AzzurroCam would be fiber-circuited to a switching center. “Instead of [financial analysts’] getting in a car and driving out to CNBC in New Jersey or to Bloomberg on the Upper East Side,” he says, “it was more cost-effective from a financial and time point of view.”
However, when the financial markets crashed, Azzurro was left to pursue alternative clients. Soon after the company decided to pursue news, Lowden was contacted by a friend at DIRECTV asking whether the AzzurroCam could be built with multiple cameras for a televised production of Dan Patrick’s radio show.
“We built them a six-camera robotic system with two fiber circuits that come down to our switching center in New York from Milford, CT, [and] then we feed an encoded format to Los Angeles,” explains Lowden. “They decode in real time, they see program and preview in full resolution, they see all the cameras in low res, and, over a DSL line, they switch and control all the cameras remotely from L.A.”
After the initial foray into the sports market through Patrick’s show, Azzurro contacted the NFL Network, which was looking to upgrade its SD robotic camera system. AzzurroCam operates over a private MPLS network, broadcasting HD over 6 Mb from training facilities and analysts’ homes. AzzurroCam has also been deployed by MLB Network.
“We’re in the transmission business,” says Lowden. “We’re seeing a lot more technology going towards MPLS and the higher metro Ethernet, higher compression, less of point-to-point video circuits. If you’re in a metropolitan area like New York, it’s still more cost-effective to put in an HD video circuit, but, once you start to get outside of the near metropolitan area, the technology is finally getting to the point where we can broadcast quality video over metro Ethernet.”