InfoComm 2017 Continues Blending of Broadcast, A/V Video Needs
A look at intros of particular interest to the sports-venue market
With the line between broadcast and A/V continuing to blur and the A/V industry often surpassing broadcast in video quality, InfoComm again gave many broadcast companies that debuted gear at NAB 2017 the chance to introduce it to a new — and growing — audience and show how broadcast technology can help solve today’s A/V challenges.
SVG hit the show floor in Orlando last week and caught up with many leading vendors to discuss how their latest product intros serve the sports-venue market. A selection of vendors is listed below; for all the news from the InfoComm 2017 show floor, CLICK HERE.
Panasonic’s presence at InfoComm always has plenty for the sports-venue–minded attendee. This year, the company showed off Link Ray LightID technology (introduced at last year’s edition), Balloon Cam, Everest ultra-high-density Wi-Fi system, and a miniature demo of the company’s projection-mapping plans for future Olympic Games.
“Display technology and projection technology have been around for a while, and in terms of projectors and displays — of course, you always have new ones — [what’s exciting is] the technology we build around them,” says Rudolf Vitti, group manager, marketing, Panasonic. For example, [we’re showing off a] display, but now we’ve embedded the Link Ray technology in it. Typically, we introduce new things at InfoComm — it’s one of the best times because we have an audience here — but, for the most part, we build upon existing technology.”
AJA Video Systems
After a tech preview at NAB 2017, AJA showed off its FS-HDR converter/frame synchronizer at the Orange County Convention Center before it begins shipping. The FS-HDR will enable real-time HDR conversion, even of SD content, and is designed to meet the needs of broadcasters, event producers, and more.
“The cool thing about this is, say you’re doing a truck event with four HD cameras during the week, this will do that,” says Eric Norrell, field product excellence, AJA Video Systems. “You’re doing HDR all weekend, this will do that. So it does both. … I think this is going to be pretty big in the sports market, because we all want more frames per second but that costs more bandwidth. This is just turning on metadata so it can be brighter and the wider color gamut can shift.”
At the Blackmagic Design booth, two products introduced just prior to NAB 2017 attracted the attention of the InfoComm crowd. The first, the company’s URSA Mini Pro 4.6K camera, was shown with a Bluetooth feature that will allow sports-venue personnel to install it in difficult-to-reach locations and control it via an iPad app. The second, Web Presenter, allows customers to use professional HDMI or SDI video sources with streaming software, like Skype, and such services as YouTube, Facebook Live, and more.
“In the sports world, interviews [are often done] via Skype, and they look and sound like they’re done via Skype,” says Bob Caniglia, director of sales operations, North America, Blackmagic Design. “With Web Presenter, they could plug in any camera that has HDMI or SDI out, and that’s going to look a lot better than a Skype camera. Plug a microphone into this, and it’ll sound a lot better than the echo that they’re getting. … They’re still Skype interviews; it’s just that the quality coming out of that end is going to be so much better.”
Showcasing the ability to share high-quality videos via Skype, Facebook Live, YouTube, and more was popular at this year’s InfoComm, with sports-venue producers looking for new and innovative ways to engage their fans beyond the video display. NewTek showed off its latest 16-input TriCaster, unveiled at NAB 2017, which has both SDI inputs and is 4K-capable.
“It has two independent channels of streaming in it now, so you can do one stream to Facebook and one completely different stream to YouTube,” says Jason Pruett, product marketing associate, NewTek. “It also has two channels of Skype TX built in, so you can bring anybody in over Skype right into the system.”
On the audio side, DPA Microphones showed off its new d:vice MMA-A digital audio interface, which allows users to plug up to two microphones into an iPhone, iPad, or laptop and get high-quality audio to accompany the near-broadcast quality available on the latest mobile devices. Using the interface app, users can adjust audio levels and lock the settings before opening any third-party streaming or recording app to capture content.
Professional Wireless Systems
PWS showed off its brand-new equipment and rental packages at InfoComm, including the Quantum5X body microphones used at the NBA All-Star Game and the Microphone Multicoupler that annually handles the abundance of microphones — referee, pre/postgame, and halftime — at the Super Bowl. With a portfolio of impressive products, PWS is expanding its offerings to include new antennas for the difficult-to-navigate RF landscape and ready-to-use rental packages for quicker, more efficient setup and breakdown at events.
Introduced at last year’s InfoComm, Pliant Technologies’ CrewCom wireless intercom was again the star of the company’s booth. Based on a new technology platform, CrewCom offers very high user density, wide range, and scalability. With it, production crews large and small can effortlessly and rapidly deploy communications solutions to connect more people in more places than ever before.
Yamaha Commercial Audio Systems
Yamaha showed off a compact version of its popular Rivage PM10 digital mixing system, intended for control rooms or broadcast trucks where space is limited. The new CS-R10-S control surface is approximately two-thirds the size of the existing CS-R10 and offers the same operability as the larger version. The company also announced firmware update V1.5, which includes an Eventide H3000 Live Ultra-Harmonizer plug-in and Dan Dugan Sound Design automatic-mixer plug-in.