NAB 2018: EVS Embraces Microservices, Modules To Improve Product Design; XT Servers Expand 4K Channel Support
For sports-production professionals, some quality time at the EVS booth at the NAB Show is pretty much a given. This year, EVS has something extra special to offer: a brand-new XT replay server that ups the channel count and has SMPTE ST 2110 support; the NAB Show debut of the X-ONE live-production system; and, perhaps most important, VIA, a new software foundation for all its products that is designed to make it easier for the EVS product-development team to improve products without having to replicate engineering and programming activities for each product.
“Live is the focus of our mission, and, for the last 24 years, the reason we exist is to give our customers the ability to tell stories in a different way,” says SVP, Marketing, Nicolas Bourdon. “While we see challenges, there are a lot of opportunities, and we want to go further as there is the explosion in content with things like esports fans looking for different ways to receive content and viewers expecting customized content and not just watching TV.”
He adds that VIA is part of a transformation from a monolithic approach to product design to a new structure of microservices and modules. The goal was to move beyond adding more products to address the widening needs of customers and, instead, to create a foundation where modules can be added or removed to best meet market needs.
There are three types of VIA microservices, comprising hundreds of modules: VIA-Flow for workflow management, customization, and monitoring; VIA-Mind, the artificial intelligence at the core of the platform, enabling automation and production assistance; and VIA-OpenGate, an API catalogue designed for third-party companies that want to integrate products or develop new applications that can tie into EVS products.
“VIA-Flow allows the microservices to be organized to meet the needs of customers without having to redevelop the products,” Bourdon explains. “And VIA-Mind can become the super-assistant to production.”
Adds VP, Product Marketing, James Stellpflug, “It’s a series of microservices that are underneath our new products, and it changes the philosophy of how we build products and develop solutions. Historically, R&D would develop one product and one user interface, but, with microservices underneath the products, the R&D team can pick from different modules. The biggest and best example of VIA is X-ONE.”
New XT-VIA Server Supports Six Channels of 4K
Of most importance to EVS customers will be the new XT server, XT-VIA. It takes advantage of that new microservices foundation and can support six channels of 4K or 12 channels of HD or Full HD. It can handle 3-Gbps SDI, quad SDI for 4K, 12-Gbps SDI, or SMPTE ST 2110 or 2022. And, with its integrated HDR support, the latest XT server is built to meet growing demand from those operating in higher-resolution live-production environments.
Remaining interoperable with existing EVS workflows, the server will offer ST 2110 support as well as the opportunity to deploy Super Motion cameras when operating in an IP infrastructure. More important, the new XT server will unlock the power of IP deployment by reducing the need for SDI-to-IP gateway devices and enable a seamless transition to the next generation of production infrastructures.
“It has a smarter IP fabric,” notes Stellpflug, “which saves time for the engineer.”
The use of AI within the production environment is not to replace people but rather to make them more efficient by automating repetitive tasks and allowing the operator to focus more on the creative side of the tools.
X-ONE exemplifies the best of the VIA microservices. With its contextualized user interface, which acts as a built-in production assistant and shows only time-relevant functionalities, a single operator is able to cut a program with the live camera feeds, control audio, and create replays and graphics that can be easily added to the live program. In the end, content providers are given the opportunity to find the right balance between covering more events and controlling production costs.
Modular DYVI Functions in Scalable or Distributed Architecture
Attendees checking out DYVI will see a new software version, 1.7, that offers multiple processing modules to operate in either a scalable or a distributed architecture.
“DYVI can scale and have up to six modules, which provides 192 inputs and 96 outputs,” says Stellpflug. “And they can be distributed in different racks and operate individually or together as one big switcher.”
DYVI also has more control over external devices — such as graphics from ChyronHego, Vizrt, Ross Xpression, or Click Effects — via macros or the timeline. And it can control or be controlled by such products as Ross Overdrive or Viz Mozart.
Score Master for IP-Based Production Workflow
Score Master, EVS’s IP flow-routing system, will also be on display. Designed for deployment within IP-based live-production workflows, it provides central orchestration, flow-based monitoring, and bandwidth and latency awareness, as well as production control. As a result, engineers have the ability to maintain a constant overview of the sources and end points across an IP-connected network.
“The user has something that treats the IP router like a broadcast-video router as an engineer should never need to go down to the command-line level,” says Stellpflug. “The broadcast engineer can treat it as a video router while the IT engineer can manage it the way they expect to manage an IT router.”
A companion product to Score Master is Score Edge, software offering IP-to-IP processing as a service. It allows features like one-click probing that can provide visual information related to a port like video or VU meter as well as technical information like packet loss, jitter, or latency.
EVS will also introduce Xeebra 2.0, the latest version of its multicamera review system, which lets sports officials and on-air analysts review on-field action with speed, accuracy, and reliability. They can view up to 16 camera angles that remain entirely in sync, swiftly select preferred angles on the system’s touchscreen, and zoom into images with a simple touch-and-pinch gesture. Also, Xeebra’s client/server architecture means that it can be deployed wherever it needs to be, whether on the sidelines, in a venue production-control room, or further away in a centralized media hub.
“It’s a best-in-breed replay device for video review, which needs reliable and easy-to-use tools,” says Stellpflug. “We launched Xeebra 2.0 from VIA modules.”
At the show, the 2.0 version will feature a new AI integration that automatically calibrates the field of play, a time-consuming operation if done manually.
“The goal is to bring value into the products and give more toolsets to make use of video, audio, and metadata,” says Stellpflug. For example, automatic geometric transformation can detect the soccer pitch and then draw the offside line accurately without the need for calibration.
“Normally, it takes hours to calibrate,” he points out, “but this automatically recognizes the pitch, and artificial intelligence can do the calibration on the fly.” As a result, setup time is significantly reduced, and operators can easily place graphics onto the calibrated field with the highest level of precision to aid the decision-making process.