IBC 2019 SportTechBuzz in Review: Halls 8-11

The SVG Europe and SVG Americas editorial teams were out in full force at last week’s IBC Show, covering the biggest sports-technology news and delivering daily SportTechBuzz at IBC roundups. Here is a look at the IBC 2019 SportTechBuzz from Halls 8-11.

In this post, check out IBC news from Arista Networks, BroaMan, Calrec Audio, Camera Corps, Clear-Com, Cobalt Digital, Cyanview, EcoDigital, Disguise, Dream Chip Technologies, Eurovision, EVS, Genelec, Grass Valley, Lawo, Leader Electronics, MRMC, Multidyne Fiber Optic Solutions, Panasonic, Pliant Technologies, Q5X, Riedel Communications, Ross Video, Sennheiser, Shotover, Shure, Slomo.tv, Tedial, The Telos Alliance, TSL Products, Videosys Broadcast, Vislink Technologies, and White Light.

Arista (8.E30) is focussing on its industry partnerships rather than new technology or products, although it is emphasizing how its cloud network switching and routing expertise can aid remote production for sports broadcasting. The list of partnerships is too long to cover in detail here, but Arista’s software-driven cloud networking devices are on exhibit on more than 20 other stands. These technology partners are using Arista’s flexible APIs and telemetry set to provide a variety of SDN solutions, mapping to a variety of broadcast workflows, the company says. Partner tools that assist with networking monitoring are a key focus. Arista technology has played a part in several recent high-profile remote-production projects, including those put together by NEP, SVT, and ITN, among others.

BroaMan (8.C60) has added frame-synchronization capabilities to its Mux22 range of audio, video, and data transport-over-fiber modules. As the name suggests, the Frame Sync extension synchronizes all the signals, but, unlike with other products on the market, the sync is done before routing, which speeds up the process. The 1RU Mux22 combines 3G/HD/SD-SDI I/O with Optocore and SANE digital audio networks. Also at IBC 2019, BroaMan has announced that 12G support is now included in its Repeat48 WDM media converters. Suggested uses for the Repeat48 include in-stadium point-to-point transport from commentators to the control room.

Last year, Calrec Audio (8.C61) previewed the ImPulse audio-processing and -routing engine with AES67 and SMPTE ST 2110 connectivity. This year, the system is on display. Compatible with Apollo and Artemis control surfaces, it is intended to provide an upgrade path for existing Calrec customers to IP without having to replace major technology components. In addition, it can allow up to four DSP mix engines and control systems to run independently on a single core at the same time.

A Motion Impossible Agito, as used by ICC TV during coverage of this summer’s Cricket World Cup in England and Wales, is on show on the Camera Corps stand (11.B33). The modular dolly system was operated by UAV firm Batcam during the tournament and was given the nickname “Buggy Cam”. A free-roaming RF-controlled dolly system on four wheels, the Agito is able to capture smooth camera movements up to 2 metres in height and mimics the movement of many types of equipment, including rickshaws, jibs, dolly, and tracks. During the Cricket World Cup, it was used for both live shots and replays.

Clear-Com (10.D29) is at IBC 2019 with a new beltpack designed to ensure that communications in stadiums are clear and efficient. “Our new beltpack is very good for stadiums,” Senior Product Manager Stephen Sandford explains. “It’s a brand-new development that we’ve designed from the ground-up especially for that environment.” The IP-based beltpack, called FreeSpeak Edge, runs on the 5 GHz spectrum. This was a conscious decision by Clear-Com to improve the quality of communication within the stadium setting. It also takes advantage of Clear-Com’s exclusive RF tech that uses OFDM to provide a robust transport layer and delivers clear 12-kHz audio with ultra-low latency. “The 5 GHz band is very good for stadiums as it reflects off the roof,” Sandford adds. “We also lowered the noise floor and increased the audio gain. This gives a very, very clear sound, which is beautiful in those kinds of environments.”

Cobalt Digital (10.B44) is talking about colourful subjects this week. The company has been working closely with Technicolor in the U.S. on HDR conversion, which Chris Shaw, executive VP, sales and marketing, Cobalt, describes as “becoming very important in live production”. Shaw adds that the technology is ideal for improving color and perception for viewers: for instance, in an outdoor event, when sunlight comes and goes behind cloud, making cameras struggle to adjust. He notes that the company has already used this new technology with Major League Baseball in the U.S. and TV France at the French Open and that the project is also being tested out by several broadcasters in advance of what he describes as “a major athletic event next year,” which we at SVG Europe call the Olympics.

CyanView (10.D31) is talking about multicamera control over IP and is also showcasing its Cy-Stem product line, which now includes the VP4 color processor. Says Head of Sales Erik Kampmann, “With VP4, one of the major headaches we solve for systems engineers is that they can now color-match all their different specialty cameras very easily with a plug-and-play solution. For sports broadcasters, CyanView is simplifying the workflow by allowing producers and vision engineers to control and color-match all their specialty cameras with a universal remote control.”

EcoDigital (8.B13), which was formed in June with the acquisition of the DIVA object-management software suite from Oracle, is making its major-show debut. According to CTO Goeff Tognetti, the DIVA system now includes dynamic support for AWS cloud storage (making the software suite cloud-agnostic) and a new partial-file restore (PFR) from cloud-storage capability. According to VP, Global Sales and Marketing, David Gonce, EcoDigital has tripled the DIVA sales team since the acquisition and created dedicated service and support offerings for the DIVA solutions suite. The company has also launched an R&D division in the U.S. and created a solutions group dedicated to integrated global support and development.

Disguise (8.B26) is showcasing its work with esports companies on live productions and TV studios. The company, which worked with ITV Sport during the FIFA World Cup 2018 to create its virtual studio, runs a technology platform that enables designers and tech teams to deliver multipurpose sets to achieve exciting results. Says Chief Sales Officer Tom Rockhill, “Sports broadcasters have to come and see Disguise because we make a workflow which makes it really easy to manage lots of complex content over LED or difficult surfaces.”

Dream Chip Technologies (11.B10) is showcasing a Full HD digital high-speed camera system that captures images at 500 fps and is small and light enough to be placed on a pole cam or over a basketball net. The ATOM one SSM500 has a 2/3-in. CMOS sensor and operates in both HLG and PQ high dynamic range. Users can connect the camera directly to an EVS device and incorporate it into existing workflows. Alternatively, for smaller productions or standalone jobs, the camera also features internal recording and a free application called ProVideo.

Eurovision Services (10.F20) has reached an agreement with the Asociación de Clubes de Baloncesto (ACB) to distribute the Spanish basketball league matches for the 2019-20 season to rightsholding broadcasters worldwide. The agreement covers the Liga Endesa, Copa del Rey, and Super Cup for a total of some 100 matches between September 2019 and May 2020.  “We are pleased that ACB has chosen to deliver their events over the Eurovision Global Network to rightsholders around the world. Our satellite and fiber network, complemented by internet and wireless technologies, is renowned for bringing top-quality live events to the media community,” says Head of Global Sales Michele Gosetti.

Innovative design and the latest technologies are the driving force behind new production and storytelling solutions showcased by EVS (8.A96). Its new Overcam AI-driven autonomous camera system enables rights owners and holders to create more-affordable immersive productions by economically capturing the action from more camera angles. Attendees can also discover how EVS’s ingest solution combines the XS-NEO server and IPD-VIA Ingest app to provide fast, simple ingest with concurrent support of multiple formats, codecs, and frame rates. The latest version of the Dyvi switcher is on display, along with the XT-VIA live-production server, which recently passed the Joint Task Force for Networked Media (JTNM) testing for IP interoperability. This testing proves interoperability not only of AV flows (SMPTE ST 2110) but also for configuration and management between different network endpoints.

Genelec (8.D61) has added two models to its The Ones series of Ultimate Point Source Monitors. The 8351B and the 8361A are coaxial three-way monitors designed to offer “uniquely uncoloured and neutral reference-monitoring performance” from ultra-nearfield through to mastering-calibre and main-monitor applications. The largest coaxial monitor in The Ones family, the 8361A is designed for listening distances up to 5 metres, making it suitable for small to medium-size rooms. The 8351B offers increased SPL, additional room-compensation EQs, equalised delay, and enhanced HF response. The W371A Adaptive Woofer System has also been announced.

Grass Valley (9.A01) is debuting the GV Orbit unified IP configuration, control, and monitoring system. The consolidated software solution is specifically structured for the dynamic orchestration of broadcast media networks, whether SDI, hybrid, or pure IP. GV Orbit comprises one integrated package delivering an extensive diagnostic toolset for handling everything from multiviewers to routing control and monitoring via a single interface. Users can easily add or remove devices, change control surfaces, or rename signals, panels, and workflow indicators on the fly. GV Orbit is architected to sit on Distributed Data Services (or DDS real-time middleware) and autonomously recognizes and displays any new device on a network, with all device parameters immediately accessible.

Lawo (Stand 8.B50) is launching the world’s first AES67 stream-monitoring software, for Windows PC. AES67 Stream Monitor displays detailed information for as many as 16 user-definable audio streams, each of which can contain multiple audio channels. The main display presents audio levels and alarm indications at a glance for all monitored streams; selecting an individual stream display allows the user to do a “deep dive” to discover detailed stream information. “Radio professionals have embraced AoIP. The majority of new facilities are based upon IP technology,” says Lawo Radio Marketing Specialist Clark Novak. “Broadcasters are also vocal about their support for the AES67 standard. But they’ve had no easy way to inspect and monitor critical audio streams. AES67 Stream Monitor addresses this issue and fills their need.”

Leader Electronics (11.A33) is using IBC for the European debut of the LV5900 HD/4K/8K multi-standard waveform monitor. The device supports 8K video formats up to 7680(8192)x4320/59.9p YCbCr 10-bit with a 12G-SDI QUAD LINK transport. Test patterns, such as colour bars, can also be generated in 8K. The LV5900 is designed for producers, broadcasters, and manufacturers, especially those progressing into the Super Hi-Vision standard developed by Japan’s NHK. In addition, Leader is showing two new 25 GbE options for the LV5600, the portable broadcast-quality waveform monitor, and for its rasterising equivalent, the LV7600.

Bolt X, the latest addition to MRMC’s (10.D26) Bolt high-speed motion-control cinebot family, has made its IBC debut. Boasting a 3.1-metre-long camera arm, the larger operating envelope of the Bolt X gives operators greater creative freedom and opens up a range of new shooting opportunities for high-speed video capture. Exhibited alongside the new Bolt X are the Bolt and the Bolt Jr, which are once again demonstrating why they are the go-to robots for high-speed precision content capture with a show-stopping display of speed, finesse, and consistency.

Multidyne Fiber Optics Solutions (11.D40) recently acquired Census Digital, expanding the company’s portfolio with audio products and the NanoLinx series of mini converters. “We are a fairly niche-oriented company and had the same clientele as Census Digital, so our clients use this type of product,” says CEO Frank Jachetta, referring to the C-Series embedded audio monitors and OpenGear audio-conversion and distribution modules. “In addition, the Nano Link series of mini converters are cost-effective.” The rest of the Multidyne lineup is also on exhibit.

Panasonic (11.C45) has teamed up with SimplyLive to put together an all-in-one production and SloMo Replay system designed specifically for entry-level and mid-tier sports broadcasters and content producers. The combo comprises SimplyLive’s ViBox and the Panasonic AK-UC4000 studio camera. “With its high-quality output, innovative workflows and functions, and significant cost advantages, the combination is the perfect entry-level solution for smaller companies and productions,” the company says.

Pliant (10.F29) is on hand in Amsterdam with the latest version of CrewCom, which has enhanced firmware and software allowing increased RF coverage performance and adding several new features. Pliant is also showcasing new accessory products, including its Drop-in Charger (allowing six radio packs plus six additional batteries to charge in the same device), Fiber Hub (allowing up to eight fiber connections using included SFP‐based, single-mode fiber modules along with a single RJ‐45 copper port to interface to existing CrewNet connections), and FleXLR gender adapter (providing a simple, compact solution for connecting headsets to devices with non‐matching four- and five-pin XLRs).

Q5X (8.B02) is featuring its signature on-person wireless systems, including the new QT-5100 RefMic with integrated rocker-style mute switch, which was introduced at last December’s SVG Summit and has been rolled out to all 31 NHL arenas and used in all NHL games. Also new since IBC 2018 are Q5X QR-3200 dual-channel wideband rackmount receivers and QR-M3 wideband mobile receivers, which can be tuned between 470 and 698 MHz. According to Q5X CEO Paul Johnson, a number of teams have purchased their own Q5X PlayerMic kits to create content for team websites. “We have sold many systems this year directly to teams for the NBA, NHL, MLS, MLB, and NFL,” he says, noting a shift from the rentals that many leagues and teams used during initial evaluation periods.

Riedel’s (10.A31) Smart Panel is increasingly embracing the “there’s an app for that” philosophy, thanks to an API that has allowed manufacturers like Broadcast Solutions, Pebble Beach, Data Miner, and others to place their products under control of the Smart Panel. The goal, says Joe Commare, marketing manager, Riedel North America, is to allow the 2RU Smart Panel to put extra capacity to use by allowing other manufacturers to make use of the panel’s dials and customizable buttons and screens to create an interface for a task. Also new is Mediornet’s ability to handle embedded timecode and for a Mediornet multiviewer to support portrait mode. The Bolero intercom system, meanwhile, is rocking along and now will run over AES 67 SMPTE ST 2110 networks without the need for a matrix.

Ross Video (11.C10) has launched Gator-Toolbox, an innovative UHD signal-conversion problem solver. It adapts “any-to-any” HD, UHD, and HDR signals in a compact openGear card, with optional fast and adaptive standards converter. Gator-Toolbox includes all the tools needed to adapt UHD and HD signals to a broadcast production and live event workflows where low latency and quality UHD, HDR, and WCG are required. Ross has also launched Ultritouch 4, a 4RU version of the 2RU Ultritouch facility-monitoring and control panel. The new version features a larger touchscreen area and front-facing loudspeaker for audio monitoring but also includes a front-panel headphone jack and USB port for peripherals. The new SkyDolly from Ross leverages Furio’s technologies to unleash the creative potential of ceiling-mounted cameras. SkyDolly delivers smooth, repeatable on-air quality presets and movements, suitable for live, automated, and virtual or augmented-reality productions.

Sennheiser (8.D50) is showing its wide range of wireless microphone systems, including the XSW-D, AVX, evolution wireless, and Digital 6000 and Digital 9000 systems. These provide high-quality wireless transmission in various frequency ranges: 2.4 GHz, 1.9 GHz, and UHF. In the AMBEO immersive-audio area, two full end-to-end workflows for multichannel and Ambisonics productions are being displayed. Within the framework of the AMBEO for VR partnership program, Solid State Logic is showcasing a live immersive television mix recorded with the Sennheiser AMBEO VR Mic and various spot microphones. Live workflow demos of decoding and mixing operations will take place at the SSL booth (8.D83) at 4 p.m. every day.

At the Shotover stand (11.B49), the hot product for sports productions is the B1 gimbal system, according to VP, Global Sales, Gordon Barry. Waterproof and weighing less than 17 kg, it can be used for things like placing it on a jet ski, drone, or small plane or on the roof of a car. “It has six-axis gyro stabilization so it can have a little bit more freedom and look downward without having to reposition the aircraft,” Barry says. Other features include compatibility with approved aircraft mounts for AS350, R44, R66, B206, B505, and CABRI G2 helicopters; angled front window for brilliant imagery without reflections; 3X SDI or fiber video options; and customizable graphics overlay for real-time operator feedback.

Shure (8.B35) is introduced its line of TwinPlex premium subminiature (5 mm) omnidirectional lavalier and headset microphones. Comprising four lavaliers (TL45, TL46, TL47, TL48) and an ultra-light, fully adjustable headset mic (TH53), the TwinPlex products feature dual-diaphragm omnidirectional design, which creates excellent off-axis consistency and low self-noise characteristics. A1 Dave Grundtvig has tested the TwinPlex microphone extensively in sports settings and notes that he has used in NFL, NBA, and MLB games and The Masters golf: “And it has performed fantastically.” Shure is also showcasing the MV88+ video kit, Axient digital wireless system, and other products.

Slomo.tv (8.B40) is using IBC 2019 to demo a new 3G/HD broadcast-grade production server for slow-motion replays; it is also capable of recording for non-linear editing (NLE). Designed to be a “workhorse for broadcasting sports events of any level of complexity” but particularly at entry-level, the Arrow III offers up to seven recording and seven search functions alongside two playback channels and effects. The 2RU-size server records for NLE without the need for external equipment using removable hard drives. Also at the show, the company is touting its affordable VAR systems, the Dominator AT/12G production server, and the Ripley Plus. The last is a compact multichannel recording and slo-mo server built into a replay controller.

Smartlive is the talk of the Tedial stand (8.B44): it enables broadcasters to tap into their vast archives to create highlight packages automatically, as well as for clips of live events. Says VP, Products, Jerome Wauthoz, “You can create highlights automatically for all your live events; if you want the goals, you tell the system what you want, and it will automatically clip it and post to wherever you want. The second use case on this is, you can create highlights during or after a game: if a producer wants to create a three-minute piece of highlights, the system will automatically clip and package it. We are a sports-agnostic system,” he continues. “If you want to look at a triathlon, rugby, Formula 1, whatever, we don’t care. We care so much about your business, we provide the flexibility for you to do any sports. In five seconds, you can get your highlights done; we’ve completely cut down the time the production team needs to spend to make their story. The system here, versus other AI systems, leaves more creativity for the team as well; it allows them to create the things they want to do,” Wauthoz adds. “In the end, we are a MAM, and the MAM is connected to your archive, so you can have petabytes of content available to you. We recently digitized 8 PB of content for BT Sport.”

The Telos Alliance (8.D47) will introduce its SDI AoIP Node, which features two independent 3-Gbps HD/SD-SDI inputs and outputs. Up to eight audio pairs from either or both SDI inputs can be de-embedded and converted to AES67, becoming available as network sources for monitoring, distribution, or loudness control via the Linear Acoustic AERO.8000 Processing Engine. Up to eight audio pairs of the networked audio can then be re-embedded (and pair-shuffled if desired) back into two independent SDI outputs. “Radio broadcasters caught on to the nearly endless benefits of networked audio nearly two decades ago and haven’t looked back since,” says John Schur, president, Telos Alliance TV Solutions Group. “Television is now on the same path, aided by emerging standards.”