NAB 2022 SportsTechBuzz in Review: North Hall
The SVG and SVGE editorial teams were out in full force at NAB 2022, covering the biggest sports-technology news and delivering daily SportsTechBuzz at NAB 2022 roundups. Here is a look at the news from exhibitors in North Hall.
Featured in this roundup are Advanced Image Robotics, Ai-Media, AutomaticTV, Blackmagic Design, Chyron, Cobalt Digital, Dalet, Digigram, EditShare, EEG Video, Evertz, EVS, G&D North America, GLOOKAST, IHSE USA, LucidLink, Matrox, Maxon, OpenDrives, Puget Systems, RT Software, Teradek, VITEC, and Vizrt.
Matrox Video (Booth N3118) is putting the focus on REMI and remote operation workflows at NAB 2022 with a series of showcases featuring its Monarch EDGE encoder and decoder appliances, Extio 3 IP KVM extenders, ConvertIP SMPTE ST 2110 NMOS-aware and IPMX-compatible converters, VERO ST 2110 signal generator and diagnostic appliance, and X.mio and DSX LE5 ST 2110 NIC and SDI I/O cards. In addition, Matrox Video has unveiled four new multi-channel SDI video input and output (I/O) cards for its broadcast OEM developer card lineup. And lastly, the company it highlighting expanded display layout options and Full HD display support with its Extio 3 IP KVM extenders’ Tile View feature to provide users with new productivity-enhancing remote workspace configurations.
Digigram (Booth N2238) is highlighting what Derek Badala, director, sales, Americas, Synthax, Digigram’s distributor, calls “a fluid IP audio codec solution,” one that major sports broadcasters, including NBC Sports and Eurosport, have implemented. The high-density IQOYA SERV/LINK multichannel IP audio codec handles four to 64 stereo (eight to 128 mono) audio input and output channels and can simultaneously encode and stream the audio inputs in multiple formats and protocols, decode IP audio streams to the outputs, and transcode IP audio streams. It’s used in conjunction with web platform and connection service IQOYA CONNECT to remotely manage a codec fleet and custom user profiles and monitor in real time all communications and remote-control codecs. The newest addition to the lineup is IQOYA Guest, an audio interface for connecting remotely via mobile devices. Badala observes that, while exacerbating the need for an all-IP solution like the IQOYA units, “the pandemic supercharged their development.”
Advanced Image Robotics (Booth N830C) is demonstrating its fully integrated remote-production solution that makes live-streaming sports simple and more cost-effective. Heading its product line, the AIR One Multicam platform can handle up to 4K imaging while allowing monitoring, switching, and robotic-camera control from a device as simple as a tablet.
AutomaticTV, part of the Mediapro group of companies (all of them to be found at Booth N5420), is highlight its big new addition this year: the ability to add manned ENG cameras that can capture closeups while the AutomaticTV cameras automatically capture the match or event coverage. “It’s an evolution for how our productions can be done,” says Marketing Director Esteban Camp. “All the feeds can be sent to a platform like Vmix, where the production team can do what they want. It allows for an OB van to have less resources, and four or five people can do the whole show. In Peru, it was used for the first broadcast of a women’s soccer match, and they had three manual cameras that could add closeups.” Also on display is AutomaticTV ONE, a single camera with three lenses, designed for lower-level collegiate, amateur, or high school sports.
LucidLink (Booth N7301) is showcasing Filespaces 2.0, its newly updated high-performance remote-collaboration solution. According to CEO/co-founder Peter Thompson, more organizations than ever are taking advantage of remote media workflows with LucidLink. LucidLinks’ flagship SaaS product allows users to access cloud storage faster than ever, and version 2.0 adds new collaborative features.
GLOOKAST (Booth N725) is making a splash on the NAB 2022 exhibit floor. At a special event, Co-Founder/President Guilherme Silva announced that former Chief Revenue Officer Allan Delaurier has been appointed CEO. Aside from this shift on the business side, GLOOKAST is demonstrating metadata migration and quick archive retrieval. Designed with hybrid environments in mind, products include Media | Producer for remote transcode and ingest, Media | Services to provide customizable solutions, and Capturer for ingest of IP or SDI feeds to multiple simultaneous destinations. Outside of Las Vegas, GLOOKAST is supplying live ingest with reliability and speed for Canada’s Bell Media.
Want to check out the future of how gamification will change the way sports fans interact with their favorite sports-TV app? Visit Evertz (Booth N509) to see the demo of Ease Live AS, which is currently being used by YES Network for in-app watch parties and interactive gaming (demos of work being done with Bally Sports is also available). “We’ve moved it forward to have a great story,” says Evertz Senior Director, International Business Development, Mo Goyal. “Regional sports networks and content owners can find a way to keep users engaged throughout an event with interactive graphics for things like trivia and, eventually, sports betting. We’re seeing a lot of interest in what we’re doing here.” In other news, networking and CDN provider Lumen Technologies (Booth W4418) has opted for Evertz’s Scorpion Smart Media Processing Platform for its next-generation contribution network. Speaking at a press conference, Goyal said, “It gives Lumen the ability to build a large contribution network that connects multiple stadiums inside the U.S. for major sports.” Lumen selected the Scorpion platform to upgrade its Vyvx offering by enhancing its ability to support customers with multiple UHD and 1080p HDR video signals. Also at the press conference, Goyal noted that Evertz doesn’t expect to immediately be affected by component shortages. Although issues affecting global supply chains are a concern, he said, the company has been “diligent to make sure that everything we have seen today is shipping. We have had our teams look at different sources or different parts that we might need to fill the supply chain, and we have done a decent job to maintain customer deliveries.” Evertz has also announced the availability of the award-winning DreamCatcher BRAVO Studio on Microsoft Azure Marketplace as well as additions to its portfolio of RF solutions and its new Ease Live SaaS GFX platform.
Blackmagic’s (Booth N302) URSA Broadcast G2 cameras have a new beta version (7.8) designed to make live streaming easier. Users can stream directly to YouTube, Twitter, and other platforms complete with camera control, tally, and talkback sound to the camera via an ATEM Streaming Bridge. When the ATEM Streaming Bridge is connected to an ATEM switcher, customers get full support for camera control, tally, and talkback. This means that, through one streaming link, the camera operator can stream live to the studio while receiving instructions, have their camera color corrected live, and see when they are on-air. And streaming via USB connection to mobile phones or Ethernet adapters has also been added, along with improved RAW recording and Premier Pro performance and stability. The company also says that its DaVinci Resolve 18 video-editing/color-correction app coupled with Blackmagic Cloud offers the kind of cost-effective collaboration that makes it more accessible to more professionals no matter where they work or live. And while, yes, there is a $5-per-month charge, every user who needs to collaborate on content does not need to pay an additional $5. According to Blackmagic Design President, Americas, Dan May, only the organization or person hosting the project files needs to pay $5: “Everybody else can have a free Blackmagic account and work on the project. The Blackmagic model has always been how to bring more people to the table and getting them trained and educated on how to use these tools.”
EditShare (Booth N3008) has unveiled its new FLEX cloud solutions, a suite of MAM and storage-software solutions designed to let businesses take full advantage of cloud services and workflows. Several tools sit under the FLEX umbrella: FLEX Cloud (MAM, high-performance software-defined storage, and virtual workstations in the AWS cloud), FLEX Cloud Edit+ (adding accelerated file-transfer capabilities), and FLEX Cloud Sync (synchronizes content between local storage and the cloud). According to CTO Stephen Tallamy, these are just the first features available, and EditShare will continue to add to the FLEX platform. The company’s other key announcements at NAB 2022 include the next release of its core FLOW software, the new EFS 60NL nearline storage device, and the new EFS Multi-Site platform to serve users with multiple locations.
Vizrt (Booth N2619) has a lot going on at NAB 2022, including an NDI Pavilion with a dozen NDI product providers. But, for sports-related highlights, CTO Gerhard Lang cites the Viz AI modules. “One of the most prominent ones lately is the Object Tracker, which we used on NASCAR and other events,” he explains. “The control interface allows the operator to easily pick up the object to mark and then have a graphic identifying it on top with a 3D effect. It’s super easy to use and very helpful.” Another cool feature (especially in the age of TikTok) is the combination of Object Tracking with Eye Tracking and vertical presets to cut vertical video out from a UHD feed. “That was done live and with a very good result,” adds Lang. Being previewed at the booth is Vizrt Engine 5, which will offer adaptive graphics that make it easier than ever for live graphics to be created once and deployed over various platforms without having to be re-created.
G&D North America (Booth N7010) is providing KVM solutions that extend further than the brick-and-mortar control room and allow content creators to work in the cloud. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the company exhibited solutions like RemoteAccess-CPU and RemoteAccess-GATE, but, at NAB 2022, two new products are giving clients even more flexibility: Multiviewer PersonalWorkplace-Controller can accommodate 26 video sources on a single monitor, and ControlCenter-IP-XS, an addition to the KVM-over-IP family, permits up to 20 end devices. Director, Sales, Mid-America, Andy Coole notes that the equipment’s size — about half of a rack in a control room — allows it to fit smaller spaces and applications. On the sports front, G&D North America has provided services in two venues: Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis and the brand-new Moody Center on the campus of the University of Texas.
Alongside web-control-based CG, newsroom graphics, virtual studio, augmented reality, videowall, playout, and channel-branding solutions, RT Software (Booth N1731) is showing how machine learning and AI in its Tactic range of sports-analysis solutions make it dramatically faster and easier to create compelling and informative sports-analysis graphics and storytelling. The automatic Player Detect function enables operators to attach graphics to multiple players and, with just a click on the players, to follow them as they move within the video. Version 6.0, shown for the first time at NAB 2022, exploits AI even more to allow automatic camera calibration to tie graphics to the pitch and allows such graphics as offside lines, speed, or distance, which previously needed a manual calibration, to be added in seconds. The company is also demonstrating how its long-standing modular approach to software positioned it to meet the accelerating demand for remote production. Visitors to the booth are able to see how web-based frontends to its flexible Swift graphics-production solutions allow command and control of broadcast graphics from remote locations, whether on-premises or from the cloud.
It has been a busy three years for Maxon (Booth N5920), which has made several acquisitions since the last time NAB was held in person, in 2019. At the show, Maxon is showcasing how it has integrated the Redshift rendering solution, Red Giant editing/design/filmmaking tools, Forger mobile sculpting platform, and ZBrush digital sculpting/painting solution into its overall ecosystem. According to CMO/COO, U.S. Operations, Paul Babb, the potential of these acquisitions is realized in the new features and capabilities in the Maxon One subscription service on exhibit. In addition, Maxon is presenting its long-running 3D and Motion Design Show live at its booth.
Chyron (Booth N2613) has revealed that its recent investment in R&D is bearing fruit at NAB 2022. “In the last year and a half, we have doubled the number of R&D engineers worldwide and added new capabilities, with cloud engineers and built out our AI capabilities and our UI teams with significant investment,” says CFO Mike Truex, adding that Chyron is 95% of the way toward its goal of building a 150-strong team of engineers. Adds SVP, Strategy, Mathieu Yerle, “We are building new products and new releases of existing products at a pace we have not had in recent times, if at all. Chyron LIVE and PRIME Edge, that we released recently, are the result of the last year’s work.” The Chyron LIVE Platform and PRIME Edge offerings are being showcased at the show.
Virtualized production is the theme for Puget Systems (Booth N6616) at NAB 2022. Working with a number of clubs and franchises in the NFL, NBA, and MLB, the company is helping game-day personnel and creatives accomplish their jobs away from the stadium or arena. Having seen an increase since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Senior Hardware Analyst Matt Bach and Marketing Manager Eric Brown are exhibiting solutions in partnership with various vendors, including Epic Games’ Unreal Engine. In addition, Puget Systems is supplying motion graphics and postproduction video editing for clients. In the venue space, these services are being used for real-time graphics seen in on-ice projections in the NHL.
Dalet (Booth N4423) is introducing two offerings at NAB 2022: Dalet Flex for Teams, offered as-a-service for all teams with digital-media–management and multiplatform-delivery requirements, and Dalet Pyramid solutions to enable modern storytelling and news-production practices with centralized planning, remote editing, and digital-production capabilities.
NAB 2022 is a special occasion for VITEC (Booth N4420). On Monday, April 25, the company will be awarded an Engineering & Technical Emmy for its management of IP multicast video distribution in production facilities. On the exhibit floor, the headliner is the new MGW Diamond+ OG, a 4K/multichannel HD, HEVC, H.264, and MPEG-2 encoder with SDI and SMPTE 2110 input in an openGear card format. Building off the first version of this equipment, according to VP, Marketing, Bryan Reksten, enabled the team to improve the hardware in a short time and have it available for the industry. Also spotlighted are ChannelLink for delivery of content over IP from any location and awareness of the company’s GreenPEG Initiative to combat climate change. In addition, the IPTV provider is showcasing products from its acquisition of Exterity, which was finalized in April 2021. One of the products is the new PRISM Transcoder for high-performance and real-time IP video transcoding.
EVS (Booth N2625) MediaCeption Signature 1.0, the company’s latest end-to-end asset-management solution, is debuting at NAB 2022. Web-based interfaces allow users to perform different work functions in live or near-live productions that seamlessly integrate everything from ingest to playout. And appearing for the first time at a major U.S. trade show is the EVS XtraMotion cloud-based replay service. The technology uses cloud and AI-based technologies to create up to 2X or 3X video replays using any 50- or 59.95-fps source as long as it is 720p, 1080i, 1080p, or UHD format. It’s integrated into the LSM-VIA and XT-VIA live-video-production servers.
Celebrating 25 years in the industry, Cobalt Digital (Booth N3713) is spotlighting notable enhancements to broadcast audio and video. Its setup in Las Vegas is centered on a trio of products: the new +UDX-Dante-16×16 processor, Indigo 2110-DC-01 SMPTE ST-2110 solution, and the new series of BlueBox Group 12G mini converters. Prioritizing cost-efficiency and simplicity, the +UDX-Dante-16×16 processor enables users of this IP-based audio to ingest and process up to 16 audio channels into any network and to output up to 16 channels back into the network. The Indigo 2110-DC-01 will integrate native IP within the company’s 9904-UDX-4K and 9905-MPx audio/video-processor cards. Making its NAB Show debut, the 12G mini converter supports SMPTE ST 2082, ST 2081, 424M, 292M, and 259M as well as ASI and MADI audio. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, according to SVP, Worldwide Sales and Marketing, Suzana Brady, the company’s anticipation of supply-chain issues and its ability to adapt quickly has mitigated shipping delays.
Teradek (Booth N212LMR) is highlighting its 4K HDR workflows for live streaming. Attendees can witness new additions to the RT lens-control family as well as learn how Bolt 4K allows wireless camera control into existing infrastructures. The company is also displaying applications in live event production. On display in this sector are Wave, a 7-in. HD live streaming monitor; Spark 4K, a wireless transmitter and receiver system; and Prism Flex portable 4K HDR encoder/decoder system.
IHSE USA (Booth N6913) is spotlighting the latest trends in KVM, headlined by its Draco MultiView 4K60 — enabling simultaneous operation of four computers displayed on a single display — and tera flex matrix switch. A live demonstration of the Draco ultra 240 series of high-frame-rate extenders features two professional esports athletes going head-to-head. In addition, IHSE USA’s booth is showcasing KVM-over-IP solutions from its acquisition of kvm-tec and VuWall’s TRx 3.1 centralized video-wall–management platform.
EEG Video and Ai-Media (Booth N5509) are appearing at their first NAB Show together since the latter acquisition of the former’s in April 2021. Showcasing advanced and cost-effective captioning, their setup features solutions for a variety of use cases. Among the products on display are the Alta Software caption encoder for live IP video, Lexi automatic captioning service, and the new Smart Lexi, iCap Connect AV650, and AV610 CaptionPort V2.1.0 live captioning display. The two companies are expanding their translation services with iCap Translate to support English, Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, German, Danish, Maori, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Hindi, Arabic, Russian, Finnish, Norwegian, and Swedish.
OpenDrives (N2015) unveiled its open ecosystem solution at NAB 2022. Powered by Atlas – the centralized hub for accessing, managing and moving data with a single pane of glass – the solution bridges software, hardware and services to provide workflow solutions that are flexible, modular and scalable, and agnostic. During the show, Kevin Callahan, VP of Field Operations and Engineering, Fox Sports, visited the OpenDrives booth for a special Q&A on how Fox has implemented OpenDrives technology on several of its productions including NASCAR, USFL, and the upcoming FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.