NAB 2023

NAB 2023 in Review: North Hall — SportsTech Buzz From Blackmagic Design, LiveU, Ross Video, and More

The SVG and SVGE editorial teams were out in full force at NAB 2023, covering the biggest sports-technology news and delivering daily SportsTechBuzz at NAB 2023 roundups. Here is a look at the news from exhibitors in North Hall.

Featured in this roundup are Blackmagic Design, Brainstorm, Chyron, Evertz, EVS, FingerWorks Telestrators, G&D North America, Hitomi Broadcast, IHSE USA, IPV, LiveU, LucidLink, Open Broadcast Systems, OpenDrives, Quantum, Rohde & Schwarz, Ross Video, RT Software, Studio Network Solutions, Teradek, Wasabi Technologies, and Zero Density.

The latest in keyer capabilities on the green screen is on exhibit by Zero Density (Booth N1817), which is showcasing solutions from bubbles to the best in photorealism. A highlight is the basketball set, which demonstrates player stats and line-ups in real time, enabling broadcasters to transform even modest studios with a video wall into a 360-degree virtual world. The company has also announced ZD|Virtual Studio, a software bundle that includes Reality Keyer — the real-time image-based keyer used by Fox Sports, Warner Media, and The Weather Channel — and its RealityHub control application, which lets users control both on-air graphics and virtual production from a single interface. With support for real-time depth of field, ray tracing, and Unreal Engine 5.1, ZD|Virtual Studio enables broadcasters to set up an industry-standard virtual production with green screen, AR, or XR at an affordable price point, Zero Density said.

Hitomi Broadcast (Booth N2860) has launched a new IP SMPTE 2110 interface for MatchBox. Director Russell Johnson noted, “We’ve been asked about this for years, and we’ve finally done it. We’ve created a new rear that plugs into the back of MatchBox and upgrades it from SDI to IP. We’ve also launched cloud-based measurement here at NAB. It’s a software approach that can be deployed anywhere; you can have as many instances as you need, and that leads onto a quality-control tool for lip-sync AV timing. When audio sync gets ahead in sport, it’s a nightmare; viewers just turn off.”

Chyron’s Mark Friedman (left) and Carol Bettencourt

For Chyron (Booth N2647) VP, Strategic Accounts, Mark Friedman this is one of the most exciting NAB Shows since he joined the company, marked by the latest enhancements to Chyron’s PRIME live-production engine and Chyron LIVE cloud-native platform. Enhancements in PRIME version 4.7 include improved designer-usability features for fast-paced workflows; more effects, resources, and logic, including advanced auto-follow and Data Table Resource; and extended ability to organize, filter, and display data easier and faster — along with the integration of several new data partners. Meanwhile, version 1.3 of Chyron LIVE features a new Matchpad module that allows virtually any user to manage dynamic motion graphics for live sports production. This first implementation of Matchpad in LIVE 1.3 focuses on soccer, but the technology provides a foundation for simplified graphics-control interfaces for a variety of sports in future LIVE releases. Chyron also announced new features in its CAMIO and Newsticker environments and soft-launched a new AXIS platform running on AWS.RT Software (Booth N2861) has introduced version 7.0 of its Tactic premier sports-analysis telestrator software aimed at professional broadcasters. Commercial Director Mike Fredriksen said, “We have version 7.0 of Tactic, which is taking AI to the next level delivering lightning-fast turnarounds of sports-play analysis. Now, with our AI, we’re tracking the players all the time; complex graphics sequencies can be turned around quickly.”

At NAB 2023, OpenDrives (Booth N1861) has announced multi-cloud migration as part of its efforts with Fox Sports, as well as the addition of AI-enabled remote-production and backup/recovery workflows to its software-defined ecosystem. The company’s Atlas Core software platform and Atlas Cloud Plus (ACP) fully managed cloud solution centralize content across Fox Sports’ 10 onsite locations, multiple editing facilities, and geographically distributed remote teams. Now Fox Sports has selected ACP to streamline content access from any location while enhancing tiering efficiencies for files migrated between AWS and GCP. According to Chief Operations and Strategy Officer Sean Lee, giving Fox Sports the ability to instantly launch containerized applications, including Signiant and Aspera, OpenDrives provides a resilient and adaptive storage platform enabling data access and movement from anywhere.

Despite the move to IP, there is still a place for SDI within live sports broadcasting, as Evertz (Booth N2225) is demonstrating at NAB 2023. The company is touting 12G-SDI updates that are for sports venues and local sports broadcasters who, for cost reasons, aren’t yet ready to move to IP but want to upgrade their SDI capabilities. This includes new features for its 12G-SDI NEXX processing router, such as output frame synchronization, timecode, and mixed-reference support. The addition of the new NEXX-670 FPGA-based module expands the processing capabilities of the NEXX platform and allows broadcasters to transition to IP when they are ready.

Brainstorm’s booth features Virtual Production Theatre to demonstrate virtual-set and real-time 3D-graphics capabilities.

Brainstorm (Booth N2639), a provider of virtual-set and real-time 3D-graphics solutions, is showcasing its flagship InfinitySet, which enables users to create photorealistic augmented- and mixed-reality content. The demonstration at the company’s Virtual Production Theatre features a combination of chroma sets and shaped LED videowalls, along with real-time, seamless extra-render and set extensions with color-matching 3D LUTs, in-context AR motion graphics, fully immersive talent teletransport, multi-background content, and more. Receiving its U.S. debut, the company’s Edison Ecosystem transforms any live or online presentation into an immersive experience using AR and virtual environments.

Cloud MAM vendor IPV (Booth N1727) will lead a discussion on cloud deployment and how cloud media management promises faster production, lower costs, and efficient remote workflows on Tuesday. Moderating the discussion will be VP, Customer Success, Nigel Booth, who with Hearst Television VP, Broadcast Technology, Joe Addalia will discuss Hearst’s journey to cloud media management and the benefits of a private cloud vs. multi-tenant during the “Video Asset Management, The HEARST Television Journey to a Castle in the Cloud” discussion in the Create Inspiration Theater at 11.20 a.m.

Open Broadcast Systems (Booth N2862) is demonstrating new features to enable cloud workflows, including interlaced-to-progressive conversion and the CDI (Cloud Digital Interface) protocol. These features enable an easy on-ramp to the cloud, as well as allowing broadcast-standard encoding and decoding to and from cloud applications that may be more web-focused. Company founder and Chief Executive Kieran Kunhya described its encoders and decoders as “key pieces of the puzzle in moving live content to and from the cloud.”

Rohde & Schwarz’s Martin Holmes

Rohde & Schwarz (Booth N1949) is off to a busy start at NAB 2023, with its main focus on providing productivity and reliability to customers. Intended to integrate power and agility in video workflows, the R&S SpycerNode2 is joining the company’s lineup of storage platforms. Similar to its predecessor, the R&S SpycerNode, this new product retains the 5RU storage appliance while also adding two 1RU RAID control servers. This feature boosts RAID and delivery performance by as much as 50% in 4K applications. In tradition to what Rohde & Schwarz has always supplied to the sports-video-production market, the latest THU9evo transmitter addresses the need for sustainable broadcasting. In an industry that is slowly shifting toward cloud-based workflows, the company is spotlighting the need to offer this flavor of solutions. “We’re highlighting [the industry’s] ongoing transition from hardware to software,” said Martin Holmes, senior business development manager, North America. “We’re starting to understand what we have to do to break out this software and incorporate them into other tools.”

Evertz (Booth N2225) used its NAB 2023 press conference to showcase updates to the Studer Vista digital mixing consoles. The Vista now supports ST 2110 and includes a new Video PFL (Pre-Fade–Listen) feature that lets the operator select an input to pre-fade while listening to the audio and seeing the accompanying video for that channel on the multiviewer in the audio-control room. There are developments also within BRAVO Studio, the virtualized live-production platform that is operated through a browser instead of a hardware panel. The key for this product, according to Mo Goyal, senior director, international business development, live media production, is “usability,” allowing small production teams to create high-quality “add-on” content, such as coverage of a single golf hole. New tools include Highlight Factory, with which clips and stories are automatically created using AI.

LucidLink’s Alex Ferris

LucidLink (Booth N1513) has teamed with EVS and Adobe to demo a new live-production workflow for sports. According to Alex Ferris, director, pre-sales engineering/global lead, the workflow combines LucidLink’s Filespaces remote-collaboration technology, EVS’s LiveCeption live-production and MediaCeption content-management systems, and Adobe Premiere Pro NLE to quickly ingest events and edit and stream them to audiences in as near to real time as possible from anywhere in the world. Live footage can be ingested directly into globally accessible storage as it is created, making growing files immediately available to remote editors. This removes the need for complicated networking, file-acceleration technologies, or physical shared storage. The ability to access media instantly, as if it were stored on a local drive, also enables on-premises, hybrid, or cloud-exclusive workflows.

Wasabi Technologies (Booth N3167) and IBM are teaming up on a new initiative to use IBM Cloud Satellite and Wasabi hot cloud storage to drive data innovation across hybrid cloud environments. According to VP, Media and Entertainment, Whit Jackson, the collaboration aims to allow enterprises to run applications across any environment — on-premises, in the cloud, at the edge — and helps enable users to cost-efficiently access and use key business data and analytics in real time. The Boston Red Sox will be the first to use the new joint solution, leveraging Wasabi hot cloud storage across its hybrid cloud infrastructure while piloting IBM Cloud Satellite to house player video, analytics, surveillance data, IoT, and more across Fenway Park and bring the flexibility and agility of public-cloud services to its secured on-premises data center.

LiveU (Booth N3058) has rolled into show with a bevy of new workflows powering sports-video production. On the broadcast side, the company’s new On-site Production Solution is refining productions from outdoor/remote locations. LiveU’s solution includes its multi-cam/compact 5G 4K field units and Mobile Receiver in the production truck. The live video is transmitted directly from the units to the truck in a highly resilient manner without the need for cables, fixed internet, or complex networking configurations. The live feeds are transferred via the public internet and the LU-Link cloud service as part of a seamless workflow. “Sports that are outdoor [in remote locations] are usually expensive to produce because of the landscape or the size of the playing surface,” says VP, Sports Sales, Janel Moorefield. “This is an incredible solution to bring in these various camera angles back to your onsite production.” Built atop the platform, which LiveU acquired last year, LiveU Studio is the company’s new fully cloud-native IP live-video-production service. Users can create, edit, and distribute shows from their browser anywhere via the intuitive web interface and can generate multiple revenue streams. Residing in the cloud, the service enables teams to work collaboratively on simultaneous projects worldwide, scaling up capabilities to deliver more content while paying only for what they need. “For instances like breaking news, postgame interviews, and press conferences where you can’t get to your control room,” adds Moorefield, “you can now set up this cloud production platform. “We see limitless possibilities with this [product].” Guided tours of the LiveU Ecosystem are available every hour on the show floor.

Perifery’s Alex Grossman (left) and Abhjit Dey

Having acquired Caringo, Mayastor, and Object Matrix over the past two years, DataCore Software is using NAB 2023 as the formal relaunch of a new brand: Perifery (Booth N1331). The new division is focused on “high-growth edge markets” like media and entertainment, according to VP, Product Management and Product Marketing, Alex Grossman. In addition to M&E, says GM/COO Abhijit Dey, Perifery plans to target healthcare, retail, and manufacturing. Deploying technology and leaders from Caringo, Mayastor, and Object Matrix, Perifery offers edge devices and solutions for M&E that speed content monetization and provide more–cost-predictable storage, AI services, and preprocessing options. At the show, the company has unveiled Perifery AI+, a set of new AI-based application-centric services for content-production workflows that integrate with the Perifery Transporter on-set media appliance, Swarm software, and Perifery Panel for Adobe Premiere Pro.

IHSE USA (Booth N2946) is highlighting its latest KVM solutions designed to streamline workflows, strengthen security, and boost performance. Leading the way is a quartet of mainline products: the Draco tera IP gateway, the Draco tactical deployable KVM system, Draco CON app, and kvm-tec Series KVMoIP extenders. The Draco tera IP gateway provides IHSE KVM users with the ability to bridge multiple KVM matrixes over existing IP networks within buildings, across campuses, and between remote corporate offices. Built from the latest high-speed KVM-technology components, the Draco tactical deployable KVM system is designed for remote command and control rooms used for real-time collaborative visualization demanded by different organizational verticals. Making its NAB Show debut, IHSE’s Draco CON software emulates the functions of a regular (physical) IHSE CON unit (decoder). Users only need an IP connection with sufficient bandwidth (at least 1G), low latency, and a suitable device — such as a capable laptop or desktop PC — to access a regular KVM network in real time. kvm-tec’s Scalable Line, supporting networked 4K multiviewer capabilities over a 10G network switch, will also be on display. Features include the ability to control and manage up to 16 computer sources on a single display via a single keyboard and mouse.

Quantum’s Skip Levens with new Quantum Myriad

Quantum (Booth N3027) is highlighting a giant leap in storage with the debut of Quantum Myriad. The all-flash, scale-out file- and object-storage software platform is Quantum’s most advanced software-defined storage platform to date and leverages advances in application frameworks and design that were not available even a few years ago, according to Marketing Director, M&E, Skip Levens. Myriad’s cloud-native architecture overcomes the limitations of hardware-centric designs and enables customers to adapt to future storage needs while reducing the burden on IT staff. The new shared-nothing architecture is designed for the latest flash technologies to deliver consistent low-latency performance at any scale, and it introduces inline data services, such as deduplication and compression, snapshots and clones, and metadata tagging to accelerate AI/ML data processing. It uses familiar and proven cloud technologies, like microservices and Kubernetes, to deliver cloud simplicity wherever deployed.

Studio Network Solutions (Booth N2108) has plenty of news to share, headlined by the launch of EVO Cloud, a private cloud storage solution with SNS’s EVO Suite included for unlimited users. According to Marketing Manager Melanie Ciotti, EVO Cloud features secure remote access, media-asset management (MAM), automatic proxy generation, and built-in remote editing tools for a flat monthly price with no egress fees or per-user software license fees. In addition to EVO Cloud, SNS is introducing the MOD personal-size server featuring the EVO Suite, the Transcode Accelerator EVO plug-in to speed transcoding across multi-EVO environments, and updates to its NDI plug-in.

Blackmagic Design (Booth N2601) has a slew of new products at NAB 2023, and President Dan May says the new ATEM Television Studio 4K8 live-production switcher exemplifies a revamped switcher line that can meet a wide variety of needs for sports-production professionals. The Television Studio 4K8 supports UHD up to 2160p60. “The portability means you can lug this in, throw up a couple of cameras, and do a sports event,” says May. “That’s the appeal for these particular type of units.” And coupled with recent intros like the Pocket Cinema Camera 6K G2, the entire ATEM line can pack a cost-effective punch.

EVS (Booth N2147) has plenty of tools that sports-production professionals will want to check out, but an improved version of XtraMotion will be at the top of the list. XtraMotion 2 reduces the turnaround time for converting a regular-speed clip into a super-slo-mo clip by using AI to create additional frames between the regular-speed frames in as little as 5 seconds. Almost as important, the system now treats an incoming source video as a “growing clip,” meaning that there is no limit to the length of the super-slow-motion interpolated segment. “We are very proud of our team’s hard work in developing an algorithm that produces visual content of unmatched quality,” says Olivier Barnich, head of innovation and architecture. “The launch of XtraMotion in edge computing mode also presented a valuable opportunity for us to achieve real-time processing. By using the powerful GPUs of our long-term partner Nvidia, we were able to improve our algorithm’s execution speed, leading to an impressive 95% reduction in processing time.”

Evertz (Booth N2225) is discussing integration of Studer’s Vista audio capabilities with the Evertz DreamCatcher BRAVO Studio virtual-production-control suite. “We’re using our VUE visual user interface to have full control of the Vista audio console to open up remote audio production,” said Evertz Manager, Product Marketing, Mo Goyal. He noted that the new Highlight Factory for BRAVO Studio will be of interest to sports professionals: “As metadata comes in, you can line up to the timecode and automatically package different highlights so you can have a pool of content to draw from for things like catch-me-up features or a player’s highlights.”

G&D North America’s Karl Johnson (left) and Craig Abram

G&D North America (Booth N1967) is highlighting its wide range of KVM solutions. A pair of products, PersonalWorkplace-Controller and VisionXS, are the focal point of its efforts. PersonalWorkplace-Controller is a new multiviewing tool that combines flexibility and usability. It also enables broadcast professionals to display multiple video signals on one large monitor or multiple displays for individualized design of workplaces. VisionXS extenders are matrix-compatible and offer resolutions of up to 4K at 60 Hz and a broad range of features for an optimal user experience. The series is also being expanded with VisionXS Type-C computer modules, which enable modern sources — USB-C computers, notebooks, tablets, even smartphones — to be incorporated, following the trend toward an improved and universal USB standard. Overall, Director, Business Development, Broadcast/Entertainment, North America, Craig Abrams emphasized that the booth’s focus at NAB 2023 is the gradual migration to IP.

Ross Video (Booth N2201) is back at the NAB Show in a big way, says VP, Global Sports and Live Events, Kevin Cottam, with tons of innovation reflecting a company that has grown from 800 employees in 2019 to more than 1,500 now. Thanks to the acquisition of D3 LED, for example, LED display technology is prominently displayed in the 10,000-sq.-ft. booth. Among a bevy of new products is the Ultra 60 Carbonite production switcher. “It’s modular, which Carbonite has never been before, and there are also five different control panels,” says Cottam. “We’re starting to get into the larger-production-switcher realm, and the control panels range from a single M/E to a full 3M/E or three-strip control panel and four mini M/Es, which means it basically is a 7M/E switcher. But, with Ultra Scene, you can take up to four snapshots and feed them back into the M/Es, which means it’s basically an 11M/E switcher.”

Teradek (Booth N212LMR) returns with a handful of innovations and workflows. Focused on productions that leverage bonded-cellular technology, the company is showcasing a trio of new products. First, Ranger Mk II is an improvement on Teradek’s zero-delay wireless-video solution and mixes 12 new 6-GHz (U-NII 5) channels and two newly designed form factors to suit cameras of any size. Second, Prism Mobile makes its NAB Show debut after launching earlier this year. The solution packs dual internal cellular modems and 4K HDR video support, seamlessly slips onto any professional camera rig for quick, on-the-go video contribution, and integrates Sony C3 Portal. Third, the company’s new Data cellular-data–plan service for broadcasters and content creators provides Tier 1 support for premium-bandwidth priority in North America.

FingerWorks Telestrators (Booth N1810) is introducing its FingerWorks Computer Vision software to support real-time player and field tracking as well as a new masking technology. This tool traces the path a player takes and can be applied to a live feed or during a replay. The Field Tracking tool allows any graphic to be placed and positioned under the players, in real time, and remain in that position during camera pans, tilts, and zooms. The company’s new masking technology, which is also part of the Computer Vision software, eliminates all logos and markers and makes them a “virtual” part of the imagery under the players.

A football proof of concept with Lumen and new RF-over-IP products were among a whole avalanche of innovations highlighted by Evertz (Booth N2225) at the opening press conference of NAB 2023. The PoC demonstrated contribution-quality transport of a single-link UHD signal with ultra-low latency over a dedicated IP network during an unnamed but high-profile sports event. The RF-over-IP products allow users to securely transport analog RF signals within their digital network, delivering increased flexibility in a satellite/IP hybrid workflow.

Hitomi Broadcast (Booth N2860) is showcasing its latency and synchronization tools at the UK Pavilion. New for NAB 2023 is lip-sync measurement in the cloud, and visitors to the Hitomi booth will be able to see a live demonstration of a file-based version of MatchBox for lip-sync measurements and the latest MatchBox Glass iPhone app for lining up camera feeds. Hitomi said its “simple and cost-effective tools” are in high demand due to the rapid growth in remote production and IP contribution. Hitomi director Russell Johnson said, “NAB gives us the chance to showcase the latest developments, like our commitment to SMPTE ST 2110 and our solutions for MatchBox in cloud architectures.”

RT Software (Booth N2861) is showcasing its Swift and Tactic product ranges at NAB 2023, with a demonstration of Swift News’ close integration with ENPS to show how journalists can create “stunning” graphics through ENPS and other newsroom computer systems, via the RT Software plug-in. Meanwhile, the Tactic telestration system deploys AI to detect soccer players in order to allow users to work faster and achieve more-accurate results.

Zero Density (Booth N1817) has announced the launch of several innovations in tracking technology, all released under its Traxis brand. Among them are the Traxis Camera Tracker, a unified hub for broadcasters to track cameras and manage their camera and lens data, and a major update to the Traxis Talent Tracker, which enables broadcasters to track multiple people on set at the same time without wearables.

Imagen (Booth N2866) has launched its latest product feature, Live Connect, which provides the ability to ingest live feeds for archive and redistribution. Described by Imagen as a “step-change” in sports, it enables users to synchronize live data feeds, create an archive, and allow rightsholders to re-stream directly from the platform. It’s already being used by New Zealand Cricket, which is auto-ingesting match-day live streams directly via SRT feeds into an Imagen media-asset–management platform, enriching the information and metadata in real time by connecting Opta data to the content coming into Imagen. This is enabling content producers, sponsors, and third parties to access and use this content in near real time.

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