Spring Tech

Grass Valley Details GV Media Universe Powered by Agile Media Processing Platform (AMPP)

Virtualized ecosystem of apps and microservices promises new era in sports production

Grass Valley has launched GV Media Universe, a virtual world of applications and microservices powered by the Agile Media Processing Platform (AMPP) and kicking off a new era for the company as it opens the door to cloud-based SaaS workflows that are top of mind for many sports-production professionals.

Grass Valley President Tim Shoulders considers IP the on-ramp to a virtualized world and sees AMPP as the core of the company’s virtualized production efforts. It powers the newly announced GV Media Universe, a comprehensive ecosystem of cloud-based tools and services that revolutionizes the way live media is produced.

The GV Universe will allow new workflows, thanks to AMPP.

“The ability to adapt their content and delivery models to changing consumer habits is critical to the success of our customers’ businesses,” he says. “With GV AMPP, we’re delivering a simple way to unlock flexible production workflows where cost and features scale up or down as needed.”

The GV AMPP platform is cloud-native and cloud-agnostic, while supporting the processing of video/audio in the public cloud; in a private, on-premises data center; or in hybrid topologies.

“It’s the first cloud-based offering specifically designed for broadcaster concerns about the transition to the cloud,” says Shoulders, “and it offers unprecedented flexibility to spin resources up and down and even pay as you.”

Virtualized applications include multiviewers, router panels, test-signal generators, switchers, graphics renderers, clip players, and recorders — all of which can quickly be deployed to support a wide range of workflows. Built on a microservices architecture based on five core technologies — fabric, timing, connectivity, identity, and streaming — GV AMPP enables elastic media services and directly addresses many of the issues that complicate common IP and cloud deployments, delivering seamless network connectivity, timing, and ultra-low latency.

The move to virtualized production is likely to see increased interest from production and operations professionals, given the current coronavirus crisis. And Shoulders says the company is taking steps now to make it easier for customers to stay on-air and operate during difficult economic times.

“We have discounted licenses, spare parts, and technical support,” he says, “and, for freelancers, we are offering avenues for training so they can hone their skills.’

Mike Cronk, VP, core technology, Grass Valley, says that, for all its technical prowess, the system can be helpful only if it is intuitive to use and has easy user interfaces. That is why the company worked closely with users, most notably with Blizzard Entertainment, for the past two years, ensuring that the interfaces are developed with input from the real world.

According to Neil Maycock, SVP, strategic marketing and playout, Grass Valley, third-party partners will also be able to take advantage of AMPP and have their applications become part of GV Media Universe and create end-to-end solutions.

Grass Valley’s Morpheus system can tap into the power of AMPP.

“Applications in the playout business are a great example,” he explains. “Within Grass Valley, the combination of Morpheus, ICE, and ITX allows the user to read and write media into AMPP and then, within an AMPP master control, get it into ITX for playout.”

That first application, AMPP Master Control, has been on-air with Blizzard since the opening of the Overwatch League 2020 season in early February. In response to the COVID-19 crisis and built off this solution set, AMPP has been an essential system enabling the esports leader to keep its Overwatch League and Call of Duty League matches live since March 28, providing truly distributed remote production with all operators and talent working from their homes.

Within a few weeks, says Corey Smith, director, live operations, Blizzard Entertainment, production-team members accustomed to working in a physical studio understood the nuances and were able to run the show seamlessly in the cloud.

“We’re thrilled to partner with Grass Valley on this and excited and grateful,” he adds. “It has been an amazing journey.”

Pete Emminger, VP, Global Broadcast, Blizzard Entertainment, notes that AMPP provides an incredible value. “It furthers our cloud capability and empowers our remote broadcast setup, allowing us to remain flexible even in the face of a global pandemic.”

With AMPP Master Control, Activision Blizzard Esports’ production teams can create highly configurable “virtual” master-control rooms accessible from anywhere in the world and eliminate the need for a conventional control room. Multiple distribution streams with separate graphics and languages for each audience region can be produced by a single operator — from one web-based interface and equipped with only PCs, screens, and a connection to the cloud. All monitoring and local program-distribution processes take place entirely in the cloud.

Says Shoulders, “We led in SDI, we led in IP, and we are going to lead in cloud production.”

For more information on Grass Valley, please contact David Cohen at david.cohen@grassvalley.com.

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