TIME TO PLAY
EDITORIAL EDITOR Neal Romanek +44 (0) 1223 492246 firstname.lastname@example.org
ports are back! Or so we hope. With vaccines getting a wider roll-out, it looks like we might be able to return to supporting our favourite teams – cheering them
We discover how blockchain is reshaping every aspect of the media supply chain. And are NFTs a new way of monetising digital media, or just another flash in the digital content pan? In Round Table, our experts discuss remote production (or ‘distributed’ production), where teams can work from anywhere, and elements can be brought into the workflow from multiple sources and locations. The environmental benefits of not having to transport crew and gear over long distances multiple times a week are substantial. And the ability to access a world of human and technological resources for your production is going to change live broadcasting. Finally, I’m sure you’ve heard the news about Amsterdam’s IBC Show, which has been postponed to 3-6 December. But with lockdowns slowly lifting, we hope to meet some of you in person before then!
DIGITAL AND FEATURES WRITER Verity Butler
CHIEF SUB EDITOR Alex Bell SUB EDITOR Elisha Young JUNIOR SUB EDITOR Jack Nason
on in person. But the pandemic has forced sports broadcasters to innovate, and these new methods of production will be a boost to sports coverage in the future, with more events and fan engagement in the offing. Our Xtreme special sports magazine continues in this issue (page 67), where we investigate the new world of ‘broadcast everywhere.’ Another fascinating aspect of media technology is how new laws are supercharging sports betting, plus how a major esports tournament in Singapore went global, thanks to an agile, Covid-secure team. There’s also an insight into the possibilities of hybrid sports combining real-world physical activity with elements of digital gaming.
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FEED:SHOW Our rundown of the latest in media tech news and product releases Meet the team Welcome Verity Butler to the FEED team! The mentoring programme that’s changing the face of broadcast The Live Life Broadcast over 5G is being put through its paces in a new UK project Just the Numbers A report from Omdia looks at the VOD and streaming boom in India Round Table Our panel of experts discuss remote – or ‘distributed’ – live production
EXCLUSIVE CONTENT FROM OUR PARTNERS
157 AJA 131 Blackbird 120 Blackmagic Design 41 Dalet 98 Dejero
Grass Valley 66 Imagine Communications 20 Lawo 32 NewTek
Sports reporter Tech highlights from the world of sports broadcast Place your bets New platforms and new laws have supercharged sports betting Sports joins gaming to create fresh content ideas – and fitness Singapore spring The first in-person Dota 2 tournament since the start of the pandemic
84 Hybrid sports
105 Cloud World
Cloud-based platforms are making broadcast graphics cheap and flexible
114 VOD Voices
With watch parties now in vogue, they’re becoming a must-have for new platforms
122 Genius Interview
Tracie Mitchell on how blockchain will revolutionise content distribution
135 Future Shock
Is the NFT hype just for blockheads? Or is blockchain the future?
142 Start-up Alley
Our round-up of the hot new start-ups in media tech
150 Industry Inventory
The climate crisis is here. What is your company doing about it?
158 Over the Top
Editor Neal Romanek gets metaphysical about metadata
100 Panasonic 111 Red Bee 96 Riedel 42 Rohde & Schwarz 132 Roland
148 Ross Video 62 Sony 140 The Switch 82 Telstra 50 TSL Products
88 Verimatrix 119 Zero Density 112 Zixi
FEED:SHOW is our tech exhibition in a magazine. Check out the newest gear, software and updates serving the world of video workflow and distribution
Words by Verity Butler
Software updates can slip under the radar. We’ve collected the industry’s latest to make sure your tools are ahead of the curve SOFTWARE
A SUBTLE FLEX
DISGUISE SCALES UP
Media logistics solution Dalet Flex has updated to include Alibaba cloud support, a new thesaurus and enhanced search capabilities, making it easier to manage and locate content. Dalet Flex’s presence has increased within the industry, and Dalet has been focusing on the solution over the past year, enabling content producers and distributors to scale content supply chains. Flex supports hybrid and full-cloud workflows, and with quarterly updates ranging from significant workflow enhancements to administrative fine-tuning, there is always something new to discover.
Visual experience platform Disguise has announced a major software release involving cluster rendering. The update allows users to scale out their real-time content rendering in parallel, as their productions increase in size. Disguise selected a group of global partners to pressure test the release into their workflows. Aiming to lift the limitations surrounding virtual production studios, cluster rendering spans real-time content over more than one Disguise server, and each machine then renders a fragment of the final content frame to increase the overall render power. This technology removes the need for manual configuration of the
nDisplay cluster, since it allows it to be automatically set up through the Disguise interface. Almost a year after supporting Katy Perry’s virtual performance on American Idol , Disguise also issued the public release of its Extended Reality solution as part of the r18 software launch.
POWER TO THE PORTAL
Cantemo’s MAM system Portal 5.0 is here, with new features offering greater user control, elevated content insights and an overall improvement in user experience. The latest version has a refreshed interface, including enhanced auditing capabilities, as well as more control over the data associated with content. The audit wizard enables users to create and schedule new audits at set intervals. Scheduled audits can send notifications to both an associated email account and notifications in Portal, allowing users to download audits as a JSON, CSV or XML file. Cantemo CTO, Martin Fellbrink, says: “Portal users need to access content for different reasons, so system functionality must cater to the individual. These updates offer more customisation, with tailored search options, so users can find items in a more intuitive way.”
ENHANCING ECLIPSE HX
Primestream has unleashed updates on its Xchange MAM system, enabling access and logging of ‘growing files’ from live broadcast feeds during recording. This is vital for news companies, given the increase in demand for remote workflows. “There’s the flexibility to create and customise the solution with smart workflows as your needs evolve over time,” says Primestream customer success manager, Felipe Gonzalez. Producers used to have to wait until the entire program was ingested before content could be accessed and logged in Xchange. The updates resolve this, increasing efficiency for pre- and post-production.
Clear-Com has made quite a name for itself in the world of IP-based intercom solutions, recently revealing Eclipse HX updates, with version 12.1 hitting hard drives in April. “By facilitating greater functionality for existing customers with legacy E1 transceivers, while simultaneously offering next-level IP support, Clear- Com underscores its commitment to its users,” says senior product manager, Stephen Sandford. With enhanced capabilities for IP and legacy wireless FreeSpeak systems, increased density of IP ports and more Layer 3 capabilities, EHX features a 5GHz radio band scanner to assist with channel selection.
The ebb and flow of media tech can be hard to track – especially in a pandemic. But these announcements show business is carrying on BUSINESS
A PRODUCT OF PARTNERSHIP
Pixitmedia’s storage solution, Pixstor, has been recognised by Autodesk as a reliable and trusted solution for creative and media workflows that use the Flame product family. “It’s great to have Pixstor as a qualified storage solution for Flame,” says Flame Family product manager at Autodesk, Will Harris. The qualification is gained via a set of test and performance requirements, and storage solution vendors must conduct studies on their products when working in combination with Autodesk Flame. The results from these conduct studies are then audited and verified by Autodesk, which examines the following factors: bandwidth, latency, frame playback, video FLAME QUALIFICATION
Since the working relationship between Bridge Technologies and Densitron was cemented in September 2019, the company has come forward with support for Densitron’s development of a new four-unit Multiviewer+ system based on its IDS solution. The Multiviewer+ incorporates a Densitron monitor, with the full functionality of Bridge Technologies’ VB440 monitoring probes using the Widglets API. Built to comply with the requirements of the SMPTE ST 2110 and
ST 2022-6 media IP standards, the VB440 IP probe allows production teams to survey all layers of media transportation on an IP network and facilitate quick resolution of potential problems. Integrated into the Multiviewer+ via the Widglets API, the VB440 allows the system to display two, three or four comfort monitoring screens in conjunction with various monitoring elements, including waveform data, or any configuration of data display required by the user.
TELESTREAM CASTS ITS WIRE Video capture company Telestream has announced its recent
acquisition of ContentAgent from Vecima Networks. ContentAgent is an app used by broadcasters, production companies and post houses to streamline their content creation workflows. Built to automate common tasks – for example, camera card ingest for editorial teams – ContentAgent also creates file-based deliverables, such as broadcast masters and viewing copies. Telestream also announced the latest version of its live streaming and production platform, Wirecast. The new version adds native support for Apple Silicon (M1) hardware and is packed with new features that add enhanced flexibility and further streamline production workflows.
rendering and sequence scheduling within Flame.
The DPP has published a report called Guidance DPP007: Best practices for content supplier onboarding . Exploring the content supplier onboarding process, the document has a particular focus on VOD platforms. In 2020’s Supplying the VOD Revolution , research with DPP members concluded that onboarding is a major pain point in the VOD supply chain, with inconsistencies in the overall process, as well as in formats and documentation. Guidance DPP007 supplies advice surrounding commonly agreed best practices that are simple to deploy, while also driving time and cost savings. It has been recommended as reading for both senders and receivers of VOD content.
Cognizant recently acquired ESG Mobility in a move to expand its expertise surrounding digital automotive engineering R&D – particularly for connected cars and in-car entertainment. Estimated to exceed $225bn by 2027, the global market for connected cars is vast, and one that the broadcast media
and entertainment industry is paying closer and closer attention to. “The automotive industry is undergoing a fundamental shift, embracing new mobility concepts heavily reliant on software, connectivity and artificial intelligence,” says Cognizant president of digital business and technology, Malcolm Frank.
ATEMMini Pro ISOmodel shown.
Introducing ATEMMini The miniaturized television studio for creating presentation videos and live streams!
Live Stream Training and Conferences The ATEM Mini Pro model has a built in hardware streaming engine for live streaming via its ethernet connection. This means you can live stream to YouTube, Facebook and Twitch in much better quality and with perfectly smooth motion. You can even connect a hard disk or flash storage to the USB connection and record your stream for upload later! Edit and Fix Live Streams With the new ATEM Mini Pro ISO model, you can now edit your live show to fix any mistakes or make improvements. You get all video inputs and program recorded as 5 separate video files! Plus a DaVinci Resolve edit timeline is saved, so you can open the live show and make changes with a single click! It only takes a few minutes to edit and upload a perfect version of your show!
ATEM Mini is a whole television studio, miniaturized down into an easy to use solution for creating live multi camera television shows. Simply connect up to4HDMI cameras, computers and evenmicrophones. Then push the buttons on the panel to switch video sources just like a professional broadcaster! You can even add titles, picture in picture overlays and mix audio! Then live stream to Zoom, Skype or YouTube! Create Training and Educational Videos ATEM Mini includes everything you need. All the buttons are positioned on the front panel so it’s very easy to learn. ATEM Software Control is also included for accessing more advanced features! The 4 HDMI inputs allow connecting cameras and computers, plus the USB output works like a webcam for Zoom or Skype. The multiview even allows all cameras to be viewed on a single monitor! Use Professional Video Effects ATEM Mini is really a professional broadcast switcher used by television stations. This means it has professional ef fects such as a DVE for picture in picture ef fects, commonly used for commentating over a computer slide show. There are titles for presenter names, wipe ef fects for transitioning between sources and a green screen keyer for replacing backgrounds with graphics!
ATEMMini .......... £229 * ATEMMini Pro .......... £389 * ATEMMini Pro ISO .......... £609 *
*SRP is Exclusive of VAT.
As production slowly restarts, there has been a flood of announcements around new gear and media kit. Here are our picks PRODUCTION
ENCODING FOR REMOTE
There’s news from Matrox, with the Monarch Edge S1 appliance for remote production workflows. Featuring simultaneous encode/ decode support, Monarch Edge S1 allows broadcasters to deliver secure and low-latency program feeds from the studio
to multicamera production crews, talent and guests in any remote location. “The broadcast industry has seen a rise in the adoption of remote production technologies for live sporting and entertainment events, as well as live broadcasts, news and interviews,” says
technical marketing manager at Matrox Video, Daniel Maloney. The return feed functionality of the Monarch Edge S1 is designed to handle issues that often crop up with two-way communication within remote production and multisite workflows.
PEBBLE TAKES CONTROL Newly launched IP connection management system, Pebble Control, encourages broadcasters to make the leap to an all-IP facility, without deploying a bespoke enterprise solution. It operates on web-based UIs and provides a plug-and-play capability for IP networks. “The transition to IP is gathering pace, but there are still small traps for broadcasters wanting to establish all-IP workflows,” comments Pebble CTO, Miroslav Jeras. To resolve this, the deployment process is as simplified as possible. Providing comprehensive online help and a series of tutorial videos, Pebble aims to make IP routing and switching accessible to any broadcaster hoping to transition to IP.
NEP Connect has chosen Net Insight to deliver remote production workflows for its UK broadcaster coverage, with the project launching in April. The Net Insight remote production solution provides multistream alignment of video and audio feeds from 30 HD cameras. This is used alongside UHD 4K and slow- motion cameras to transport multiple streams back to the main production site. NEP Connect’s Anylive contribution network leverages Net Insight’s scalable Nimbra technology with upgradeable MAM Boards and JPEG 2000 to support 3G 1080p. NEP SELECTS NET INSIGHT The Future Group, creator of virtual production tool Pixotope, has received development grants towards a SaaS for virtual-studio and augmented- reality production. Virtual production is becoming increasingly prevalent in the industry, allowing companies to integrate interactive photorealistic graphics into live video broadcasts and streams, and enable a new way of storytelling. The SaaS enables companies to connect live virtual production through a ‘pay as you go,’ always- available cloud service called Pixotope Live Cloud. VIRTUALISING PRODUCTION
In April, Ncam announced the availability of Ncam Reality 2021. With it, users are able to track on any camera, lens or rig – regardless of environment. Hatch. “The beauty of virtual graphics is their flexibility. With the right tracking equipment, you can visualise live XR, real-time CGI, set extensions and more, directly in-camera, on-site or remotely, giving productions a way to stay on track during trying times.” For sports broadcast, Ncam Reality can be incorporated into live or pre-taped production, as well as making smart stages and XR available to broadcasters. ANYWHERE AND EVERYWHERE “Covid-19 forced us to rethink how content is created, from safety requirements to the logistics of working from home,” says Ncam CEO, Nic
TVU Networks has released a new SDK for its app, TVU Anywhere. With it, developers are now able to add low-latency live video transmission to an iOS or Android app. “Since the start of the pandemic, use of our TVU Anywhere app to share live video from at-home contributors and reporters has exploded,” explains vice-president of product management, Matt McEwen. “The use of remote production only continues to grow, and live video is a key part of that workflow.” Developed with reporters, viewers and even fans in mind, the new SDK is useful for developers involved in app creation for broadcasters, news outlets, sports teams – or
anyone connected to live video production. It allows them to integrate TVU Anywhere into an existing app, adding a live streaming element that is equally compatible with other TVU kit – TVU Receivers, TVU Grid and TVU Producer.
INSTANT REPLAY ENHANCEMENTS
NewTek’s 3Play 3P2 video replay and telestration system elevates instant replays in sports production. It offers high connectivity and efficiency via its increased inputs, shareable playlists, pan-and-scan areas of interest and clip publishing – all in 4K. Purchasers and resellers of 3Play
3P2 can take the NewTek University 3Play course for free until September 2021. “3Play 3P2’s built-in features bring access to those vital plays within a game to fans faster, from more angles, for unmatched viewing experiences,” says NewTek president, Barbara Spicek.
THE CORE OF KAIROS Panasonic has introduced new upgrades to its live production platform, Kairos. Kairos Core 1000 is a new mainframe option,
image recording capacity. Panasonic’s Kairos is a video processing platform, offering an open software architecture system for live video switching. Included in the new mainframe are increased
CPU and GPU capabilities, expanding the ways in which the platform can be used – particularly in the sense of managing different scenes at the same time, then broadcasting them through a variety of outputs.
With the GPU’s higher processing capacity, the number of layers that can be used has increased, allowing full use of the multilayered video composition and output in high resolution – including 8K video.
expanding video streams and processing power – as well as increasing video and still
When we look at the latest product announcements around workflow and playout tech, cloud is big and post is getting a rethink WORKFLOW & PLAYOUT
REDEFINING THE CLOUD
The Avid Edit On Demand subscription service is now available, after being successfully deployed to over 60 production companies, post houses and broadcasters via an early-access programme. Edit On Demand aims to provide a service indistinguishable from on-premises editing. Post-production teams are now able to open the virtualised media composer with Avid Nexis cloud workspaces and shut them down
quickly once their projects have been completed. Users simply need to log in to their Avid account, then editors can use their laptop (Windows or Mac) or mobile device to connect to a configured, virtualised Media Composer system and an Avid Nexis workspace in the cloud. “Edit On Demand had the responsiveness, power and flexibility to allow our teams to edit from any location,” comments principal technologist at Gorilla TV, Ken Burnett.
INCORPORATING ENCODING Swedish developer Intinor has
the encoder, but typically some hundreds of seconds. The original request, from esports producers, was to be able to serve premium customers first, with others receiving a delayed signal. The ability to delay each output individually also means signals can be synchronised to remote commentary applications. This could also be important for betting applications, to ensure every subscriber is fairly treated.
added a user-configurable display to its Direkt encoders for streaming video distribution. Although this was requested by esports companies, adding different delays to individual destinations from the same software encoder is valuable to many applications. Using the web interface, users can set delays for each destination, up to a maximum determined by the amount of memory in
HOTSPRING INTO ACTION FOR VFX
Hotspring has launched a global platform to facilitate the increasing demand for remote VFX talent. In less than a year, the team at Hotspring successfully tested and developed the platform, signed up most leading remote VFX vendors and studios, and delivered more than 5000 shots across 230 projects to 30 clients from around the world. “We created Hotspring to save studios money, save them valuable time and provide access to global talent, so scaling can be done on demand. This is the new model for VFX workflows and it’s powered by Hotspring,” says CEO and co-founder, Jon Mason. The Covid-19 pandemic hit during the platform’s infancy, and many vendors had to shut down, leaving studios with incomplete work. Hotspring’s solution was to offer its virtual teams to fulfil requests from Hotspring users, establishing a network of artists to pick up where established vendors left off.
EditShare has revealed its Global Service Assurance, which employs data analytics to manage issues and improve customer experience. “The multiple layers of interconnected hardware and software, along with ever-changing workflows, creates a dynamic situation for our customers. They need more than a support program that is a break-fix model,” says vice-president of customer success and operations, Stuart McGeechan. “EditShare proactively monitors key system information, identifying potential trends where we can help our customers optimise their workflows. It’s a strategic approach to services that improves the overall performance of the EditShare solution for our customers.” The program has a ‘follow the sun’ approach, providing customers with wide service coverage from three hubs, in conjunction with a supply chain backed by its partnership with Hewlett Packard Enterprise. DATA ANALYTICS DELIVER GLOBAL SERVICE ASSURANCE
Newly released by Aviwest, PRO3-5G and AIR-5G Series solutions are 5G versions of the company’s bonded cellular transmitters. Aviwest is aiming to enhance its efficiency of live news, multicamera sports and events coverage delivery. “The 5G networks are expected to improve the current bonded cellular transmission scenario,” says Aviwest CTO, Ronan Poullaouec. “Gigabit speeds and reduced transmission latencies are the initial advantages broadcasters can realise from 5G. Beyond the new capacities and services, our Aviwest field units help maintain a consistent quality of service and make the best use of 5G network performance.” The provider has been involved in multiple field tests of 4K/ UHD and full HD/HEVC video delivery over 5G since 2017. Teaming up with some major international broadcasters and telcos has enabled it to test the real-world impact and performance enhancements of 5G on live broadcast video production, using the PRO3-5G, AIR-5G and HE Series. The company has recently demonstrated this at a major tennis championship at Roland-Garros in France and as part of the IBC Accelerator Programme in Amsterdam. THINKING ABOUT 5G
LICENCE TO FLOAT VideoFlow’s Digital Video Protection (DVP) software platform delivers reliable video over any IP network, including the internet. In a bid to better serve its customers, VideoFlow has announced it’s offering a ‘floating licence.’ Aiming to ease the movement of the Data Rate licence between DVP, this is aimed at
Zixi has announced its partnership and integration with technology solutions company, Evertz. “Zixi and Evertz share a vision of innovating to deliver the best quality of experience,” says Zixi senior vice-president of alliances and marketing, John Wastcoat. “We are excited to deliver a unique solution for low-latency, broadcast-quality live video delivery that our customers can manage using the Zen Master control plane.” Evertz has natively integrated Zixi’s SDVP, including the Zen Master, into its XPS Series – a real-time streaming platform providing broadcast-quality video. The XPS platform supports up to four simultaneous 1080p50/60 HD video encodes or decodes, that can be configured to switch between a four–channel encoder, four–channel decoder or two encodes and two decodes. TEAM ZIXI AND EVERTZ
customers who have purchased VideoFlow’s DVP application. DVP can convert multiple legacy interfaces like ASI to IP, and enables varied video services. Even if each is using different video protection protocols, it allows connection to any network type, to and from any cloud.
RESET WITH VESET
Veset’s Stratus SaaS application is now available in the AWS Marketplace. A web app, Veset Stratus was designed for modern content owners, with the aim of simplifying the creation and management of 24/7 pop-up linear channels. Users can combine live and pre-recorded (e.g. VOD) content, add broadcast graphics and SCTE-35 markers for ad insertion, and generate an EPG to create high- quality IP streams ready for distribution.
Stratus also enables creation and management of frame-accurate playlists, and template schedules to simplify daily planning. Interoperability with AWS
Media Services can ultimately make it faster for Stratus users to produce, process and deliver those linear channels to multiple platforms.
IS YOUR EVENT CYBER-READY? A new security expert at EVS is determined to enhance cyber defence in the broadcast industry
eoffrey Crespin came to the media and entertainment industry as an outsider, bringing with him years of experience in cybersecurity across multiple
sectors. As a result, he can give a clear-eyed, unsentimental assessment of how we are doing. “This industry is five or ten years behind compared to the traditional IT cybersecurity world,” he says. “It’s now just starting to realise that vendors and customers have to put cybersecurity measures in place.” Crespin worked as a cyber defence consultant for over a decade (with high-level clearance), for European governments, institutions and private companies. Over the years, he began to work for telcos including Proximus, Belgium’s largest mobile telecommunications company. He joined EVS as a senior solutions architect in the summer of 2020. As part of EVS’s new cybersecurity strategy, Crespin will help EVS customers address and prepare for every aspect of an ever-growing
attack also extended to other affiliated companies, including those providing tech support. “We have to be prepared. The attack surface is so large in these events and attackers try to exploit any existing vulnerability. It could be via a tech company or provider – we don’t know,” says Crespin. further enabled by new technologies. Part of his job at EVS is to assess the security of each of the company’s products. “There’s a big difference between now and ten years ago. We have more and more devices on the internet, as well as internet-facing applications. In the past, it wasn’t a NEW TECH, NEW DANGER Crespin notes that these threats have been
array of security threats. Making a difference is something that he is enthusiastic about. “EVS has a great plan for fixing vulnerabilities in broadcast technology products across the industry,” explains Crespin. FACING THE THREATS As the number of connected devices on a production grows – along with the number of people potentially able to access those devices – so does the cybersecurity threat. As we’ve seen
big problem, because things were connected between OB trucks via SDI cables, and the attack surface was very limited.” While a certain product or provider may have top-level security features, today’s workflows are inevitably made up of long chains. These chains are only as strong as their weakest link. Interestingly, Crespin sees no difference in cyber vulnerabilities between cloud and non-cloud workflows – the cloud is
THIS INDUSTRY IS MAYBE FIVE OR TEN YEARS BEHIND
over and over again, it only takes one person in an organisation to click a link or download a file to create system-wide chaos. Ransomware is still one of the most basic, and common, types of attack. “Ransomware can target anyone, not just the broadcast sector,” explains Crespin. “As soon as you expose a service or a server on the internet, you face those kinds of threats.” Broadcast, because of its power to affect and engage large audiences, has a special appeal for certain types of assailants. EVS customers working on global events, often being watched by billions of people, have to be meticulous about cyber defence. “We decided to provide cybersecurity services specifically for these types of events,” says Crespin. “They can be targeted by criminal organisations wanting money, but also by nation-state actors.” He points to a famous incident a few years ago, where the entire IT system of a global broadcast was taken down by a massive cyberattack on the first day of the event. The infrastructure had been infected by pernicious malware, ultimately forcing the event’s technology teams to close the whole IT system and restore it from backups. The
just one more network location. “When EVS provides a service, we put in place firewalls, switches and other types of servers, like streaming servers. We recently saw attempted attacks, which were blocked by our security products, trying to exploit vulnerabilities in firewalls. Then we saw the NSA had published an article about state actors trying to exploit this specific vulnerability, which we had spotted previously in our sniffer.“ He adds: “Bad actors aren’t just targeting specific products to attack them, they’re performing reconnaissance to learn what is vulnerable – and they try to exploit it. We not only have to be careful with our past products, but the complete workflow chain.” Crespin notes that cybersecurity is no longer just an option. It’s becoming an essential part of any broadcast-industry contract. Customers are now requesting their vendors are fully compliant with security standards – and if they aren’t, they will take their business somewhere else. “If a vendor isn’t compliant, they are out. That’s it. Customers have seen more and more cyberattacks, and have realised the impact.”
VERITY BUTLER: I TRULY BELIEVE THAT WITHOUT THE INTERNET, WE WOULD BE A LOT FURTHER BEHIND AS A SOCIETY
his issue is our biggest FEED quarterly yet, but we haven’t just been growing the magazine – we’ve been
growing our staff, too. Verity Butler, formerly operating in the background to keep FEED on course, has joined full-time as a features writer and supervisor of all
things digital. We hope some of you will get to meet her in the coming months, and we invite you to drop her a line to say hello and congratulations!
NAME? Verity Meta Butler.
dreams, so you can watch them back the next day – with a nightmare filter, I don’t want to see those again! I want to recall flying around on a giant spoon and having a deep political conversation with my dog in high definition! WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN WATCHING LATELY? Money Heist . I was late to jump on the trend, but am so glad I did. It’s ridiculous, but brilliant. I’ve also become a bit obsessed with The Circle , as it eerily reminds me of signing into Microsoft Teams when working remotely in the pandemic.
JOB TITLE? Digital and features writer.
WHERE WERE YOU WORKING BEFORE
YOU STARTED AT FEED ? Before I entered the FEED - scape, I was travelling around Vietnam with my best friend. Prior to that I was a barista in a tiny coffee shop, and prior to that I was studying at Newcastle University. WHAT DID YOU DO THERE? I studied English literature and Classics, so plenty of reading. I’ve been obsessed with both subjects for pretty much my whole life. When it came down to choosing which one to take, I couldn’t. So I did both. WHAT DO YOU THINK THE INTERNET WILL LOOK LIKE IN THE YEAR 2050? It’s easy to say it will look more dangerous and frightening than it already does. But I want to be optimistic and think about the good things it offers now – and that it could offer in decades to come. It provides a voice, diversity and discussion to anyone who can freely access it. So, I’d like to think, as freedom and
VIDEO GAMES OR BOARD GAMES?
Board games – although I am partial to the occasional game of FIFA. Does Sims 4 count?
COOKIES OR CAKE? Cookies.
CITY YOU MOST HOPE TO VISIT? It’s a tie between San Francisco and New York City. WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO MOST AS PART OF TEAM FEED ? I think purely the satisfaction of seeing the finished product of this funky and chunky magazine, that we all work so hard together to create, four times a year.
access increase globally, we will see more and more voices and platforms surfacing; and that it can eventually provide a voice to people who may not feel like they have one right now. I truly believe that without the internet, we would be a lot further behind as a society. It is electric with BLM
discussions, LGBTQ+ protests and #MeToos – and I love it for that reason.
WHAT TECHNOLOGY OR DEVICE DO YOU
WISH SOMEONE WOULD INVENT? I would love someone to invent something that records your
IN ccording to Wikipedia, galaxies are “gravitationally bound systems of stars,
is as yet unclear. Most operators and their line managers are not exactly willing to trade one finite set of bearable complexities for a bunch of unpleasant imponderables. Decentralised resources are already turned into pools that can be accessed from anywhere in the world, with a second data centre standing by for redundancy purposes. And software- defined hardware essentially performs any task you throw at it. The very essence of a cloud-based approach is that you can access virtual audio and video processing services provided by pools of computing resource. This includes the ability to spin up or spin down, processing functionality to precisely meet the needs of your current production. Wouldn’t it be great to reach a state of light-speed configuration and access to the required resources, regardless of where they were? THERE IS NO PLACE LIKE… With HOME, Lawo is launching a platform designed to make managing cloud-based deployments smooth and effective, whether hosted locally, remotely or even at third-party data centres. HOME’s management platform is designed as a collection of microservices, making the system scalable and easy to develop as cloud operations evolve over time. One important design principle is using open standards and established protocols wherever possible, ensuring future-proof integration and compatibility with all facilities’ systems. A simple, user-friendly UI lets users organise HOME’s different processing services, control access to them, and configure software-defined network infrastructure for video and audio applications. You can administer your media network, manage security and, crucially, access a sophisticated orchestration service, either through
stellar remnants, interstellar gas, dust, and dark matter”. Not a bad analogy for
Lawo’s new HOME platform makes it easy to manage cloud deployments from anywhere in the universe
the diverse and dispersed elements that broadcast, media and corporate installation pros are grappling with. But what’s lacking is that gravitational force to bind them into a coherent orbit. Accessing resources far, far away and implementing distributed workflows makes sense in those hectic production scenarios where time and availability are of the essence, but putting ‘everything in the cloud’ still seems a bit ambitious. First, because it comes at an unpredictable cost. Live productions and editing, for instance, rely on pushing terabytes of data back and forth, all while somebody’s meter is running. IN THE STRATOSPHERE The benefits of IP – flexibility, scalability and signal-agnostic design – are well established today and have more than proven their worth during the pandemic. But while IP might make the impossible suddenly possible, implementing it still takes time. Most of what the cloud will be able to deliver in the medium term
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a stream-patching web UI, or by connecting to a third-party control system through a north-bound API. Think of it as a hub for housing all the tasks and controls you need to run your cloud-based operation in a near-plug- and-play fashion. globe-spanning productions actually need? The ones we talked to asked for: • easy access to services • automated device discovery and registration • quarantining and managed admission of unknown resources • easy network control (SDN) and orchestration • agility and scalability • BEST OF ALL WORLDS So, what features do operators of watertight network security, protecting operations from hackers and content pirates. As productions grow bigger and deployment requirements in live scenarios supernova, getting a handle on these concerns is key. This is where HOME shines. VOYAGE OF DISCOVERY Whether you work with on-site and/ or remote data hubs, distributed data centres, or a mix of private and public cloud-based resources, HOME always finds a route to the resources you need for the job at hand. HOME automatically discovers and registers any Lawo solution you connect
to the network, while third-party devices are welcomed at the gate and can easily be invited in. In the case of Lawo’s mc² console, all sources and destinations show up immediately when connected. This quarantine state is only one of HOME’s security features and can be switched on or off at the press of a software button. In addition, admittance can be restricted only to those areas of the system a particular device needs to access. Forget long-winded assignments of IP addresses and domains, and time-consuming configuration sessions: HOME provides automatic discovery and mindful registration as standard.
Conversely, resources you admitted previously will be registered on a no-questions-asked basis when you connect them again. GALAXY PATROL IT security used to be the weak spot of any media infrastructure and lacked security solutions that could be deployed in an easy way. HOME’s security starts with the basics, like logging into the management tools using different accounts, with defined roles for operators, administrators and other users. The network itself needs to be secured, too. Your valuable production content should never be allowed to float around, available to anyone. To avoid the pitfalls of a partial or patchy security standard implementation in a multi- vendor set-up, a device-independent encryption strategy is employed at the network level. HOME security is open-standard and leverages the ability of all modern switches to encrypt data at inbound ports, transport them encrypted over the
HEAD IN THE CLOUDS Lawo’s HOME management platform is
simple, scalable and user-friendly
HOME’S MANAGEMENT PLATFORM IS DESIGNED AS A COLLECTION OF MICROSERVICES, MAKING THE SYSTEM SCALABLE AND EASY TO DEVELOP
based on integral mechanisms to expedite whatever you need to do. Wherever possible, HOME provides the ability to limit on-screen information, showing only what is required and allowing you to focus on the job at hand, no matter where you – or the source – are physically located. WE HAVE LIFT-OFF HOME will eventually become the unifying link for transforming isolated ‘stars‘ – such as IP cameras, console cores, video processors or stageboxes – into a powerful, united media galaxy. Device configuration, software and firmware management, and even parameter tweaking, can be performed intuitively and centrally. HOME’s architecture is cloud-native by design and able to scale seamlessly from today’s on-premise installations to globally networked systems, and eventually cloud-based set-ups as they start to come online. With HOME, the cloud starts on your campus, but can be given a global reach in a snap. The cloud-based services that HOME unleashes come without hardware constraints, with centralised access to all resources through an overarching UI layer. HOME’s microservices are either self-contained, providing functionality to operators or other services, or act as a user interface for the infrastructure. HOME is the new centre of your media galaxy. Strap yourself in and get ready to launch!
THE CLOUD-BASED SERVICES THAT HOME UNLEASHES COME WITHOUT HARDWARE CONSTRAINTS
network and decrypt the traffic at the destination port – which is how robust network security is achieved in most other industries around the world. It also supports field-proven IT mechanisms, like IPsec and MACsec, for immediate and intuitive access to IP infrastructure security at stream level. LONG-DISTANCE GRAVITATION Inside HOME, discovered and admitted devices can easily be remotely controlled. The platform’s underlying architecture is designed to scale to any size and natively distributable – literally on a planetary scale. Remote locations immediately become part of your secure HOME network. With the main production hub, they form a single entity rather than a central entity surrounded by satellites. This allows production teams to enable the required premises and mobile production units on demand, creating a globe-spanning network with services running on-premise, cloud-based or in a hybrid set-up. While the HOME media network management platform is based
on a future-proof and cloud-ready microservice architecture, it grants operational access to all resources of a network. This also includes geo- agnostic, parallel multi-user access based on exacting user and group credentials. In this way, an operator at a remote site can have access to the same resources as an on-premise operator, and assist the latter as if they were working under the same roof. ON YOUR MARKS, GET SET… HOME is designed as a GUI for all solutions. On a dedicated page, users can establish flow connections between a Lawo V__matrix and a Sony IP vision mixer, for example, or audio consoles and I/O edge devices. Additionally, users can check software versions and centrally update devices, adjust parameters and more. From a hands-on point of view, HOME brings a common UI language to all Lawo devices and many of their functionalities. Device presets can be stored centrally and uploaded as necessary. Parameter editing is
REACH FOR THE STARS H OME provides the ability to limit on-screen information to what is required, allowing you to focus on a task
Words by Verity Butler
Being new to any industry is daunting. But what if you are starting out in the high-stress world of broadcast? FEED speaks to three newcomers, hearing their stories about launching a career in an industry in flux
tarting out in an industry as colossal as broadcast and media is no simple feat. Although the sector has come a long way from what it used to be, it’s by no means known for being a leader in diversity. According to statistics from Data USA, 87.6% of broadcast and sound engineering technicians, radio operators and media and communication
THE AVERAGE MALE SALARY IS $57,735. WOMEN’S SALARIES FOR THE SAME WORK AVERAGE OUT AT $43,195
of those things where we knew mentoring could have an impact, but we needed to demonstrate that it actually makes a difference, and that’s what I did with my first cohort,” she says. “That’s why the programme is so important – because it has such a major impact on women’s lives. If you have a look at the women from the first cohort and the positions they’re in now, and their trajectory, it’s amazing – and they put a lot of that down to Rise mentoring.” The free, six-month programme, supports women working in, or aspiring to work in, the broadcast media sector. The support received by the mentees includes: y y Being matched with an industry professional, with one-to-one mentoring contact y y A monthly mentees group meeting, facilitating peer-to-peer support y y Access to networking events and workshops y y Support and guidance from the Rise Programme director FEED had the opportunity to meet and talk to three past mentees from different cohorts of the programme. All three work in a variety of areas, making their reflections a diverse insight into what it really feels like to start out in the industry.
equipment workers are men. The average male salary is $57,735, while women’s pay for the same work averages out at $43,195. With this in mind, it’s important to recognise the clear moves being made by big players in the industry to change for the better. ‘Diversity and inclusion’ has become a buzz phrase over the past few years, as society has started to realise being diverse is super-hip and cool. Being any kind of ‘ist’ – from sexist to racist – is really not trendy any more. Industry organisations are starting to take the lead. Rise is a prime example of this. The not-for-profit is pioneering for change within the broadcast realm, from its mentoring programmes, to yearly awards in recognition of those making a notable impact. It has opened doors and ideas for those starting out, as well as the old-timers making unrecognised strides for decades. The non-profit was started four years ago by Sadie Groom and initially dubbed ‘Females in the Broadcast Industry (FBI)’. Rise managing director, Carrie Wootten, then came on board, bringing forward the mentoring programme. “It was one
ENGINEER THE FUTURE Emily Bergun is an associate broadcast support engineer for Sky. Responding to support calls for anything from Sky News to Sky Sports, she is at the forefront of live production. Graduating from Solent University with a degree in broadcast engineering in 2019, she has now been at Sky for well over a year and a half. Her engineering support covers a range of challenges, from problems with the ticker,
the completion of her degree. However, no global pandemic was going to get in the way, and the mentoring went ahead in the virtual space. Bergun emphasises how the programme gave her something to look forward to each week during the darkest depths of first-wave Covid. She explains: “My scheme started just at the beginning of the pandemic and it was so nice, because for a year, once a month, I knew I would be seeing these women on
to an inaccurate football graphic. The issues vary in terms of difficulty – it could be as simple as swapping out a keyboard, or as huge as none of the data appearing on screen. “Growing up, I was interested in how things work – I would take them apart and put them back together again,” recalls Bergun. “In school, I always enjoyed doing sound for GCSE drama performances. From there, I thought I could maybe work in theatre, which is how I found Solent University. “Instead of doing the theatre course, I decided to go into television, because it seemed bigger and more exciting. It surprised me how much there is behind the scenes, so when I found this degree in broadcast engineering, I thought: ‘That’s a bit of me!’” Recommended to her by a university lecturer, Bergun found herself in the ‘Covid cohort’ of Rise’s mentoring programme, just as she was approaching
the Zoom call. I’m the only female on my team and, having spoken to many others in a similar position, knowing that
you’re not alone is just lovely.” She adds: “It provided a real sense of
community, particularly at a time where being a key worker – and therefore working on-site non-stop for a year – was at times very isolating.” SHOOTING FOR THE SKY Despite everything Bergun had learnt and was now equipped with, starting out still came as a shock to the system. “Once I got going, especially somewhere like Sky, where the scale of the equipment is huge and everything is so complicated, I felt out of my depth very quickly.” A key takeaway from her experience was: your colleagues are there for a reason – to utilise and ask any questions, pretty much until their ears bleed. Bergun also stresses the importance of her experience at Sky pre-pandemic, especially as we approach the post-pandemic period. “Seeing the role pre-pandemic was quite a privilege, considering how many people have joined since. “I really professionally treasure those days; I think they allowed me so much more space to grow. Having said that, I was also admittedly hiding behind people pre-pandemic, letting them do it. But then Covid hit and I was suddenly on-site, by myself, and there was no hiding. I had to just get on with it, which made the learning truly valuable.” This is evident in Bergun’s success and progress within Sky already, reflecting her genuine pride at being part of such a progressive network. She has just been promoted, and her work journey continues to evolve and become more varied. “Things are really positive at the minute,” she enthuses. “As a result of the pandemic, I am now working completely independently, whereas pre-pandemic, I was always working on-shift with somebody else. “Right now, I’m in the middle of a six-week secondment with another team called production support, which looks after cameras, vision mixers and some of the more traditional stuff. It’s incredibly interesting and has been very beneficial.”
COVID HIT AND I WAS SUDDENLY ON-SITE, BY MYSELF, AND THEREWAS NO HIDING. I HAD TO GET ONWITH IT
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