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14/03/2017

Supporting Broadcast 'Business As Usual'

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Over the last few years there has been a lot of hype around the new technology required for 4K / UHD program making and the on-going desire to make all broadcast production processes networkable.

For anyone not directly involved in the technological onslaught, but just needing to hold down the traditional broadcast 'day job', none of the latest innovation helps the process going forward when everything from capture, infrastructure to playout is evolving. Many broadcasters are not ready to make the leap to dramatically different technologies or working practices, but must carry on 'business as usual', until the time is right for them.

HDR adds another dimension to an already complicated process. With more program content being captured with multiple delivery formats in mind, having a workflow that 'works' and a way of ensuring that the content is correct from capture to delivery is unquestionable.

As equipment is replaced or upgraded it must be able to work within the existing production workflow as well as providing new avenues to support new workflows. Many cameras now capture high dynamic range content and this needs to be processed such that it can be produced in the different delivery formats. Hybrid log-gamma is a popular choice for broadcasters working with high dynamic range as it offers the best of both worlds. It ensures 'business as usual' for its established terrestrial or cable customers, but allows the delivery 'OTT' to new customers who expect to enjoy the user experience promised by the manufacturers of the expensive televisions.

With new production workflows being developed to support high dynamic range and wide colour gamut in a range of standards, traditional T&M products may not have all the sophisticated tools required to ensure program quality. With many broadcasters needing to ensure compliance for audio loudness, subtitles/closed captions for the hard of hearing, as well as the requirements of the network, having all the required compliance checking tools in a single unit is a significant benefit. With capital and maintenance budgets tight, broadcasters need equipment that has keen pricing, that is future-proof, flexible, is functionally complete, is easy to use and reliable. Not to mention compatibility with future developments.

Ideally for production, QC, monitoring and OB applications, the T&M tools that are required need to cover multiple disciplines from physical layer analysis of a signal through video and audio analysis to compliance checking of loudness, subtitles / closed captions and Dolby audio content. In addition to these, in some applications, HDR pattern generation is required to ensure that the video path is setup correctly for uplink or transmission.

Whether working with SDR or HDR, one of the most important production challenges is knowing that the dynamic range being captured or transmitted is correct when it cannot be correctly rendered on the monitor screen. Omnitek's O-ZoneTM system now allows you to visualise the SDR and HDR areas within the Picture itself which complements the comprehensive dynamic range and colour space monitoring already available within the Ultra range.

Logging is an important part of program QC / Compliance and being able to track how often an error or non-conformance occurs is a day to day requirement. In addition to knowing that something went wrong it is important to know when it went wrong so that it doesn't happen again. The Ultra family now provides full logging of all physical and functional parameters of the video signal. Logging against timecode is essential and all events are captured against VITC, ATC VITC 1, VITC 2 and ATC LTC so that any issues can be tracked back to the specific frame, wherever it was created in the production process.

A requirement of Quality Control and Monitoring is the ability to decode, display and log Closed Captions / Subtitles, whichever format is being used. Version 3.2 now supports OP47, 708 and 608 as standard and is available across the Ultra family.

The V3.2 release at BVE harnesses more of the power of the Ultra platform by adding new improved performance and functionality, thus ensuring that customer's initial investment is returned many-fold. At NAB, Omnitek will be releasing tools in V3.3 that further address the needs of broadcasters. These will add full audio metering and audio loudness monitoring to the Ultra family
Omnitek will be exhibiting the Ultra family of products at NAB this year in Central Hall – Booth C7915.

Article by Alan Wheable FISTC, MITOL – Communications Manager at Omnitek.

www.omnitek.tv

(JP/LM)
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