288 Input Axon Multiviewer for Germany based TV Skyline’s new U7

TV-Skyline, one of Germany’s major service provider has recently expanded its fleet with the all new U7 for which AXON supplied a 288 input SynView multiviewer.
TV-Skyline's new flagship U7 has 32 work places and 3 control rooms. It can handle more than 22 cameras and operates in 3G video, but is also prepared for 4K. The multiviewer is designed with a 288 input Axon SynView multiviewer with up to 72 outputs.

AXON’s SynView multi image viewer system is part of the powerful and versatile Synapse range and is built-up with quad split Synapse modules. Output resolutions up to 1920×1200 pixels on DVI and 3G/SDI are supported. Other features include integrated Tally and UMD functions with up to three regions per input, metadata and error reporting. The SynView system is designed to handle multiple individual audio metering, metadata overlays and multiple individual clocks in different styles.

The layout in TV-Skylines U7 allows to switch the layout with a single command into various scenarios to feed all the monitors with individual layouts. The quadsplit cards can be individually grouped together depending on the type of production.

”This is one of the the biggest multiviewer we have supplied since the introduction of SynView”, comments Geert-Jan Gussen AXON’s Marketing Manager. “We are very proud that we have been chosen by TV-Skyline, it underlines the leading role we are playing in multiviewers”.

“For our new U7 it was important to choose a multiviewer system that can handle all signals in the most flexible way”, comments Wolfgang Reeh, Managing Director of TV Skyline, “the central point for us was the fact that SynView has an extremely low latency and is therefore one of the fastest multiviewer in the market. This is key not only for sports events.”

One of the three control rooms within U7 is located in a second truck that also stores all the outside production equipment. This control room is fully connected to the main OB van and allows the customer to create an alternative version of the live content to be used in another target market. “We have looked at the market requirements and our internal production workflows and the new room concept with up to 32 workplaces is the result of this design study”, explains Reeh, “with this concept we can cover everything from premium sports events to high end music events.”

The first task for Dave Stewart, e.tv’s Group Chief Engineer and project leader and Don Wilson, Systems Engineering Manager from Megahertz was to examine the existing ingest, editing, graphics, newsroom and three production studios to identify what equipment should to be reutilized in the new facility and how moving this equipment could be achieved without causing disruption to operations. Another aim of the
move was an upgrade to HD so any equipment that was not already HD-capable would need to be replaced or upgraded. Some equipment choices for the new build were straightforward, either because of the workflow already established at e.tv or because of existing relationships with manufacturers. However, the broadcaster was not satisfied with some areas of its existing workflow so the move to a green field site allowed Megahertz to take a fresh look at both practices and suppliers to explore what could be done to improve them. Following the review stage Megahertz had a couple of months to put together their suggestions and present them to e.tv. Read here the full story of e-TV.

The equipment has been installed in SABC’s new High Definition mobile Master Control Room (MCR), part of the broadcaster’s Johannesburg-based High Technology Operations Centre (HTOC). Built by local coachbuilder New Installation Company (NIC) with design support from Systems Integrator and Axon distributor Inala Broadcast, the mobile MCR controls between four and six Outside Broadcast trucks and receives 20 external feeds in from SABC’s news regions. It also monitors incoming signals and sends outgoing broadcast feeds to an uplink vehicle.

Close collaboration between SABC, Inala, Axon and NIC was imperative to the success of this project, which had to be completed in just four weeks so that SABC could deliver coverage of the 2016 South African national elections in full HD.

“Due to the tight timescale, Inala and NIC built a temporary installation to ensure HD coverage of the elections, which took place at the beginning of August,” says Anton Van Staden, Inala’s Executive Broadcast Consultant. “The equipment is now being decommissioned and moved into a brand new OB vehicle. It will be used as a mobile MCR for all types of productions and should be fully operational by April.”

Inala’s long-standing relationship with SABC meant that the broadcaster was happy to comply with its equipment recommendations. As ease of use, flexibility and versatility were key criteria, Inala had no hesitation in recommending Axon’s Cerebrum control and monitoring system.

“Cerebrum offers a modular, scalable and open system that is perfect for SABC’s requirements,” Van Staden says. “The system supports virtually every piece of broadcast equipment on the market and acts as the nerve centre for all routing. It is also very easy to use with a fully customizable interface and significantly speeds up production workloads by enabling complex tasks to be completed much faster.”

SABC’s Cerebrum system is now being used to control two Utah Scientific routers – a compact 7RU UTAH-400/144 and a 4Ru UTAH-400/72s2 Frame, the smallest member of the Series 2 Family.

“By combining Axon’s Cerebrum control and monitoring with Utah Scientific’s routers, we have been able to provide a streamlined workflow that delivers against budget and production requirements,” Van Staden says. “Also, Utah routers offer IP interface capabilities and this is a major advantage because it will simplify the switch to IP broadcasting, when SABC decide to make that move.”

Other equipment installed in SABC’s mobile MCR includes a Riedel communications system, Tektronix waveform monitoring and an Axon Synapse modular HD monitoring distribution amplifier with embedded 3G/HD/SDI.

Peter Knevitt, Principal Technologist and TV OBs Engineering Manager at SABC, says the close collaboration between Inala, Axon and NIC made the entire project much easier for his team.

“Switching from analogue to High Definition is a large step for any broadcaster, and with the national elections our target, we only had four weeks to do it in,” he says. “In that situation, it is really important to have supportive and proactive people around you. Inala and Axon made things very easy for us and we’re delighted with what they achieved.  The temporary installation worked perfectly and we are looking forward to having all the equipment operational in our permanent mobile MCR.”

The new 32-camera triple-expanding truck will deliver 4K HDR uncompressed broadcasts, using SAM IP infrastructure, a production switcher and multiviewer, Sony 4K cameras and EVS servers – all controlled and monitored by Axon’s Cerebrum platform via a single fully customisable user interface. The vehicle will also feature a range of Axon 4K infrastructure products and hardware panels.

Timeline Television’s decision to install a Cerebrum system in the new vehicle is based on previous good experience with Axon technology. The company already uses Cerebrum in its main UK broadcast centre to control all the equipment in its programme chain. It has also installed Cerebrum across its fleet of OB trucks and flyaway kits, citing functionality and easy-to-use interfaces as the main reasons for its choice.

“The Cerebrum control platform integrates seamlessly with the rest of the solutions we employ and always delivers to the highest standards,” says Daniel McDonnell, Managing Director of Timeline Television. “We have complete confidence that Cerebrum will provide agile and robust control on-board our new 4K IP truck and will support a hassle-free, flexible creative workflow.”

Jan Eveleens, CEO of Axon adds: “Axon systems are so easy to integrate and operate that Timeline Television always includes our equipment every time they launch something new. The reason for this is simple: the people who need to use it every day are happy with the functionality that it delivers and both the time and production costs it saves.”

Many of the broadcast projects delivered by Timeline Television have Cerebrum at their core. Most recently this has included the Dubai World Cup, the US$10m horse race that closed the prestigious Dubai World Cup Carnival on March 25th. Working once again with UK-based Racecourse Media Group (RMG), who undertook the producton of all 20 of the season’s fixtures from Meydan Racecourse, Timeline Television provided all of the technical infrastructure including cameras, horseback reporter cameras, the EVS systems and graphics – all controlled and monitored by Cerebrum.

“Our Meydan Racecourse infrastructure includes a large SAM central hybrid matrix that handles all audio and video routing,” says Daniel McDonnell. “The matrix is controlled by the Axon Cerebrum platform.  The operators use both touch screens and hardware panels to perform complexing routing, speeding up the operation.  Cerebrum also provides a single interface to control a variety of other broadcast equipment making the whole operation very efficient.”

RMG made the fixture available to over one billion homes in more than 150 territories, with the likes of NBC Sport (US), ESPN South America and Eurosport all taking the race.  In addition, the Dubai World Cup was broadcast for the first time live on 580 aeroplanes and a number of cruise ships via the Sport 24 channel.

Jan Eveleens concludes: “Axon takes pride in the fact that leading OB providers like Timeline rely upon our solutions to deliver high quality live broadcasts to audiences worldwide.  We’re with them every step of the way – from their next production to their next technology upgrade.”

Metro TV, Indonesia’s first 24 hour news channel, has installed Axon Digital Design’s Master control system SynMC and Cerebrum monitoring and control software as part of a major upgrade of its High Definition news studio.

Based in West Jakarta, the station chose Cerebrum because it provides a fully automated and seamless workflow and delivers significant cost savings by reducing downtime.

Jaja Karjaya, Engineering Manager at Metro TV, says: “In conjunction with our systems integrator Magna Systems Engineering, we evaluated several Network Monitoring System (NMS) solutions from different vendors to ascertain which one was right for us. We chose Cerebrum because it delivered all our key requirements. These included stability, instantaneous response, ease of use, flexibility and the ability to monitor and control our existing equipment. Cerebrum also gives us the flexibility to increase the amount of third party equipment that we might want to monitor over time.”

Designed as an advanced and customizable monitoring and control system, Cerebrum links broadcast equipment from all major manufacturers using either SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol) or third party protocols. The system supports a wide range of devices including routers, production switchers, servers, audio desks, camera control units, receiver decoders, multiviewers and waveform monitors, and its advanced functionality and broad range of features simplifies multi device control onto one easy-to-use interface.

“As a 24 hour facility, we cannot afford to have any disruption to our On Air program,” Karjaya adds.  “Installing Cerebrum has helped our engineering teams to narrow down any problems within our workflow and this has significantly reduced the amount of time it takes to find faults. The engineers can also remotely access the system to determine which piece of equipment is causing problems within the workflow.”

Metro TV currently operates one channel, but thanks to the flexibility of its Axon SynMC Master Control system which has been installed alongside Cerebrum, the station has plenty of scope for future expansion.

“Our SynMC Master Control system is capable of handling 16 channels, and with this backbone is in place, all we would need to do to increase our channel count is add a few more cards to our existing system,” says Karjaya “As far as Cerebrum is concerned, its capacity to offer a future proof solution lies in its ability to cope with any equipment enhancements or improvements we might make. We are free to introduce new pieces of equipment or undertake software upgrades because Cerebrum can easily cope with these types of change.”

Cerebrum is fast becoming the control solution of choice for mobile production, news and studio live production, master control and remote production. Recent installations including CTV Outside Broadcast, eTV in South Africa and News UK, which has included Cerebrum in its state-of-the-art broadcast facilities in London.

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Peter Schut | CTO