Cerebrum & Neuron | Live production | Truck application | Cloudbass

Leading UK Outside Broadcast specialist Cloudbass is the first company in the world to deploy a truly end-to-end multivendor IP Outside Broadcast vehicle capable of embracing new 4K-UHD HDR and 8K formats. This has allowed the company to address growing market demand, future-proof its facilities and stay at the top of its game.

Challenges
Cloudbass’ decision to invest in IP infrastructure was driven by the growing market demand for 4K production, particularly in live sports. The OB provider was keen to enjoy all the flexibility and speed of a full IP workflow using best-of-breed technologies and sought a solution that would enable it to upgrade its existing fleet of vehicles to address multi-format needs, from SDI-HD to UHD.

The first challenge was to partner with a solutions provider who understood their requirements,  working closely to minimise the risks of complex technology adoption and proactively address issues raised by the new ST-2110 standard.

Secondly, due to an intensely busy schedule of high-profile events, the timeframe for the transformation was tight – the truck needed to be back on the road in a matter of weeks.  A scalable solution was sought that could be easily deployed across its fleet – with minimum disruption.

Objectives 

  • Support growing demand for 4K production by adding a scalable full IP layer to its existing and future fleet.
  • Deliver a seamless workflow featuring leading IP technology from multiple vendors.
  • Ensure an efficient flexible operation supporting multiple formats and allow for capacity expansion.
  • Minimise the risks of moving to a complex IP environment and protect ROI.
  • Integrate and control complex technology layers, including legacy systems.

The Solution
OB9, a 20-camera truck built by systems integrator ES Broadcast, brings together best-of-breed IP products from leading manufacturers including Arista, EVS, Evertz, GVG, Ross, Calrec, Riedel and Sony. It uses Axon technology to seamlessly integrate these systems into a fast, highly flexible workflow with a future-proof scalable infrastructure that is perfectly suited to live sports coverage.

Axon Neuron IP processing is at OB9’s core alongside Axon’s Cerebrum control and monitoring software platform, which enables integration and control of its complex multivendor technology layers.  The flexibility of this system makes it easy for Cloudbass staff to quickly switch between formats and eliminate engineering bottlenecks – speeding up deployment times for clients and allowing easy capacity expansion.

System Overview
OB9 features 21 fully-populated Neuron units providing IP Gateway, each with a plethora of routing processing features such as edge synchronizers and up/down/cross converters. Every unit offers an impressive 200 Gb/s and 64 1080p signals or 16 UHD channels with up to 80 SDI connectors, all in a single 1RU.

Neuron accepts streams from any of the kit in the truck no matter what packing method or variation of the ST-2210 standard the manufacturer uses – removing the need for external processing and glue products. By bringing up/down/cross conversion to every path, Neuron allows Cloudbass to seamlessly deliver any feed required for broadcast.

Axon’s Cerebrum Control and Monitoring software is key to multi-vendor integration within OB9’s workflow.  It guarantees an unprecedented level of control of all devices – all through a user-friendly GUI. It shields operators from technical complexity and provides a holistic view of  issues and faults. It also significantly speeds up the pre-configuration of the truck – what previously took hours to complete can now be achieved in minutes.

Featured Technologies

  • Axon Neuron IP Processing
  • Axon Cerebrum Control & Monitoring Software
  • Axon Synview IP Multiviewers
  • Integrated with Sony, Evertz, EVS, Grass Valley Arista & Riedel

“The knowledge, skill-set and determination of Axon has ensured that our partnership is a highly successful one. We have covered eight major productions in OB9’s first 40 days, which is a very tall order for a truck-build undertaken in just 12 weeks. With Axon technology, we now have an outstanding product and concept that can be transplanted into any of our trucks – helping us continually deliver cost-effective services and keep up with new requirements not even dreamt of yet.”

Michael Beaumont, Cloudbass Technical Director

End Results

  • Working with Axon, Cloudbass has a cutting-edge multi-vendor IP offering that has already delivered major live 4K broadcasts, including the UEFA Football Euro 2020 Qualifiers for Sky and ITV’s Rugby X Tournament.
  • This scalable future-proof solution can easily add an IP layer to other trucks in the fleet – providing operational flexibility and opportunities for new business.
  • With Neuron, Cloudbass enjoys a streamlined and truly multivendor workflow, overcoming interpretation issues around the ST-2110 standard and reducing hardware and external glue.
  • Cloudbass staff can manage complex technology layers, switch between SDI-HD, 4K and IP workflows quickly and efficiently – saving significant time on set-up and configuration.
  • Axon has enabled Cloudbass to enjoy competitive advantage and protect its original investment.