Excellence Awards CEI Rainbow

Category New studio technology — network Submitted by Communications Engineering Inc. (CEI) Design teamRainbow: John Barbieri,
SVP and general mgr.;
Mike Mallozzi, VP,
Broadcast Engineering
and System Design
CEI: John Wesley Nash,
executive VP and COO;
Jim Conley, SVP and CTO Technology at work Avocent KVM switching
Dolby audio processing
Evertz MVP MultiViewers
and distribution/
conversion equipment
Grass Valley
K2 media servers
Maestro SD/HD master
control switcher
Harris automation

Rainbow Networks improves efficiency with hybrid multichannel master control room

Rainbow Network Communications is a supplier of SD and HD program origination and distribution services to the multimedia industry. From the Rainbow Media Technology Center in Bethpage, NY, Rainbow provides support for more than 35 channels of programming distributed in the United States and around the world.

With a complex array of live and pre-recorded programming to handle, Rainbow recognized the need for a new generation of live video (LV) multichannel master control rooms. It entrusted this challenge to system engineering firm Communications Engineering Inc. (CEI) and the Rainbow engineering team.

As the design team began to defi ne the technical requirements for these new rooms, the need to create a master control switching environment that could deal fl awlessly with fi ve AES pairs (10 related channels) of audio became apparent. This need was a substantial departure from the capability of most master control switcher systems, which provided processing for only four AES pairs. Rainbow processes source audio in analog or digital formats associated with HD and SD video. The possible variations in audio included combinations of embedded or discreet, multiple AES channels, encoded in various Dolby formats. This was achieved by de-embedding, decoding and re-embedding the audio along with its Dolby metadata on the way into the master control switcher, which then processed each channel discreetly. The opposite procedure was performed on the master control switcher output prior to being sent to the transmission air chain.

The LV control rooms employ the Evertz HD AES audio de-embedder, capable of eight AES pair (16 channel) operation, including built-in Dolby decoders and a feature set defi ned by CEI in concert with Evertz. Signal sources available to the LV rooms include SD and HD tape systems, multiformat servers systems incorporating more than 65 hours of immediate online HD storage, and live satellite feeds, all under either manual or automation control. SD signals are upconverted as needed and integrated into the HD environment. Grass Valley’s Maestro SD/HD branding master control switching was also installed for managing signal processing.

CEI created an adaptable test and monitoring equipment design that would transparently adjust to deal with each signal format based on triggering information tied to the source of each signal. Monitor wall displays driven from Evertz MVP MultiViewers automatically track the master control channel status, and a KVM switching system brings virtually every critical keyboard and monitor device interface within easy reach of the operator.