NAB 2015: Grass Valley Unveils 4K Slo-Mo LDX, IP Workflow

Grass Valley hit on the trifecta of this year’s NAB hot trends: 4K, IP and live.
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LAS VEGAS—The new 4K LDX addresses two issues that Grass Valley President Marco Lopez said were problematic in live 4K sports production. The inability to get close and slow down.

“We were hearing that existing 4K cameras have limited storytelling capability for sports,” he said. “They have limited depth of field and zoom range. The LDX 86 has the same zoom range and depth of field as HD cameras.

“Another key problem that exists is that producers have had to choose between 4K and higher frame rates.”

The LDX 86 Universe—the new flagship of the LDX line—is switchable between 6x, 4K and HD. The switching is done through a software license, “so if you need 4K capability for an event, you can activate it with a software key,” he said.

The LDX 86 has Grass Valley’s proprietary Xensium-FT CMOS, and can be used in any camera position where a 1x, 3x or 6x camera is required.

The 86 was introduced in conjunction with the new K2 Dyno Universe, which does replay optimized for 6x and 4K.

“Existing 4K servers support only a fraction of the channels they support in HD, so they require double the servers, double the rack space and double the operators,” Lopez said.

The new K2 Dyno Universe does replay optimized for 6x and 4K in the same rack space, with the same number of servers and the same number of operators as an HD workflow, he said. It relies on solid state storage and is scalable by networking multiple systems over 10GigE. Grass also developed a new fiber transmission system, the XCU XF Universe to support the system.

With the IP transition is accelerating like a waterfall, Grass is trying to get in front of it. Lopez said that in talks with 200 customers around the world, three main points emerged about IP workflows: multiple video streams over a single Ethernet cable; format agnosticism; and the ability to integrate video from multiple remote facilities.

He said Grass created a “glass-to-glass” IP production system that incorporates both proprietary and generic routing from Cisco, HP and Arista, software-defined networking and commercial off-the-shelf hardware.

Grass will demo its G2G IP workflow, which features SMPTE 2022-6 compliant I/Os, the new GV Convergent SDN, the new Densité IP Gateway, Nvision’s latest 8500 IP Gateway, an IP module for the K-Frame video engine, a new codec board for the K2 Summit server and the new Kaleido-Modular-X IP input card.

The GV Convergent SDN, which uses COTS switches, is said to make routing IP video and audio appear the same as serial digital interface routing. The K2 codec board offers both “SDI and IP connectivity simultaneously,” Grass said. The new Kaleido-Modular-X IP input card integrates with the existing Kaleido-Modular-X product line. Combining it with current SDI input cards enables mixed IP and SDI monitoring on the same multiviewer.

Another product in the Grass quiver came out of a relationship with Sinclair Broadcasting, which needed an affordable way to do local inserts in digital subchannels. Grass and Sinclair came up with a Stratus card for the iTX playout platform.

“The idea was to create an inexpensive technology to be able to insert local ads in D2s,” said Del Parks, Sinclair’s senior vice president and chief technology officer. “The Stratus card enables Sinclair to run a schedule, comply with EAS, do channel branding and generates an as-run log for billing. It then can bring value to the subchannels.”

Parks said they now primarily run direct response ads on D2s—Ginsu Knives, etc.

“We’ve got to break that,” he said.

The new Stratus card links Sinclair’s playout operation to cloud software, which was “really quite a leap for us,” Parks said. “But we’re ready to make that leap. The very important thing here is we can control these cards.”

Sinclair now has a variety servers, he said, and this allows them to put a playout channel in the Densité rack that’s not tied into Sinclair’s master control system.

“As we build out our sports network, we will deploy more of these systems,” he said.

Grass had a few more Easter eggs up its sleeve, with iTX Integrated Playout Platform version 2.6 with a new broadcast engine, new K2 capabilities, new Densité modules and a new entry-level LDX-type camera.

The latest version of iTX is tuned for live content, managing highly dynamic schedules and late-arriving media by supporting multiple video format playbacks without the need to transcode

The vendor also introduces the Grass Valley K2 Central TX shared storage platform that supports 100 Mbps playout on each of up to 20 channels, the Densité MAP-3901 embedded audio and metadata processor and the Densité ADX-1901 eight-channel analog audio de-embedder for 3G/HD/SD-SDI.

And finally, Grass Valley introduced a second LDX-type camera, the Focus 70 Live, a new entry-level model with two different single HD format camera heads to support 1080i50/59.94 and 720p50/59.94 and a feature set optimized for live studio and field applications. Grass also developed a line of transmission systems for the Focus 70, including triax adapters and a hybrid fiber transmission system based on the Lemo SMPTE fiber connector.