NAB 2015: Ross Brings 4K Xpression, Virtual Toolset

At its NAB Show booth, Ross Video will introduce the latest version of software for its Acuity Production Switcher.

LAS VEGAS—Ross Video has had a busy 12 months, with existing business and bringing recent acquisitions into the fold, according to Jeff Moore, chief marketing officer for the Iroquois, Ontario-based company.

At last year’s NAB Show, Ross announced that it acquired Unreel LLC, an augmented reality and virtual set provider. Today, Ross XPression graphics and Ross robotics are key to this overall solution, now dubbed “Ross Virtual Solutions.” “We’ve put a number of facilities on air now with virtual and augmented,” said Moore. “It’s really starting to grow and become a much more common solution, especially in news, where we’re seeing virtual sets and hybrid sets that combine physical and virtual elements.”

The integration of Ross Virtual Solutions, XPression and robotics software and equipment reflects one of the company’s themes for this year’s show—showing how the best of Ross technology can be used to provide complete systems for different types of production environments.

“As a company we’re showing more and more complete solutions and workflows,” said Moore. “We can identify for [our customers] something that will help them advance their business… more productions, better-looking productions, productions that save money.”

Moore added that setting up a large trade show booth with working systems reaps benefits, whether that system is a virtual set or a mini sports stadium environment. “It helps when our team uses these systems at trade shows—we have to build a virtual set on the floor in four days… you learn from that experience,” he said.

In the mobile production arena, Ross has gone from simply providing equipment for EFP crews to truck design and mobile productions in less than two years. “We’re very happy and excited about Ross Mobile Productions,” said Moore, referring to the new division launched a year ago. “It catapulted us in to the mobile production business.”

There are now five trucks in the division, which cover sports for regional networks like the SEC Network, America East Conference, ESPN, NBC Sports, and others. The latest addition to its fleet—FIN5, a Mercedes Sprinter-based vehicle—will be on the booth at NAB2015.

Ross will also display what Moore describes as a “jaw-dropping” 20-foot big screen display, including ribbon boards just like in a real stadium. The Ross’ Sports Stadium display will feature the year-old Acuity production switcher at its core, along with XPression graphics. “4K is very much a part of what is being shown in this area,” said Moore.

At its booth, Ross will introduce the latest version of Acuity software, which now provides 8 keys/16 channels of DVE per ME, multifeed configurable program outputs with two preview and six program outputs for every ME, 36 channels of system wide media stores, and expanded dual head, 20 source window multiviewers. In addition, XPression will be shown as a 4K product for the first time.

Workflows are central to the demanding news production world, and Moore said he thinks Ross’ Inception News NRCS will encourage organizations to rethink how they manage newsgathering.

“We’ll be talking about ‘idea-centric’ news production, which grew from having real journalists help in the product development,” said Moore.

For its mid-sized Carbonite and Vision Tritium 3ME value priced production switchers, Ross will show new features that enhance operations, particularly when combined with DashBoard system control and XPression motion graphics.

Dashboard, which Moore describes as “a bit of a sleeper,” started as the openGear control system before being used as the interface for production switchers. It’s a control system that allows custom panels to be built with no programming; and with just a little programming, intelligent panels can be built. “[Dashboard] really started to take off over the last year; people are coming to us with things they’ve done,” said Moore. “Anybody can go to our website and create applications that control openGear native equipment or any Ross products.”

Ross Video will be in booth N3906 in the North Hall of the LVCC.

Mark Hallinger