NAB 2015: Ross Video Streamlines Production; Prepares for IP

LAS VEGAS—Ross Video CEO David Ross opened this year’s presser on Sunday with his “second annual Ross Video keynote address” to a ballroom that had 200 more chairs than the first annual Ross Video keynote address.

“We launched Acuity last year,” he said “It was our top-of-the-line flagship production switcher. We sat down with a metallurgist to work out the right weight for the fader bards. This year, we plan to announce the Acuity Gold solid gold production switcher control panel. It starts at $10 million. It has about $500 worth of gold in it, but you know, we’re Ross.”

“In addition,” he said. “We’re also shipping version 3 software.”

The updated Acuity has 8 keyers per ME and does 1080p 50/60.

“We launched with four, promised six, delivered eight. In fact, it’s nine; the ninth is for transitions, wipes…” and so forth, he said. It has 16 channels of 2D DVE per ME and MultiFeed configurable ME outputs.

“We can now have four MEs and four keyers per ME in 4K,” Ross said.

A secret handshake will get you a platinum version, said Mike Conner, director of video for the Arizona Cardinals, a Ross customer.

Conner described how the Cards were planning to overhaul their control room and looking for a switcher last year when they met up with the Ross Acuity.

“The control room overhaul was started June 25, 2014, 45 days before the first home pre-season game,” he said. “We were looking for a switcher here last year when Ross introduced the Acuity.”

The Cards use a shotbox, built on the Ross Xpression board, tied to the audio board so Conner can bring audio out if need be, like dropping out crowd noise for say, a ref call. They use a Ross multiviewer, and moved from the Synergy MD to the Acuity. The Cards use the Ross Xpression for 3D graphics, including on their 165-by-54-foot LED stadium display.

Ross also brought in Hugh Grew, a veteran live graphics system operator, to testify about Xpression.

“The first CG I worked on had four fonts and four colors,” he said. “The first game changer was in 1992, when NBC and CBS, at the Olympics… showed Chyron Infinit, you could fly stuff around in 2D space. I could type 65 characters across the screen, and had 26 rows to work with. Through the 90s, that was the de facto standard.”

Grew then transitioned to entertainment, and realized that he had to build a complete show in two days.He used the Pinnacle Deko, the quickest device out there at the time.

“My moment of epiphany was at the 2011 Grammys when he ran into the Xpression. The Grammys look that year demanded 3D,” he said.

The Xpression gave him 3D space.

Xpression is now taking over L.A.,” he said. “Going from limits to no limits, that’s what Xpression does for me.”

Last year, Ross had a 4K Xpression running on the show floor at 30 Hz. This year, they’ll run it at 60 Hz.

Ross the Younger then said the vendor was launching Xpression Clips with two or four channels of baseband video ingest, instant roll, back-to-back transitions and the ability to play multiple clips on the same output.

“When you put a clip player inside a CG, you can layer things,” Ross said. “You can create frame-lock and video fill and key outputs.”

It uses NAS or SAN attached storage using Studio Network Solutions, enabling many Xpression clip players on a storage platform. It speaks VDCP, AMP, p-bus and RossTalk control, has user rights for database management, and an operational Xpression Incoder transcode engine.

Ross is getting into weather as well. Xpression Maps, based on free Bing maps, was added, and Ross is partnering with WSI on “virtual weather.”

“We’re doing all the 3D tracking integration to drive 3D, on-set immersive weather graphics,” Ross said.

The Ross Video gift basket this year also includes Inception Live, a live event production planning, scripting and social media platform that does real-time updates to scripts and rundowns. It provides streamlined asset management workflows and has instant messaging built in.

“This is a great tool to bring stadiums into the 21st century in that area,” Ross said.

Additionally, Inception News version 9 is being demoed on the floor. It includes an assignment desk, instant messaging and alerts, and supports one on-one and group conversations. Documents and images can be shared inside the chat sessions, and it has offline message support.

The Ross Streamline version 2 is being demonstrated on the floor as well. It adds video clip and news workflow, MOS newsroom integration and a single sign-on interface to Inception. It has automatic transfer of assets via FTP to targeted devices, and a lifecycle management to clean up assets on targeted devices.

Ross also announced the vendor’s ninth acquisition—Rocket Surgery Design services. Jim Doyle of Rocket will head up Ross’s creative division.

Ross will produce more than 400 events this year for ESPN, NBC Sports, SEC Network, AEC Network and Sports Illustrated. It now has five trucks on the road. The latest will be at the booth, #N3906.

Ross also rolled out Carbonite Black, a Carbonite that looks like an Acuity, with three full MEs with four keyers, 36 inputs, 22 outputs, eight DVS in 3G; four Minimes, two multiviewers SD, HD, 3G and UHD processing. It fits between Carbonite and Acuity, Ross said.

And finally, IP.

“IP is changing so fast that no one knows what you’re talking about when you’re talking about IP production,” Ross said.

Compatibility may be in an issue, something Ross Video is looking into. It’s initial move is a new partnership with Embrionics for the creation of several types of IP I/Os modules. Ross will be using the mods at for a J2K encode/decode demo at the booth.

“As more standards roll out, we’ll develop further modules,” Ross said.

Once again, he revealed that the streak continues. Ross has been growing for 23 straight years at 17 percent on average, with Q1 this year up 30 percent over last year.