ToolsOnAir Chooses Sonnet Technologies’ xMac

IRVINE, CALIF. —ToolsOnAir Broadcast Engineering has integrated Sonnet's xMac mini Server, a Thunderbolt-to-PCIe 2.0 expansion system, and a 1U rackmount enclosure for the Mac mini computer into its new TV station in a Mac solution.

By combining the xMac mini Server with key components from its just:Broadcast Suite, ToolsOnAir has built a Mac mini-based appliance with a compact form factor and a central storage system to support a live, 12-camera production workflow.

The just:Broadcast Suite is an integrated package of QuickTime-based software tools. Sonnet's xMac mini Server enables A/V professionals to rack-mount a Mac mini where it can be easily cabled and connected to two onboard PCIe slots via integrated Thunderbolt-to-PCIe expansion.

For the solution's hardware platform, ToolsOnAir used six 2.6 GHz Mac minis, each one housed in its own xMac mini Server, and each configured with a Blackmagic Design DeckLink Quad PCIe capture and playback card and a Sonnet Presto Gigabit Ethernet PCIe card. The system also includes ToolsOnAir's flow:rage A/V optimized network-attached storage system. Software components include ToolsOnAir's live:cut, a centralized interface for ingest, metadata, live logging, media management and workflow automation, and the just:in multicamera ingest system.

The new TV Station in a Mac is able to capture up to 24 SD or 12 HD channels in ProRes HQ within 6U of rack space. Each of the Mac minis ingests up to two HD channels via the Blackmagic DeckLink card. The content is then stored in the flow:rage NAS system via the Gigabit Ethernet connection provided by the Sonnet Presto card. The Mac mini's internal Ethernet interface provides a 10Gb connection to an external Mac, where the operator can access the just:in and live:cut graphical user interfaces for remote control of the application. The system enables automated export of camera angles into a multiclip XML sequence that is readable by Apple Final Cut Pro X and Adobe Premiere Pro.