MultiDyne: Comprehensive High-Density and High-Bandwidth Signal Management

Hi, I’m Jesse with MultiDyne. We were founded in 1977. And I believe that we were the ninth openGear partner. So we were pretty early to the game and definitely see a lot of value in being part of the consortium.

We have some cards here that apply to our features that we do in venues and stadiums outside broadcast all the way down to military streaming. So a very diverse range of customers, all of which use our openGear cards. On the application side, we’re very well-known and heavy in signal extension. So, traditional dark fiber, CWDM, DWDM, and more recently we have some offerings in the streaming OTT delivery space, and that is continuing to grow as well.

This is a high-level overview of our available cards today. We have some stuff on the drawing table right now in regards to 12G distribution and some conversion beyond what I’m showing here, but all of this is shipping today — what we’re seeing on screen now.

I have some slides that expand on these cards a little deeper, but in a nutshell here up on the upper left corner, we have an embedder / de-embedder set, so an analog and AES to 3G-SDI, HD/SD-SDI, and fiber simultaneously. It’s an embedder and de-embedder in one.

Next cards here are classic quad transport product — so for asynchronous 3Gs over a fiber per signal, or we can do a CWDM MACs on board. And I have a drawing later that will show we can cascade these to do a very low-cost CWDM aggregation workflow within just the cards in the openGear frame, without openGear MACs or external MACs.

On the right side here, we have the 3600 and 4600 series of products. These are our flagship studio production signal extension products that the 3600 is centered on a 3G-SDI support. Four channels can be asymmetrical in regards to doing 2×2 video transport, or they could all be pointed in the same direction. And the 4600 is the 12G version of that platform. On the compression side, we have H.264 encoder with a bunch of novel streaming capabilities for CDN distribution, with over-the-top monitoring capabilities. It’s a very flexible encoder card there.

The companion decoder is H.264 by nature and licensable up to HEVC — and can actually provide a 4K HDMI output or a 1080p HEVC encoded content out of its serial digital output. Wrapping back around, over to the conversion block here, we have some analog digital and digital analog audio converters for openGear. Broadcast quality, 24 bits of processing. Below that we have our OG-COMMS, which is a 2-wire party line to 4-wire converter, and back 4-wire to 2-wire, and it’ll power belt packs. It’s a popular product line for us.

On the DA side, we have a 1×9-3G-SDI-DA where all outputs are non-inverting, so you can use it for ASI as well. It can be configured as a dual 1×4, in addition to being the 1×9 format. The OG-5330 is a 1×16-3G-SDI-DA that can also be partitioned to be a dual 1×8 or quad 1×4. On that card, you can do that via DashBoard or dip switches. This is a 1×8 wideband composite analog DA for tri-level and bi-level distribution, and it has a looping capability on the rear module. So you can cascade these things without taking an active output to drive the next card.

This is a popular dual 1×4 stereo analog audio DA, and it’s kind of a necessity in a lot of designs. We have a customer, Panavision, that uses a wide range of our products, and this is a hallmark in all of their designs because of the prevalence of analog audio in the production domain and the episodic television shows they’re doing. Moving on, we have a 1×8 balanced AES, 110 ohm balanced DA, and we have the unbalanced 75 ohm coax equivalent here as well.

Then finishing up on this page, here, we have our dual test generator, trouble slide inserter, and five input production and broadcast-centric multiviewer product that can be expanded via cascading as well. So, just to touch a little further on the ADC and DAC audio converters, they are broadcast quality, a 24 bit conversion, like I’ve mentioned there, but there is some internal processing, which is handy in regards to a per channel gain or stereo gain as well. And they have summing to mono capabilities, and you could also select left or right channel. And that’s all via DashBoard. The DAC has the inverse capability in regards to conversion, and it has the same internal processing features.

To continue on the conversion products listed here: This is the OG-COMMS, and this is the first point. You’ll see the fact that we have a stand-alone product line and the VB series, or versatile bricks, of which the intercom converters branded the COMMS-300. But this is where you’ll start seeing that we have interoperability between openGear and our stand-alone products, which lends itself to an end-to-end system designed for, say, a broadcasting customer who needs to have something that gets dropped down at the base of a tripod or lashed to the tripod itself, and then have the high density capabilities of a terminal gear system and openGear does the cooling and redundant power and remote control and monitoring via DashBoard.

This brings it all together, having both of these platforms here. And you’ll see another slide to expand on that a little bit, but what this does is take a traditional 2-wire party line intercom, which can be wet or dry, could have power on it or not, and convert it to 4-wire line-level audio that could then be taken over fiber, which is one of the reasons we developed it, or it can be taken into a mixer or intercom matrix.

And then the other direction you take that 4-wire audio and make a 2-wire party line out of it. And then we can power the belt packs depending on the model of belt pack — we can do up to six belt packs. So that’s six users having a belt pack that then XLR loops-thru and powers each belt pack via that audio connection and the party line. That is a popular product for us. On the dual test generator product, that has the ability to capture images, do a full-screen capture of a 1080p, 1080i, or 720 input. Then on the output side, it has two independent test generators that can be captured, or they can be uploaded PNG files. So you can do a custom trouble slate insertion based on a per-channel basis if you’re a MVPD type customer who has a lot of different channels, or if you’re a broadcaster, you could put up your call letters and any type of indication via text generators, like no signal, technical difficulties, call this number, the use cases are many.

The same card here has a moving box, so the graphic insertion for transmission path verification. If, like a lot of our customers, you’re going to be remote, whether it’s over the internet via OTT stream or on a golf game installation, you want to be able to make sure that your transmission path is active and you don’t have the frame sync storing the last slide or something like that. So yeah, you can do the moving box, and you can configure how fast and the color and all that. So you can differentiate between paths. Also this is a test generator beyond just the video side where it does the analog audio with tones, AES with tones, and it makes a bi-level or tri-level sync signal, all in this openGear card.

On the multiviewer side, it’s a front-end agnostic format input capability. So 1080p, 1080i, 720, NTSC and PAL are all autodetect. It does 23.98 fps. So very capable. We have customers that use it for broadcast applications with its ability to decode post-captioning, and also on the production side of things. It has the ability to show time code and character burns for camera operator names and so forth. But it also does a SDI record flag tally, which was asked for by some of our customers in Hollywood, where you have a multi-camera production happening. The director of photography loses it when a particular camera guy may not be recording. So the DP can have the visibility across the multiviewer that everybody’s in record because that camera was Sony RED. There’s all different detected values in the metadata that you select to drive that tally, but they could see that all operators are rolling, in fact, when they say action. So, that’s a powerful little feature developed on the multiviewer that’s production-centric.

On the compression side, this could be multiple slides in regards to the protocols that it supports and the different applications. But I tried to slim it down to both cards on one page, in a nutshell here, again, to use that phrase. So 3G/HD or composite analog in, it has dual mix on it for management and your streaming media or isolated, which is required in some installations. And it’s great for security reasons, of course. It is H.264 by nature, but the decoder can be licensed up to support HEVC. And, of course, this is all standards-based. So, it will decode other companies’ HEVC-encoded content. So this is widely deployed for emerging HEVC workflows for low-cost monitoring capability that can drive HDMI or a coax 3G or composite outputs. Not to miss the fact that it does Zixi and SRT capable for perfect content delivery over the internet, based on an ARQ type request, resend capability. If a packet is missing, it’ll ask the encoder to resend it until it does have a complete bitstream to decode or packet stream to decode.

This is the application drawing that we have customers using both of those last two products for, so a remote multiviewer monitoring over the internet, just for confidence feedback haul. One of our customers in the Skycam cable cam uses this encoder set and decoder set to back haul their confidence feeds from stadiums across the country, but it could even be international. I’m not sure, but definitely stateside to a NOC installation where they have visibility across all their installations. This a popular application. And the fact that we have a companion stand-alone encoder and decoder for both — I wanted to show that here as well. So they’re using the stand-alone in the field and openGear in the machine room.

This is getting into the fiber optic transport side. This is that embedded / de-embedded set. So AES pairs, that could be all 16 channels sourced from those eight inputs. But you also have eight analog inputs simultaneously. So you can go with four pairs of AES and eight analog, or any mix of, to comprise a full 16-channel four-group embedded payload in a SDI signal, which we then launch via fiber. It’s also available via 3G-SDI here as well. And then on the inverse side, that’s the optical to electrical receiver card, with the ability to extract the audio from the video payload. It has a lot of great features, DashBoard, a tone generation, gain control, and meters within DashBoard to show you audio presence and levels. But what I’m mentioning here is just the ability for it to automatically bypass sample rate converters — if you have any Dolby streams in those AES inputs, it’s automatic.

So now we’re getting into what I feel is the more exciting side of things. This is the 3600 and 4600 series of openGear cards. They don’t do any processing by nature. They’re just transport. So that means as high dynamic range workflows start evolving and rolling out, we are transparent to that. We’ll just take your signal and send it across to where you need it, which is great. And then the fact that high frame rate workflows traditionally are achieved by concatenating multiple SDIs together to give you those additional frame rates off of the camera body. These cards are natively capable of supporting that with their multichannel capabilities. So the 3600 is the 3G variant. The 4600 is 12G. I’m just arbitrarily showing a bi-directional configuration here, but at a factory build time, this is an order option. They could all be going in one direction or a mix like you see here.

All of these cards are also available, with reduced feature sets, which is pretty true across all of our products. The openGear side, the VB, versatile breaks, and our SilverBack camera adapter, it’s stuffable to the level that you need at build time. So if you don’t need genlock timecode and log audio, you just need a video and ethernet, we can build that. No problem. That is a part number and that’s a popular configuration. But what I’m showing here is the full-blown feature set, which is on par with our camera adapter system.

This is the application drawing showing the OG-COMMS, working in conjunction with the OG-4602. It’s the 4600 series, and the 4602 is the part number that equates to that feature set you see there. You’ll see that in our VB line of products, that versatile bricks throwdown, we have a similar part numbering scheme. You can tell where an openGear card is compatible with the stand-alone. But which one I’m intending to show here is intercom partyline to wire, the RTS or Clear-Com support over a single fiber. We can connect our NTSC or LC, your choice, and all that goes over a single fiber, and you have this mass payload available for transport. So 4K in single 12G or as quad 12G-AK workflows emerge, you’re ready to go there as well.

So this is a slide that’s intended to show the cross compatibility between the openGear line and our VB series. What I’m showing here is a single mode fiber connection out to our Juice box, which then inserts power and then over a SMPTE 311 fiber can power our VB box, which will be your transmitter. Say you have a PTZ camera sitting on here, we can do POE plus power out of this box, power that PTZ camera, and then handle all the bi-directional genlock time code, whatever the camera platform requires. This is a hybrid architecture that’s popular for us, where you have the high-capacity, high-density openGear solution in your flypack or in your rack. And at the camera level, at the remote side, you have the minimal footprint possible. That’s a popular one for us.

I referenced that the OG-4400 quad transport card. It is capable of being outfitted with the CWDM mux for a cascading architecture as the lowest-cost solution, to be able to take the active output of four unique wavelengths of the upstream card and take it to downstream adjacent cards until you compile up to 18. I was trying with 16 here, but one more dual-channel card would allow you to get full 18 CWDM spectrum capacity on a single fiber just via the openGear cards themselves. It’s a popular application.

On the custom panel side, these products all being openGear protocol enabled, we can build some very user-friendly router control. That 4400 product we were just looking at has a crosspoint switch on it. I’m showing a single optical output being driven by four different source selector buttons within the DashBoard custom panel. And then the multiviewer is taking out a single receive status, virtual LED to show the fact that the signal is making it across.

This is an active indication that the signal is present. With our ability to send gigabit ethernet along with the other signals, you have an in-band monitoring capability out to the edge, just by dropping an openGear frame with product and frame controller, the ethernet goes through the transport plugin, the frame controller’s payload. You have visibility to the whole frame back to the truck just in-band. That’s a nice little kit right there.

These are our newest products that came across from the acquisition of Census Digital last October. And they are DashBoard Connect-enabled. So I thought it was appropriate to show them here and the fact that we see the value of DashBoard and openGear across our product line and integrating support for it throughout. So that’s what we’re doing with our audio monitors, and the roadmap items are to add virtual meters and such. But right now it’s basic configuration capabilities available through DashBoard connectivity to each of these audio monitors. Just to touch on we have MADI support, 16-channel embedded, and then discrete audio capabilities, AES, and analog in addition to embedded. And then down here, we have a Dolby decoder capability for Dolby E, Dolby AC-3, and E-AC-3 plus.

This is our SilverBack V. This is the next-gen fiber camera adapter SMPTE 3-11 fiber — industry dominant in its support for the Venice, the Arri Amira, RED, any platform out there. It’s platform-agnostic because the connections are made discretely. It has four openGear slots in it, which sets it apart from any other solution in this section of the market, based on the fact that you can add a Raptor, you could add any type of openGear solution that you need to augment this platform. So if you need to go further and stream OTT or relaunch optical, DAs, 3D lab processing, or whatever you need to do, you can add it there in those slots and you’re good to go.

Cindy:
I want to ask a little bit more about the SilverBack V and what kind of calls are you getting about that product? What kind of questions do people have about live events and fiber that you’re dealing with?

Jesse:
Yeah. It’s a great question. Thanks. This platform is enabling the camera manufacturers that make digital cinema cameras, like I reference the Venice and the Amira, and then you have the VariCam LT from Panasonic, that large-image or large-format, large-lens-format cameras that don’t lend themselves to live multicam production; they’re intended to be used documentary or film production style, or you record on camera. This brings the connectivity needed for productions like how Coachella was done last year, with Arri Amiras on the beach stage, where it all went back to an NEP truck and they chose not to paint them live from a video controller position because they had a DP, because it was a very artistic approach. But the ability to do serial or ethernet control out to the camera, from a unified position, like a truck or video village scenario, is enabling any kind of a high-end production — whether it’s a stage production, sports or a concert — can now use the best cameras on the market and have a live SMPTE camera chain feel using this product. That’s a really popular thing for us right now.

Cindy:
You mentioned Coachella and that type of thing. What would they have done before this? How would they have dealt with it?

Jesse:
They would have shot it with a two-thirds imager, a broadcast camera. Everybody would have said, “It looks like a baseball game because you’re just using a broadcast camera.” So you don’t have the wide dynamic range traditionally, you don’t have the color imagery, the HDR capabilities or the look that the Arri provides. So I mean, Hollywood loves the Arri, the Amira, and Alexa and all that because of the look. So inherently that comes along with this new workflow, like NFL films has used Arri Amiras for years. And now you’ll see NFL teams adopting them. So the content that they produce in real time at a game is archive quality.

Cindy:
Your comment there about workflows — you referenced a kind of new HDR workflow that you’re dealing with right now. And what changes are you seeing in that space, especially where you live and where you travel all the time, that’s a big topic. What are you seeing there?

Jesse:
Yeah. In a previous life, I was involved with processing and inverse tone mapping and all the workflow features that are required, are outside of the realm of what we’re concerned with. They’re at MultiDyne at this point, we’re not doing any processing or anything. So we are transparent. What we bring to the table right now is, we won’t corrupt your signal. You give us HLG, whatever the format is, we will transport it faithfully based on this product. So this product will not add any complexity to your workflow, unless you wanted to add processing capability from one of our partners, via an openGear card here. You have that capability, then you can save some rack space by integrating it right to the base station here. But outside of that, we’re not doing anything in regards to processing.

Cindy:
You showed a diagram about an HDR fiber workflow, and that’s what caught my eye.

Jesse:
Yeah. I was just indicating that we’re non-processing. So as if you’ve turned your camera’s HDR features on, we won’t mess it up. Go ahead and turn them off. We’re just faithfully transporting that.

Cindy:
Understood. When you were looking at the PTZ camera backhaul with that stadium, is that something that gets used a lot these days? And tell me a little bit more about that application.

Jesse:
Yeah. That was a generic representation. It’s usually going to be on campus where somebody would be controlling and backhauling PTZ cameras to a machine room, within a stadium or a given facility. But that’s one of our most popular product lines — our PTZ POV camera extension systems. So that was pretty much it, just a generic representation. But the ability to have your bi-directional payload regardless of video, control, intercom, all that from a truck to a stadium, that’s very popular for us. And then the ability to have the in-band management, just natively running over the gigabit ethernet. That’s what I was intending to show there, it’s just an all-in-one umbilical connection that you could make with a single fiber. And then you have visibility to all your DashBoard-enabled products on both sides.

Cindy:
Is there a big shift in those types of facilities to fiber right now? Or have they pretty much just been living with and using fiber for a long time now? Where are people in that transition, if there is one?

Jesse:
Yeah. I think the industry adoption curve of fiber has taken place over the past 15 years or so. But you’re opportunistically able to leverage it, moving forward as the signals become faster and wider band, higher bit rate content, 12G and above, and copper runs get shorter. It’s the same problem that we always had when using copper and the weights and the expense of running copper and so forth. As IP evolves, everything uses fiber at a certain level, right? So we’re well-positioned there as being fiber solution packaging experts.

Cindy:
Tell me a little bit more about Census Digital and where that fits into your systems, that you’re putting together for people.

Jesse:
Sure. So the quad analog distribution amplifier. I mentioned that Panavision standardized on the SilverBack, the predecessor to the SilverBack, a few years ago. And those systems were built using Census Digital product in parallel before we acquired them. So seeing that we would be bundled with Census Digital quite often at the field installation level, it made sense to enhance our openGear offerings on the processing and conversion side, we got engineering resources, Doug Bascom and Michael Jordan, through that acquisition. Then on the broadcast side, as we want to enhance our broadcast offerings, the audio monitors and the stuff that they’re working on in the lab, in regards to IP audio monitoring and such, fit with where we want to go.

Cindy:
If somebody wanted a POC or has technical questions, I’ve put your email address here, but what’s the best way to proceed if they’ve got a project coming up?

Jesse:
Our website has region-based sales contact information. We have a map at multidyne.com that shows you who handles your region. I do product development and Western region sales and also support the worldwide sales team, so you can come to me and I could point you to the right contact on my end.

Cindy:
Thank you, Jesse.

Jesse:
Thank you for putting this together and for bringing the openGear family all to the same table so we can share notes and make sure we can take on the monolithic vendors out there. I’d always think of Voltron coming together to do battle with the big boys. I’m glad to be working closer together than ever.

Cindy:
We have one last question. With what you were talking about, is it similar to a Telecast system, Copperhead?

Jesse:
Absolutely. It’s a further evolution of that model. I look at it as our fifth generation of this product. Telecast was sold years ago to a larger entity and we saw a market opportunity, where they were focused on other things. We are the go-to guys for this type of product now. So if you’re familiar with that workflow, that concept, this is just an evolution of that.

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