Welcome to the Ross video, openGear live webinar. I’m Bill Rounoplos, business development manager for OEM and openGear. I’d like to start with a little bit of background on openGear, which I tend to do in all my presentations. OpenGear is the industry standard platform of choice since 2006. It is an open architecture modular platform created by Ross and supported by a diverse range of equipment manufacturers. Now on our fourth generation, the frame with its distinct frame glow and higher power supports today’s most demanding, UHD and IP productions while maintaining backward compatibility, the platform offers the freedom to choose technology from a wide range of partners to meet the needs of your broadcast production or distribution facility. As was pretty obvious from the round table that we just had all the types of solutions that could be solved.
It continues to evolve and has been branching into other markets like Troy V surprisingly openGear frames have shown up in the most unexpected places like yachts and beach huts. Imagine that, especially in today’s world, through the cooperative efforts of a large diverse set of partners, openGear delivers best of breed, product and budget options for customers. All while ensuring common control and monitoring within the DashBoard ecosystem. Gone are the days of having half empty frames and multiple control systems to manage in your facility. openGear offers one frame, one control system and hundreds of options.
This is why openGear is very popular. The success story keeps marching on. Number of frames continues to grow with over 40,000 shipped. Or the other way I like to look at it, that’s 800,000 card slots out there in the wild. Number of openGear and DashBoard partners also continues to grow every year. We are currently over 130, now thinking into 12 gig UHD and IP solutions. Now, before digging into our 12 gig UHD IP solutions, I want to start with how openGear helps with a very popular topic these days, remote production in today’s COVID era. Ross has helped many customers with using our solutions remotely. Here’s an example of workflow. One key feature of this remote production solution is that it can be easily scaled up or down to align to your needs. Ross products or solutions are geared to be easily operates through remote applications, VPNs and video conferencing applications.
DashBoard software, the same one used in openGear makes it simple to control and monitor hardware products remotely. While many of our software products can easily be accessed via remote applications. Monitoring is crucial in all production workflows. It is important to have access to a low latency stream of a multi … you’re accessible by multiple people. This can be achieved for third-party SDI HDMI capture device. Other considerations are intercom to allow your team to communicate between different locations and IT, ensuring that remote apps comply with your network policy. Now I’d like to zero in on the infrastructure portion of the solution.
It is crucial to keep your facility up and running from anywhere. This is achieved through DashBoard the same use by the openGear ecosystem, which controls and monitors, all Ross infrastructure and connectivity products, DashBoard natively connects, Ross openGear partner, and third party DashBoard enabled equipment over IP. In many instances, opening DashBoard across a VPN works well to connect, monitor, and control devices. To cut down on load times when there may be many DashBoard connected devices and a large number of users using a DashBoard proxy server may be beneficial. The DashBoard proxy server translates a native openGear protocol used by DashBoard to a JSON version of the protocol through JSON’s bulk messaging functionality, as well as cashing and compression message bandwidth is dramatically reduced by an order of magnitude resulting in a significant time savings. When communicating with native openGear protocol devices, the DashBoard proxy server has been successfully used by customers in cross country and cross continental workflows.
Now turning our focus to our extensive 12 gig and UHD portfolio. We have a full range of products to meet your UHD production needs using UHD SDI as the key technology. When it comes to selecting a technology for UHD, we believe that 12 gig or UHD HDI is practical. It’s simple to deploy into troubleshoot, and it may be more appropriate compared to some of the alternatives. It’s also useful, like in the case of HDI SDI workflow today, you can be ready for the need for higher quality content or when HDI becomes a requirement. Let’s turn our attention to distribution. A very important piece of infrastructure, density and reliability of performance are key for these products. The solution we offer provides you up to 20 distribution outputs per chassis, allowing you to replicate up to 20 signals. We use a special RF connector that gives us the modularity that you’d expect from a product like this, but without compromising the high level signal integrity required for UHD SDI, that makes it a solid choice for signal distribution in UHD.
Now turning to our Gator 12 gigs signal processing family, which enables a plethora of applications. Built on a platform that gives us native UHD processing reliably at very high density. So what are the applications? We support format and standards conversion with Gator toolbox, frame sync and synchronization with Gator sync branding with Gator Key and finally full master control with MC1 UHD. Gator SYNC is our synchronization product for UHD. It has been successfully used in many UHD applications. It’s a robust audio video frame sync with full audio processing. It supports up to four independent channels, a frame sync per card, giving you up to 40 channels and an open year frame. But this amazing capability, we get a really dense, robust choice for synchronization in UHD with Gator SYNC.
Gator Toolbox is our openGear solution for a UHD signal conversion. It handles all the challenges you are likely to encounter in a UHD production. For instance, we support different formats, single link, UHD, SD natively. But we also support conversion between any combination of single and quad link UHD signals. We support HDR in wide color gamut conversion and conversion from HD to UHD with very high quality. There’s more, we also include a very high quality near motion adaptive frame rate converter with very low latency. That’s ideal for production and of course, full audio processing.
We recently released a new software version, adding even more features, including support for popular Multilink centered SQD. We also add a support for discreet audio embedding and de-embedding, memory and presets. So you can recall settings easily and fiber support for UHD. Let’s look more closely at the audio features. The solution is very flexible when it comes to discreet audio support, it offers eight bi-directional interfaces. So you can configure it to suit your application needs at any moment, whatever it’s embedded or de-embedding, it’s fully configurable. And we support both balanced and unbalanced AES. Turning our attention to the hardware. We offer several variants. There’s a dense two slot and a four slot. If you need density in fiber, you’re going to want to go with the two slots solution. Whereas if you’re dealing with a lot of multi links, I need to replicate some signals to multiple destinations.
The high density SDI variant would be the right choice. The four slot options cover your discreet audio embedding needs. Some features as the dense SDI module, but same features as the dense SDI module, but also with discreet AES for balanced or unbalanced audio, depending on your requirements. At Ross, we are all about solutions. So let’s explore a sample application, a small mobile application for UHD production, and it’s being done in HDR HLG. In this situation, our mobile has been dispatched to an international sporting event that may not have happened this summer to send a feed, back to the home country. With mobiles often we’re not sure what we’re going to get when we arrive at the venue. So we get there with some cameras, guess what? We had to rent another camera. And when we picked it up, we found out that it was a quad link SQD camera, not a problem.
We put a Gator toolbox in there to do the gearbox functionality for us, and also handle the HDR conversion from the cameras data S log output. In addition, the venue has given us some camera feeds, but they’re HD. So the 10 ADI that was coming from the venue, we can run through our Gator toolbox. We can unconvert those and do HDR conversion, and it’s going to fit into our native 12 gig SDI core. We have a remote feed that’s coming from one of the local broadcasters over fiber. So again, Gator toolbox can offer us that fiber input and handle the standards conversion from the country’s native 50 Hertz to our production, 59.94 frames per second. In addition, it’ll frame sync that to get it aligned to our production reference.
On the output, in addition to our native UHD HDR feed, we have to provide some HD feeds. So, we’ve got a domestic feed and we’re going to down convert that to 1080p using the down convert function of Gator toolbox. We also have an international feed that we need to provide at 1080p50. So again, we use standards conversion to frame rate, convert that to 50 Hertz and also do the down conversion at the same time. One of the things that’s really amazing about our conversion technology is that the frame sync, the format conversion and the frame rate converter are all combined into a single core on an openGear card. So we don’t cascade a lot of latency. In fact, it’s only about two frame latency for the entire pipeline, which is simply amazing.
Also with that international feed in our domestic HD feed, we need to embed some discreet audio again with Gator toolbox, with the AES embedding option, we were able to embed some discreet audio to get the audio join with the video, going to our domestic and our international feeds. All in all we’ve been able to use one card in many places to solve all the problems. And in talking with a number of mobile, rental and Benu clients. They really love the versatility. They can buy this one product, have it available and not even have to worry about what signal is going to get connected because they can deal with everything and anything.
To sum it up. Gater brings unparalleled value to your UHD production workflow, whether it’s native UHD, SDI support, there’s no upgrade, no special modules require. Extremely low latency with quality, it’s ideal for live production. And the density is incredible up to 10 channels in an openGear frame. Gator toolbox is a dense, low latency, yet extremely high quality conversion solution for UHD simply amazing. And we’re not done. We continue to add features to this exciting high performance and versatile toolbox. Please stay tuned in the months ahead for more exciting news.
Let’s now take a look at Master Control. Our UHD Master Control solution is based on a modular design using the MC1 UHD openGear card as its core. And it integrates with our Ultrix router to form a scalable solution, easily handling a large number of sources and channels. On top of this, our Master Control solution also enables you to select best in class graphics for branding and is easily usable with Ross expression, a real-time motion graphics solution.
For example, The MC1 card is based on the Gator platform. As we mentioned earlier, in terms of feature set, it has six IO’s that support UHD SDI natively. It connects to a router like Ultrix allowing you to select any of the sources available on the router. Hence, why UHD also has four internal keyers. Two of these can be used externally, and it’s all UHD native. We support a full range of audio processing, mixing, and flexible control that you can leverage to meet your specific control needs. Now let’s look at a typical MC1 system and we’ll show you how it easily scales to meet your branding needs. Looking at the slide in the middle, we’ve got our openGear OGX frame, which is where the MC1 UHD card lives. And as mentioned earlier, this is a high density scalable solution. I can put 10 MC1 UHD cards into that frame to deal with multichannel Master Control applications.
These are being fed by my Ultrix router, which provides a program preview and my two external key fields to each MC1 card. So as we need to select different inputs on Master Control, the MC1 will control those router outputs to select the inputs as necessary. This gives us a lot of flexibility in terms of providing the number of inputs. We need to go into our Master Control and scalability by using more outputs from the router to feed multiple MC1 UHD Master Controls. One of the great advantages of using a Master Control switch of this type is that you’re not tied into an integrated graphics or planned solution. The graphics solution of your choice, such as our Ross XPression graphics system can be fed through SDI into one of the external key fills. We also support with XPression, what we call RossLinq, which is a network interface that allows us to push still graphics directly over the network interface to the frame buffer on the MC1 UHD card, utilizing one of the internal logo keyers.
So you don’t need to utilize an SDI channel for the graphics system in order to do that, I could perhaps get a graphics render that does not have an SDI output, or I can use my SDI for another purpose. All of this can be controlled manually. We offer control by DashBoard and the Ultritouch control panel to allow manual operation, or we support automation through most of the popular Master Control automation systems. MC1 UHD was built on the foundations of our previous generation Master Control MC1 HD or MC1 classic as we like to call it. That’s been in the field for many, many years, and we’ve integrated with lots of different automation systems with hundreds of clients. We’ve got a lot of experience in making the automation work seamlessly for your Master Control, and that’s all been poured into the MC1 UHD.
So it integrates nicely with most automation systems. And of course, it’s not an either or thing here. It’s not just automated or manual. You can do a hybrid where you’re running automated Master Control. Say you need to do some manual cuttings. So an operator can pop up on the panel as necessary, or you can do a semiautomatic where you have MC1 drive the automation through its rundown and simply use the human for timing. There are a lot of options to tailor this, to meet all kinds of Master Control needs. Of course, the scalability of the system makes it really attractive when you start dealing with more than one channel and many broadcasters now have multiple channels running out of the same facility, even at the local station level where you may have, for example, Fox and CBS out of the same building. Stepping back to a simpler application, MC1 is also great for stand-alone branding, where you’re not doing a full Master Control.
We simply have a path that we need to add some brand new to in UHD. So again, we leverage the keying power of the MC1 UHD with the two external key fills and the two internal keys you can use XPression, Live CG, which is an inexpensive software only version of our XPression solution through RossLinq and not use any of the SDI interfaces to push graphics directly here. Or you can push it through FDP, any stills using popular image formats. Again, control can be via an Ultritouch panel, DashBoard or remote triggers with APIs. We have many customers that take advantage of DashBoards, custom panel capability to build custom application around MC1. They’ve got an MC1 as a branding agent in the middle and the custom panel is driving their graphics and a few other things in the workflow to make it a seamless work environment.
The MC1 is really an incredible solution. The value it brings is obvious when you compare it to an MC1 solution from a traditional Master Control switcher, especially when you need the scale. For example, on the left, we’re looking at traditional Master Control switcher, and let’s say we have the need to implement four channels that requires the gang of four Master Control switcher boxes into the facility. It takes up to eight RU. With our Ross solution the same application can be done with a single openGear chassis with four MC1 UHD’s installed. And one of our smaller Ultrix routers, which is a 32 square UHD router. It’s also an amazing value, price-wise with an order of magnitude difference. Our Ross solution offers huge cost savings. As you start to scale up with the ability to easily add more channels and Master Control as compared to a traditional, or should we say legacy Master Control solution.
And our attention to IP, Raptors are openGear card, that is a six and six out HDI SDI 2110 Gateway, that has two 10 gigE connections and a gigE management port. It features Open Control with support for DashBoard, Amber plus and NMOS IS-04 and IS-05. Up to five Raptor cards can fit in a two RU openGear frame, enabling a very high density solution at a very low cost per channel. The latest production release version 3.1 is very robust and includes extremely useful diagnostic capabilities to help troubleshoot networks set setup issues. These include PTP tracking, which exposes Grandmaster and network switch configuration issues. We see the buffer analysis, which identifies devices not locked to system timing and even have bandwidth graphs. We show real-time link consumption very useful in setting up your network. To sum it up, Raptor really shines as the ideal companion to our production switcher when you’re looking for a 2110 IP Gateway.
Up to this point, in addition to the Raptor IP card that we just discussed, we have provided an overview of our complete 12 gig portfolio, which includes a Gator toolbox and the MC1 UHD solution. These 12 gig SDI solutions are built on the success of our three gig openGear portfolio, which is widely deployed in the market. Let’s take a quick look at all the solutions available in the broad Ross openGear portfolio. For conversion, we can cover all your distribution needs with support for SD, HD and UHD. For conversion, we can address all your up-down cross conversion requirements as well as DA capabilities. We also have solutions for audio embedding, D-embedding, frame synchronization and SD 2110 IP via Raptor that we just talked about.
Continuing on with the portfolio review, we have a wide range of data solutions for bank insertion and extraction and TS monitoring, very popular keying and branding solutions. And we have extended our MC1 classic solution. As we discussed to take care of UHD workflows. We have a tremendous number of products to meet your fiber needs, as well as audio processing, which includes loudness, Upmix and Dolby Encode, and Decode to name just a few. For more information, please visit www.rossvideo.com/opengear to get all the details on our broad portfolio and to request a demo of any of our solutions. Thank you for listening. Now I’ll turn it over to Cindy for Q and A.
Thank you Bill. So wonderful. And yeah, go ahead and put your questions in here and we’ll just stop sharing your screen there for a sec, Bill. There you go. Good. So yeah. Throw your questions in the chat. One thing that came up while you were talking about your Master Control solution and so around people moving from HD to UHD, what are you seeing in terms of trends right now? Is that people are full on all moved over to UHD or there’s a transition or people running hybrid. What does that look like out in the world today?
Yeah, it’s really… depends. First of all, we see differences via geographies, right? So, certain regions in the world are going full bore into UHD. Other regions are dipping their toes. Typically, we’re seeing a small percentage, let’s say 15 to 20% going to UHD, which by the way, we see something similar on the IP side. So, as expected, these technologies are being slowly adopted around the world. There’s people that still just have SD out there, right? So…
And we try to cater to everybody. I think what we’ll see over time is people will see the value in the UHD solutions. And they’ll just go on to future-proof their facility and as in one of our other partners mentioned. We really think that HDR is also going to take off and that might promote a more UHD usage as well.
And in most cases, are people doing what you talked about with multiple channels coming out of the facility? Is that sort of the norm anymore?
Well, we’re seeing it more and more. I mean, I think the number one consideration for someone doing Master Control, it’s all about reliability. It just can’t drop, right? Because it runs your whole production and this is how you get paid as a station…
Commercials. So, I think when I look at customers, number one, before looking at any features, all of that, the reputation of your products and the quality of your products are out there front and center. But the good thing is you also have the option, right? As we see these substation groups consolidate, like we said, there’s more and more people, more and more broadcasters operating out of the same location. So, I guess there is a trend right now for the channels to go up in terms of Master Control.
And you mentioned the sort of traditional Master Control and how the solution that you guys were showing. I loved your block diagram, where it really dug into. It really is an order of magnitude difference in terms of pricing and then stepped up and reliability. And I was fascinated by that, an order of magnitude in the difference in price.
Yeah, it’s fairly substantial, but I mean, I think it also points to what we’re talking about here, the benefits of having a modular platform, right. That you can stick cards in and scale up easily. Right. And it’s a very, fairly compact to our U-form factor. So that’s a big part of that solution. It also helps that we have scalable router solutions via Ultrix, so that plays into the solution. So, it’s a combination of factors having the platform, having the routing capabilities and having the reliability developed over many, many years in Master Control.
How are you seeing 12G SDI versus 2110 in your time out in the world? Are you feeling like one of them is sort of overtaking compared to the other? Or what do you see out there?
That’s a very good question. I think people, when they’re looking at higher bandwidth, they’re exploring all options. And I think it comes down to the sophistication of the user. 12 gig is easy to use, it follows the same paradigm, is what most people are out there that are used to. IP definitely brings a lot of advantages when you’re looking at a lot of signals and trying to control all those. So, it comes down to how much … how far a broadcast or somebody’s willing to go in terms of putting the effort into, put in an IP solution or how beneficial it is to them, obviously for very big broadcasters, there’s a huge advantage to go to a two 2110, but we’ve seen a mix of both where they’re trying to conflict, I go 12 gig SDI or IP, or sometimes it’s a mix, right? The reason they’re going IP and 25 gig and all that is because they want to run a lot of UHD channels. And that’s a good way to do it. So there’s a mix out there.
That makes sense. I have one more question before we move to our next segment. If I could just ask you a bit about the Gator card, because as you were talking about it, I really got thinking about live production and how you were saying you could change what the different inputs are. So you might use it as a standards converter one day and as a frame sync as another day. And just, are you seeing changes in that in terms of live production? Cause that’s a theme we’re hearing today is changes in live production.
Actually we in the Gator card and the Gator platform is extremely popular. It’s being used all over the place. As we know, sports are coming back, people may not be in the stadium, but these big stadiums have a lot of signals. They have to deal with, a lot of different fees from all over the place. A lot of … take the NBA, for example, it’s international, right? So there’s international feeds going all over the place as well as domestic ones. So, these problems that are addressed by the card are, I think universal one of the advantages of our card is that, the standards conversion as well. There’s a lot of people with format conversion solutions, but the standards conversion is a nice touch, especially for international events.
Yeah. That makes sense. If you’re dealing with 25 and 30 and 24, whereas just the difference between the 720 and 1080. That’s good. But actually doing, as you said, standards conversion gives a whole other level of flexibility for those sports events.