TV News October 2016

WHEAT:NEWS TV

OCTOBER 2016 - Vol 3, No.10

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-- Scott Johnson, Editor

Live from New York...it's WHEATSTONE!
LXE

Wheatstone will be showing the latest in IP audio networking and console control at the NAB Show in New York next month. Stop in at booth 960 and learn how the pros are handling real-time control and transport of audio.

If you haven’t received your guest pass to the NAB Radio show in New York, November 9 and 10, go to NABshowny.com, click on ATTEND/REGISTRATION PACKAGES/PURCHASE CORE PACKAGE and fill in your information with Wheatstone’s guest pass code NY5738 (note, this was a typo in the email you may have received) for a free pass. We’ll see you there!

Be sure to look for Wheatstone at the upcoming WBA Broadcasters Clinic in Madison, booth 66.
Taking AIM at IP

EQ

What a difference a year makes. You’ll recall that at the 2015 IBC show, the industry was bracing for a standards standoff between three camps pushing different interoperability protocols for IP video transport. This IBC show, there was not a contentious bone to be found, at least not as far as IP interoperability standards go.

What happened?

Progress happened. As is so often the case when new standards are being formed, manufacturers agreed upon a roadmap going forward. That roadmap is now clearly defined under the Alliance for IP Media Solutions (AIMS), a coalition of manufacturers for adopting open standards that broadcasters can use to move from legacy SDI to IP transport.

To bring us up to date, immediately following the IBC show we sat down with Grass Valley VP of Core Technology Mike Cronk, who serves as the chairman of the AIMS Board. Here’s what he had to say.

WS: It was an entirely different scene this IBC, where formerly contentious parties were practically hugging each other. That must have been personally gratifying. Tell us about that.

MC: Well, I don’t recall too many literal hugs, but the progress has been fantastic. NAB was a big milestone because it was in and around that show that we had some very important additions to the AIMS membership, companies that previously were solely pushing alternative protocols. By IBC, though, we were able to take it to a different level. There, these same companies and even more companies were demonstrating proven interoperability of VSF TR-03 and VSF TR-04 (both of which call out AES67 for audio) in one booth. Moreover, that booth was not just an AIMS booth, but a booth sponsored by AES, AIMS, AMWA, EBU, IABM, SMPTE and VSF. Truly, the industry came together. I’ve been in the industry for over 20 years and I’ve never seen anything like it. The word that many people used for it was “historic.” I think that’s fitting. It’s been exciting, not just for me, but for AIMS representatives from many companies to see the progress we made in such a short period of time. There’s more to do so we don’t intend to rest on our laurels, but it has been a good first nine months for AIMS.

Continue Reading Taking AIM at IP

WS: What do you attribute to this sudden cooperation?

MC: There is great sense of urgency in our industry. Broadcasters see how fast companies like Netflix can launch new services and they recognize that IP is the future. The protocols for IP interoperability that AIMS is backing are an essential building block for expanding the business opportunities of many in our industry. People understand the importance of adopting these technologies quickly.

WS: How instrumental was VSF’s TR-03 and TR-04 technical recommendations in getting everyone on the same page?

MC: The VSF recommendations, particularly TR-03, have been instrumental in getting everyone on the same page. TR-03 has all the future forward characteristics that all companies agreed we needed, most notably the ability to transport audio, video and metadata as separate IP flows for live production and studio applications. In joining AIMS every company must sign a statement that they agree with the AIMS bylaws (http://aimsalliance.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Bylaws.pdf ). These bylaws state that “each Member agrees to publically endorse the AIMS Roadmap supported by the Alliance for IP Media Solutions as the preferred IP interoperability roadmap for the broadcast industry” (section 5.2). TR-03 is the “common point” that has allowed all companies to agree to the AIMS roadmap as we move forward. It also doesn’t hurt that TR-03 is the foundation upon which SMPTE is currently drafting SMPTE ST 2110.

WS: As you know, AES67 is very much a part of that recommendation and, in fact, IP audio network companies, including Wheatstone, support AES67 for IP audio transport. We’re fairly far along in our adoption and implementation of AES67 as an industry. What do you see ahead for this standard?

MC: I see greater and greater adoption of AES67 as we move forward. Thanks to companies like Wheatstone, AES67 was already being adopted but I think that the broadcast community’s support of it will now accelerate implementations. One of the challenges (and therefore opportunities) I see as someone whose roots are in broadcasting is the need to define a clearer set of higher level protocols that would complement AES67 and are compatible with both the audio and video industries. How do I discover devices on a network? What control protocol do I use to tell a device to leave and join streams? How do I learn about device capabilities? The broadcast industry is tackling these questions and I think this is an area where audio companies like Wheatstone can help set a direction. I think it is important to clarify a path to interoperability at these higher levels of protocols in order to realize all the benefits of IP.

WS: We couldn’t agree more! Wheatstone has been involved in AES67 since almost day one, and also AES70, the control standard. So, what do you see as the roadmap to an all-IP facility?

MC: For most, I see a migration over time as budgets permit. However, in some cases my company (Grass Valley) is working with early adopters who are planning sites where the infrastructure and equipment will be IP from day one. We have already delivered an all-IP outside broadcast truck, which is being used now to produce Premier League soccer for British Telecom in UHD and HD … all produced from the same truck. Therefore, for companies that are plugged into the standards and have compelling products, there is business to be had now. For most customers, based on their capital budget, there will be a more gradual migration. People will upgrade one studio or playout area at a time and interface it back to their SDI/embedded audio plant with conversion gear. Over time, they will migrate more and more of their facility as the budget and business case presents itself. That’s my view.

WS: How far along are we in the SDI-to-IP transition?

MC: I think we are in the early stages. Thanks to the standards direction being settled and thanks to the interoperability we are able to demonstrate amongst so many vendors, the volume of IP projects is beginning to pick up and many initial installations have now been completed. That said, we are very much still in a world dominated by traditional SDI and audio.

WS: Finally, we still hear the occasional broadcaster bemoan the inevitability of an all IP facility. Can you give us one or two major advantages to transitioning to IP?

MC: The most compelling for many is business flexibility or business agility. Major broadcast networks now see their competition not only as ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, Turner, and Discovery, but also as Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and Google. These latter companies leverage a completely different infrastructure, which are data centers based on IT technology and software, that allows them to add entire channels or convert to UHD at orders of magnitude faster than a traditional network. Adoption of IP technology is a stepping stone, allowing broadcasters to match the agility of these Internet companies and deliver innovative digital media services targeted not just at television sets, but also to smart phones and tablets. Another reason for transitioning to IP is to save capital over the long run. When broadcasters made the transition from SD to HD, it required an entirely new infrastructure to support HD. Because IP can effectively transport any format and because switches from vendors like Cisco and Arista already support 100-gigabit ports, investing in an IP facility means there is a far greater possibility that one will not have to do a forklift upgrade to their infrastructure when UHD comes along. That said, each broadcaster has their own set of constraints and business goals. It needs to make sense in each case.

WS: Thanks, Mike.

Mic On

EQ

Omnidirectional microphones tend to hear things we’d rather they didn’t, and tie-clip mics are often the worst offenders.

By using the audio tools onboard a professional digital TV audio console (or a good mic processor, such as our M1, M2 or M4-IP), you can mitigate some of these miking issues.

Start by setting the console input gain conservatively, so there's enough headroom should the announcer raise his voice significantly. It’s also a good idea to build in some more protection by setting the channel's compressor to start acting at just about “normal” voice-level to catch anything louder (say, 4:1 ratio, 50mS attack, 300mS release) and still maintain transparency.

As a matter of routine, you should also dial in the high-pass filter to, say, 50Hz on a male, 80Hz on a female announcer – this will remove a lot of noise without affecting their voice.

Next, add an expander to each microphone. This acts as a subtle noise gate by reducing the background noise when the announcer is not speaking. The expander should be set to open only on that announcer’s voice - not his neighbor’s. (Open, fast <1mS; hang-time, say, 100mS; close, 100mS. Other manufacturers may use different nomenclature, like “attack,” “hold,” and “release”.)

Alternately, if you have a Wheatstone Dimension One, Dimension Three or IP-64 TV audio console, you can use the automatic mixing function found in these consoles. It’s important to use very shallow gain-reduction – a handful of dB – instead of full gating, which can sound too clunky and obvious.

If you’re getting too much low-frequency energy due to the clip-on lavalier mic picking up the announcer’s chest resonance, you can use the parametric EQ controls to isolate the offending frequency and reduce it.

Lavalier mics can be overly “bright” in that they tend to produce a lot of high-frequency energy, typically at a peak boost between 3kHz and 8kHz, depending on the microphone. You can dial in a relatively broad EQ to smooth out the peak by starting with a parametric section set up for 5kHz, Q 0.5 (bandwidth 2 octave), and slowly attenuate.

If you’re still getting sibilance, there’s always the de-esser. Adjust to ear, using 5kHz as the starting point. The beauty of a de-esser is that unlike ordinary EQ controls, it can take the bite out of sibilance without affecting the rest of the spectrum.

Erik Utter Talks About Consolidation

Erik Utter of Utter Associates found time to chat with Scott Fybush about consolidation, multi-purpose studios, and resource sharing.

Your IP Question Answered

EQ

Q: We’ve just started planning a new studio facility and our manager suggested we look into IP routing to be able to reuse one studio for multiple purposes, rather than have two or more dedicated studios for a single purpose each. True?

A: Yes. IP is a very flexible platform, and therefore makes it much easier to share resources and change studios for multiple purposes. IP gives you many more options in how to set up a board, and how to connect to the resources you need. You can essentially go from a dedicated studio used one or two hours out of the day for a particular show or newscast, to the full use of that studio throughout the day for a number of purposes. The flexibility of an IP routable audio console gives you that ability, because you can change mic feeds, configure IFB connections and reset processing settings, either on the fly or using presets.

WhosBuyingWheat6682

Wheatstone

  • Voice of America (Washington, DC) purchased two E-1 control surfaces for an existing WheatNet-IP audio network through CEI.

  • WCBD-TV (Charleston, SC) purchased a Series Four TV audio IP console.

  • WCYB-TV (Bristol, VA) purchased a Series Four TV audio IP console.

  • WCTI-TV (New Bern, NC) purchased a Series Four TV audio IP console.

  • Cumulus (Washington, DC) purchased two LX-24 control surfaces for an existing Wheatstone BRIDGE network.

  • Five Towns College (Dix Hills, NY) purchased an LX-24 control surface and IP-12 digital audio console.

  • WVTF-FM (Roanoke, VA) expanded an existing WheatNet-IP audio network with the purchase of six I/O BLADEs.

  • WCVB-TV (Boston, MA) purchased a Dimension Three TV audio console.

  • iHeartMedia (Philadelphia, PA) purchased four additional I/O BLADEs and two EDGE network interface units.

  • WUIS-FM (Springfield, IL) upgraded an existing WheatNet-IP audio network with new NAVIGATOR software and an I/O BLADE.

  • Leighton Broadcasting (Saint Cloud, MN) purchased four WDM drivers for a WheatNet-IP audio network.

  • WDET-FM (Detroit, MI) purchased an I/O BLADE for an existing WheatNet-IP audio network.

  • Lotus Communications (Reno, NV) purchased an EDGE network interface unit and LIO-48 high-density logic BLADE for an existing WheatNet-IP audio network.

  • CBC (Edmonton, AB) purchased a GP-16 programmable button panel and I/O BLADE for an existing WheatNet-IP audio network through Marketing Marc Vallee.

  • Texas A&M University’s KETR-FM (Commerce, TX) purchased new NAVIGATOR software, an SBC-4F housing turret and several I/O BLADEs for an existing WheatNet-IP audio network.

  • KNHC-FM (Seattle, WA) updated to new NAVIGATOR software.

  • Blackburn Radio (Chatham, ON) purchased an L-8 control surface and I/O BLADEs through Ron Paley Broadcast.

  • Bayshore Broadcasting (Owen Sound, ON) purchased an I/O BLADE through Ron Paley Broadcast.

  • KXCI-FM (Tucson, AZ) purchased an IP-16 digital audio console, M4IP-USB four channel mic processor, and I/O BLADEs.

  • CJBQ-AM (Belleville, ON) purchased the ScreenBuilder customized interface app for an existing WheatNet-IP audio network.

  • ARC Radio (Quebec) purchased an IP-12 digital audio console, M4IP-USB four channel mic processor and I/O BLADEs through Marketing Marc Vallee.

  • Rogers Broadcasting (Toronto, ON) purchased 19 LXE customizable control surfaces, 22 M4IP-USB four channel mic processors, 49 TS-22 talent stations, four TS-4 talent stations, eight Aura8-IP multimode processor BLADEs, 60 ScreenBuilder apps and nine BLADEs, including four with Clip Player, through Ron Paley Broadcast.

  • Skyview Networks (Scottsdale, AZ) purchased an I/O BLADE and WDM driver for an existing WheatNet-IP audio network.

  • MZ Media (Toronto, ON) purchased a TS-4 talent station.

  • KCRG-TV (Cedar Rapids, IA) purchased E-6 control surfaces for an existing Wheatstone network.

  • Ron Paley Broadcast (Winnipeg, MB) ordered an LX-24 control surface.

  • CKRZ-FM (Hamilton, ON) purchased an L-12 control surface, M4IP-USB four-channel mic processor, TS-4 talent station and several I/O BLADEs through Ron Paley Broadcast.

  • Cumulus Media (Birmingham, AL) purchased two IP-12 digital audio consoles and WheatNet-IP audio BLADEs.

  • iHeartMedia (Charlotte, NC) purchased a MADI BLADE for an existing WheatNet-IP audio network.

  • Media Engineering (Switzerland) purchased an E-1 control surface.


Audioarts Engineering

  • Caribbean Radio Lighthouse (Concord, NC) purchased an R-55e console through BSW.

  • Entertainment Network India (Mumbai, India) purchased WheatNet-IP upgrades for existing D-75 audio consoles through Horizon Broadcast LLP.

  • MCOT (Bangkok, Thailand) purchased a D-76 console through Broadcast & Studio, Thailand.

  • WAMI-AM/FM (Opp, AL) purchased an R-55e console.

  • Kim Kelly Enterprises (Las Vegas, NV) purchased an Air-5 console.

  • Premier Broadcasting (Effingham, IL) purchased an Air-5 console.

  • Alpha Media (Shreveport, LA) purchased an R-55e console.


Wheatstone Audio Processing

  • iHeartMedia (Phoenix, AZ) purchased an M1 mic processor.

  • Recording Media & Equipment (Fort Lauderdale, FL) purchased an FM-25 audio processor.

  • Great Eastern Radio (West Lebanon, NH) purchased an M1 mic processor.

  • Cumulus (Los Angeles, CA) purchased 25 M2 dual channel mic processors.

  • WCDK-FM (Weirton, WV) purchased an FM-55 audio processor.

  • WLRT-FM (Kankakee, IL) purchased an FM-25 audio processor.

  • Star Radio Corporation (Great Falls, MT) purchased an FM-25 audio processor.

  • Crawford Broadcasting (Birmingham, AL) purchased an FM-55 audio processor.


VoxPro

  • KLLY-FM (Bakersfield, CA) purchased a VoxPro6 digital audio recorder/editor.

  • KINK-FM (Portland, OR) purchased two VoxPro6 digital audio recorder/editors.

  • Beasley Broadcasting (Fort Myers, FL) purchased a VoxPro6 digital audio recorder/editor.

  • iHeartMedia (Rockville, MD) purchased a VoxPro6 digital audio recorder/editor.

  • Entravision (Sacramento, CA) purchased two VoxPro6 digital audio recorder/editors.

  • Saga Communications (Champaign, IL) purchased a VoxPro6 digital audio recorder /editor.

  • Insight for the Blind (Fort Lauderdale, FL) purchased a VoxPro6 digital audio recorder/editor.

  • WWCN-FM (Fort Myers Beach, FL) purchased a VoxPro6 digital audio recorder/editor.

  • WMFX-FM (St. Andrews, SC) purchased a VoxPro6 digital audio recorder/editor.

  • WQNQ-FM (Asheville, NC) purchased a VoxPro6 digital audio recorder/editor.

  • WSRX-FM (Vernon, NJ) purchased two VoxPro6 digital audio recorder/editors.

  • WGFR-FM (Glens Falls, NY) purchased three VoxPro6 digital audio recorder/editors.

  • East St. Louis School District (Missouri) purchased a VoxPro6 digital audio recorder/editor.

  • KROL Communications (Owosso, MI) purchased a VoxPro6 digital audio recorder/editor.

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