Category Archives: Broadcast Nuggets

Premiere Pro CS6: the Sneek Peek they’ve shown us at NAB

I’ve seen a couple of demos on the upcoming Premiere Pro CS6 which will become available in a few months. You may recall my earlier post about a hands-on experience with Premiere Pro CS 5.5 so I’m eager to see what else the team have improved.

Not having tried the product myself yet (since that’s impossible) I can however give you a quick opinion on what I’ve seen demonstrated at NAB 2012 at Adobe’s stand.

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Adobe: Watch out for our Creative Cloud Announcement on Monday

When I visited Adobe at this year’s NAB in Vegas only a couple of days ago I enjoyed a couple of great demos about the upcoming features in Premiere Pro CS6.

But what I really wanted to know was: when will Adobe Creative Cloud be launched and how much will it be?

Sadly that information was not available, but I was told that all my questions and more may be answered this coming Monday, 23rd of April…

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First Impressions: I bought a New iPad on launch day

I was being a bit of a fan boy yesterday when I bought two new iPads in the Apple Store on Lincoln Road. We’ve even joined the live event via Twit when the announcement of the new gadget was made last week.

So now I’ve got an iPad with razor sharp Retina Display, an improved camera, 4G LTE and a bunch of other stuff. Let me tell you all about my first day with The New iPad.

I’ll pay close attention to the new camera features and compare them to the iPad 2 and the iPhone 4S.

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Dolby E Decoders in Cortex

So we’ve got these Dolby E Decoders and Encoders at IMG MCR.

We need to use them more and more for various client requests – but for the last year or so Richard Bagnall was the only human in Chiswick who understood how to make them do something useful. We all had a look at them and most of us are still clueless as to how they work.

In many attempts he was kind enough to explain to me what we as operators need to do in order to utilise them, and I’m exicted to say that last week something made CLICK in my brain when I understood the magic behind them: they’re not complicated as such – they’re just incredibly badly labelled ni the Cortex system!

Let me pass on this essential knowledge in this guide and assure you this: if you know how to work an Axon Shuffler, you sure can operate one of these Dolby Cards!

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Adobe Premiere Pro CS 5.5 – my personal hands on review

To complete my migration from PC to Mac I’ve downloaded the trial version of the latest Premiere Pro CS 5.5 yesterday. I bought CS 3 a few years ago and haven’t regretted it, but at work we have CS 4 and now CS 5 and I can see the feature improvements and benefits to our workflow.

As last time, this is a rather large expense for me (£285 for the upgrade, which is still better than £810 for the full version) – however Premiere is a fascinating powerful programme and I know how helpful it is.

My old version has made its money back many times over so I’m sure this version won’t disappoint me either. In fact, I’m quite excited about the new options in version 5.5 and the idea of having it on my laptop.

Here are my hands-on notes, my first impressions and my two cents about Adobe’s rival to Final Cut Pro.

For the geeks: I’m using Premiere on a MacBook Pro with 8GB of Ram, 64 bit OS (Lion) and an Intel Dual Core i7 processor at 2.7 GHz.

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Nintendo 3DS: no glasses required. It’s like Futureworld, Dude!

Well before the European launch of the Nintendo 3DS and many announcements I kept thinking: what will the impact of this device be on the broadcast industry?

3D television is spreading like wildfire and appears to be the next “in-thing” – if it wasn’t for overpriced TV sets that require you to wear sunglasses. This major hurdle needs to be overcome for 3D broadcasts to be successful.

Nintendo’s new handheld console is at the time of writing the ONLY display out there that can give viewers the desired experience without the need for 3D goggles.

Partnership deals with Disney, Warner, Dreamworks and even broadcasters such as Sky and Eursport have already been signed, which tells us that “gaming” isn’t the sole focus of this puppy. When Sainsbury’s had the Nintendo 3DS on offer earlier this week I couldn’t resist and bought one.

Let’s see how (and if) it works.

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Adtec RD-60: The Future of Satellite Transmissions

Since we started to explore the possibility of satelite transmissions in 32APSK last year, Adtec have been busy working on a new box that could potentially revolutionise the way we think about satellite receivers.

Imagine we could have 30% better pictures and 4x the amount of discreet audio channels than we currently have, but at the same time use the same amount of satellite space and hence maintain transmission cost? Or perhaps reduce the costs and keep the current picture quality?

Well the Adtec RD-60 makes this possible: by combining H264/MPG4 and 32 APSK instead of the current broadcast standard of MPEG2 and 8PSK you can save money or increase the quality of your transmissions. Too good to be true? We’ve tried it – and it works ;-)

The unit is currently in its final testing stage and I was one of the lucky geeks to get my hands on this new puppy. In this article I’ll share my brief experiences and will talk you through what this new IRD has to offer.

This review is based on a courtesy unit that was given to us at IMG for testing. We’re using Software Version 1.02.14 E

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What’s the difference between HDCAM and HDCAM SR?

Let’s take a look under the hood of two broadcast VT formats: both are called HDCAM, both do some form of HD, but apart from the operational differences, the funky coloured flap and two extra letters, what is the real difference between them? Let’s find out.

HDCAM (non-SR)

HDCAM was introduced by Sony ages ago in 1997. No other tape based HD broadcast format was around at the time, and it quickly became clear that one was needed for HDTV to succeed. The HDW-M2000 machines are based on the DVW-2000 series of VTRs and record with a datarate of 144 Mbps (that’s a 50% increase compared to Digital Betacam’s datarate of 96 Mbps). HDCAM features 4 audio channels and can handle all common framerates between 24 and 30Fps. Continue reading

Making Television History in 32APSK with NFL Football

This is how nPSK works...

We made some television history the other night: in a test for the NFL International Distribution, Adrian from TV2Go and us folks at IMG Mediahouse have successfully brought a 32APSK encoded signal across the Atlantic, with a datarate of 30Mbps using a 9MHz carrier!

Since the start of the current NFL season in 2009, part of my job is to bring in feeds that originate in the US for an uplink stateside to NSS7. Our clients then downlink these feeds in Europe. In North America, DirectTV offers the NFL (and nearly 200 other channels) to domestic customers via their fleet of ten satellites. Using MPEG2 and H264 encoding, QPSK and 8PSK modulation are commonplace in satellite transmissions.

Ray was looking after this year's NFL season (I was behind the camera of my mobile phone)

However satellite bandwidth is expensive, and we’re dealing with demands of ever increasing datarates. Compression alone will only get us so far, so the only other way to increase throughput would be to increase phase modulation on the TX path. Lucky for us, the DVB-S2 spec has another trick or two up its sleeve. Continue reading

Behind the Scenes of Inter vs Milan for ESPN

My own notes, invaluable in times of severe panic

Sometimes a feed comes in, gets an English voiceover and is put straight to air on ESPN UK. But on Sunday, we pulled various aces from our sleeves to bring the Serie A “Milan Derby” to an expecting UK audience.

The feed comes in from Eutelsat W3 in HD, the studio for pre match presentation is SD, the commentators are on site in Milan and come in via ISDN. Question is: How do we synchronise comms with pictures, and how do we create HD graphics during the match?

We use pretty much EVERY piece of kit IMG Mediahouse has to offer, that’s how.

In this article, I’ll explain some of the challenges my dayjob in MCR has to offer. My colleagues and I feel like rockstars when a feat like this can successfully be pulled off, and I’m happy to say we did it once again. Continue reading