The potential nirvana of interoperable IT, Telecommunications and Broadcast convergent technology definitely felt a lot closer at this years IBC with the launch of many, many broadcast IP ready devices, workflow and solutions. While the big ticket camera and live production infrastructures dominated the headlines there were a number of smaller but equally important IP workflows that were launched which are fundamental to successful, professional TV production and this includes the often forgotten world of TV Prompting
Portaprompt have been looking at the role that IP Networks can play in delivering advanced prompting in Broadcast TV since IBC 2015 when we signed up and trialed IP workflows with the IPPG Consortium. What we are able to do, as prompt signals are essentially low data packages, is to use off the shelf CAT 5 or 6 routing technology which makes for a very cost effective and flexibility system that allows any scrolling / control device to control any prompting display fed by any WinDigi prompting software source which can provide some real customer benefits.
Our IP prompting solution is based on the replacement of our standard VGA / Composite video or SDI card in monitor with a new IP card (which can also input DVI, Composite Video and SDI) and the upgrade of our WinDigi Prompting software to an IP package with the launch of WinDigi Master PC software which is used for device allocation. This means existing Premium & Quasar monitors and our WinDigi software have clear upgrade paths which will extend their life cycles
We are introducing new wired and wireless hand and foot controller and as scrolling and control takes place in PC / Monitors there is no need for external scrolling boxes. The wireless hand and foot controls communicate via the IP prompting display on the camera, back to the prompter PC in the Gallery over the IP infrastructure and the system can interface to iNews, ENPS and MOS based newsroom systems if required.
Prompt and control signals are routed and assigned through the IP router using our WinDigi Master PC Software to any prompt head up in Studios or the OB Truck so essentially any source can be assigned to any destination.
An example system is shown where there are 4 galleries each with a dedicated Prompt PC which is connected to an ENPS / MOS Newsroom system. There are 4 dedicated Studios and often the camera / prompters required is likely to change show by show. The flexibility of IP make allocation of scroll control, on camera prompting monitor and WinDigi software very easy!
This is the key question as applying technology for just technologys sake seldom delivers so there must be a reason as to why one adopts it and clear end user benefits which are fiscally driven for that.
From our perspective the primary benefit that IP connectivity provides is the flexibility in how prompting can be used in Remote Production. The second significant benefit we believe is that this flexibility will also provide a much better allocation of prompting resources helping to reduce redundancy and downtime in studio and gallery making for a far more efficient and effective prompting system.