Monitoring: Cutting the Wires


Kieron Seth# TV-Bay Magazine
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Teradek began the wireless monitoring revolution at last year's NAB show. Its Cube wireless encoders are no bigger than a pack of playing cards. They compress a camcorder's video feed into an H.264 signal for transmission to either a WiFi-enabled laptop, iPad or tablet or to a Cube decoder. Straight-away live, remote and affordable monitoring was born. At the same instant, low-cost miniature streaming devices direct to the Net was born.
“This is the advantage of encoded video,” explains Richard Payne from Holdan, Teradek's distributor. “H.264 is so flexible that it lends itself to every stage of the production process – capture, editing and delivery. Cube makes the most of the format's low file sizes and high quality and with each new generation, Cube is able to build in more and more features.”
Teradek's latest camera-top devices include lower latency encoding, dual band WiFi streaming and monitoring than ever. Beyond this, the company now incorporates on-board SD proxy recording, a built-in Li-ion power cell and OLED control screen. It has also extended its range with Brik, a camera-back IP encoder with V-mount adapter and dual-active loop-throughs.
Wireless Monitoring is just the start
Specifically designed for Panasonic camcorders, the Focus FS-P250 Proxy Recorder, in conjunction with Panasonic's AJ-WM30 wireless module, makes it easy to view live streams on a connected device. Small, portable and battery-powered with SDI inputs and loop-throughs, it attaches to the Panasonic HPX250 or HPX255 P2 camcorders and delivers content to any WiFi receiver for remote monitoring.
Like the Cube, the FS-P250 is a multi-featured appliance that delivers functionality beyond video monitoring. It also offers up-to 3 hours of proxy recording in .MOV / H.264 files complete with P2 metadata. Content can be transferred wirelessly to a PC, Mac or iOS device for logging, additional metadata tagging, proxy editing or streaming to video sharing websites.
According to the UK distributor, this is a fine example of collaboration between manufacturers: “Panasonic and Focus have co-operated to design a solution that adds massive functionality to studio or ENG cameras. Real-time monitoring is essential for directors; live streaming is a huge asset for live producers, while frame accurate on-set proxy editing - even on low-powered laptops - gives editors a real head start.” Commented Allan Leonhardsen, director of Holdan.
Securing the wireless signal
For many monitoring applications, standard WiFi is perfectly adequate. However, technologies, such as Mimo (multiple-input and multiple-output) can improve video over WiFi performance considerably. The use of multiple antennas, at both the transmitter and receiver increase, resilience, data throughput and link range, has been welcomed by broadcast manufacturers ase a way of achieving stronger remote monitoring signals.
A new technology – Zixi – is now available that is another step forward in ensuring signal quality and reliability. Its video transport technology enables wireless encoders to cope with varying network conditions and sporadic RF interference. With advanced forward error correction (FEC), users can realize higher quality streams with fewer transmission errors, artefacts or freezes.
For mission critical monitoring, this enhanced viewing experience is ideal for markets that prize picture quality, such as film, drama or music videos or low latency transmission, such as sports or news production. For a list of monitoring devices that are Zixi enabled, visit www.zixi.com
Extreme WiFi Monitoring
Long distance video monitoring and sending systems rarely mean truly 'long distance'. Unless employing expensive fibre cable extending a live video feed over more than 100m is beyond most technology. Newcomer IntraTec has solved the problem with its new Bridge solution that it dubs 'Ethernet without the wire'.
While devices like Teradek's Cube can send HD video at up-to 10MB/s using its native WiFi transmitter, distributing the encoded stream via the IntraTec Bridge or its Bridge Duo changes the equation somewhat. Bridge can transmit over distances as great as 250 metres, with a second Bridge unit receiving the signal. Switching to a pair of IntraTec Bridge Duo appliances and low-cost optional 19dB and the wireless signal can span several kilometres.
For monitoring or web-quality streaming, Cube is the perfect partner; for higher bitrate and very low latency encoding, Optibase's new MGW encoders deliver top quality rates from a tough pocket-sized device.
Adam Levitt, developer at IntraTec states: “We've had a lot of interest from aerial photography platforms and from sea-going yachts for boat to shore monitoring. We think these systems will be just as appealing with natural history units and extreme sports producers.”
Moving up a gear: Full HD Monitoring
Monitoring HD video encoded to H.264 can be of excellent quality. However, for productions crews that need to monitor the nuances and subtleties of lighting, depth of focus and shadow detail, monitoring using compressed signals may not be good enough. For this reason, the highest value shoots typically rely on cabled monitors. Inconvenient though that may be, the image quality and immediacy of the video feed is essential.
At IBC 2012 Teradek launched Bolt, a wireless video sender that maintains the 4:2:2 colour space and relays feeds from the camera's SDI output uncompressed. The signal is received by a second Bolt device with virtually zero delay.
“While our Cube encoder is very popular and changed the landscape for video assist and Internet streaming, there has always been a small niche that we didn't serve; those that truly need zero delay systems such as the 1st assistant,” explained Nicol Verheem of Teradek.
Transmitting full 1080p over distances of up-to 100 metres, this solution combines low cost with high performance. Its ability to transmit to up-to 256 receivers makes it an ideal tool for the entire crew.

Tags: iss071 | teradek | holdan | panasonic | aj-wm30 | cube | fs-p250 | zixi | intratec | Kieron Seth#
Contributing Author Kieron Seth#

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