NETWORKING AND THIRD PARTY CONTROL


TV-Bay Magazine
Read ezine online
Since the advent of digital technologies, the way audio and video is controlled and transported around broadcast facilities has been constantly evolving in the search for greater efficiencies and improved workflows. Today, broadcasters are demanding more and more versatility and integration from their equipment, and in turn, the capabilities now available are leading broadcasters to reassess how they design studio complexes.
Sources have long been shared between control rooms by using splitters, distribution amplifiers, tie-lines and miles of cabling. As production requirements have become more demanding, using such methods becomes increasingly impractical. Traditional routers provide a practical method for dealing with larger amounts of sources and destinations, allowing users to change signal flow on the fly, and en-masse without having to hunt around on physical patch-bays, but they do not address the cabling issue and have finite capabilities.
The ever increasing requirements of modern broadcasting requires scalable solutions. Traditional routers, distribution amplifiers, format convertors, tie-lines and even physical patch-bays themselves are now being replaced by modern, networked router systems, capable of providing plug and play convenience to scale up when required. I/O modules can be located remotely from the routers, passing large quantities of signals over a fiber or cat5 cable, reducing overall cabling costs and installation / setup times. Networked I/O and routers break the traditional link between control room and studio, allowing for much more flexibility and ease in the planning of studio resource management, and providing a solution capable of meeting whatever the future may require. Using recent UK examples, Salford's Media City, BBC's West 1, and Sky's Harlequin are all designed around a scalable networked router, I/O and mixing console system.
Transporting audio, video or any data over a network requires that the data is sent in packets. Rather than sending a constant stream of audio or video data from point A to point B, the stream is chopped up into manageable sized segments and each packaged up with the destination and source address, allowing multiple streams of data with differing destinations to be sent out over a single cable. In order for this to work seamlessly, with high quality audio, without buffering or interruptions, it needs to be very quick and network traffic needs to be predictable or managed – this can be a problem across shared use networks.
Using an Ethernet infrastructure, communications protocols can be split into three main groups: those that operate on a physical layer, those that operate on a data link (ie. in the frame), and those that operate on the network layer.
  • Layer 1 protocols use Ethernet wiring and signalling components but not the Ethernet frame structure. They are very cost effective and reliable because of this, but commercial ethernet components such as switches, hubs or media converters cannot be used so topology can be limited.
  • Layer 2 protocols encapsulate audio data in standard Ethernet frames and most can make use of standard Ethernet hubs and utilise a variety of topologies i.e. stars, rings, daisy chains etc. Calrec’s Hydra 1 is an example of this.
  • Layer 3 protocols encapsulate audio data in standard IP packets rather than MAC frames. This can be less efficient as the segmentation and reassembly is more processor intensive, which may mean fewer channels and higher latency or more expensive hardware.
Hydra2 was introduced in 2009 with the launch of the Apollo platform of consoles and is an 8192 x 8192 router which is integral to the console. With Hydra2, you can take a single mic input and send it out to more than 8000 outputs if you want. It’s a TDM-type router, capable of true ‘one to many’ routing, and although it uses the physical layer of Gigabit Ethernet technology (a tried and tested technology with an affordable chip set), the Hydra2 protocol itself is a considerably more efficient system, which is how 512 bidirectional connections can be packed down each link.
Networked infrastructures like Hydra2 are cheap, easy to install and very simple to understand in that sharing inputs and outputs across any number of mixing consoles is an easy and natural process. The idea of networking has involved a shift from end to end points to the network itself, where the only limitation is the imagination of the network designer.
Whilst manufacturers may be protective of their proprietary network transportation protocols which can pass ever increasing quantities and quality of video and audio data with negligible latency, many are responding to user demands by incorporating cross-platform control protocols, allowing their systems to be controlled in depth by other manufacturers’ equipment. This allows for example, a high quality dedicated audio processor to be controlled by the user of a video switcher, via an interface that is familiar to them.
At NAB this year Calrec showed this, demonstrating Hydra2’s potential to work with third party clients through several different protocols. The SW-P-08 protocol was put into practice incorporating a variety of third-party router panels, including Evertz, Nvision, Snell, and LSB’s Virtual Studio Manager (VSM), to demonstrate remote control over input source to output destination cross-point routing, and control over mixing console DSP I/O routing. The EMBER protocol was be demonstrated via VSM, enabling memory loads, loading and removing alias files, viewing and editing Hydra2 I/O box and ports labels, SMPTE 2020 metadata insertion, and selective muting of SDI outputs.
SW-P-08
The most prolific of these protocols is SW-P-08, or the “General Remote” protocol.
It was first developed by Pro-Bel in 1988 (by a team of engineers including Roger Henderson, now Managing Director of Calrec), and it has since had a wide uptake by router and controller designers to allow their equipment to control, or to be controlled by other manufacturers’ equipment. Input sources and output destinations that are to be controlled in this way are assigned unique SW-P-08 ID’s within the router which are mapped and labelled accordingly in the controller.
SW-P-08 controllers can route any source to any destination across the Hydra2 network that they have been given access to. As well as physical Hydra2 input and output ports, the H2O GUI and SW-P-08 controllers can also route to and from Hydra Patchbays, giving access to console DSP outputs as sources, and the ability to change sources feeding control surface faders.
Imagine that the Calrec Hydra2 routers allow for 1-to-n cross-point matrix routing of sources to destinations, without using up DSP or control surface space. Using SW-P-08, control over cross-point routing can be carried out either from a console, a standalone PC running the Calrec H2O network administrator GUI, or via third party controllers supporting the SW-P-08 protocol.
Although there is a very wide uptake in SW-P-08, it is still not an official standard and there may be variations in different manufacturers’ interpretations.
EMBER
L-S-B’s Virtual Studio Manager (VSM) supports both S W-P-08 and EMBER. The EMBER protocol is a sophisticated data exchange mechanism that has potential for controlling many functions across varied equipment types.
A relative newcomer, EMBER with exciting potential for interfacing a wide range of equipment types and their control parameters, with 3rd party GUI’s and hardware panels. Using EMBER, the third party controller can change the active user memory on any control surface on Calrec’s Hydra2 network, load pre-defined I/O sets for use by each console, insert SMPTE2020 metadata into SDI output streams, mute audio channels within SDI output streams and edit I/O port labelling
CSCP
The Calrec Serial Control Protocol, CSCP allows for remote control over mixing console operational functions by third party systems such as video switchers and production automation systems.
Several broadcast equipment manufacturers provide serial control protocols that are compatible with CSCP. Currently on air and actively controlling Calrec audio mixers for live on-air applications are Ross Switchers, Sony’s ELC, Snell’s Kahuna, Mosart and Grass Valley’s Ignite.
CSCP allows third party controllers access to 192 paths on each control surface, giving them the ability to display the path type’s assigned to faders, control and display path information, control of and status display for path Cut / On, control of and status display for path Pre-Fader Listen, and others.
Control, integration and commonality. Using these protocols, broadcasters can achieve far more with much less hardware, and design flexibility into their audio systems for years to come. The playing field has definitely shifted and technology is now meeting the demands placed on network infrastructures. Infrastructure designers should be giving greater consideration to their networks as a whole, and how the flexibility of those networks can allow greater efficiencies for operational workflows.

Tags: iss065 | calrec | audio | networking | N/A
Contributing Author N/A

Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Article Copyright tv-bay limited. All trademarks recognised.
Reproduction of the content strictly prohibited without written consent.

Related Interviews
  • Calrec on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

    Calrec on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

  • Calrec at NAB 2013

    Calrec at NAB 2013

  • Calrec at NAB 2012

    Calrec at NAB 2012

  • Calrec at BVE 2012

    Calrec at BVE 2012

  • Calrec at IBC2011

    Calrec at IBC2011

  • Calrec at BVE 2017

    Calrec at BVE 2017

  • Calrec Summa at NAB 2014

    Calrec Summa at NAB 2014

  • Calrec Callisto at IBC 2013

    Calrec Callisto at IBC 2013

  • Glensound show Beatrice the AES67 Network audio intercom beltpack at IBC 2018

    Glensound show Beatrice the AES67 Network audio intercom beltpack at IBC 2018

  • Latest audio product updates from TSL Products at IBC 2018

    Latest audio product updates from TSL Products at IBC 2018

  • Nugen Audio Loudness Meter, Halo Upmix and Halo Downmix at NAB 2018

    Nugen Audio Loudness Meter, Halo Upmix and Halo Downmix at NAB 2018

  • 7.1.2 Dolby Atmos support by Halo from Nugen Audio at NAB 2017

    7.1.2 Dolby Atmos support by Halo from Nugen Audio at NAB 2017

  • Nugen Audio at IBC 2016

    Nugen Audio at IBC 2016

  • AudioVideo BrandBuilder Corp at NAB 2016

    AudioVideo BrandBuilder Corp at NAB 2016

  • Nugen Audio at NAB 2016

    Nugen Audio at NAB 2016

  • Minnetonka Audio at NAB 2016

    Minnetonka Audio at NAB 2016

  • Nugen Audio Loudness Toolkit at BVE 2016

    Nugen Audio Loudness Toolkit at BVE 2016

  • Nugen Audio Halo Upmix at BVE 2016

    Nugen Audio Halo Upmix at BVE 2016

  • NUGEN Audio at IBC 2015

    NUGEN Audio at IBC 2015

  • NOA Audio Solutions at IBC 2015

    NOA Audio Solutions at IBC 2015

  • NUGEN Audio at BVE 2015

    NUGEN Audio at BVE 2015

  • Nugen Audio at NAB 2014

    Nugen Audio at NAB 2014

  • Audio Network on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

    Audio Network on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

  • NOA Audio Solutions at IBC 2013

    NOA Audio Solutions at IBC 2013

  • NuGen Audio at IBC 2013

    NuGen Audio at IBC 2013

  • NUGEN Audio: Loudness Toolkit at NAB 2013

    NUGEN Audio: Loudness Toolkit at NAB 2013

  • Nugen Audio at IBC 2012

    Nugen Audio at IBC 2012

  • Audio Developments at ProVideo2011

    Audio Developments at ProVideo2011

  • Audio Developments at BVE North 2011

    Audio Developments at BVE North 2011

  • Junger Audio at IBC2011

    Junger Audio at IBC2011

  • Nugen Halo Upmix and AMB Updates at IBC 2017

    Nugen Halo Upmix and AMB Updates at IBC 2017

  • Canford at BVE 2017

    Canford at BVE 2017

  • Telos Alliance at BVE 2017

    Telos Alliance at BVE 2017

  • The Telos Alliance at IBC 2016

    The Telos Alliance at IBC 2016

  • Glensound at IBC 2016

    Glensound at IBC 2016

  • Studer Glacier at IBC 2016

    Studer Glacier at IBC 2016

  • Wohler at IBC 2016

    Wohler at IBC 2016

  • Video Devices PIX-E at IBC 2016

    Video Devices PIX-E at IBC 2016

  • Sound Devices Wingman app at IBC 2016

    Sound Devices Wingman app at IBC 2016

  • Sound Devices 688 at IBC 2015

    Sound Devices 688 at IBC 2015

  • Video Devices PIX-E Series at IBC 2015

    Video Devices PIX-E Series at IBC 2015

  • RTS at BVE 2015

    RTS at BVE 2015

  • Glensound Dante at IBC 2014

    Glensound Dante at IBC 2014

  • NOA Archive Solutions at IBC 2014

    NOA Archive Solutions at IBC 2014

  • RTW at IBC 2014

    RTW at IBC 2014

  • RTW at NAB 2014

    RTW at NAB 2014

  • Sound Devices at NAB 2014

    Sound Devices at NAB 2014

  • Studio Technologies at NAB 2014

    Studio Technologies at NAB 2014

  • Clear-Com ProGrid at NAB 2014

    Clear-Com ProGrid at NAB 2014

  • Clear-Com HelixNet Partyline at NAB 2014

    Clear-Com HelixNet Partyline at NAB 2014

  • Glensound Atomic Copper at NAB 2014

    Glensound Atomic Copper at NAB 2014

  • TSL Products SAM1 MADI at BVE 2014

    TSL Products SAM1 MADI at BVE 2014

  • Glensound Cub at BVE 2014

    Glensound Cub at BVE 2014

  • Wohler Technologies on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

    Wohler Technologies on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

  • Nexidia QC on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

    Nexidia QC on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

  • TSL Products PAM1, SAM1 and PAM PiCo at IBC 2013

    TSL Products PAM1, SAM1 and PAM PiCo at IBC 2013

  • Glensound with the USB Commentary Mixer at IBC 2013

    Glensound with the USB Commentary Mixer at IBC 2013

  • TSL Products at IBC 2013

    TSL Products at IBC 2013

  • Sound Devices at NAB 2013

    Sound Devices at NAB 2013

  • TSL Products at NAB 2013

    TSL Products at NAB 2013

  • Thear Technology at BVE 2013

    Thear Technology at BVE 2013

  • TSL Systems at BVE 2013

    TSL Systems at BVE 2013

  • TSL Products at BVE 2013

    TSL Products at BVE 2013

  • AC Entertainment Technologies at BVE 2013

    AC Entertainment Technologies at BVE 2013

  • Pinknoise at BVE North 2012

    Pinknoise at BVE North 2012

  • Shure Distribution at BVE North 2012 LIVE Show

    Shure Distribution at BVE North 2012 LIVE Show

  • RTW at NAB 2012

    RTW at NAB 2012

  • Sonifex at NAB 2012

    Sonifex at NAB 2012

  • Sound Devices at NAB 2012

    Sound Devices at NAB 2012

  • Emotion Systems at NAB 2012

    Emotion Systems at NAB 2012

  • Clear-Com Eclipse MADI Card at NAB 2012

    Clear-Com Eclipse MADI Card at NAB 2012

  • Glensound at NAB 2012

    Glensound at NAB 2012

  • TSL at NAB 2012

    TSL at NAB 2012

  • Triveni Digital at NAB 2012

    Triveni Digital at NAB 2012

  • Petrol at NAB 2012

    Petrol at NAB 2012

  • Qualis at NAB 2012

    Qualis at NAB 2012

  • DK-Technologies at NAB 2012

    DK-Technologies at NAB 2012

  • Glensound at BVE 2012

    Glensound at BVE 2012

  • Sonifex at BVE 2012

    Sonifex at BVE 2012

  • DiGiCo at BVE 2012

    DiGiCo at BVE 2012

  • 4HM at BVE 2012

    4HM at BVE 2012

  • Thear Technology Limited at ProVideo2011

    Thear Technology Limited at ProVideo2011

  • 4HM at BVE North 2011

    4HM at BVE North 2011

  • TNP and DSMB at BVE North 2011

    TNP and DSMB at BVE North 2011

  • The Mic Store at BVE North 2011

    The Mic Store at BVE North 2011

  • Sennheiser at BVE North 2011

    Sennheiser at BVE North 2011

  • Source Distribution and Genelec at BVE North 2011

    Source Distribution and Genelec at BVE North 2011

  • HHB and Soundfield at BVE North 2011

    HHB and Soundfield at BVE North 2011

  • Riedel at BVE North 2011

    Riedel at BVE North 2011

  • Solid State Logic at IBC2011

    Solid State Logic at IBC2011

  • Dolby at IBC2011

    Dolby at IBC2011

  • Murraypro at IBC2011

    Murraypro at IBC2011

  • TC Electronic at IBC2011

    TC Electronic at IBC2011

  • SADiE at IBC2011

    SADiE at IBC2011

  • RTW at IBC2011

    RTW at IBC2011

  • Prodys at IBC2011

    Prodys at IBC2011

  • DK Technology at IBC2011

    DK Technology at IBC2011

  • Linear Acoustic at IBC2011

    Linear Acoustic at IBC2011

  • Sound Devices at IBC2011

    Sound Devices at IBC2011

  • Media Defined Networking from Media Links at IBC 2017

    Media Defined Networking from Media Links at IBC 2017


Related Shows
  • The future of audio with BBC R&D at BVE

    The future of audio with BBC R&D at BVE


Articles
An Epiphany Moment
Peter Savage 2 I had been negotiating the sale of my company and had reached the really hard end of the bargain. We were close to agreeing the final sum after a lot of too-much-give-and-not-enough-take negotiation. The solicitors were calling me, keen for a deal. It had come down to one sticking point and, in my hard ball “I am the Wolf of Wall Street” guise, I wasn’t going to let it go. It would make a value difference of 1.5% on the total outcome. Not much, you might think, but I had already nearly fallen out with the solicitors over their fees and I was giving my advisors an extremely hard time because the corporate adviser couldn’t see how I had already given more than an inch and the buyers were taking more than a mile. I was not going to let them win.
Tags: iss134 | azule | finance | Peter Savage 2
Contributing Author Peter Savage 2 Click to read or download PDF
Using Wireless Transmission
Jeremy Benning Wireless acquisition is a staple of live sports, entertainment and reality shows where cable free capture permits shots not previously possible, for health and safety reasons, and gives the camera-operator greater artistic licence to roam. The same is increasingly true of narrative drama where cinematographers are keen to work handheld or Steadicam where that helps tell the story. Any equipment which frees their movement and time by being lighter, easier to use and reliable in performance is going to tick a lot of boxes.
Tags: iss134 | wireless | 4k | transmission | Jeremy Benning
Contributing Author Jeremy Benning Click to read or download PDF
Shedding Light on the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4k BMCPP4K
Garth de Bruno Austin “What is it about light that has us craving it?” Is the question asked in the opening seconds of Garth de Bruno Austin’s latest short, The Colour of Light. Exploring this natural, human need as well as our innate desire to control it, Garth’s film showcases everyday people going about their lives in differing degrees of luminance, whether that be an artificial streetlight or a natural morning sunrise.
Tags: iss134 | blackmagic | cinema camera | 4k | cpp4k | Garth de Bruno Austin
Contributing Author Garth de Bruno Austin Click to read or download PDF
The brave new world of software based production
Boromy Ung In today’s rapidly evolving broadcast industry, the only constant media organizations can truly count on is change — and the need to adapt as rapidly and cost-effectively as possible. One of the biggest agents of change is the IP revolution, driving broadcasters to migrate their operations to all-software solutions running on commodity, IT-based technologies.
Tags: iss134 | chyronhego | graphics | sports | ott | Boromy Ung
Contributing Author Boromy Ung Click to read or download PDF
Sony HDC-4800 Review
Andy McKenzie First announced at NAB 2016, the Sony HDC-4800 is a studio camera system capable of shooting 4K/UHD at up to 8x or full HD at up to 16x. With a price point upwards of £250,000 it is a very high-end product with a wide feature set. In Sony's own words, "This is the future of live production, designed to satisfy the storytelling aspect of modern sports production.” Deliveries began in mid 2017 and, after careful preliminary evaluation, we invested in several systems for our hire fleet ahead of the FIFA World Cup in Russia.
Tags: iss134 | review | hdc-4800 | sony | finepoint | Andy McKenzie
Contributing Author Andy McKenzie Click to read or download PDF