In a new broadcast channel install we are faced with a mix of tradition SDI point to point technology and future looking IP technology, what are the key considerations when investing in monitoring equipment?
For anyone buying equipment these days, the list of requirements is quite long, and the decisions being made will affect them not just in the short term, but their long term production efficiencies as well. When buying T&M equipment, the challenge is to find the one that suits your immediate need, future needs and at a price that is within ever tighter budget constraints. And above all it needs to be fit for purpose, value for money and easy to use so that training does not become an issue.
To future proof yourself, you need to look for equipment that supports SDI, IP and hybrid workflows with the operational functionality to support HDR and WCG workflows. More and more broadcast equipment manufacturers are providing solutions for SDI, IP and hybrid environments.
Equipment such as the Omnitek Ultra TQ and XR product are SDI / IP devices that are at home in SDI, IP and hybrid environments. These products also support SDR, HDR and WCG workflows and in addition to this they offer the ability to analyse and decode Dolby E, Dolby D and Dolby D+ audio for monitoring and quality checking audio content from SDI / 2110 / 2022-6 sources as well as from AES inputs.
I’ve heard the term SNMP mentioned – please explain!
SNMP stands for Simple Network Management Protocol and it is commonly used in studios to monitor equipment and trap conditions that warrant attention and in production line testing to run tests and monitor the results.
In a production environment this is typically done using SNMP remote control of T&M equipment to run pre-defined scripts that report back a pass/fail for each parameter tested.
All of Omnitek Ultra’s powerful tools can be controlled from the user interface and via SNMP remote control, ideal for manufacturers entering full scale production of their 4K / UHD products and wanting to control test pattern generation and perform video and physical layer analysis on their production units.
What would be a typical case study of remotely sited unmanned equipment bays requiring monitoring?
Many organisations have remotely sited, unmanned equipment bays that are only accessed via remote control and via web browser technology. Only when something goes wrong will an Engineer visit the remote site. Many T&M equipment manufacturers provide both web browser access and remote control using this industry standard SNMP implementations.
Typically monitoring equipment is connected to an input or output feed at the remote location This monitoring equipment will have SNMP traps set up to monitor the feed and continually check for specific events such as missing inputs, non-conformances, CRC errors, etc. When the SNMP monitoring equipment detects a problem, the T&M equipment can be operated remotely via a web browser interface. The different instruments of the T&M equipment can be used to view event logs and try to establish what has gone wrong.
How can I check that either my SDR or HDR material is being correctly captured (or transmitted) when I cannot correctly render it on my monitor screen?
The HDR program being captured or transmitted not only includes the image content, but other elements such as graphics, titles, straps, etc which are created by other system and may be automatically inserted into the program. Care is required here to ensure that the levels of the components do not compromise the program. As part of the QC on any HDR program it is necessary to ensure that all aspects of the content are correct for transmission to the viewer. Here again the only safe way is to view and monitor the content. For QC other tools such as gamut monitoring and on-screen warning / false colour displays can also help.
A suitable HDR waveform monitor will provide the appropriate graticules and profiles to measure the reference levels of content captured as HLG, PQ, S-Log, etc. and will be able to display and measure levels in NITs.
This of course requires significant concentration to check whether all the levels are correct for the duration of a program. Here logging can be used to ensure that content does not exceed permitted limits. The false colour display available on some monitoring equipment provides an instantaneous continual display of the HDR areas of the image.