Test & Measurement: Ask the expert


Alan Wheable TV-Bay Magazine
Read ezine online
by Alan Wheable
Issue 107 - November 2015

What should an Eye diagram look like?

There are basically two different approaches to capturing the Eye Diagram from an SDI signal. These are real-time capture (employed by Real Time oscilloscopes) and signal subsampling (employed by Sampling oscilloscopes such as the Omnitek Ultra 4k Tool Box). All broadcast T&M equipment will use one of these approaches to create the Eye Diagram using a variety of proprietary techniques.

Real Time oscilloscopes build the Eye using the complete waveform from a single trigger point and captured from the signal at a frequency at least 2.5 times higher than the signal. Sampling oscilloscopes build the Eye pattern from individual pixels sub-sampled at a frequency lower than the signal with position of each sample offset from the previous.

These two approaches produce a subtly different pseudo-live display which the T&M equipment has processed and filtered to give the most accurate results.

The Eye pattern can be shown with or without jitter superimposed. With jitter the resultant Eye can be thicker, it can have movement and it can close. With 12G-SDI the permitted jitter for some frequencies is 8UI and even at 0.2UI the Eye will close making it difficult to measure accurately. So for most purposes the Eye should be jitter-free so that the signal shape can be seen and the critical parameters of amplitude, rise time and fall time can be measured.

A common misbelief with Eye Diagrams is that one display method is somehow better than another. In practice the method is irrelevant as the displayed Eye Diagram is nearly always the same and this is the important thing when making measurements.

How can I gauge the quality of an SDI signal and why is it so important for 12G-SDI?

The quality of the SDI signal is important as this determines the maximum cable length the signal can be sent and can be defined by the waveform shape and the jitter level.
The waveform shape is different for SD, HD, 3G, 6G and 12G SDI signals. For SD it is almost a square wave but for 12G it is more like a sinewave due to the attenuation of the high harmonic frequencies of the fundamental clock frequency.

Regardless of the clock rate, the most important waveform aspects are the amplitude, rise and fall times. Overshoot and undershoot are indicative of phase differences in the harmonic frequencies (normally due to return loss and signal driver quality) but as long as they are within specified limits they should not affect the overall cable length. Note that current generation, high slew rate driver chips for 12G-SDI can transmit over 60m with Belden 1694 A cable.

Even with the perfect waveform shape, the level of jitter will affect the cable length because the jitter effect is accentuated with lower signal level as the signal rise / fall times are longer. It is essential to remove jitter from the Eye Diagram and monitor it separately. Omniteks Ultra 4k Tool Box employs this method for this reason.

It is essential that Eye Pattern shape and Jitter measurement are within specified limits at the sending equipments output, over a 1m cable and using 100% bars as this is the best way to ensure that the signal can be delivered over reasonable cable length when actual live video is used.
How do I know that my equipment is immune to Potholes?

Potholes (or TRS-Induced Pathological Conditions) are long sequences of ones and zeros that can occur in the SDI data steam when the 8 data streams of the 4k / UHD image are multiplexed onto a single 6G-SDI or 12G-SDI cable. The effect of potholes is jitter, and potentially data errors, in the receiving equipment as it loses and re-locks after each occurrence.

These potholes potentially occur twice in every 512 lines when the TRS preamble sequences from the 8 different streams are multiplexed. For 6G-SDI the concatenated TRS preambles result in 8 consecutive words of 3FFh and 16 consecutive words of 000h. When this is serialised, it will cause 80 ones followed by 160 zeros at the scrambler input. In the worst case scenario, after the NRZI coding, this could produce a run of 179 zeros or ones in the resultant data stream.

To prevent this, a technique known as syncbit insertion is employed to stop these pathological sequences occurring. This requires the modification of the 10-bit parallel interface data stream to replaces the two least significant bits of repeated 3FF or 000 words, on all but the first set of words, with values of 10b for 000h words and 01b for 3FFh words.

Not all equipment employs syncbit insertion so the use of 6G-SDI and 12G-SDI pathological test patterns available on the Omnitek Ultra 4k Tool Box can ensure that receiving equipment is immune to potholes.
Which is the best Test Pattern to use with 4k / UHD equipment?

Due to the construction of 4k / UHD data streams, traditional line test patterns such as colour bars and multi-burst do not always show up underlying issues. With quad link 3G / square division implementations there is a risk that cables (links) can be swapped or delayed with respect to each other which will only show up if an appropriate moving test pattern or pattern sequence is used.

Ideally the test sequence should contain elements that will identify square division and 2 sample interleave artefacts as well as possible temporal issues if the individual link signals (ie quad link 3G or dual link 6G) are compressed or delayed with respect to each other.
What do good Jitter meters tell me?

As the clock frequency of the SDI data streams increases, the effect of jitter becomes potentially more damaging to the data. Timing and Alignment jitter at different frequencies can combine to exceed the permitted jitter level and cause data loss if the receiving equipment cannot tolerate it.

Jitter meters show the Timing and Alignment jitter level at different frequencies and match the SMPTE RP 184 Jitter Tolerance Template which defines the permitted jitter level within each frequency band for each SDI interface type.

Test equipment that only shows one or two frequency bands simultaneously does not give a realistic jitter measurement. Ideally all jitter frequency bands need to be monitored simultaneously. Tools such as Jitter Meters, Waveform, Histogram and Spectrum available on the Omnitek Ultra 4k Tool Box can give an in-depth view of the jitter landscape of the SDI signal.
What should I be monitoring in Ancillary Data?

With the increasingly sophisticated use of metadata to define how the video image is displayed, and audio is heard, it is essential that all Ancillary Data is correct to ensure that the viewer experience is as intended.

Firstly the structure of all data needs to be checked using the CRC word built-in to each data packet. Secondly the continuous presence of the data packets needs to be monitored. Thirdly the content of all data packet need to be checked to ensure that they have been correctly formatted and to do this the packets need to be decoded.

In the case of the SMPTE 352 packet (which defines the video format, image size, frame rate, colour space and link construction) this can be done by simply checking that the signal can be correctly decoded by the receiving equipment. For other data packets, appropriate test equipment such as the Omnitek Ultra 4k Tool Box is required to find and interpret the 50 plus different Ancillary Data packets that may be present on the SDI signal.

Tags: iss107 | test and measurement | sdi | data | potholes | monitoring | anchillary data | uhd | 4k | test pattern | jitter meters | eye diagram | Alan Wheable
Submitted by Alan Wheable

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Submitted by David Schleifer Click to read or download PDF
The Pitfalls of Online File Sharing and Sending Services
Mike Nash Easy-to-use, readily-accessible, and consumer-oriented, online file sharing platforms such as Dropbox and Google Drive are, to end users, a pleasant replacement to older file transfer methods such as FTP. FTP is complex to use and requires IT intervention to make almost any change. The pain associated with FTP, which was developed in the 1970s, is one of the factors that opened the door for the rise of online file sharing services in the workplace.
Tags: iss131 | ftp | signiant | efss | dropbox | google drive | ftp | ofss | media shuttle | Mike Nash
Submitted by Mike Nash Click to read or download PDF
Security, Identity and Privacy
Bruce Devlin - new Put your hand up if you have more than one online-identity. Keep your hand up if the adverts for your latest online purchase follow you between identities as you surf the web. You can now let your hand fall into your lap because adverts that follow you indicate algorithms that have merged your multiple identities into the one and only you.
Tags: iss131 | class | Security | Identity | Privacy | gdpr | Bruce Devlin - new
Submitted by Bruce Devlin - new Click to read or download PDF
Artificial Intelligence and Economics
Dick Hobbs - new It’s May, so it seems inevitable that this month’s column should be a bit of a reflection on NAB. And it will, in due course. But first, some news which I think is interesting. Cisco, the IT giant, is selling off its video software solutions business. It is being bought by an as-yet unnamed new company, backed by venture capitalist Permira Funds.
Tags: iss131 | AI | dejero | evs | sky news | xeebra | state of the nation | Dick Hobbs - new
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Informed Disruption
Marc Risby The industry is currently going through an enormous amount of disruption, and while many are charging in to embrace the changes, others are wringing their hands with indecision.
Tags: iss131 | boxer | ip | hdr | 4k | Marc Risby
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VR and the importance of tracking
KitPlus I would like to begin this article by clarifying what we at Shotoku mean when we talk about VR in live production. It’s not the production of immersive, 360 content where you need to wear a headset; we are talking about virtual studio (VS) and augmented reality (AR) work, such as placing graphics into a green screen environment or physical set. The technology used for this work is entirely different, though equally specialist – therefore it is important to understand the challenges of this kind of production in order to make informed kit choices.
Tags: iss130 | shotoku | vr | live production | KitPlus
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TV Futures, Tales on Location
Georgia Thirtle If I think back to last May, I was just finishing my second year at the University of Portsmouth, studying Television and Broadcasting, and winding down for the summer. Then out of the blue I got a message from my course leader, saying I might be getting a call from someone who was a location manager working for Raider productions, you know, the production company behind the upcoming Tomb Raider film, I mean, what!?
Tags: iss130 | portsmouth university | tomb raider | cci tv | ccitv | Georgia Thirtle
Submitted by Georgia Thirtle Click to read or download PDF
Out of the box: Sennheiser Ambeo VR microphone
Jon Pratchett 2 The use of 360 video, especially on platforms like Facebook and YouTube is really starting to take off. Gone are the days when you needed to buy multiple GoPros and rigs in order to get something decent looking. Now players like Insta360 and even GoPro with their fusion 360 camera are providing single camera, high quality solutions, enabling the masses to put out reasonable quality, certainly watchable, 360 video.
Tags: iss130 | vr | virtual reality | audio | ambiosonic | Jon Pratchett 2
Submitted by Jon Pratchett 2 Click to read or download PDF
Interview with Peter Rowsell, Polar Graphics
Polar If you don’t recognise the name Peter Rowsell instantly you no doubt would recognise him in person, from the famous ‘Pink Coconut’ parties during IBC (Brighton) in the 80s or the name ‘Polar Video or Polar Graphics’ both companies which he’s built up over the years.
Tags: iss130 | polar graphics | apantac | bluefish | cinedeck | focalpoint | mediaproxy | stardom | storagedna | Polar
Submitted by Polar Click to read or download PDF
Tried and tested: DPA d:vice
KitPlus KitPlus recently took delivery of an interesting piece of equipment for review. We like our iPhone gadgets here. For us, useful iPhone gadgets started when the Olloclip lens gave us a wide angle adaptor. This was a good start, finally evolving into a proper tool when Ziess produced the Exolens system for the 5,6 & 7 series iPhones. Around the same time as the Olloclip came out we were testing the Fostex AR4i which was a very exciting development at the time. You have a portable device, that you carry everywhere with you, connected to the world but with very limited audio capabilities. A stereo interface with decent microphones was a real boon!
Tags: iss130 | dpa | dvice | iphone | journalist mic | filmic | ios | microdot | KitPlus
Submitted by KitPlus Click to read or download PDF
State of the Nation
Dick Hobbs - new

On the most recent occasion I was trimmed, my hairdresser had just returned from a holiday in Hawaii.

Where she thought she was going to die. She thought this because the state’s emergency alert system was triggered, sending messages across all available platforms, for 38 minutes, that a ballistic missile was about to strike. That, I suspect, is the sort of thing that casts a pall across your holiday.

Why did it happen? Essentially it happened because an operator selected the wrong menu item. “I feel very badly from what’s happened,” he is quoted as saying, in a somewhat mangled version of English which may at least in part explain his difficulties with menu items.

Tags: iss130 | alertsense | Dick Hobbs - new
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Meet the experts: Six steps for award winning sound design
Chris Turner Few can argue that great sound design is one of the most important elements to any moving picture. Mute most horrors, and the difference in fear factor will be enormous. Visualize Jaws or Star Wars, and John Williams’s iconic score will instantly come to mind.
Tags: iss130 | jungle studios | fairlight | blackmagic design | davinci | Chris Turner
Submitted by Chris Turner Click to read or download PDF
The shining star of Dancing On Ice
Rod Aaron Gammons Lighting is an incredibly important part of any TV production, and it can make a huge difference to what is seen on-screen. If the right lights are used in the right way, it can create a mood, set a tone and convey a certain atmosphere.
Tags: iss130 | rotolight | led lighting | anova pro 2 | chris yacoubian | Rod Aaron Gammons
Submitted by Rod Aaron Gammons Click to read or download PDF
How IP-based KVM can improve workflow in broadcast control rooms
John Halksworth One of the most significant shifts the broadcast industry has seen over recent years is the adoption of IP technology as a standard infrastructure across the entire broadcast workflow. IP provides a network suitable for routing audio, video and control around a broadcast facility and is providing the answers to many industry challenges.
Tags: iss130 | kvm | adder | adderlink | alif100t | John Halksworth
Submitted by John Halksworth Click to read or download PDF
NAB is all about people
John Smith -new The relative success of NAB is down to people. The individuals we meet, the relationships we make and renew with customers and the desire to work together to develop a technology solution to any given challenge.
Tags: iss130 | media links | nab | mdp 3020 | md8000 | John Smith -new
Submitted by John Smith -new Click to read or download PDF
Why OTT needs multicast ABR
Damien Lucas Last year, Netflix’s global revenue reached $11 billion, with 24 million new names added to its subscribers’ list. Viewers are certainly making their preferences heard – and voting with their remote controls to show that over-the-top (OTT) content is here to stay.
Tags: iss130 | ott | abr | adaptive bit rate | cdn | dsl | lte | Damien Lucas
Submitted by Damien Lucas Click to read or download PDF
Grand slam IPTV and digital signage platform
Joe Walsh Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri, is home to major league baseball’s Kansas City Royals. Built in 1973, “The K” has a proud baseball legacy, and goes down in history for winning two World Series championship titles; one in 1985 and another in 2015 — exactly 20 years apart. The most recent win brought a resurgence of baseball fever to the stadium, hosting more than 2.7 million fans during its 2015 winning season.
Tags: iss130 | iptv | vitec | eztv | Joe Walsh
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Transforming asset management and monetization
Chad Hamilton FremantleMedia is one of the largest global television-production companies in the world — with one of the biggest and most valuable catalogs. We operate in 36 markets, creating, producing, and distributing content across traditional TV and digital platforms at a rate of more than 10,000 hours of programming per year.
Tags: iss130 | freemantlemedia | core | wazee | Chad Hamilton
Submitted by Chad Hamilton Click to read or download PDF
Technological advances in the broadcast industry
Alan Wheable Since it is Omnitek’s 20th anniversary this year, I thought it would be interesting to look back over the technological advances in the broadcast industry over the last few decades and look at the similarities between then and now.
Tags: iss130 | omnitek | test and measurement | smpte 2110 | untra tq | 2022 | sdi 2022-6 | Alan Wheable
Submitted by Alan Wheable Click to read or download PDF
Reliable back-up at the Music City Bowl
Sam Gordon WLEX – LEX18 – is the NBC affiliate in Lexington, Kentucky, and part of the Cordillera Communications Group. As a very popular local station with a broadcast area that covers 40 counties across central Kentucky we have a big commitment to news, broadcasting more than seven hours of live programming on a typical day.
Tags: iss130 | wlex-tv | dejero | engo | gobox | cellsat | Sam Gordon
Submitted by Sam Gordon Click to read or download PDF
A Pandoras Box to empower the filmmaker
KitPlus The setting was Celebro Studios London, home to their fully 4k television studios, where journalists and industry commentators gathered late last November to witness the launch of the revolutionary Rotolight Anova PRO 2. This was no ordinary unveiling though, the launch was streamed live on Facebook and YouTube and hosted by award winning news anchor man Martin Stanford with Wesley Dodd, CEO of Celebro Media Group and Rotolight MD Rod Gammons in the studio.
Tags: iss129 | rotolight | celebro | anova pro 2 | led | lighting | wesley dodd | rod gammons | KitPlus
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Studio Invate - Case Studio
KitPlus Studio INVATE is a video company based in Bangkok, with an inventive reputation. Its public persona is everyday commercial work, such as producing highly creative videos, live broadcasts and commercials, for companies ranging from large industrial brands and retail businesses to educational institutions. But in between the studio and on-location work for clients, the company’s crew of 14 employees and a few dozen freelancers enjoy live-streaming video game tournaments.
Tags: iss129 | invate | newtek | tricaster 8000 | 3play | 4800 replay | blonde robot | KitPlus
Submitted by KitPlus Click to read or download PDF
TVFutures: Learning is the key
Abbie Neill If you asked me the question ‘where do you see yourself after you graduate’ three years ago I would have probably answered  ‘in a lot of debt, but if you don't think about it, it doesn't exist because three years is a long time right ?’. WRONG! These three years studying Television and Broadcasting at the University of Portsmouth have been the quickest three years of my life. Back when I started I didn't really have any idea what I wanted to specialise in and the dreaded four letter word AVID used to be my biggest enemy. However I persevered through the 3792871 hours of lectures learning how to use the software, how it functions, neither did I think I'd be a one woman match of the day by graduation'.
Tags: iss129 | ccitv | portsmouth | university | avid | Abbie Neill
Submitted by Abbie Neill Click to read or download PDF
Innovation in cameras moving to 4k
Tony Valentino For a number of reasons, wireless camera links needed time to migrate to 4K. However Broadcast Sports International, BSI, designs their own cameras and builds their own hardware and their transition to 4K is already complete.
Tags: iss129 | bsi | ref-cam | wireless | 4k | Tony Valentino
Submitted by Tony Valentino Click to read or download PDF
A new AEON in Wireless 4k
JP Delport Whatever production companies are doing right here, right now, today, with wireless HD production tools, they want to do right here, right now, today with 4K UHD. That’s great, but common wisdom would share a host of challenges around 4k UHD, not least, the fact that 4K UHD requires 8x the processing power to transmit, then demands additional horsepower (and bandwidth) to accommodate the data and controls, wireless or otherwise, and of course, when you ramp up processing power, you ramp up heat generation, which needs to be efficiently evacuated.
Tags: iss129 | 4k | uhd | wireless | domo | JP Delport
Submitted by JP Delport Click to read or download PDF
Taking the lead in the HEVC and 4k revolution
Malcolm Harland There’s probably a good reason that BVE is held in late February — it offers you a few weeks to set your annual plans in place. Then, once you’ve decided on the opportunities you want to take advantage of and improvements you want to make, you have a chance to visit this massive exhibition to see the latest technological innovations that will help to bring your plans to fruition.
Tags: iss129 | garland | hevc | liveu | hc11000 | media excel | ntt | bws | lu600 | Malcolm Harland
Submitted by Malcolm Harland Click to read or download PDF
Playing with Pink Floyd
KitPlus For the founder of London-based Hangman, James Tonkin, this has indeed been a summer to remember. After sixteen years of working in the same suites, he designed and moved his team into a new future proofed facility in Kew Gardens created specifically for the manipulation and delivery of formats in up to 8K HDR.
Tags: iss129 | hangman | james tonkin | david gilmour | pink floyd | Sony F55 | Sony A7RII | RED Dragon | URSA Mini | blackmagic | DJI Drone | KitPlus
Submitted by KitPlus Click to read or download PDF
Capturing the spirit of Mexico
Leonardo Dalessandri Filmmaker, director and editor, Leonardo Dalessandri first came to fame with his stunning video ‘Watchtower of Turkey,’ which with more than 200 million views, garnered the accolade of Best Vimeo Video in 2014. His vibrant images are combined with a unique editing style, incorporating slow motion, hyper lapses and invisible match cuts to produce genuinely breathtaking final results.
Tags: iss129 | watchtower of turkey | davinci resolve | blackmagic. corona | Leonardo Dalessandri
Submitted by Leonardo Dalessandri Click to read or download PDF
2018: A Changing of the Guard
Peter Savage 2 The guys at KitPlus asked me if I could write about what I think is going to happen in 2018 – a feel, or mood, piece of what we might see this year. I’m not sure why they asked me but perhaps it’s because I’ve been around the industry a long time. Anyway, to look forward I think sometimes it’s best to look back as history has a habit of repeating itself.
Tags: iss129 | azule | finance | Peter Savage 2
Submitted by Peter Savage 2 Click to read or download PDF
Empowering connectivity choice in the field
Yvonne Monterroso Reliability, flexibility and ease of use are the key requirements when covering the news and live events, especially when the location could be anywhere. Connectivity is one of the biggest concerns in the field when the pressure is on to capture a key event – if you cannot establish a reliable transmission path to send your video back to the broadcast studio, there is no story.
Tags: iss129 | dejero | satellite | streaming | ku-band | cloud | Yvonne Monterroso
Submitted by Yvonne Monterroso Click to read or download PDF
The Outlook for 2018
Duncan Payne January has arrived…and the New Year promises great opportunities for those prepared to seek them out, with the one certainty that change is constant.
Tags: iss129 | adamantean | finance | cvp | netflix | amazon | arri | hdr | sadie groom | rise | Duncan Payne
Submitted by Duncan Payne Click to read or download PDF
Panasonic GH5: Tried and Tested
Tim Bearder My journey as a filmmaker began with a select number of enthusiastic BBC reporters picked out and trained in the concept of Personal Digital Production by the American Video Journalist Michael Rosenblum.
Tags: iss129 | panasonic | gh5 | dslr | senheirser avx | c200 | Tim Bearder
Submitted by Tim Bearder Click to read or download PDF
A Bluffers Guide to Batteries
Mike Colyer The Christmas decorations are down; the family have all headed home – and the New Year’s festivities have drawn to a close. I put my hand up to it – I’m a little drained. As such, I figured I’d start the new year with a Bluffer’s Guide to Batteries. With the cold weather setting in, it can be a nightmare to pick the right disposable batteries for small kit – and maintain rechargeable batteries in larger items. This article will take an overview of which batteries will last longer under certain usage conditions – and how to achieve the cell’s maximum potential.   
Tags: iss129 | batteries | alkaline | ni-mh | li-ion | lithium | Mike Colyer
Submitted by Mike Colyer Click to read or download PDF
Class: Do we still need standards
Bruce Devlin - new On the 1st January 2018, I officially took on the post of SMPTE Standards Vice President. The role has responsibility for all of SMPTE’s standardisation activities and it fills me with equal measures of excitement and terror.
Tags: iss129 | smpte | st2110 | dpp | Bruce Devlin - new
Submitted by Bruce Devlin - new Click to read or download PDF
Canon C200: Tried and Tested
Ben Sherriff There are many reviews about this camera online and a heap of incredibly detailed comparison and behind the scenes footage that will really give you a full insight into what it can do. So first a disclaimer - this review is less detailed and based on my personal reading of what this camera means for Canon and all other camera manufacturers and us – the users of these technologies. So, what’s all the fuss about?
Tags: iss129 | spellbinder | canon | c200 | c100mkii | c300 | red | alexa | asx-r7 | Ben Sherriff
Submitted by Ben Sherriff Click to read or download PDF
State of the Nation
Dick Hobbs - new This morning I was eating my healthy muesli and idly listening to Radio 4 when someone came on who claimed to be from the Oxford University Computational Propaganda Project.
Tags: iss129 | fake news | facebook | tv globo | amagi | robot | ai | artificial intelligence | Dick Hobbs - new
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