TV-BAY Magazine

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TV-BAY Questions... Monitoring and Loudness by Don Bird, Wohler Technologies With respect to monitoring, particularly for multiplatform content delivery, how can our facility straddle the divide between baseband and file-based signals? T he media industry as a whole is moving toward multiplatform content delivery. This shift includes and affects not only traditional broadcasters and new media outlets, but the content creators as well. It is an upheaval rivaling the widespread transition from analog to digital and the subsequent HD upgrade made by much of the global broadcast industry. The industry’s new approach to the business of content delivery is disrupting areas ranging from workflows to the infrastructure, technology, and tools required for daily operations. The rise of IT- centric technologies and the move to multiplatform content distribution models together have served to blur or even erase the boundaries between three previously distinct areas: the broadcast engineers responsible for baseband infrastructure, the IT department responsible for the network, and the digital media staff responsible for getting content re- purposed for the rapidly expanding universe of alternate playout devices and delivery services. Production and delivery workflows at many facilities must now support both baseband and file-based content. The monitoring work once performed independently by different departments is increasingly becoming the task of a single department, which must guarantee not only quality, but compliance as well: ideally, prior to transmission. These tasks in many cases are managed across a variety of formats utilizing different software and associated “boxes”. There is a compelling need to streamline the quality assurance and compliance certification process for faster turnaround. That need is driving a move toward solutions that can more simply and cost-effectively address a variety of signal types on the same platform. Monitoring products supporting today’s content delivery paths must address a broader range of formats and standards. Our DVM video monitoring line is a prime example, as it enables monitoring of MPEG- 2 and MPEG-4 signals via BNC or Ethernet inputs and provides capability to browse PID data while also supporting monitoring of 3G/HD/ SD-SDI and HDMI® feeds. The format flexibility in our DVM Series monitoring systems served as the inspiration for our award-winning iON solution, which addresses the baseband/file- based divide on a larger scale. The consolidation of signal management and confidence monitoring on a single software platform not only enables practical, highly efficient monitoring of both baseband and file-based signals, but also gives users the compelling option of reviewing monitored content anywhere, anytime, on a broad range of platforms and devices. Content prepared in one domain — baseband or file-based — must be deemed compliant in the other if it is to be distributed in a multiplatform model. Monitoring solutions that address both these areas give users the straightforward tools they need to verify that all of the content they provide has been created, formatted, and ultimately, delivered correctly. How can file-based processing be leveraged to simplify monitoring? Wohler’s experience with file- based processing is exemplified in our RadiantGrid Intelligent Media Transformation Platform™. Although many people didn’t understand our rationale at the time, we recognized in our acquisition of the company and its technologies, the clear need for a mature, proven file-based processing technology that could simplify the process of preparing content for multi-platform distribution and delivery. Beyond that, we saw that the proliferation of delivery channels was going to create a demand for solutions that could effectively bridge baseband and file-based infrastructures. Wohler’s long experience in managing signals in the baseband arena, coupled with RadiantGrid’s facility in the file-based domain, gives us a unique ability to assist our customers in crossing that bridge. RadiantGrid’s faster-than-real-time content transformation capability enables efficient transcoding, standards conversion, and audio processing in applications including loudness correction, quality control, and distribution of media. Supporting media preparation and distribution, the platform serves as a powerful engine for evaluating content and ensuring compliance. While high- volume loudness and QC are two of the most obvious areas that benefit from fast parallel processing, the ongoing evolution of the RadiantGrid platform brings users an expanding array of monitoring and correction tools, including full broadcast-gamut color legalization, as part of the transcoding workflow. The ability to legalize gamut for broadcast within the NTSC and PAL domains in a file-based workflow ensures quality that allows broadcasters to take advantage of transcoding automation — and gives them confidence it will meet on-air quality requirements. Any file-based processing system used in a multiplatform media delivery model must be equipped not only to handle files for OTT services, but also the requirements of delivering compliant audio and video content for baseband transmission. To this end, the RadiantGrid platform includes tools that address time-consuming issues common in transmission and distribution as well as features, such as high-bit-depth support, that will 64 | TV-BAY MAGAZINE: ISSUE 77 MAY 2013 TV-BAY077MAY13.indd 64 02/05/2013 21:19