UK Outside Broadcast specialist Cloudbass has become the first outside broadcast company in the world to transform an existing OB truck from HD-SDI to UHD IP using Axon Digital Design’s next generation signal processing technology.
The transformation allows Cloudbass to offer broadcasters all the flexibility and speed of a fully IP workflow. It also cements the company’s position as one of the most technically advanced broadcast solutions providers operating in the UK.
Upgrading the 20 camera vehicle took just five weeks to complete and involved a total refurbishment of all working areas, as well as the installation of a full IP solution based around Axon’s recently launched Neuron Network Attached Processor (NAP). This gateway product, which was designed to address the needs of complex IP and hybrid-IP environments, supports the latest industry standards by handling uncompressed SD, HD, 3G and UHD signals based on the ST2022-6 and ST2110 specifications.
Michael Beaumont, Cloudbass Technical Director outlined the reasons why the Axon Neuron/Cerebrum solution was chosen: “From the outset we were looking for a future proof scalable solution we could use to effectively “add” an IP layer into ANY of our existing or future fleet. As soon as Axon showed us the initial ideas for the Neuron we knew it would be an exciting product. Our relationship is one of trust and innovation that allowed us to research and develop the build. We now have an outstanding product and concept that can be transplanted into ANY of our trucks. That will help us continually deliver our services cost-effectively for our clients and help future-proof our UHD services. The knowledge. skill-set and determination of Axon has ensured that our partnership is a highly successful one.”
“The build was achieved by using a core infrastructure of seven fully populated Neurons to provide IP Gateway, routing and processing” adds Adrian Richmond, Axon’s Director of Sales for the UK, Ireland and Africa. “Neuron is packed with features like edge synchronizers and converters for processing streams before they enter the core router. It also offers an impressive 200 Gb/s and 64 1080p signals or 16 UHD channels with up to 80 SDI connectors, all in a single 1RU. By acting as a bridge between SDI and IP, Neuron allowed Cloudbass to decide what equipment it wanted to keep and what it wanted to replace. Anything that couldn’t be connected directly to Cloudbass’ new IP switchers could be easily channeled through Neuron and brought into the IP domain.”
To complement the Neuron system, Cloudbass also installed Axon Synview IP Multiviewers in the truck’s main gallery, with additional Synapse UHD processing for the final output path. It also installed an Axon Cerebrum monitoring and control system, which is rapidly becoming the de facto standard for complex mobile production, news and studio live production, master control and remote production.
Due to using new IP technologies, Cloudbass was able to upgrade the truck within a short space of time with only five weeks between its last HD job and first UHD job. Cloudbass unveiled its new IP-ready Outside Broadcast vehicle at the UK Speedway Championships in May 2019, which it is under contract to broadcast for the BT Sport channel.
“As this was Neuron’s first deployment in an Outside Broadcast vehicle, we partnered with Cloudbass to ensure that the installation went well and the system delivered exactly what the engineers wanted,” Richmond adds. “For the inaugural broadcast by myself and Mark Watkins (from Axon’s support team), were in attendance, but we were not required as the broadcast went very smoothly despite Cloudbass not having time to field test in advance.”
Cloudbass is now deploying the truck at various other events for customers such as BT and looking forward to learning what can be achieved with this new technology.