Modernization of the ARD-aktuell studios

Studio Hamburg Media Consult International (MCI) GmbH had been awarded by the North German Broadcasting (NDR) to realize the entire modernization of the production technology equipment for the ARD-aktuell studios at the end of July 2011. As a general contractor the MCI performed the tasks as announced in the EU-wide awarded order, which included the planning, the installation, the delivery, the documentation and the implementing of a standard HDTV-capable infrastructure (sampling format 1080i25).

In general, the production of the new ARD-aktuell studio is focused on simplified broadcasting operations to support the controlling of all broadcasting relevant activities of different production systems. The implementation is realized by remote controlled camera- and robot-systems (Camerobot or Shotuko) and the Mosart studio automation, which organizes the playout from the video server and the real-time graphics.

For maximized flexibility, the above-mentioned Mosart automation system is used in the main- and sub-control rooms. MCI was not only in charge of the Mosart automation integration, but also responsible for the preparation of the customer requirement specification. This means the definition of product-specific demands or functionalities, the definition of technical interfaces of the automation system to the editorial system and the definition of the input devices.
The broadcast-related configuration and the implementing of templates for the automation system, which is used for the production of ARD-aktuell, was effected by particularly trained MCI personnel.

As well as in the remaining control rooms at the main location in Hamburg Lokstedt, the NDR decided again to use a Virtual Studio Manager (L-S-B) for the central controlling of the video crossbar, the IMDs and UMDs, the lightning control desk, the server as well as the for the tally-system.
The automated camera cranes (Camerobot) and the Shotoku tripods represent another comprehensive element of the offer. In addition there were standard broadcast components like displays (Penta and Panasonic), multiviewer as well as the central infrastructure, realized by components from Evertz and Lynx, a Sony vision-mixer MVS-8000G, as well as a Stagetec audio mixing console. A Clear-Com Eclipse-Omega containing the new MADI-interface was integrated as the central communication matrix.


Ross Video acquires Unreel LLC

Ross Video announced at NAB 2014 that it has acquired Unreel LLC, a augmented reality (AR) and virtual set (VS) solutions provider based in Massachusetts. The acquisition makes Ross Video the only company in the broadcast industry that’s able to offer a single-vendor turnkey AR/VS studio solution.

“Cost and complexity have, in the past, confined the virtual-set and augmented-reality market primarily to the largest national broadcasters,” says David Ross, CEO of Ross Video. “At Ross, we saw there was a need to not only be able to deliver network quality AR and VS solutions cost-effectively to any broadcast customer, but also open the door to a powerful new revenue opportunity: virtual advertising. Unreel, which has more than two decades’ experience in the AR/VS solutions market, an enviable list of clients that includes CBS, CNBC, ESPN, NBC, NESN, NASDAQ, Reuters, the Pentagon and the Social Security Administration, and multiple feature-film credits to its name, has groundbreaking technology and an innovative creative model that we’re excited to be building upon to create the Studio of the Future.”

Ross Video will use Unreel’s UX AR/VS control software and UX design services, alongside multiple Ross Video products, including the XPression Real Time Motion Graphics System, Ross robotic camera systems, Inception social-media management, production switchers and UltraChrome™ chroma keyer, to deliver turnkey AR/VS solutions that are easy to create, install and use.

“We believe the acquisition of Unreel by Ross Video brings AR/VS cost, technology and ease-of-use to the point where virtual sets and augmented reality can be readily accessible to all broadcasters,” says Paul Lacombe, Creative Director of Ross Video AR/VS solutions. “The market is already shifting its focus to high-quality designs and creative uses of virtual sets, and now Ross Video has the technology to make that a reality.”

Ross Video will offer incomparable AR/VS solutions because it provides a complete set of all the necessary tools, which have been designed to work together. Additionally, Ross Video’s AR/VS solutions can also coexist with existing third-party keying, rendering, camera tracking, production control, social media and other non-Ross product providers. The Ross Video AR/VS solution will integrate with partners and competitors to ensure complete customer satisfaction. To this end, Ross Video will continue to work with and, in some cases, resell best-of-breed third-party products to ensure its solutions continue to meet customer needs.

“At Unreel, our goal is to enhance the ability of broadcasters to tell compelling stories using VS and AR, deliver new ways to generate in-program revenue using virtual advertising, and increase programming flexibility at lower cost,” says Dave Larson, General Manager of Ross Video AR/VS solutions. “Joining Ross will enable us to continue to work with our current technology and design partners, and establish new partnerships to accelerate the growth of the AR/VS market.”

sng ndr

MCI builds Ü55 radio SNG for NDR in Kiel

In December 2012 NDR commissioned Studio Hamburg Media Consult International (MCI) GmbH to create the radio SNG Ü55 for the state’s broadcasting studio of Schleswig-Holstein located in Kiel.

Being one of the biggest radio SNGs at NDR Kiel, the Ü55 is in continuous operation at reporting of current events, music productions, church services, pre-productions, live reports, as well as several-hour live-broadcastings.
Taking all of this into consideration, it was all the more important to meet NDR’s individual requirements concerning the SNG’s use. Thus, only the running gear with driver’s cab of the Mercedes Benz Vario 818D was used, as regarding the case production the workspace and stowage was individually planned and customized. In doing so, a separate service gangway which provides comfortable access to the pre-installed devices and can also be used as stowage space for heavy equipment, could be created.

Complex measurements with different materials were performed beforehand to meet the demanded acoustical requirements of the NDR. The ideal wall construction made of sandwich panels with acoustical attenuation determined this way, considerably exceeded the aspired result – the consistent acoustical attenuation of the wall structure achieved by this means is therefore much better than demanded.

Among other things the technical equipment of the Ü55 comprises of a satellite system by IPG, as well as an audio mixing console of series 52 by DHD. Furthermore, the SNG has a special NDR-own on-board unit through which the van can be connected with the NDR house network from any location, thus being able to exchange data with the broadcasting studio at all times.

mcs thüringen

MCI renews self-op studios at MCS Thüringen

In the past 10 years MCI was responsible for the entire technical renewal of MCS Radio self-op studios for MDR Landesfunkhaus [state broadcast studios] Thüringen.

At that the two already existing broadcast studios were renewed from the ground up. In the course of the project, the studios were equipped with state-of-the-art technology and custom-made, high-quality studio furniture. The broadcast complex was extended by a third self-op studio at the same time.

Essential elements to be integrated were Lawo broadcast and radio mixing consoles Sapphire and Crystal, as well as the matching matrix switcher. Optimod FM 8600 HD were employed for sound processing. Scysis broadcast automation and CART-player were also updated during the renovation.

A part of the project was to integrate a telephone hybrid control system through the VisTool operating software by Lawo company – the software had been newly developed in the context of the project. As an innovation, control now ensues via network and in this way allows the usual features of a telephone hybrid control system and call signaling.

The challenge was to conduct the entire construction of the self-op studios without interrupting of the broadcastings.

“Compliance with the schedules, as well as the budget could only be achieved thanks to the excellent and close collaboration with both MCS Systemtechnik and the MDR editorial office” says MCI project manager Alfons Hillebrand.