LiveIP: a 2015 review and our 2016 plans!

We would like to take the opportunity to look back at what we’ve done in 2015 and what is planned early 2016 of the LiveIP project. 

How the LiveIP started...

We started talking to vendors about our ideas to build a multivendor IP-based liveTV production studio in February of 2015. 

We told them why we, as broadcasters, thought we would need to move to IP in the very near future and why we wanted to start trying out multivendor IP environments. The vendors that ended up participating in the project immediately bought into our plans and committed to our ambitious timeline. 

The official kickoff of LiveIP was at NAB2015 and we started building the studio end of April 2015. 

 

PHASE 1 (LiveIP studio to record a green-key session) & IBC2015

By mid-July, we reached a first milestone: an SDN-controlled SMPTE2022-6-compliant video-transport 10Gb/s network (Nevion), a video switcher (Grass Valley), a video production server (Grass Valley), a camera (Grass Valley) -all connected to the network over IP- a multiviewer (Axon), an AES67/RAVENNA-compliant audio-desk and stageboxes (Lawo), IP to SDI gateways (Nevion) and embedders/de-embedders (Nevion). The timing of our LiveIP studio is being taken care of by a Tektronix PTP enabled SPG8000A device.

This enabled us to record this green-key session in which we explained the project. 

Straight after that, in the beginning of August 2015, we started building the IBC2015 set: thanks to EBU being part of this ambitious PoC project, we were offered the opportunity to bring a scaled down version of our LiveIP Studio to the EBU booth on IBC2015. While we were already very excited just being there, the buzz and the people visiting our stand was overwhelming. It was a very nice experience and a good forum to share experiences and opinions. 

We were even rewarded with the IABM innovation award!

PHASE 2: multi-camera set-up

In October 2015, we expanded the studio to support multi-cam, with the addition of 4 cameras. 

For that we redesigned our network (we adopted a spine-leaf architecture and added more links in between switches to increase bandwidth and to add some redundancy (40Gb/s)). We installed the 4 cameras and their XCU’s, as well as an EVS XT3 live production server and its XiP gateway solution that enables existing SDI-based equipment to be used in a video over-IP environment, a Trilogy Gemini intercom system over IP, 2 Genelec audio-speakers over IP and 2 Lawo V__link4 video-over-IP interfaces, which provide us with a gateway in the IP domain between Video-over-IP and Audio-over-IP, to shuffle, embed, de-embed and many more. 

We did a dry-run with this set-up at the end of October, which we edited down to a short teaserfilmThe feedback from our operational colleagues was that “while here and there the gear works slightly differently, this environment is more than useable and stable enough to do high-end live TV production!”

Meanwhile we’ve invested a lot of energy as well in sharing our findings, and talking with our “IP for broadcast peers” in different organizations and workgroups all over the world.

Since we are the first end-to-end multivendor live production studio fully over IP, many people are interested in finding out how we’re experiencing this new IP-reality.

What’s next? Remote Production and a live multicam debate!

Right now (December 2015) we are preparing the set-up for a remote production that we will record in January. Theoretically, just putting a longer (darkfibre) cable between our data center and the (remote) studio-floor should do the trick. We’re anxious to find out and hope that reality will come down to the same. Nonetheless, we are sure to encounter some obstacles, technical or related to production. But with the same energy and commitment as in the previous phases, we should be able to overcome these potential obstacles.

The remaining days of January and February, we will invest in technical improvements: we want to bring audio and video together on one network, we would like to have everything synched to a PTP-clock distributed over the whole network, and we would like to start experimenting with video-devices that also talk AES67. By that we would have a de-facto VSF TR-04 setup!

At the beginning of March, we will produce a multicam debate talking about why broadcasters should move to IP, which we will stream live on the internet, in order to prove the ultimate use case: a live TV show produced in a full IP multivendor TV production studio!

Thanks for your interest and support,

Have a happy Holiday season!

The LiveIP Project team and the participating companies: Axon, Dwesam, EVS, EBU, Genelec, Grass Valley, Lawo, LSB, Nevion, Tektronix, Trilogy and VRT