Friday, 6 January 2017

Saving space on location

The outside broadcast can be regarded as extreme television production. Most of the time you are working live, with no chance of a retake (hard to rehearse a football match). The production is demanding, with 20 or more cameras in use, plus multiple replays, graphics, fast turnaround editing and more.

This has to be achieved not in a large and comfortable studio but in a space-contained truck. Clever designers use expanding vehicles to create more working space, but the unavoidable fact is that space is always going to be tight, and between jobs the truck has to fit within size and weight limits to be driven on the public road.

Despite the space constraint, there has to be room for a tiny desk for the truck’s engineer-in-charge. From this desk the engineer has to establish the required architectures and workflows for the production, and monitor all the systems, from switchers to servers. Those systems may not all be in the production truck: there may be auxiliary vehicles, for replays, for multiple edit suites, sports statistics and more. All determined by the scale of coverage and event.

Given the space and weight constraint, the engineer really needs to be able to access everything from one point. The simplest, fastest and lightest way to achieve this is with a networked KVM (keyboard, video and mouse) switch. At the touch of a key the engineer will be able to see what is happening on any device in the whole system.

While solutions exist for monitoring multiple systems, these are separate devices (taking space and adding weight), and still only tend to report issues rather than letting the engineer get in and sort the problem. With a KVM switch the engineer can directly attach to any individual device, as if the laptop had been picked up and walked to the right part of the racks.

The Adder IP-based KVM system uses networked IP to switch and extend computer signals, which means there is no need for any additional cabling: it runs on the cabling already connecting the equipment. The high quality system means that the user experience is just as it would be if plugged into the back of the box: pixel perfect display and no lag on the keyboard or mouse.

It is simple, clean and most of all provides enhanced user ergonomics, minimising equipment and weight where it is most critical.

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