Cloudbass integrates Axon technology in its new UHD IP HDR OB truck
Driven by growing market demand for 4K production, Cloudbass has become “the first company in the world” to create an end-to-end, multivendor UHD IP HDR Outside Broadcast (OB) vehicle based on the ST2110 standard and with Axon’s Neuron signal processing technology at its core.
OB9, a 20 camera truck built from the ground up with help from systems integrator ES Broadcast, brings together products from manufacturers such us Arista, Evertz, GVG, Ross, Calrec, Riedel and Sony. It uses Axon technology to seamlessly integrate them into a workflow that is suited to live sports coverage that forms the bulk of Cloudbass’ business. The sophistication of Axon’s technology also allows Cloudbass to future-proof its facilities and stay at the top of its game.
In total, OB9 features 21 Neuron units, each packed with a plethora of processing features such as edge synchronizers and converters. Every unit offers 200 Gb/s and 64 1080p signals or 16 UHD channels with up to 80 SDI connectors, all in a single 1RU.
One of the main technical challenges of this project was integrating the ST2110 standard because different manufacturers use different block packing methods to transmit and receive data. Michael Beaumont, Cloudbass Technical Director, says Axon’s onsite support team helped identify these challenges during the build phase and worked hard to overcome them. “Axon Neuron accepts streams from any of the kit in the truck no matter what packing method or standard the manufacturer is using, making it by far the most flexible piece on equipment we have,” he says. “By removing the need for lots of external processing, Neuron gives the truck enormous flexibility, which proved particularly invaluable during our first UHD job for Sky Sports Boxing. Having up/down/cross conversion available to every path allowed me to run the truck internally UHD/3G and down-convert all of the feeds required for the other broadcasters onsite. Without Neuron, the amount of extra external glue required to provide frame-sync, colour correction and Up/Down/Cross conversion on every router input/output would be unimaginable.”
OB9 was officially unveiled this autumn and has already been deployed on major projects for Sky Sports, including the UEFA Football Euro 2020 Qualifiers, and for the RugbyX Tournament on ITV.
“We covered eight major OBs in the truck’s first 40 days, which is a very tall order for a truck build that only commenced in August,” Michael adds. “Without Axon technology this would have been a very different truck. My hope is that, once even more new features for the Neuron are released and IP connectivity becomes standardised on other items of equipment, OB9 will continue to evolve to keep up with new requirements not even dreamt of yet.”