Interview with Svein Håvard Haugen, Broadcast Technology Product Manager at Nevion
Nevion is currently in a good place, as we can see when talking to its Broadcast Technology Product Manager, Svein Håvard Haugen. The company has achieved a remarkable corporate transformation to lead the industry shift from traditional baseband (SDI) to IP. As Svein highlights, the IP technology will not be only introduced in the contribution space, but also in the production side.
“The movement from SDI to IP is a large shift in technology, but also requires a huge shift of the business as well”, explains Svein. “We realized quite early that we needed to change our company to face this shift, and this turned out to be a great opportunity for us. What we saw is that our value lied not only in the product, but it was also in our IP knowledge and architectural skills. This allowed us to help broadcasters realize their business potential”.
Would you highlight some of your milestones?
We are dedicated to making world class products, but in recent years, Nevion has adapted to become more consultative and cover projects, and grown its service offering accordingly. One thing that I would like to highlight on the solution side is the LAN/WAN convergence, as we call it. This means erasing the boundaries between contribution, in-house production, and remote production, and that these combine onto the same network over time. We have enabled this in several projects already.
In terms of our flagship products, we have the Virtuoso, a software-defined media platform for doing IP encapsulations and processing.
Our latest addition to its feature-set is functionality dedicated in-studio application with audio processing, SMPTE 2110 support. And with this being a software-based platform, this added functionality updates this platform, letting the functionality of a system evolve over time without replacing equipment.
Then, we have VideoIPath, a management platform for orchestration and SDN control, which now is also moving much more into the production space with the ability to do event planning and bringing simple to use operator interfaces. It also allows management of data services over the same network. These are just some of our highlights.
What type remote production projects did you start with?
We have a long history in the field of remote productions. We started with remote productions a long time ago, enabling a company called PAC-12, amongst others, to do college sports productions remotely. In these early projects, we saw some of the initial benefits of remote productions, which are the cost savings. You can do productions that would be difficult to make profitable without remote productions.
So, would you highlight some of your latest projects?
Firstly, I would like to highlight the HDR Denmark project. It is a small production for Danish horse racing. This is not a twenty-camera production; it is actually just a two-camera production, but the business case was challenging. The main consideration was how to make a profit in a production of this type. So, we developed and architected a solution that enabled them to minimize the amount of staff needed in the production. That made it possible for the production company to obtain positive profits.
A larger production that I can highlight is our project with PLAZAMEDIA, a Germany-based content solution provider and one of the leading producers of sports TV in the German-speaking area. PLAZAMEDIA approached us with the challenge to migrate one of its productions, Germany’s famous football talk show “Der Volkswagen Doppelpass”, from traditional OB to remote production. IP technology was chosen as the most suitable solution due to the connectivity available between the production site and the broadcast facility and the significant amount of control requirements. Thanks to us, production sites could be treated as extensions of the main production facility. This enabled PLAZAMEDIA to position the production team in the most suitable location in terms of effectiveness and workflow requirements.
As you see, each production is different. There is no one size fits all. In each case, the connectivity and the equipment preference is different, and we also must consider how people want the remote production to work. Typically, audio people need to be close to where things are happening because they need to deal with things like microphones, and hear correspondence with the actual live audio from stage. But the video mixing could be done remotely by staff sitting off-site. There are many different ways of doing remote productions, it depends on each project. You must find the correct solution and understand what they are trying to do, whilst considering how they can meet the cost of that production.
In addition, I really wanted to emphasize the broadcast station built for TV2, the largest commercial television broadcaster in Norway. We provided the IP-based software defined network (SDN) solution that connected studios, control rooms and data centers within and between the broadcaster’s two main production facilities in Oslo and Bergen. The solution, which formed part of TV 2’s move to IP across the production workflow, enabled the broadcaster to make better use of production talent, equipment and locations.
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