Gravity Media Outside Broadcast Equipment. Built for future talents
Gravity Media is a technical and human services provider focused on broadcast and multimedia event production that operates worldwide. As part of our research into the current state of this technology, we approached this company to see for ourselves what their capabilities are, how they are adapting to new workflows and in which direction they will evolve in the race to adapt to challenges that will change this industry; challenges such as the cloud.
What resources does Gravity Media have for Outside Broadcast?
Our fleet of Gravity Media mobile units, outside broadcast and DSNG trucks serve a worldwide market. With vehicles based in Australia, US, UK, France and Qatar, our outside broadcast and DSNG trucks are designed and built taking into account all broadcast environments.
Sirius, is the latest addition to our fleet. This new custom-built outside broadcast vehicle is based in Paris, France and supports 18 cameras, with up to three vision operators, two replay operators, and an OB supervisor position. It can accommodate fourteen staff in high tech, climate-controlled comfort.
Specifically, what technology have you implemented in this new vehicle?
The technology that can be found inside our latest addition to the equipment is detailed in different sections.
The mixer is a Sony MVS 8000G model with 51 inputs and 24 outputs, four MediaStore channels and eight DVE.
Regarding the video and audio grid, it has a 64×64 HD/3G video solution and a 256×256 audio solution. There are audio embedding and de-embedding capabilities on all inputs/outputs (64 madi).
As we said, there is space for 18 3G/HD cameras, but also for twelve camera chains on fiber or triaxial and six special cameras such as PTZ, HF or mini cameras.
The audio console is a Calrec BRIO 96 Hydra 2 Hub / Dante & Madi card. It has 36 faders, 96 channels, 156 DSP, 36 Busses and four Stereo Mix or 5.1. A Behringer X32 is installed as reinforcement console.
The audio processing is done with a Yamaha RSIO solution with Dante / 64 Madi conversion. A Madi M1K2 grid with 1024 x 1024 channels; two Andiamo Stage Boxes over fibre; two more Calrec Hydra 2 Stageboxes; and a double telephone insert have also been implemented.
The Sirius replay system is based on EVS technology and has capacity for eight channels. It also has other EVS solutions such as a Xile 3 and an IP Direct. It also has twelve combined recorders in BMD Hyperdeck SSD / Xdcam / AJA Kipro solutions and four H264 recorders via USB.
The truck’s intercom system is the Riedel Artist model with 128-port capacity. There are twelve integrated panels, an Intercom Camera Prod + ENG, 32 tielines 4W Ext / Audio mixer and three Talback duplex radios with twelve Walkie Talkies.
On the other hand, the camera control positions are three equipped with Sony PVM technology, WFM Harris 3G, Mon Pix and Touchdown. In addition, there is also a position equipped for the manager.
The audio monitoring is based on two Genelec 8020 loudspeakers, a 5.1 PMC listening system, RTW vumeters, Sony PVM17 devices, etc.
What is the status of Gravity Media’s Outside Broadcast equipment?
Equipped with advanced HD and 4K technology, they are crewed by highly experienced Gravity Media supervisors and engineers who are skilled in supporting a wide range of productions.
Features range from the provision of 4K monitor walls, 4K/HD cameras, and multi-format audio-visual capabilities to van-based units fully equipped to transport live HD footage from hard-to-get-to locations.
What is the latest renovation process these infrastructures have undergone?
We partner with specialized body builders to oversee the design and construction of Gravity Media’s custom outdoor broadcast trucks. We can design, build, integrate and finish any type of vehicle or mobile unit, from rigid and expandable trucks, to remote and “in house” production vehicles and small camera and capsule units. For every custom OB truck build, we offer our broadcast systems expertise, from planning and project management to design, engineering, installation, commissioning, training and aftercare.
From the capture to the sending of signals, what technology and what brands can we find in your most outstanding OB vehicles?
We always aim to align ourselves with the leading manufacturers in the industry – working closely with them to fully understand their roadmap and that’s how we guarantee that we bring the latest innovation to our clients.
What is the current use made of this type of equipment?
Workflows are evolving all the time – there is constant change in this space in line with the shift in remote and UHD format. We design our OB vehicles with our clients future proofed needs in mind – to deliver the best experience for our clients. Always ensuring we stay ahead of the tech curve.
What are the maximum resolution capabilities of your OB Vehicles?
All our Flypacks and OB units are UHD / HDR capable and incorporate the latest IP tech.
In the age of cloud and remote production, what does the future hold for these personnel?
It is where you allocate and what skills set is required – a shift in talent needs, but we have always adopted a strong policy of training and development – building for the next future talent.
We regularly hold proof of concepts – i.e. the recent AWS where we invite people to collaborate around that and bring everyone together to make decisions around how to best use cloud-based tech.
Can you tell us what that proof of concept consisted of and what conclusions you drew?
At that event, together with ATP Media, the broadcast and media arm of the ATP Tour, and Amazon Web Services, we collaborated with some of the industry’s leading vendors to conduct a proof-of-concept (PoC) of large-scale virtualized live streaming production, based on AWS, during the first 4 days of the Rolex Paris Masters (an ATP Masters 1000 event). Manufacturers and software developers included were Grass Valley, Vizrt, Simplylive, Sienna ND, Deltatre, Grabyo and MAVIS.
The goal of the trial was to gain first-hand experience of the capabilities and benefits of AWS-based virtualized live streaming production in a real-world application.
A twin of ATP Media’s main production facility in Bercy, Paris, was set up at Gravity Media’s Farnborough facility. There, a live broadcast was produced and key aspects were assessed such as live video mixing, including the use of multiple MEs, transitions, DVEs, keyers and physical control surfaces; ingest and recording capabilities; slow motion replays; data-driven graphics; the ability to generate remote multiviewers and the idea of sending signals; audio mixing; and fast editing. All cloud-based.
In addition to working in a stand-alone configuration, testing included various combinations of products from different vendors, so that interoperability could be evaluated.
From the main court in Paris, twelve live camera feeds, with audio, and two Hawk-Eye ball tracking streams, were sent over AWS Elemental Media Connect fiber. These were delivered to a dedicated virtual private cloud (VPC) in the Western Europe region.
Vendors deployed their solutions in instances of this VPC. In addition to running live matches, with graphics and replays, an instance of Adobe Premiere Pro was running in the VPC, controlled via a NICE DCV desktop client. Editors were able to access and edit content seamlessly and in real time to share with live production.
Gravity’s Farnborough facility provided an additional aspect of discovery, as the industrial unit was not “on-net” in terms of being connected to ATP Media’s global fiber network, so the two PCRs that were built had to run over a standard enterprise-grade Internet line.
Through this opportunity we discovered the reality of using AWS cloud services in a live sports production. Today, we continue to work closely with AWS and manufacturers to further diversify our offering to incorporate more off-prem solutions. We want to make the end-to-end virtualized solution a reality.
What will the OB Vehicles of the future look like and how will they be used?
Gravity Media is currently building an exciting brand-new truck in late 2022 which will be completely sustainable. We look forward to bringing an industry first to the broadcast industry.