In this instance, we had the opportunity to test one of those products so innovative that it can be hardly compared to any other. This is the case with LYNX Technik’s greenMachine, a truly complete signal converter in optimized hardware, featuring an intuitive configuration. Let us look at it in more detail.
By Yeray Alfageme, Service Manager Olympic Channel
greenMachine is not a device meant for a specific purpose, but a hardware equipment combination -the greenMachine titan- with many configurations (also called ‘constellations’) offering a series of features that result in various functions that can be reprogrammed by means of control software.
The current generation of greenMachine titan is capable of processing up to four 3G/HD/SD-SDI signals or a single 4K/UHD signal. It supports 12G processing up to 2160/p60 and uses a two sample interleave (2SI) technique.
- 3 x SD/HD/3G SDI inputs. Level A and Level B dual-link.
- 3 x SD/HD/3G SDI outputs. Level A and Level B dual-link.
- 1 x SD/HD/3G/12G SDI input. 12G Single Link / Quad Link 2 SI Level A / B dual-link
- 1x SD/HD/3G/12G SDI output. 12G Single Link / Quad Link 2 SI Level A / B dual-link
- 1 x HDMI 4K/UHD (1.4b) input and 1 x HDMI 4K/UHD HDMI (1.4b) output
- 1 x reference signal input and looped (black burst or tri-level) output
- Ethernet LAN connection
- 4 x balanced analog or digital AES audio inputs.
- 4 x balanced analog or digital AES audio outputs.
- 4 x GPI/O inputs and outputs.
- 1 x SDI input or output in SD/HD/3G fiber (optional).
- 1 x 12G-SDI input or output in SD/HD/3G/6G/12G fiber (optional).
- LAN fiber connection (optional).
Additionally, it has two connectors for two external supply systems, which gives us an idea of the fact that this device is intended for use in high-availability environments.
It takes half the space of a rack unit, so it can be fitted in parallel with another greenMachine, thus supplying in a single rack unit eight simultaneous 3G-SDI processors. A remarkably surprising density.
Constellations – customizing the greenMachine
When purchasing a greenMachine titan hardware unit, we have a basic routing function between input and output connectors, as well as D/A or A/D audio conversion. All other functionalities are available through constellations, which are greenMachine’s specific functionalities being licensed -and therefore, acquired separately.
All constellations available at the time of purchasing the machine are installed in the firmware and all future constellations may be installed by means of a simple firmware update. All the unlicensed constellations available in the firmware can be tested without purchasing, and include awatermarked output. Once the license of a constellation is purchased, the watermark is removed from the output.
Constellations available at present are:
- HDR Static: Static converter for HDR->SDR, SDR->HDR, and between various HDR standards for signals up to 4K.
- Testor: Test signal generator for both 4K and HD -up to 4 signals- as well as for HDMI.
- FrameSync Quad: Video synchronizer for 4 3G-SDI channels.
- UPXD 4K: 4K<->HD SDR converter.
- BIDI Transport: To transform a pair of greenMachines into equipment for video and audio transport on Ethernet. Capabilities depend on the available bandwidth.
This is a configuration enabling conversion from HDR to SDR. It may seem the same as HDR Static, but HDR Evie entails dynamic conversion; that is where the real big difference lies.
And this is because there are HDR standards, such as PQ or Slog3, where luminance values are dynamic based on the particular scene, in which HDR Evie really shows its full potential. Once the greenMachine has been properly configured with the HDR Evie constellation, the system is capable of adapting conversion dynamically and in real time to generate a proper SDR signal always within adequate luminance ranges for the SDR 709 standard without distorting the original luminance.
This functionality can be used in 4K as well as with 4x 3G-SDI simultaneous channels.
Although it can be configured by means of a front panel in the hardware featuring backlit buttons and a multi-function knob that are truly reliable and easy to operate, we recommend using the greenGUI software. It just requires connecting the greenMachine to the network through an Ethernet port and access its IP by means of the software. Then the software will proceed to automatically discover any greenMachines hooked up to the network.
When more than one greenMachine are connected at the same time on a network, a greenUniverse is generated. This entails a host of advantages in addition to being able to configure all our greenMachines from a single spot. For instance, we can share constellations between greenMachines in an automated fashion. The greenGUI software detects all licenses existing in all machines and makes them available to the entire network, thus enabling to easily share features amongst them.
The greenGUI software is really intuitive and provides a simple graphical interface in which all complex configurations can be achieved as required.
We always share the idea of making complex things simple and a graphical interface allowing configuration by blocks is one of the simplest ways that we came across.
It represents in a complete manner a mental image we follow when performing any configuration and in regards to greenGUI – which offers countless parameters and configurations – this is a must.
The HDR Evie constellation allows:
- HDR -> SDR conversion with support for PQ, HLG, SLog3, as well as Rec. 601, Rec. 709 color spaces and Wide Color Gammut Rec.2020.
- 4K UHD escalator that allows choosing the area to escalate.
- Frame synchronizer, either 4K or 4 x 3G-SDI.
- Embedding and de-embedding of analog and digital audio.
- Generator for 4K and HD test signals. It is not as complete as Testor, but sufficient for most applications.
- Advanced audio processing, allowing gain adjustments, stereo-mono and mono-stereo conversion, audio switching and advanced routing. It even allows adding a delay of up to 30 frames to each audio signal independently.
- Color and gain correction through adjustment of each color component as well as the image’s black and white levels.
- Processing of metadata.
The greenMachine platform is a complete, truly versatile signal processing environment. The combination of the titan hardware with the available constellations provides the system with great processing power.
This, coupled with the greenGUI software and the creation of greenUniverse, makes it possible to have a fully centralized signal processing environment. Configuring the system may turn out a bit tedious in view of the multiple options available, but only a bit of practice will suffice to get acquainted with the controlling software.
There are few solutions in the market that can compare to the greenMachine, which makes this system a really interesting option. It may seem strange to us in some aspects, but both its concept and implementation are really simple.
The HDR Evie constellation, arriving soon, is an HDR->SDR conversion solution that solves many of the problems involved in this conversion; all this in half a rack unit and up to four simultaneous channels. A processing capacity and density feature hard to attain by other similar systems.
More information at: http://www.hdrevie.com/