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IP to the Camera – Completing the Broadcast Chain – Part 3

Published on Nov 6, 2014 | News

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Stagebox is a compact unit that clips onto the back of a professional video camera using a standard V-Lock or Anton Bauer battery plate.  Stagebox combines all the camera interfaces including HD SDI, audio, intercom, IFB, timecode and camera control into a single Ethernet compliant CAT 5 or CAT 6 network connection.  The system also handles the generation and distribution of genlock providing an infrastructure for synchronous multi-camera production.

Stagebox IP Camera Back Transceiver

The heart of the Stagebox hardware consists of an ARM Cortex-A8 processor and a Xilinx FPGA.  It includes the traditional inputs and outputs required by a broadcast camera.  The Stagebox includes an HD SDI input and output utilizing two full-size BNC connectors as shown in figure 4.

Stagebox also includes genlock reference inputs and output to provide a genlock reference to each camera on mini BNC’s.  The genlock input can be optionally utilized to provide a master reference for the entire Stagebox network.  The network will generate its own reference signal if a master reference is not provided.

The processing latency is currently two frames.  Future firmware updates will achieve a latency of one frame.

The system interfaces with an IP network via an electrical or optical Ethernet small form pluggable or SFP I/O device.

Video, Timecode, Genlock and SFP

Figure 4, Stagebox Video, Timecode, Genlock and SFP Connections

The system also provides a bidirectional stereo analog audio interface on two five pin XLR connectors.  This is ideal for IFP, intercom or adding a microphone feed.  This also provides the ability to embed and de-embed audio to and from the HD SDI stream.  This is ideal for audio monitoring and for the addition of alternate audio sources.

The Stagebox includes a 12 VDC input on a four pin XLR as well as an RS-232, RS 422 and LANC camera control interface via a Lemo connector as shown in figure 5.

Bidirectional Analog Stereo Audio,

Figure 5, Bidirectional Analog Stereo Audio, 12 V DC and Camera Control Connections

The top of the Stagebox provides a multi-colored tally indicator with red for live, amber for standby and blue for alternate.  The system also provides a Wi-Fi antenna connection for administrative control and a reset button as shown in figure 6.

Tally, Wi-Fi Antenna Port, and Reset

Figure 6, Stagebox Top View with Tally, WIFI Antenna Port and Reset Button

Stagebox Typhoon Ingest Card

The Stagebox Typhoon Ingest Card along with the Stagebox Camera Back, enables end-to-end all IP workflows.  Stagebox is simple means of providing television production connectivity over Internet protocol connections.  The Typhoon card enables the capture of multiple compressed streams received on Ethernet or uncompressed streams via HD SDI BNC I/O’s as seen below in figure 7.

The card then provides direct memory access (DMA) to host memory for mixing and nonlinear editing (NLE).  The Typhoon card is integrated with Quadrus multichannel ingest software providing native editing in Avid, Final Cut Pro and Adobe nonlinear editing software.

This maintains original encoding without the need for converting to baseband, as is the case with current capture cards.  This card simultaneously performs HD SDI play out of streams received on the IP network.  A reference input provides genlock for synchronous HD SDI play out.

Typhoon Ingest Card

Figure 7, Stagebox Typhoon Ingest Card

Stagebox performs an AVI-100 video encoding and multicasts packets on a gigabit Ethernet network.  A workstation with a Stagebox Typhoon Ingest Card at the receiving endpoint performs the following functions:

  • Unpacks the UDP/RTP/IP stream
  • Decodes the AVCI-100 encoded frames for display on a SDI output as well as transfer to host memory.
  • Simultaneously transfers incoming compressed video streams to Host memory
  • Wraps encoded video and audio frames into Avid MXF/MOV containers
  • Writes MXF/MOV as files for storage

A computer or server operating system is not able to perform the real-time decoding of four channels of 10 bit HD SDI video for monitoring.  The Stagebox Typhoon Ingest Card offloads the decoding workload to hardware.  Please see the four channel Typhoon multiviewer window pictured below in figure 8.

4 Channel

Figure 8, Stagebox Typhoon 4 Channel Multiviewer Window

The Stagebox Typhoon Ingest Card gets its processing power from two public Xilinx Kintex7 FPGA’s as pictured below in figure 9.

The data paths supported by the Typhoon card include:

  • Compressed AV IN on IP, Compressed or Uncompressed OUT over PCIe to Host
  • Uncompressed HD SDI out of streams received via IP
  • Uncompressed IN on HD SDI and OUT over PCIe to Host

stagebox typhoon block diagram

Figure 9, Stagebox Typhoon Block Diagram.

Typhoon Features

The Typhoon card supports first and second generation PCI express (PCIe) with eight lanes of data throughput.   The card also incorporates CoreEL’s high-performance multichannel direct memory access (DMA) engine (Indus) for high-bandwidth applications like multimedia streaming, digital signal processing, networking and more.

The Typhoon card supports the de-encapsulation of audio RFC 3550 and video RFC 6184 carried over UDP/IP networks.  Four channels of 10 bit 4:2:2 AVCI-100 video are supported for decode with resolutions up to 1080p30.  Support for 1080p60 and 4K video are on the future roadmap. The card also supports 16 channels of 24bit LPCM audio for each video channel.

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