By Brandon Costa, Director of Digital
Thursday, April 16, 2020 – 2:44 pm
In an effort to keep the broadcast-technology community informed this spring, throughout April, SVG is hosting a series of SportsTech On-Demand video interviews with executives from the industry’s top technology vendors discussing their latest product releases and company news. Our Brandon Costa sat down with Jim Jachetta, EVP and CTO, VidOvation, about the company’s efforts.
VidOvation is busier than ever, helping set up their clients for success with tools fit for multi-camera at-home/REMI live video production over cellular and the Public Internet. VidOvation’s solutions and services offer assistance in maintaining frame-accurate gen-lock and lip-sync across multiple cameras when transporting over an unmanaged network.
For more interviews and news from around the sports-video-production industry, visit SVG’s SportsTech Blog.
Brandon Costa: On this edition of SVG SportsTech On Demand, we talk at-home production in this wild world of social distancing and coronavirus that we’re in right now in the sports video production community. We are joined by Jim Jachetta. He is EVP and CTO of VidOvation. Jim, first off before we get started, hope you, your loved ones and your colleagues are doing well. How you holding up out there?
Jim Jachetta: Yes, we’re keeping safe. The majority of our staff is working at home. We have a small team in the office supporting the ongoing needs of customers during this change, or I guess not to be too cliché, the new normal.
Brandon Costa: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Jim Jachetta: Right?
Brandon Costa: Yup, for sure. Well, we kind of teased it a little bit at the top, at-home, REMI, home-run, whatever you want to call it. A trend in the industry that certainly had a lot of steam coming into 2020 on its own. Now, with so many people working remotely out of pure necessity, be it through cloud-based or IP-based workflows, really kind of fits into VidOvation’s wheelhouse, and something that you guys have been specializing in for some time. So how, and in what ways, has the company responded in how things have transformed over the past month?
Jim Jachetta: Yeah. So, I mean, we’ve been championing at-home and REMI production for quite a few years now. Particularly over the more challenging unmanaged networks, such as cellular and public internet. And one of the particular challenges is, as we all know, cellular and public internet can be very unpredictable, dropping packets, changing latency, it’s a very unpredictable connection. But VidOvation, and our partner AVIWEST, were able to maintain frame-accurate gen-lock and lip-sync. And if you’re doing a multi-camera environment that’s very important, so we’ve been talking about this for years. Now we find many of our customers have already implemented this technology. Now we’re finding customers scrambling to implement our technology. So their graphics engineer, or their EVS operator, or their video engineer, or transmission engineer, can work from home. We’ve seen a trend before this, now it’s just going to be worse, where we’re all working. There’s so much competition for the viewers’ eyeballs, whether it’s Netflix, YouTube, Hulu. Ad revenues are declining, production costs are increasing, and as you and Sports Video Group have been discussing for many years, the trend, or the benefits, of at-home or REMI production.
Jim Jachetta: But, to kind of frame it around what’s happening right now, one of the key benefits is reducing labor and travel costs. So, your production specialist, your knowledge worker, your operator who knows how to work that EVS. They work from home now, or they work at a centralized master control. They sleep in their own bed at night. So, I find that the most dangerous thing during corona now is doorknobs in public places. I don’t look forward to flying anytime soon, being in that tin can with people sneezing on you, all that recirculated air. It reduces labor costs, travel costs, and also the same skilled worker can do more than one production in a day. They could do a game on the East coast in the morning, or early afternoon, and then in their evening do an afternoon game on the West coast. So, if they travel on site, they can only do one game at a time, or one event at a time. So, these are some of the benefits that we’re seeing.
Brandon Costa: Okay. What are a couple of the specific solutions that you guys at VidOvation are offering right now? Whether they be particularly new, or just really, really top of mind, a lot of people are asking for it right now in this new norm?
Jim Jachetta: Well, as I mentioned, the AVIWEST technology is really good for an unmanaged network. If you’re working over a managed network, we have solutions from V-Nova. And V-Nova is really an alternative to JPEG 2000. We’ve been using JPEG 2000… What? 20 plus years, something like that. 15 years. It’s kind of the industry standard, mezzanine, high bit rate, high quality transport, but it can be very bandwidth-hungry. And V-Nova came out with a new codec, which was ratified recently by SMPTE. It’s now the VC-6 or SMPTE ST-2117. And what it gives you is a higher quality version of JPEG 2000, or JPEG XS, or it’s even competitive with compressed… I’m sorry, with uncompressed. I’m sorry. So, it’s a very high quality. So if you’re looking at 4K, or UHD, you get savings on the order of 70% in bandwidth, and with HD, about 25% of bandwidth. And in most applications, especially on a managed network, bandwidth costs money. So, if you can save 70%, or 25%, for most customers, that’s pretty significant.
|VC-6 ST 2117 P,Pro||Uncompressed||JPEG XS||JPEG 2000|
|Compression||90 - 1||1 - 1||4 - 1||10 - 1|
|2160p60 Video in 1GB pipe||7||0||0||0|
|2160p60 Video in 10GB pipe||76||0||2||8|
|1080i60 video in 1GB pipe||16||0||2||6|
|1080i60 video in 10GB pipe||166||6||25||66|
Brandon Costa: For sure. All right, Jim. Well, we really appreciate you sharing your expertise with us. We obviously wish you guys nothing but the best. And hopefully next time we see ya, it’ll be able to be in person, all right?
Jim Jachetta: Thank you so much. Be safe. Be healthy.
Brandon Costa: All right. Of course.
Jim Jachetta: Thank you.
Brandon Costa: He is Jim Jachetta, EVP and CTO of VidOvation. To find out more, and to check out more of the SVG SportsTech On Demand series, visit us at sportsvideo.org.