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New Horizons in Powering Real-time Graphics Production

Seeing is believing. That’s why great storytellers know the most impactful way to engage their audiences is with stunning graphics. They provide the visual reinforcement vital to capturing and captivating a viewer’s attention. Stunning images in virtual settings, augmented reality elements, on-air graphics and more require broadcasters to stay ahead of the technology. Workflows for tomorrow, need to be future-proofed today.

The new Avid Maestro | Engine is Avid’s next gen scalable graphics and video rendering platform created with future technologies in mind. It turbocharges your production workflow with real-time rendering for broadcast graphics, virtual studios, augmented reality, squeezebacks & data-driven graphics, and video wall content.

 

Future-proof your graphics production

Maestro | Engine was designed to grow with you as your technologies and workflows evolve. Currently, the Maestro | Engine platform supports SD, HD, and UHD formats, with HDR capabilities coming soon. Field changeable interface boards enables migration from SDI to IP, whenever you’re ready. Integration into your current workflows is simple because Maestro | Engine offers backwards compatibility for your existing content. Built for today’s and tomorrow’s broadcast needs, Maestro | Engine ensures a high return on your investment.

 

Create with unparalleled realism

Avid is pioneering a new generation of photo-realist virtual environments with Maestro | Engine 4K. Working with Epic’s Unreal Engine, it elevates your virtual set productions to truly cinematic levels. All virtual studio elements are rendered using Unreal Engine, while simultaneously overlaying data-driven augmented reality graphics with Maestro | RenderEngine. The result is virtual environments with astonishing levels of realism, depth and detail.

Produce stunning content in all resolutions

Maestro | Engine provides advanced graphics rendering in the highest possible quality SD, HD and UHD formats. Working with Maestro | RenderEngine software, content can be driven to multiple canvases, scale content up or down, and crop it to preview large scale video walls with a single feed.

 

Integrate video playback into your graphic presentations

Empower your design teams to create background elements or textures mapped onto scene objects by adding video clips. Maestro | Engine can play back video on its local drive, Avid NEXIS, or other storage devices. This empowers your team to quickly turnaround video elements and incorporate them into graphics enhancements.

Scale for your needs

Two hardware configurations make Maestro | Engine scalable for any production need. With up to eight video insertions and up to four outputs, including fill and key, Maestro | Engine handles most standard CG needs and dual channel productions. For higher resolution demands, Maestro | Engine 4K offers up to 16 video insertions and up to eight outputs. For UHD production, four fill and four key outputs are available.

 

Manage your graphics from anywhere, with any device

A web-based interface for all systems management enables your team to manage and configure settings from any computer or device on your network, from anywhere with internet access. Make changes to user access rights, video formats, genlock sources, input and output mapping, and other settings right from your desktop in the studio, or your tablet in the field.

 

Protect your productions

Reliable workflows are crucial for 24/7 enterprises. Maestro | Engine features dual power supplies, dual network interfaces, and software and hardware watchdogs to ensure your production is not interrupted by any systems going offline. You can even create your own live back-up to on-air systems using the Maestro graphics suite application to control multiple Maestro | Engines.

As the pace of production accelerates, the need for real-time graphic support is becoming the rule, not the exception. Avid Maestro | Engine and Maestro | Engine 4K answers that need with real-time production and performance, scaled specifically for your workflow to grow for the future.

Maestro Graphics

Make your broadcast come alive with graphics that explain, enhance, and enliven your content. The Maestro graphics suite helps broadcasters strengthen their brand with stunning 2D and 3D graphics. 




Create Without Limits with Avid Maestro | Designer

Seeing is believing. Visual reinforcement is the most persuasive tool to connect with viewers. Storytellers use compelling images and powerful graphic embellishments to communicate their message with impact. Of course, graphics tools can take many forms; from on-air motion graphics, channel branding and sports enhancements, to designing immersive video walls and interactive virtual shows. This wide array of production flourishes can result in workflow silos requiring cumbersome work-arounds.

Avid unifies these often disparate processes with Maestro | Designer, the central component of a state-of-the-art graphics ecosystem that integrates directly into your overall media workflow. Coupled with RenderEngine 7, Maestro | Designer enables your team to create stunning 2D and 3D content in up to 16K resolution that captivates viewers and reinforces your brand.

Let’s look at just some of the ways Maestro | Designer can help differentiate your productions from competitors:

• Create 2D/3D motion graphics in real time that maximize brand showcasing on the set or in the field

• Get content on the air quickly with graphics that update automatically for weather coverage, sports scores, election results, and stock prices

• Save time and resources by leveraging your existing graphics tools by eliminating the need for pre-rendering content, scripting, or programming

• Maximize workflow efficiency with a simple, intuitive UI that can be used anywhere on any device

Avid is also ensuring Maestro | Designer remains at the cutting edge of graphics authoring software applications. Our most recent update, Maestro | Designer is endowed with powerful new features for improved capabilities and performance.

 

Integrate designers into your MediaCentral workflow

Further integration into the Avid MediaCentral platform empowers your designers with even easier access to robust media search, browse, and preview capabilities. The Maestro | Designer interface is now integrated into the MediaCentral | Cloud UX panel, eliminating the need to switch back and forth between apps. The RenderEngine preview window enables your team to drag and drop media directly to the object tree. Even your journalists benefit by using MediaCentral | Cloud UX to easily insert assets into Maestro templates from the field.

 

Enable back-to-back playback

Now you can get your content on the air and online even faster, with the new Maestro | Designer playback engine. It can play a variety of video content back-to-back and features a dedicated Audio Mixer application. The new playback capabilities also include start time scheduling, audio mapping, reversing clips, and changing speed.

 

Create vivid color gradients

Maestro | Designer’s new gradient slider tool makes it easier than ever to create multicolor gradients. An unlimited number of color stop points make the effect look more harmonious and natural, without having to rely on third-party graphics tools.

If visuals are the most important part of the storyteller’s tool box, then graphics are often the most descriptive tool. With the demand for media content escalating rapidly, integrating graphic production and delivery into your overall media workflow has never been more necessary. Avid Maestro | Designer not only empowers your designers to create without limits, but also accelerates how and when those graphics are utilized.

Avid Maestro | Designer

Captivate audiences with stunning real-time 2D and 3D graphics for news, sports shows, elections, weather segments, and other types of broadcast production.




Introducing Avid Maestro | PowerWall at NAB 2018

Technology and creativity are intertwined. Vibrant, scintillating productions are often dependent upon the tools used to illuminate storytelling. Stand-out productions are essential to separate yourself from the competition, and further entrench your brand. Avid’s studio solutions are developed specifically to meet these goals, and empower your production teams to unleash their creativity, leaving imaginations unbound by the usual studio constraints.

Now, at NAB 2018, Avid is proud to unveil Maestro | PowerWall, its next gen video wall solution enabling you to assign, control and manage content displayed across multiple high-resolution studio displays.  Rich media, including real-time 3D graphics, video, augmented reality content, images, visual effects, and live data feeds, all controlled by a single touchscreen user interface. And with a new pre-production tool that allows you to get to air and adapt to changes faster.

 

Engage viewers with dynamic, compelling imagery

Maestro | PowerWall boosts your productions’ “WOW” factor, by introducing dynamic, high-resolution content to enhance your storytelling capabilities. By combining video and graphics processing into one solution, Maestro | PowerWall enables you to control and display up to Ultra HD resolution on an unlimited amount of display surfaces – even if some have unconventional dimensions.

 

Manage multiple displays with ease

With more studios using multiple video walls, monitors and projectors to enrich their storytelling, executing technically seamless productions requires a workflow that cleanly choreographs these multiple display assets. Maestro | PowerWall puts complete command of each of these devices at your fingertips, with a single touch-screen interface. Easily manage multiple display surfaces, regardless of aspect ratio, size, shape or resolution. Dynamic Preview lets you produce with confidence by providing an actual replica of your studio displays, including their positions, orientations and aspect ratios, on a single monitor.

Streamline your control room

Maestro | PowerWall is the all-in-one, end-to-end workflow solution that eliminates the need for separate video processors or real-time graphics systems. It even provides up to eight internal HD clip players.  Because it integrates seamlessly with existing workflows, (Grass Valley, Ross, Sony, Snell & Wilcox, Blackmagic Design, Evertz and NVision) you minimize costs, complexity and studio footprint requirements.

 

Get to air faster and easier

New pre-production tools empower your team to respond immediately to breaking news or last-minute changes. Your team can quickly create and customize graphic templates on-the-fly, accelerating turn-around time for graphics content and playout. The touch-screen interface is sleek and intuitive for easy training and operation. A single operator can assign and play content, while independently or simultaneously controlling different production areas.

 

Go big – really BIG

Sometimes bigger is better, and Maestro | PowerWall gives you the scalability for blockbuster production values. Display content up to 16x the size of your HD-SDI video outputs, and up to 8x the size of your 1080p outputs, all without the need for an expensive video scaler. Fill the biggest video wall displays with SD, HD, 3G, UHD, 4K and other high-resolution formats simultaneously across inputs and outputs. 4K clips can even display in full resolution using four HD-SDI outputs to your video wall.

 

Bring editorial content to studio displays

Maestro | PowerWall is tightly integrated with MediaCentral | Newsroom Management, and can be integrated with commonly used newsroom computer systems. Generate editorial content directly from your newsroom software, insert it into your Maestro | PowerWall rundown, and then trigger it manually or automatically to keep up with fast-paced, and rapidly changing newscasts.

 

Avid Maestro | PowerWall in action

Avid Maestro | PowerWall’s flexibility and scalability makes it adaptable to solving even the most unique production challenges. CBS’s The Late Show design team decided they wanted to display imagery on different sized and shaped surfaces, including The Ed Sullivan Theater’s iconic domed ceiling. The challenge: how to execute complex video projection, on-the-fly, with content that must be unique every night, in a high-stress live-to-tape production environment. To see how they worked with Avid to develop a truly unique solution, watch the video.

“Technology alone is not enough.”

Steve Jobs, founder of Apple

Giving your team the latest technology will keep you competitive. Empowering your team to create without limits will allow your productions to rise above competitors, and develop a singularly unique brand pillar. As demand spirals for compelling video and audio content, establishing key differentiators becomes more difficult. To see how Avid Maestro | PowerWall can take your productions to new horizons, please come and see our demonstration at Upper South Hall – Booth SU801 (located next to the hall entrance).

Maestro | PowerWall

Captivate viewers and bring excitement to your studio, news, or sports production with Avid’s innovative display control and management solution.




Introducing Avid Maestro | Virtual Set Powered by Unreal Engine at NAB 2018

Vivid, vibrant productions capture the attention of viewers. In today’s market, the flexibility and utility of news and sports’ production environments are essential for engaging storytelling. More and more broadcasters are seeing the advantages of dynamic, tractable virtual studio designs and augmented reality graphics, that can be customized for story enrichment.

In the world of graphic creation, Epic’s Unreal Engine is considered the standard in high-end rendering platforms for games. Avid has chosen to pair-up with Unreal so virtual studio and augmented reality based productions can benefit from the photo realistic renders for AR experiences. Recognizing Unreal is not geared towards the real-time updates also required during a live production, Avid is combining its existing graphics engine workflow with Unreal’s to provide customized graphics over the virtual set layer. Both are packaged together on a single platform, controlled from the same user interface, and maintain the broadcaster’s existing Avid workflow.

 

Maestro | Virtual Set — anything but virtual

By incorporating Unreal Engine into your studio workflow, you can enrich your graphics with dynamic shadow options, reflections, lighting and more to the already powerful graphic capabilities of Maestro | Virtual Set. The result is stunning realism, establishing a true differentiator for news and sports productions.

Real-time data-driven graphics to tell your story

Maestro | Virtual Set allows your production teams to incorporate up-to-the-second accurate data-driven graphics, videos and additional content in your news and studio productions. These productions can be enriched even further by adding captivating augmented reality elements.

 

User-friendly design easily integrates into your workflow

Maestro | Virtual Set works seamlessly within the proven Avid MediaCentral environment. As a complete, end-to-end studio solution, it allows you to continue using your current design tools, like 3DSMax, Maya, Blender, etc. to create virtual studio backgrounds. Additionally, you can compile scenes from Unreal Engine’s extensive library and deploy them on your Avid platform.

 

Easy-to-use single interface

Maestro | Virtual Set’s single interface combines Avid’s existing graphics engine workflow with Unreal Engine, to provide updateable graphics over the virtual set layer. Users can control both virtual backgrounds and on-air graphics from the same screen. They can also be triggered to air by studio automation or switchers.

Stunning, reliable realism

Paired with Avid Xync 2.0, Maestro | Virtual Set embellishes your productions with virtual environments that are visually authentic. From unmatched camera tracking, to sophisticated crane and dolly sequences with unlimited 360-degree tracking, multi-camera productions are executed in perfect sync.

Give your team the freedom to create everything they imagine. Maestro | Virtual Set enhances your productions with stunning Unreal Engine imagery that stands-out from your competition. To see just how Avid Maestro | Virtual Set is forging new horizons for unique studio creation, come and see our demonstration at Upper South Hall – Booth SU801 (located next to the hall entrance).

Maestro | Virtual Set

With Maestro | Virtual Set, you can easily create photo-realistic environments and enhance any production to better engage viewers and enhance storytelling.




Deliver Your Content at Lightning Speed — The Avid FastServe Family at NAB 2018

Effectively managing your media is becoming significantly more complex. From the ever-increasing number of incoming video feeds, to the simultaneous delivery of content on multiple platforms that demand an array of formats and standards, workflows are being stretched and segmented. The challenge is to incorporate ingest, editing and playout seamlessly into your production process.

Avid’s family of FastServe video servers was specifically developed to offer news, sports and entertainment productions lightning fast turnaround times. The unified architecture tightly integrates with the MediaCentral platform, empowering your creative teams to deliver content faster, and more efficiently. FastServe is also a cost-effective solution because it supports a higher channel count per video server for a lower overall cost per channel in a smaller footprint.

The FastServe family is available in three configurations, optimized for different production needs:

Avid FastServe | Live Edit

In breaking news and sporting events, the ability to quickly turnaround images and footage on-the-fly is essential. FastServe Live | Edit allows one control room operator to capture the drama you want, and instantly get it on the air and online. No rendering, no waiting on an editor, just instantaneous playout, right from the control room. And FastServe | Live Edit can pull highlights from multiple incoming feeds, incorporating ingest, editing and playout, all from the same box.

 

Avid FastServe | Ingest

Covering live events demands the ability to manage concurrent incoming feeds for quick turnaround and delivery to all types of distribution channels. FastServe | Ingest gives production teams dual ingest of high-res and proxy directly into Avid NEXIS, with immediate “edit-while-capture” availability without any interruption of the overall feed recording and storage.

 

Avid FastServe | Playout

The new FastServe | Playout HD/UHD video server consolidates both video and graphics playback in a single system.  It enables you to play multiple sequences made up of different wrappers and codecs back to back from the same playlist—all without transcoding. It provides a modern user interface that is tightly integrated into the MediaCentral platform and accommodates different production needs.

Some of the new features Avid will be announcing at NAB for the first time include:

 

• Proxy ingest enhancing Edit While Capture workflows:

FastServe | Ingest now offers the ability to ingest 8 channels of XDcam while at the same time generating 8 corresponding high-quality H.264 proxy streams, for a smooth editing experience.

 

• Support for streamlined multi cam workflows:

FastServe | Ingest, already a powerful solution for multi-camera HD and UHD ingest, and offering extremely efficient file based transfer from ingest to post production, now offer synchronize ingest of multiple channels over multiple servers Support for file name and metadata in Japanese and Latin-based languages.

 

• Support for Send to Playback

With support for Send-to-Playback, FastServe | Playout can be seamlessly integrated with existing Airspeed environments

 

• And much more

 

All three of the FastServe boxes easily integrate with Avid NEXIS storage, for instant availability. Because of the modular design, each FastServe box offers different, customizable solutions for a variety of workflows and production environments. The FastServe family gives you the power to future proof your technology today by being fully compatible with HD, UHD, SDI and Video Over IP.

Empower your production teams to provide the most compelling and engaging viewer experience. Fast, efficient and cost-effective, Avid FastServe is your live coverage differentiator. To see just how the Avid FastServe family can accelerate your workflow, come and see our demonstration at Upper South Hall – Booth SU801 (located next to the hall entrance).

Deliver the Story First

The Avid FastServe family tightly integrates with the MediaCentral platform, empowering creative teams to ingest, edit, and play out content lightning-fast for news, sports, entertainment, and other live productions.




The People Behind the Tech — Delivering Compelling Sports Content for Hockey Night in Canada

Nothing drives ratings like live sports. In our 24/7 world, where we’re always plugged in and constantly moving from one viewing device to another, sport still has the power to trump video on demand and command huge audiences. The sports market is estimated to be worth $700bn and is growing more rapidly than global GDP.

In Canada, nothing drives ratings like hockey. And the competition isn’t just fierce on the ice. National and regional networks assiduously cover every shot, assist, block and deke for a nation obsessed with this fast-moving sport, which is more akin to a religion than a sporting pastime.

So when Rogers Media acquired the Hockey Night in Canada franchise, the production team knew they had to create something special for what truly is a national institution. Generations of Canadians grew up listening to Hockey Night on the radio and decades later the Saturday night tradition continues intact, on high-definition television. Rogers wanted to engage their audience in new ways, and to innovate by using augmented reality, virtual sets, and video walls to wow viewers, while at the same time giving them the flexibility to constantly change the look and feel of the broadcast to keep the content fresh.

Heading up the project was Director of Creative Technology Dwayne Brown. From live events and concerts, to stadium and arena entertainment systems, to broadcast studios and on-air graphics, Dwayne has had the opportunity to work with some iconic brands over the years, including the NHL, NBA, and Major League Soccer.

For the 2014-15 season, under Dwayne’s stewardship, Rogers Media built a state-of-the-art new Hockey Central studio in Toronto, Canada. It’s gigantic. It covers over 10,000 square feet and is one of the most sophisticated studios ever created for a television production. Towering over the studio is a massive 41 x 11 foot high-resolution LED videowall, just one of the many and varied display surfaces controlled and managed by Avid’s Maestro | TD Control solution.

At Avid Connect 2018, in his presentation Delivering Compelling Sports Content, Dwayne will be sharing with attendees how he and his team addressed the high-pressure, high-risk challenge of delivering a viewing experience that in many ways reflects the hopes and dreams of a nation.

As Dwayne puts it: “It’s not about the tech, it’s about the people using the tech” – the team had to come up with the ideas, the technology is just an enabler. For example, Hockey Night in Canada features an augmented reality interactive device call The Puck Wall. When a team’s puck is placed in the slot it triggers that team’s statistics on a large touchscreen monitor. Dwayne describes it as a 70” display with “sort of a cup holder” mounted at the bottom. The Plexiglas pucks are fitted with unique RFID tags which can be read by Maestro | TD Control to trigger content.

True to Dwayne’s mantra, Rogers’ imaginative production team came up with a whole host of ways of “using the tech,” but I’m not going give away all of Dwayne’s insights in this blog – you’ll have to check out his session at Avid Connect ????. Don’t miss the chance to learn, from and be inspired by, the community at the forefront of media innovation. Book your place at Avid Connect before the end of March for just $495 USD for the entire event.

Avid Connect 2018

Join industry leaders as they come together to experience the cutting-edge and prepare for the year ahead. Be there to strengthen your skills, network with collaborators and to try new tools and technologies.

April 6 – 8 │ Wynn Las Vegas




Avid Captures the Action for Icelandic Broadcaster RÚV

Iceland’s RÚV launched its first TV channel back in 1966, and has since become one of the most successful public service broadcasters in Europe. With its radio, TV and online offering, the broadcaster continues to reach over 95% of the country every week. RÚV’S ethos centres on informing, educating and entertaining, and its news and sports content is crucial in delivering this.

Last year, Iceland’s national football team provided the most memorable storyline of UEFA Euro 2016. The nation tuned into RÚV to watch its team’s first ever appearance in the tournament, which stunned viewers and saw them make it all the way to the quarter-finals. Following the popularity of its coverage and the national buzz around football, RÚV considered how they could step up both the look and efficiency of its sports and newsroom coverage in time for this summer’s UEFA Women’s Euro 2017.

As an existing member of Avid’s preeminent customer community, and users of Avid’s industry-standard Media Composer editing software, RÚV turned to Avid to help improve its live production output. Members of RÚV’s sports, news and technical team talked about the reasons behind their recent Avid investments and the game-changing impacts that Avid’s comprehensive tools and workflow solutions have had on improving the efficiency of their productions.

“Before the Women’s Euro’s, we looked into a number of graphics systems to enhance and enrich our productions,” said Gunnar Orn Gudmundsson, Head of Technology at RÚV. “Maestro | Live stood out from the crowd as a system that would drastically reduce our production times and seamlessly integrate with our existing ecosystem.”

The broadcaster worked closely with reseller, Vili, and Avid to implement an all-in-one solution for real-time sports production, along with Avid replay server, the versatile ingest/playout solution to turnaround big plays or stories fast. Powered by Avid MediaCentral, the industry’s most open, tightly integrated and efficient platform designed for media, next-generation workflow enhancements have helped RUV attract and engage viewers with more graphically compelling and information-rich news and sports broadcasts.

Before integrating Maestro | Live, RÚV’s production team created graphics and marked specific football players in Media Composer. Now, with Maestro | Live they are able to do this whilst the game is live. “During a match, our experts and studio host watch together in our green room, which is now equipped with both Maestro | Live and PlayMaker,” explained Vilhjalmur Siggeirsson, Sports Producer at RÚV. “When a member of the team wants to talk about a specific play from the game on-air, then a technician responds straight away with engaging graphics to compliment the commentary.”

Avid’s industry leading editing software, Media Composer, still remains a crucial part of RÚV’s end-to-end Avid workflow and is utilised around the clock to cut together the biggest news narratives. Benefitting both RÚV’s sports and newsroom productions, the addition of PlayMaker enables the creation of slow-motion replays, highlight reels, and news updates instantly, ensuring its teams stay at the forefront of content delivery.

Maestro | Live helps solve the challenge of creating engaging graphics for live sports content. RÚV now has the freedom to produce and control action-based, data-driven UHD graphics and video playout from one single intelligent interface. It’s ideal for quickly pulling in the starting line-ups, player stats and pictures, and standings before a game, and presenting updates throughout the event with assured accuracy. The solution brings more depth in coverage, increasing the production value for RÚV’s live games, pre-shows, half-time shows and post-match analysis.

RÚV’s News Producer, Ragnar Santos, has seen the benefits from the installation throughout the production team: “Depending on production demands, our team is flexible and can work for both the sports and newsroom. We needed a reliable user-friendly system to match this, and that’s exactly what Avid has delivered.”

“Once again, Avid has provided a system that I believe will be part of RÚV for the foreseeable future. We’ve trusted Avid for 20 years now, and throughout this time they’ve continued to introduce new innovative solutions that are ideal for today’s every-changing broadcast environment.”

To hear more from RÚV, and the next-generation Avid solutions enhancing their day-to-day operations, watch the video now!

Connect and Compete with Avid Graphics

With Avid graphics solutions, you can entertain and enlighten audiences through powerful visual storytelling, stunning imagery, and enhancements, so they keep tuning in for more.

Discover Media Composer

Accelerate storytelling with the tools embraced by top movie, television, and broadcast editors. And power through HD and high-res editing faster and easier than ever.




Global Social Responsibility of Media Companies — History and Structure of a German Media Market

In the course of my career, I have discussed the structure of the German media market with international broadcasters countless times. The magnitude of differences in the business models, legal regulations and media market regulations between individual countries is striking. I have never encountered a set of structures and regulations comparable to that of Germany in other countries — 10 public broadcasting corporations with various regional programs, the ARD common program and ZDF form a public broadcasting system unlike that of any other country. All privately financed media corporations automatically stand in heavy competition with this strong public broadcaster.

Based on previous experiences in discussing this topic with my international colleagues, I feel the need to give a short overview of the German media market at this point.

Before we continue, a short retrospective of German history is in order.

After end of World War II, the victorious Allies quickly rebuilt broadcasting services in the four occupation zones they controlled. Before the new stations could be handed over to German society, the Allies needed to develop a new organizational structure for the broadcasting system. This new medium was intended to function largely outside of government control. Since both a private commercial model such as the American one and a state-controlled public broadcaster model were out of the question, the broadcasters in the three Western zones were placed subject to a constitution similar to that of the BBC in Great Britain: Broadcasters were founded as public institutions in which neither the state nor private individuals could own shares, with pluralistic supervising committees retaining control. Representing as many demographics as possible, the broadcasting council was intended to guarantee impartial information-based programming portraying a variety of viewpoints and expressly including political content. Long-term financing was to be secured by charging households a fee.

However, the public broadcasting monopoly was already controversial in the 1950s. It became even more so when the state broadcasters began broadcasting a regular television program with the ARD, in addition to their radio programs in 1954. The private sector soon declared its interest in a second television program. This group included advertising agencies and newspaper publishers. The latter in particular made allegations of unfair competition between the press, which was dependent on distribution and advertisements, and the public broadcasters, who were financed by fees.

The second public broadcaster Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen (ZDF) was founded as a television program only and began broadcasting in 1963. The third programs of the state broadcasting corporations gradually followed with a regional programming mandate beginning in 1964.

The monopoly of the public broadcasters did not last long. Changing technology led to greater broadcasting capacity, making new programming offerings possible. In the 1970s, cable and satellite made new transmission methods available, thereby solving the issue of terrestrial frequency limitations. In 1981, the constitutional court recognized the legality of private broadcasters in principle; however, the state governments retained the choice of whether or not to ratify the law.

In a spirit of cooperative federalism, the state governments were able to come to an agreement at the end of the 1970s to undertake four pilot projects to test the technological, organizational and content-related modalities of an expanded programming schedule and to gauge public acceptance of the same. Jan. 1, 1984, is considered to the be beginning of private broadcasting in Germany. On this day, the Anstalt für Kabelkommunikation (AKK), based in Ludwigshafen, first broadcast programs produced in cooperation with private programming providers.

Today, there are more than 20 public television channels and more than 60 radio channels available for free in Germany.

In the course of the privatization of the broadcasting sector, an enormous expansion of electronic media in Germany took place in the following years. This change extended to the number of operators, the range of programming and usage by listeners and viewers. There are more than 300 radio channels available in Germany today, including approximately 250 private ones. Each state has at least one private state broadcaster as well as regional and local ones.

Digitalization in the past decades has led to a significant expansion of television programming. The increase in broadcasting capability made room for numerous additional offers. Today, there are more than 400 largely free-to-air television channels in Germany (including foreign channels).

This multitude of both comprehensive and specialized programs in addition of the public channels has resulted in Germany boasting a globally-unique range of free television channels.

In addition to the deregulation of the media landscape, technological changes were in the offing as well. After digitalization of broadcasting began in the 1990s through the use of DVB-S (satellite) and DVB-C (cable), the nationwide terrestrial digital broadcaster DVB-T and the digital radio standard DAB began to be introduced in preparation for the future discontinuance of analog transmission. After a pilot phase in 2009, regular TV broadcasting in HD format began in February 2010. The ARD and ZDF began broadcasting their main programs in HD format from satellite for the Winter Olympics. Finally, on April 30, 2012, at 3:00 a.m., the analog signal transmission from the ASTRA satellite was silently retired.

IP-based digitalization of analog telecommunications networks made another technological revolution in the world of broadcasting possible. A digitalized telecommunications network makes it possible to transmit digital television signals, telephone and internet data. Transmission over internet protocol includes a feedback channel, which is what really made interactive television in the form of internet TV or IPTV possible for the first time. In addition, the limit on the number of available channels no longer applies either. As a result, new parallel media such as on-demand TV via multimedia libraries emerged through the internet. This technology enables time- and location-independent media use and is no longer limited to the television broadcasters’ programming. New service providers such as YouTube and new media corporations such as Facebook, Twitter and Netflix are competing for consumers’ attention. At the Internationale Funkausstellung of 2007, the ZDF debuted its multimedia library as one of the first of its kind. Today, the ZDF’s multimedia library provides access to HD media content not only to PCs, but also to all mobile devices and SmartTVs connected to the internet.

Technology is developing at lightening speed. New transmission formats (UHD, 4K, 8K), new screen sizes and “unlimited” mobile network bandwidth available everywhere and at all times require attractive and current content. Media corporations such as the ZDF must be prepared for this demand. The internal production processes must be organized in such a way as to make all videos at all workplaces available to editors for revision at all times. Rapid preparation of the current reports regarding all distribution methods is essential for surviving the competition with established and new media corporations. In order to reach these goals, it is absolutely necessary to integrate internationally leading technology partners in the projects. The ZDF is well-known and appreciated by the broadcast suppliers of the media sector for intensively maintaining decade-long partnerships, thereby getting in on the ground floor with all innovations. The innovations of digitization will continue and help us to tell stories in the future.




Where Ideas Become Reality — Avid Maestro | Virtual Set

Virtual sets are a staple of broadcast presentation for all manner of programming, from news and sports, to children’s and magazine shows. As the technology has grown more sophisticated, however, so has the complexity and cost required to install, maintain and control it.

Most virtual sets require camera tracking which can be challenging to set up and maintain. In recent years, the trend has been toward integrating and synchronizing more and more cameras, with more points of potential failure. Tracking can also lag behind real-time camera movements, causing graphics perspectives to be out of line, potentially exposing your green-screen trickery.

At the same time, budgets remain tight and broadcasters can feel constrained having to work with existing designs while the competition shows off the bells and whistles of their flashy new studio.

But there is a way to create outstanding photo-realistic environments and interactive 3D virtual objects, and reduce the complexity and cost of virtual set operation.

Avid Maestro | Virtual Set is an all-in-one solution that tightly integrates hardware, software and camera tracking  to produce unique virtual environments that might not be physically or financially possible with a conventional set.

Captivate viewers with a single solution

Maestro | Virtual Set lets you present your stories in the most captivating ways imaginable. It provides all the tools you need to create and control fully immersive 3D virtual studio environments to enhance your storytelling. With its limitless creative possibilities, it offers an effective way to capture audience attention, present content in compelling new ways, and add visual excitement to news, sports, and entertainment productions.

 

Present content in creative ways

With tight integration between its dedicated hardware, software, and camera tracking technologies, Maestro | Virtual Set makes it easy to design unique virtual environments that might not be physically or financially possible with a conventional set. From standalone virtual studios, to interactive data-driven 3D virtual objects when paired with Maestro | AR, Maestro | Virtual Set delivers unmatched flexibility and power for any type of production environment that can all be easily controlled by a single operator.

You can also combine Maestro | Virtual Set with Maestro | TD Control to add even more visual excitement to your set. This pairing enables you to add 3D real-time graphics, video, augmented reality content, images, visual effects, and live data feeds across multiple high-resolution video displays in your virtual studio.

Get highly accurate camera tracking

In addition to working with Pattern Recognition and Opto-Mechanical tracking, Maestro | Virtual Set now comes with Avid’s new Xync 2.0 advanced infrared camera tracking system. Comprised of all-new high-resolution surveillance camera hardware and software, this new system offers a larger multi-camera tracking area, so it requires fewer surveillance cameras. With a full 360-degree range of movement, you gain free mobility within any virtual or conventional studio, enabling you to produce the most realistic virtual studio and augmented reality productions.

 

Controlled by a single operator

Controlling the system is equally simple and requires just a single operator to manage the virtual background and the on-air graphics. This is facilitated using an enhanced web browser interface, which is installed on the same HDVG real-time graphics rendering platform that renders all virtual studio content, eliminating the need for a main processing computer.

Track every move with precision

Avid’s new advanced Xync 2.0 infrared camera tracking system offers a larger multi-camera tracking area, so it requires fewer surveillance cameras. With a full 360-degree range of movement, you gain free mobility within any virtual or conventional studio, enabling you to produce the most realistic virtual studio.

If you already have a camera tracking system in place and don’t want to replace it, that’s not a problem. Maestro | Virtual Set is an open system that works with all leading  third-party tracking systems, including those from Vinten Radamec, Shotoku, Egripment, Mo-Sys, NCam, Telemetrics, BlackCam and more, enabling you to continue to leverage your existing investment using your own encoded cranes, manual/robotic pedestals, and other equipment.

Get a fully integrated workflow

This open integration also extends to support for all popular newsroom systems, including MediaCentral | Newsroom Management (formerly iNEWS), while also supporting a broad range of editing systems. Last but not least, Maestro | Virtual Set works natively with a wide range of studio automation and playout systems.

Maestro | Virtual Set naturally supports most 3D modeling tools, so you can design sets in 3ds Max, Maya, Cinema 4D, and others and bring them into Maestro | Virtual Set to create onscreen virtual studios and virtual objects.

 

Your platform to engage, and protect your ROI

With Maestro | Virtual Set, you can change the look and feel of your entire studio environment as quickly as you can imagine it, with rich textures, depth and perspective.

Less becomes more. Fewer cameras are required and the enhanced tracking system provides more flexibility of camera movement, and more accuracy, with a negligible two frames of delay for the entire system. Not only is the infrared tracking system highly accurate, its fully redundant architecture makes it incredibly reliable too.

OPEX costs are reduced too. Maestro | Virtual set can be managed and controlled by a single operator.

Maestro | Virtual Set enable studios operating even on modest budget to create eye-popping, hyper-realistic viewing experiences to keep audiences coming back for more.

Where Ideas Become Reality

With the new Maestro | Virtual Set, you can easily create photo-realistic environments and enhance any production to better engage viewers and enhance storytelling.

 

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Built for Speed — Avid’s Next Generation Server Announced at IBC 2017

Traditional broadcasters now have to compete not just with other broadcasters for our attention, but also with new over-the-top providers and social media channels. They have to deal with many more different media formats and resolutions. And response times – once measured in hours – are now measured in minutes, sometimes even seconds, so the requirement for a fast turnaround production workflow is paramount, even when budgets are limited.

When the speed of getting content into and out of an organization is so critical, there needs to be special consideration given to the server component of the workflow, whether it is for news, sports, or any other kind of demanding live production. The server needs to be cost-effective, capable of handling many different file formats and, above all, needs to be fast. The aptly-named Avid FastServe, announced at IBC 2017, has been specifically engineered to meet all three requirements.

This next generation server combines the best of its predecessors, Airspeed, Playmaker and the Maestro Media Engine, into a single modular appliance, offering innovative new features that leverage Avid’s all-new MediaCentral platform. It can be deployed in a variety of different workflows and is compatible with all existing AirSpeed and Playmaker production tools. The new server platform introduces several new capabilities, including support for 4K/UHD resolutions, Video over IP I/O, significantly improved performance and support for an ever-growing list of codecs, all of which can be mixed on a single channel in real-time, without transcoding.

The modular approach of the new server platform even extends to a field-swappable backplane. This means that as a facility’s needs evolve SDI, Video over IP (SMPTE 2022-6 and 2110) or any mix-and-match combination of I/O options can easily be accommodated in the same server frame. A single server supports up to 4 UHD channels or up to 8 HD channels of I/O in a 3RU footprint, real-time networking between servers, a direct interface to Avid NEXIS storage and compatibility with the full Playmaker toolset.

The FastServe server is available in three configurations – FastServe | Ingest, FastServe | Live Edit and FastServe | Playout – and is tightly integrated with Avid NEXIS storage and the all-new MediaCentral platform, also announced at IBC 2017.

FastServe | Ingest

FastServe | Ingest is designed specifically to meet the challenges of live news, sports, and entertainment productions. It can encode up to 4 UHD streams or up to 8 HD streams, and supports low-latency, edit-while-capture operation through MediaCentral | Production Management. A redundant architecture allows media to be written to local storage on the server and simultaneously – in real-time – to Avid NEXIS storage. In addition, FastServe | Ingest offers 24/7 loop recording capability, guaranteeing none of the action will be missed.

FastServe | Live Edit

FastServe | Live Edit provides news and sports broadcasters with a turnkey solution for ultra-fast turnaround of incoming feeds. When a news story is breaking, FastServe | Live Edit can quickly deliver the story to air within a few seconds. Cherry-picked segments can be instantly aired, and because no rendering or flattening is required, playout can start while the edit is still in progress. In sports productions, FastServe | Live Edit can edit highlights from multiple incoming game feeds, and can be managed by a single operator. FastServe | Live Edit lets you be first on air with your story, while instantly and automatically collaborating with the entire MediaCentral production environment.

FastServe | Playout

FastServe | Playout is a file-based playback server for video clips, images and motion graphics controlled from a single user interface. FastServe | Playout can be equipped with up to six video channels: typically four out and two in. It supports all commonly used file formats and wrappers, and can sequence clips from different codecs and wrappers in the same playlist and play them seamlessly, back-to-back.

The next generation Avid FastServe family of video servers is a cost-effective, future-proofed solution for live broadcast workflows that lowers operational costs and improves overall efficiency.  A new unified, modular, redundant architecture allows for flexible deployment options with the ability to deliver a myriad of configurations in a compact 3U form factor.

Empower your production

The Avid FastServe family of video servers incorporates the best of legacy PlayMaker and AirSpeed video server technologies while integrating next-generation features and higher channel counts into a compact new design.