Solving 4K Challenges in Live Production

Acuity is getting a massive set of new capabilities

The development teams are hard at work implementing a whole host of new and advanced features that will continue to roll out over the coming years. The first major set of feature advances will be shown at NAB with version 3.0 and will be available mid-year. These features are truly significant and provide substantial operational improvements.

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Here is a brief list of some of these significant changes…

·    8 fully featured keyers per ME – that’s right not 6 as we have said up until now - but 8!
·    2 DVE / Resizers per key – that’s 16 DVE channels per ME!
·    MultiFeedTM – 6 Configurable Program outputs and 2 Preview outputs for every ME!
·    Assign any combination of ME keys to each output.
·    Enhanced MultiViewers – 20 Sources per head with 38 layouts.
·    ME-Stores now available system wide. That’s up to 36 channels available anywhere.
·    Full ME resources regardless of operating standard – 8 keyers even in UHD!

These features significantly increase the production power of Acuity for operators of all types.

These new features have been announced ahead of NAB by releasing them on the Ross Video web site and in an updated Acuity brochure. The new brochure is attached to this news and is downloadable below. The updated Acuity section on the Ross Video web site has been re-organized, some new sections have been added, and there is additional information not found in the brochure.

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Acuity was recently deployed for 4K coverage at the ATP World Tour Finals and Acuity solved many of the challenges found in live 4K production.

UHD (4K) production requires quadruple the technical resources needed for 1080P HD. Fortunately, we designed Acuity with this burgeoning new standard in mind. Producing UHD today requires 12Gb signal connectivity between sources and production switcher, which can only be achieved at present via a quad split over 4 3G SDI links. Each of these 4 signals are managed internally by combining 4 Mix/Effects banks. Fortunately Acuity has sufficient resources to easily provide up to 2 x UHD ME’s with 8 keyers each or use the MultiFeed functionality to create 4 x UHD ME's with 4 keyers each.

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Operationally it doesn’t change, so the TD can switch a 4K show just like they would any other show.

The key to a successful production switchers for live 4K production is resources. The switcher must be able to handle 3G SDI at full frame rates (50/60Hz) without any resource reduction. Some systems lose keyers and media store channels when in 3G mode – which means that when 4 ME’s are combined to produce 4K, the producer faces the challenge of creating a show with only half the features they might have had in HD.

Our industry is incredibly dynamic and we have to adapt to change continuously. Production switchers continue to perform a central role in managing production workflows, they must offer the operator flexibility and expandability as new formats and distribution requirements arrive. Also we all have to do more for less, so price points and ongoing service costs must be as reasonable as possible.

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This first version of Acuity is only step one, it’s a hardware platform that is based on technology that has allowed us to define a flexible long term roadmap. Acuity customers will be able to add new features to their systems as we develop them, new software and firmware options are released every 6 months can be downloaded free of charge. In addition as new formats emerge that may require physical I/O changes we will develop new modules that can simply plug in to existing systems. As with many sophisticated systems, function integration will likely enable more tasks to be performed by switchers in the future. To successfully address this trend, our switchers will evolve with even greater focus on usability for configuration and operation.  

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