Nevion was a key contributor to the seminal the LiveIP project by Belgium broadcaster VRT, which was one of the very first in the world to explore the potential of using IP technology in live production. This multi-vendor project demonstrated that the technology had reached a state of maturity that made it ready for use (even though at the time standards like SMPTE ST 2110 and NMOS did not exist), paving the way for all the subsequent IP production projects.
On March 1st 2016, the LiveIP project reached a major milestone, by webcasting a live debate from the VRT’s premises in Brussels (Belgium) which was produced entirely using IP technology.
This hour-long live multi-camera production was the culmination of about 9 months of work involving VRT, the EBU and a slew of vendors including Nevion, all collaborating together to build a viable IP studio based entirely on standards (most notably SMPTE 2022-6, AES67 and PTP, which are embraced by the AIMS community). Previous phases in the project included a single camera recording (in August 2015) and a remote production (January 2016).
The most remarkable aspect of this latest production was that, frankly, from a viewer’s perspective, there was absolutely nothing remarkable about it: it looked, and felt exactly like a professionally produced live TV debate! The production is only remarkable when you remind yourself that everything, from the cameras to the networks is based on IP technology.
The smooth and clean switching between cameras is achieved entirely using standard OpenFlow-compliant IP routers (in this case Nevion’s eMerge switches) and gateways (Nevion media nodes), under the control of Nevion’s SDN management software, VideoIPath. The switching performance matches that possible with traditional baseband technology – something that doubters in the industry claimed just a few months ago could not be achieved!
The debate itself was also very instructive, in part underlying the urgent business need for a way to do more with less and the attractiveness of IP technology in doing that, but also examining the far-reaching consequences of the move to IP, not least in terms of evolving workflows and skills.
All in all, we at Nevion believe that this debate will be seen in years to come as the day IP entered center-stage in the studio!