Charley Haggarty, ST 2110 broadcast infrastructure architect, explains how the NFL network moved to IP with help from Imagine Communications
I joined the broadcast industry 10 years ago, first working for Pac-12 Networks in San Francisco where we pioneered the idea of home production over IP networks for live sports. . We built a WAN between the 12 Pac-12 universities, so we only sent cameras and microphones (and talent!) To the site, producing 850 live events from our San Francisco offices.
I met Bruce Goldfeder, vice president of broadcast engineering for the NFL, in 2016. His goal was to migrate the entire production facility to SMPTE ST 2110 IP. I joined the NFL Network in 2017 and quickly became a subject matter expert in all things ST 2110.
Alan Wollenstein, director of engineering systems for the NFL, and I built a proof-of-concept lab to evaluate products and test interoperability. I am fortunate to have hands-on experience with almost any broadcast equipment that supports ST 2110. After nearly a year of testing everything we could get our hands on, the Magellan SDNO control system from Imagine was selected to control the router and the Selenio network. Processor (SNP) for video processing and multiple viewing.
Multiple visualization was one of the major challenges of the IP migration project. In live sports production, we need to monitor signals from various sources with immediacy and precision. We looked at all multiviewers on the market (seven were capable of ST 2110): what we wanted was a robust, agile, low latency solution that would adapt to the way we work and evolve as we go. of our growth.
Our goal was to provide a system using the ST 2110 but resembling SDI. We had to provide the creation of models and the modification of the layout; it had to include excellent alarm functionality and integrate seamlessly with our existing clocking system.
The SNP, with its Layout Designer software, met all of our requirements. More than that, it opened our eyes to the possibilities of a software-configured device: Flexible SNP Frame could be frame sync one day and multiple viewer the next, with the click of a mouse.
Low latency was a critical factor. The sport is changing rapidly and our operators need to be able to talk to people on site at events, watch the feeds and instantly see what’s going on. It is essential that key members of our team see incoming and outgoing data as close to real time as possible. The SNP-MV multiviewer offers this low latency – so much so that our operators can match what we send from production to net return.
In addition to viewing signals, we rely on the SNP to process alarms, including punch status, virtual reentry status, audio counters for two ST 2110-30 streams (for 16 channels) and video alarms like freeze, black and signal loss. We look forward to the next software release when we can add IP stream status monitoring, colorimetry, and ancillary data like VITC and subtitle decoding.
The installation of the NFL in Los Angeles is independent of the format. We are able to receive and create HD and Ultra HD productions from any of our sources or scenes, simultaneously. Our cameras’ CCUs continuously output 1080p and 4k, so the SNP-MV’s ability to accept any format and scale appropriately is another huge advantage. In fact, NFL Hollywood Park production control rooms have the ability to switch from HD to UHD from event to event.
Our decision to use SNP-MV multiviewers was fully justified. They allow us to have a distributed surveillance infrastructure; it is easy to set up all the configurations required by an operator and to switch between them from one event to another; they offer excellent image quality regardless of the format; and when we don’t need a particular multiviewer channel, the SNP path can be reassigned to a completely different task.