How long can your HDR workflow wait?

How long can your HDR workflow wait?

Unlike the move from SD to HD and from HD to 4K, the move to HDR isn’t going to have a huge impact on your data rate or infrastructure. However, there are key changes that need to be made during production, post and delivery and, unsurprisingly, they come with quite a price tag. 

Understandably, people want to hold off on investing in HDR-capable equipment until they’ve booked a job that demands an HDR deliverable. But waiting until you’ve signed a contract is risky, as it leaves you with a very limited window in which to develop a workflow, find and install equipment – which employees may or may not be comfortable with – and get to grips with the broadcaster’s requirements for acquisition and delivery.

So, what can you do to prepare without paying too much upfront?

Shooting log for SDR versus HDR

 “The most obvious and expensive change in production is that you’ll need to use HDR-capable cameras,” says our systems integration engineer, Phil Crawley. “But you may well have some already – HDR-capable cameras have been around for a while now, it’s just that people have been using log-type gammas to give the colourist some extra latitude in the grade, rather than because they have to create an HDR deliverable.”

You will, however, need to overhaul your monitoring setup. Your DOP and/or racks engineer is going to need to start monitoring in SDR and HDR to ensure that the image you capture works in both standard and high dynamic range. Keep an eye out for cables that are hidden in shadow in SDR footage but visible in HDR, windows that are blown out in SDR not HDR, and costume jewellery that’s shiny in SDR but a dazzling, distracting highlight in HDR.

“A lot of details that are hidden in SDR become visible when you do a good HDR pass on an image,” says M&E systems developer, Jamie Allan. “You want to be able to monitor where your luminance levels are outside SDR space on set, partly so your image can look as good as possible, but also because it may be that you need to change things practically – if you can see part of a lighting rig in the HDR image, you need to find a different way to light the scene or be prepared to pay to add VFX to the shot.”

“Having a lighting camera operator or a lighting director who’s worked with HDR before is ideal,” Phil says. “And you need to think carefully about your camera operators if you’re shooting something fast and unscripted, like reality television. With SDR cameras, if you had a decent auto focus and auto iris, you could have the runner shooting the B roll and it would look usable. That’s not the case if you want good looking HDR pictures.”

Key equipment pick: Atomos Sumo monitor-recorder

Sumo’s 19” 1920×1080 10-bit LCD panel is driven by the AtomHDR engine, which precisely maps the Log/PQ/HLG from popular cameras, game consoles or TV makers to perfectly resolve 10+ stops of HDR in real time. View scenes on the monitor itself, or output to larger HDR/Rec. 709 displays for on set review. The Sumo can also be used with popular editing and grading suites in the studio or as part of your onset workflow.

Developing your post workflow

“Resolve, Baselight and Nucoda have all been able to handle HDR for about a year now, so again your investment is going to be in monitors and scopes,” says Phil. “If you want a quality HDR mastering display at the moment, you’ve only got three choices and they’ll all require a sizeable budget.”

Those choices would be: the Sony BVM-X300, Netflix’s currently preferred monitor; Canon’s DP-V3010 and EIZO’s new challenger, the CG3145 (this hugely impressed us when we had it in the office, and we strongly recommend you book some time with our demo model).

You’ll also need LEADER’s scopes – other HDR waveform monitors are available, but they’re pretty primitive and LEADER’s are the only ones we’d recommend spending money on, and our customers so far have agreed. (Representative quote from Daniel Sassen, Head of Technical Operations at ENVY Post Production: “With high-end productions moving to UHD/4K and HDR delivery we found the LV5490 to be an excellent tool for our colourists to accurately monitor which parts of the picture are really showing off the highlights and extended colour range that comes with UHD.”)

The temptation may be to wait and see if the cost of HDR monitoring falls at all, but this seems unlikely in the short term, and by not planning for HDR work ahead of time, you run the risk of falling foul of “nuances and little gotchas between different gammas that mean you have to make different decisions based on what you have to deliver,” according to Jamie.

“Even if you’re not going out and buying kit, you need to be investing in workflow development and intelligence, so that when a job does come in, nothing takes you by surprise. This is more complicated than going from HD to 4K and you need to empower yourself to talk about it confidently with production companies and clients. At the bare minimum, get out there with demo units, research the kit and design a workflow that you’re confident you can implement when work comes in.

“The more you understand the entire end to end process of delivering to a broadcaster or OTT provider, the better you can inform production companies who are developing their workflows, the better service your engineers and operators are going to be able to provide, and the more likely you are to win repeat business.”

Rather than hold off altogether, a better move is to invest in one HDR-ready room for your online, and then do your offline with SDR proxies, which will work just fine with your existing monitors and equipment.

Delivery and QC

Broadcasters and OTT providers are requesting their HDR content in different formats, and passing QC for all of them is another of those areas of your HDR workflow which is going to be more complex than you thought. Again, it’s worth putting the hours in beforehand, as the consequences of failing can be severe: Netflix, one of the biggest sources of HDR jobs, blacklist companies whose first-time pass rate falls below a certain point.

Key equipment pick: LEADER waveform monitors

The broadcasters you’re delivering to use these for QC, so the easiest way to ensure you’ll pass is to invest in the same. They’re a welcome addition at any point in your workflow – they were used for the latest series of The Grand Tour and were apparently the only change to equipment in the show’s history that operators didn’t complain about, while colourists doing SDR and HDR passes will appreciate the Cinezone false colour display that highlights the parts of the image that are in HDR.

Make your own business

Ultimately, preparing for HDR work may be the fastest way to book it. “We’re at the point where a lot of broadcasters are watching the development of HDR very closely, even if they’re not yet asking for it as a deliverable,” says Jamie. “If you’re bidding for high-end work and can’t competently deliver it in HDR, even if that’s not what’s being asked for yet, you may find yourself getting passed over for future work.

“A lot of productions are asking for an SDR and an HDR version, so that they have the HDR version ready for the future, however it pans out. If you’re in a position to talk to production companies or broadcasters about the options these new formats and colour spaces give them, and it could impact or improve their distribution deals, you’re far more likely to get clients asking for an HDR deliverable, and secure work to pay off your initial investment faster.”

And, when the job arrives and it’s time for you to either buy the kit you’ve been testing or complete your setup, give us a call. We have a team of experts who can advise on your HDR workflow, yes, but we also have a massive stockholding, so are the most likely to have niche kit in stock – otherwise, lead times for new HDR kit can run to weeks. We’ve also got a ready supply of demo units that we’re happy to loan out as stopgap solutions while you’re waiting for kit to arrive, and can even provide training on how to manage HDR on set.

To demo any of the kit discussed here, or speak to one of our workflow design specialists, give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter, or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

How to plan your journey to immersive sound

How to plan your journey to immersive sound

With Sky and Netflix both asking for Dolby Atmos mixes for their original series, and high end features increasingly embracing the format, our audio customers are beginning to ask if it’s time to get their mixing rooms Atmos-certified in order to score more high end work. 

Our answer? It’s time to start. While there are definite benefits to being certified, it’s a time-consuming and expensive process, and most facilities want to hold off upgrading a room until they have a client demanding an Atmos deliverable. However, waiting until you’ve signed a contract means that you’re hit with the cost of the upgrade all at once, and have a limited window of time in which to figure out how to create and deliver immersive content.

By laying the groundwork in advance, you can develop your room over time, learn the skillset you’ll need for mixing immersive sound, and make informed decisions at every step of the way, whether it’s best for your business to optimise the room for Dolby after all, or whether you want to specialise in Auro-3D, Ambisonics or other another format.

Which room should you upgrade?

First, we should clear up a common misconception: Atmos is not like any other Dolby standard, and the home entertainment certification for Atmos (the one required for Sky and Netflix commissions) is very different from the cinematic certification that’ll let you mix features. This means that ‘adding’ home entertainment Atmos capabilities to a room that has a Dolby 7.1 cinematic licence (something we’re asked about fairly regularly) is incredibly difficult, and is unlikely to save you much money; you’ll have to install a full Atmos speaker array alongside your existing one, rather than being able to do both with the same kit, as people commonly expect they’ll be able to do.

Ideally, if you’re experimenting with Atmos, you want to be starting from scratch or as close to it as possible, so ideally upgrade a stereo room. It’s a big step up that involves investing in a lot of loudspeakers, but ultimately it’s easier to hit the required standard and be as precise as necessary about your speaker placement when you start with a non-certified room.

“We always look at the existing technology and how we can integrate it into the new workflow, in order to minimise the cost,” says Audio Business Manager Joffrey Ghiringhelli. “We can work with people to assess what of their existing setup can be reclaimed and used in the new room, but because the requirements for home and cinema certification are so different, it’s best not to assume you will be able to build a room using only repurposed and repositioned speakers.”

Step one: Get your monitors in place

Expanding the monitoring setup in a stereo room is the best way to begin preparing for immersive mixing. You can move the room up to a 7.4.1 or 9.4.1 setup (whichever suits your room best), so that you can practise mixing in that space, and folding down to a 7.1 or 5.1 mix. “Pro Tools will let you monitor natively in various immersive formats, including Atmos and Ambisonics, so the initial cost of entry for anyone who doesn’t actually have to deliver an immersive mix is modest; some extra monitors and management for them,” says engineer Matt Ward.

“As well as the monitors to move you from a 7.1 to a 7.4.1 environment, we’d recommend something like the JBL Intonato for loudspeaker management, delay compensation and EQ. You might need some hardware to glue that all together – more Pro Tools interfaces, and maybe some Dante interfacing to make sure you can get enough channels out of your DAW.”

The key thing to remember is that none of this is a wasted investment. Any speakers you install can be positioned, or repositioned, should you wish to get your room certified by Dolby in the future. “We’d recommend coming and consulting with us before you deploy your speakers, because if your ultimate goal is to use the room for VR or Auro mixing rather than Atmos, we’d advise slightly different speaker locations to make it easier for you to ultimately get that certification,” Matt explains, “but whenever we work on a room, we do work as close to the official recommendations as we can, so you only need to make minimal (if any) changes should you decide to pursue a certification.”

Step two: Choose your plug-ins

“If you’re being asked to deliver immersive mixes to clients, but don’t need the Dolby name behind you, you don’t need their RMU unit, which is the single most expensive element of that setup,” says Saxon Greenep, our resident expert on Atmos installations. “You can create the mix using Pro Tools’ Dolby Atmos Production Suite plug-in, and use the same software to perform QC on a final Atmos master and generate the metadata you need.”

Dolby have their own Panner plug-in for Pro Tools setups (you can get the full story on how to use that here), but Cubase’s VST MultiPanner will also support Atmos mixing.

Step three: Getting certified

If you’ve been leasing with us as you develop your room, you shouldn’t need too much extra hardware to land a Dolby certification – although their rendering unit is expensive to buy and license, and the testing and QC needed is “a lot of work in itself, there are clients who won’t work with you unless you are certified,” explains Joffrey. “We always try to meet the specifications of the certification whether our clients want to go for it or not, so that if they ever change their mind, the room will be in line with what Dolby recommends.”

Aside from buying the requisite rendering unit and licences from Dolby, you’ll need to set aside significant time to get your monitor setup precisely aligned to Dolby’s requirements – it will be the work of days rather than hours, even if you’ve already been delivering non-certified mixes.

Talking to production

As well as developing your own rooms, we strongly advise talking to the production companies you’ll be working with about how they plan to capture their sound. While at the moment it’s standard operating procedure to take an existing set of 5.1 stems and repurpose them for an immersive mix, there are ways to start collecting original sound effects in 3D.

“It’s very feasible to collect sound effects and audio atmospheres in Ambisonics right now, and there are high order mics that will let you capture audio in Ambisonics, which can then be imported into Pro Tools,” says Matt. “That gives you much more space for more creative sound design, and the result is much more engaging, but production companies are reluctant to be the first to make the investment, and there’s a conversation that needs to start happening between production and post to get the most out of the technology.”

If you want to develop your rooms for immersive audio, we can help you at every stage, providing system design, installation, integration, training and project management. Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter, or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.


View from the front: Platform1

View from the front: Platform1

It may have been a while since Glasgow’s last Platform1 expo, but last week’s mixture of talks, discussion panels and hands-on demos was such a success that we’re already hard at work on a second event for after IBC. 

Huge thanks to everyone who made it, whether that was to deliver a demo or gaze lovingly at the new Z series workstations from HP.

Our Chief Engineer Phil Crawley was one of the stars of the day, kicking things off with a presentation on new networking standards for Fibre and Gigabit Ethernet over copper (key takeaways included the remarkably limited cable runs available for 12G – as short as 10m!), before heading up a panel discussion on the future of HDR, ably abetted by Atomos’s Lewis Brown, AJA’s Kevin King, EIZO’s Victor Aberdeen and LEADER’s Kevin Skalvidge, all offering perspectives on the standards and formats they hope will become part of the standard HDR spec.

EIZO’s CG3145 HDR reference monitor (more on that here) and LEADER’s HDR monitoring scopes were both big hits in our demo area, too. We currently have the CG3145 in stock (there’s usually a 12 week lead time), so if you’d like to get your hands on one sharpish, get in touch with the team on the details below.


Atomos brought their onset monitor-recorders to add to the HDR solution stack, while we also had kit from Blackmagic Design, Panasonic, Avid, HP. NewTek brought along a fully tricked out, NDI-enabled TriCaster setup gave people the chance to familiarise themselves with video over IP, and learn more about NewTek’s unique, app-based approach to building an IP workflow for your live productions.

One of the roaring successes of the day was Avid’s preview of their upcoming Media Composer | Editorial Management module. It wasn’t quite the final version – Avid tell us they’re not planning on unveiling that until NAB – but it was enough that we can really start to get an idea of how this could impact workflows, especially in smaller facilities.

Sadly, the day is done and we’ve had to give most of the kit back to its respective manufacturers. However, you can buy your own, or get advice on developing your workflow further, if you get in touch with the team on 0141 374 2345, or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.comFor all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter, or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.




Avid qualifies the Leostream Connection Broker

Avid qualifies the Leostream Connection Broker

If you’re planning on taking advantage of Media Composer’s virtual machine option but are worried about managing who’s connected to what and where, we have good news: Avid have qualified the Leostream Connection Broker.

For the uninitiated, Leostream is a vendor- and protocol-agnostic management tool that’s designed to simplify the management of access to virtual machines. It allows systems administrators to manage and monitor which end users are using which desktops to connect to which virtual resources, all from a single point, whether you’re using a single hypervisor or multiple ones.

According to Leostream, this Avid qualification means you can allow users to:
– Create pools of available VM resources.
– Terminate cloud-hosted instances when users log out.
– Manage the power state of VMs and user access.
– Maintain user access logs and monitor who uses which VMs.
– Maintain usage statistics for pools of machines.
– Provision new VMware virtual machine pools from templates or as linked clones from snapshots, or build pools of cloud-hosted machines from images available in the cloud platforms.
– Manage user roles and session control levels.

Why choose Leostream?

We’ve been working with Leostream for several years, and have found it to be the most secure option for brokering virtual machines. It’ll also handle mixed environments with ease – we like to pair it with Amulet Hotkey cards to ensure facilities can broker their physical workstations and virtual machines using the same system.

“If you have a mixed estate – perhaps you have a server in a data centre running virtual machines that you use for your offline, and then users switch to using a high powered workstation in your machine room for the online edit – the combination of Amulet Hotkey and Leostream ensures that any end user client device can be pointed at any virtual or physical machine at any time,” explains our Systems Integration Engineer, Matt Ward. Leostream allows you to manage connections to on-premise virtual machines and standalone machines, as well as cloud-based VM systems, creating a truly flexible hybrid system accessible from anywhere on your network.

“We’re one of the few post integrators who have experience deploying Leostream at scale, and we find that it’s more secure than other options – it’s also been deployed in a huge number of critical enterprise environments, so there’s plenty of evidence that it can provide the availability, reliability and – with the right help – simplicity that we know our post clients need so that they can stay focused on delivering the end result.”

To find out more about managing virtual Avid machines with Leostream, give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter, or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.


Amulet Hotkey fix temporal dithering for latest macOS

Amulet Hotkey fix temporal dithering for latest macOS

If you’re using Amulet Hotkey for KVM over IP, be warned that installing the latest version of macOS on your endpoints automatically re-enables temporal dithering.

This vastly increases the amount of information you’re forced to handle over IP and, as a result, will have a negative impact on the quality of your image.

Happily, Amulet Hotkey are already aware of the issue, and have released a kernel extension that allows you to disable temporal dithering at the driver level, regardless of which version of macOS you’re running. (If you’re running an earlier version of macOS or OS X, the fix should already be in place – contact us if you find this isn’t the case.)

The usual caveats apply: the fix will only work with Amulet hardware and software, not with that from third parties; the kext itself is not available publicly – in a delightfully cloak-and-dagger scenario, you need to get in touch with our team on the details below, and they’ll send you a temporary download link and instructions for how to install it.

If you want to know more, give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter, or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.


Avid accelerates Pro Tools | S6 mixing workflows with new EUCON software

Avid accelerates Pro Tools | S6 mixing workflows with new EUCON software

Avid released a string of announcements as this year’s NAMM Show opened, including Pro Tools 2018, but one of the ones we’re most excited by is the new EUCON software update for Pro Tools | S6.

Debuting at the 2018 NAMM Show today, this update enables customers to use Pro Tools | Control – Avid’s free iOS iPad app – in conjunction with the Pro Tools | S6 control surface to remotely control Pro Tools and other digital audio workstations (DAWs), giving them the flexibility to be anywhere in the studio during a mixing session. They can also operate S6 Soft Keys to control multiple DAWs simultaneously.

“With the new EUCON software, sound engineers now have the freedom to step away from their console and even be in the room with the performer they’re recording,” said Rob D’Amico, Director of Pro Audio Market Solutions at Avid. “EUCON also enables customers to send Soft Key commands to multiple workstations at the same time – perfect for facilities running large rigs with multiple DAWs.”

Powered by MediaCentral, the EUCON software update and the free Pro Tools | Control app let audio professionals control track recording, playback and other transport functions remotely from an iPad when using Pro Tools and other EUCON-enabled DAWs. Ideal for capturing ADR and foley performances, it gives users the flexibility to position themselves anywhere in the studio while tracking or mixing a music or audio post session.

The EUCON update also allows audio professionals working on large scale film or TV post sessions to control multiple audio workstations for a faster, more efficient mixing process. Users sending commands from Pro Tools | S6 Soft Keys to all connected DAWs instantaneously can save a session, punch out of automation, and perform other tasks in concert as one. The EUCON software update also includes performance enhancements and stability improvements for all Avid EUCON-enabled control surfaces, including Pro Tools | S3, Pro Tools | Dock and Artist Mix.

As an open software protocol, EUCON facilitates tight integration between Avid control surfaces and Pro Tools, as well as a range of third party EUCON-enabled DAWs. It gives musicians and engineers high-resolution, tactile control and the flexible programmability needed to create great sounding mixes faster, as well as the ability to switch between different DAW sessions in a matter of seconds.

EUCON will be available in February 2018 as a free update to all customers with Pro Tools | S6, Pro Tools | S3, Pro Tools | Dock and Artist Mix control surfaces on valid support contracts. If you’re worried about your support contract status, you can get in touch with your account manager on the details below to double check your eligibility.

If you want to know more, give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter, or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

Pro Tools 2018 announced at NAMM

Pro Tools 2018 announced at NAMM

Avid have announced Pro Tools 2018 at NAMM and, like their last release three months ago, Avid say Pro Tools 2018 “focuses on helping music creators stay in a creative mindset, and finish projects with speed and efficiency.”

Avid’s announcement includes major improvements and new features for Pro Tools | First, Pro Tools, and Pro Tools | HD, and will be available to new customers, current subscribers, and users with an active upgrade plan (you can get in touch with us on the details below if you’re not sure where you fit in, or are worried your upgrade plan may have lapsed.)

Create at the speed of your imagination

The update contains numerous changes designed to make it easier for you to stay creative, including new MIDI editing enhancements and retrospective MIDI recording. It also adds the ability to save your favourite effects chains and instrument sounds as track presets.

Key additions include:

Retrospective MIDI record Capture MIDI performances and advance your musical ideas, even when Pro Tools is not recording. Quickly add your improvisations and practice runs into your session with a simple key command.

MIDI editing enhancements With numerous MIDI improvements and enhancements (including arrow key editing, transpose in-key, and extract chords), you can fix and finesse every note to perfection—from transposing and trimming notes with the arrow keys, to building chords and scores faster than ever before.

Track presets Browse presets with embedded media and build sessions on the fly. With track presets, you can quickly save, catalogue, and recall your favourite effects chains, vocal processing, session import criteria, and other track settings, and spend more time exploring the depths of your creativity.

Improved Import Session data Pro Tools 2018 will include a new ‘Track Data To Import’ dialogue with presets.

Playlist comping enhancements Build a Target Playlist of the best performances – from multiple playlists – right in Waveform view. It’s ideal when working with grouped tracks, making playlist management and viewing no longer a challenge. You can also now cycle through different takes within a clip using the arrow keys for faster review.

Mix window EQ curves show combined EQ effects inserted on a track With new EQ curve graphs on all Mix window channel strips, you can see how your settings and automation are impacting each track in realtime — even those with multiple EQs (supported plug-ins only). In addition, pre-fader sends and Automation lane view menu entries are now colour-coded, making them easier to distinguish.

“Start Collaboration” is now a file menu item Got a session that you’re dying to work on with others? Select File > Start Collaboration, and Pro Tools will automatically save your current session, close it, and reopen it as a project in the cloud, with all tracks converted and ready to be shared.

iLok Cloud support Pro Tools and all Avid audio plug-ins now support iLok Cloud. That means you now have the option to work iLok-free, and reclaim an extra USB port for a MIDI keyboard or audio interface. Or continue using your iLok as before.

Network Site Licensing – coming soon Need Pro Tools for your post facility, broadcast enterprise, or educational institution? You can now purchase a multi-seat Pro Tools or Pro Tools | HD Network Site Licence, which offers many benefits for larger organisations.

Try Pro Tools for free

Many of these features (specifically retrospective recording, editing enhancements, track presets, new EQ curves and UI enhancements are also available in the latest version of Pro Tools | First, the free version of Pro Tools software. You can download Pro Tools | First here.

If you want to know more about this or any other NAMM releases, give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter, or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

In case you missed it: Our introduction to PTP

In case you missed it: Our introduction to PTP

Big thanks to everyone who made it to our IP event last week, not least Daniel Boldt (Head of Software Development, Meinberg) and Nikolaus Kerö (General Manager, Oregano Systems) for their insightful presentations. If you need to refresh your memory, you can download the slides here. 

PTP (Precision Time Protocol) is fundamental to the success of any media over IP exercise, and it was reassuring to see technicians and engineers from so many facilities show up to find out more – it’s always difficult to predict how interested people will be in something so deep in the weeds, but IP workflows have gained an incredible amount of traction over the last year, and it was fantastic to see so many people engaging with the future of their facilities.

Say goodbye to genlock

The full slide deck is available here, but to bluntly recap things: PTP replaces genlock when you’re working with media over IP.

In an IP-based workflow, you’re dealing with packets of data, not a synchronous stream of video on a dedicated cable, so traditional syncing methods won’t work. PTP sidesteps this problem by effectively ‘virtualising’ genlock, and using packets of data sent over the IP network to sync devices which are on it.

PTP is a safe bet

PTP is not a new technology; it’s been around for over 15 years, primarily in stock exchanges and other gambling dens, where the precise time of a transaction is incredibly important. The current version, PTP v2, was ratified in 2008, and is also know as IEEE 1588-2008 and SMPTE 2059.

Its move into production and post circles is recent, but it’s gaining acceptance quickly – Belgian broadcasters RTL have seven studios in Brussels that are linked up this way, and Germany’s WDR have also invested heavily. One of the reasons for this rapid rise is that, because internet protocols are so ubiquitous, and have so many applications in industries which are much larger and established than our own, there are already a number of affordable solutions available. We’re not waiting for manufacturers to catch up with demand, and we’re not paying exorbitant prices for niche hardware – readily available off the shelf solutions will get the job done.

Revolutionising OB at Sony

If it wasn’t initially developed for the media industry, what kind of benefits can PTP really deliver? Well, for one thing, Sony’s most recent research has found that you can half the weight of an OB truck by wiring it for PTP and IP transfer rather than relying on SDI, simply because it requires so much less cabling. This makes your OB setups faster, easier and cheaper to produce and to run.

And of course, there’s the fact that you no longer need to keep your equipment in one place. PTP will sync any device on your network, even if it happens to be on the other side of the country at the time, rather than in the studio with you, and it’ll work for both audio and video production.

Want to know more?

As always, you can get in touch with our team on the details below, and they’ll be happy to answer any additional IP questions you may have. We’re also running a tech breakfast on 31st January around AES67 and IP workflows for audio production, which might be of interest, and one on the fate of SDI on 13th February.

If you want to know more, give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter, or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

FAQ: Avid NEXIS | Pro 20TB and 40TB engines

FAQ: Avid NEXIS | Pro 20TB and 40TB engines

In November 2017, Avid announced that they would be discontinuing the Avid NEXIS | Pro 20TB engine, and replacing it with the 40TB model they had premiered at IBC. With stocks of the 20TB model now critically low, we looked at the key questions you need to ask before moving to the 40TB engine. 


Will my existing 20TB engines still be supported? 

Yes. Avid will provide support for any 20TB NEXIS | Pro covered by a support contract until 31st December 2022, so your hardware should be safe for the rest of its usable life. It will continue to qualify for maintenance software releases, including bug fixes and client OS compatibility updates.

Will I be able to continue using my existing hardware? 

Again, yes. See below for specific compatibility information.

How does the price compare to the existing 20 TB engine? 

The new, larger engine is actually better value per TB, offering you twice the storage capacity for a relatively small uptick in price (the base model of the 40TB unit is currently £1000 more than the base 20TB model).

Are there limits to how I can configure my NEXIS | Pro system? 

Essentially, the same limits apply to NEXIS systems built from the new storage model as follows:

– Up to four Media Packs (in this case up to four engines) can be merged into one NEXIS | Pro system which uses the embedded System Director service mode of NEXIS File System.

– Up to 30 clients can be connected to the NEXIS Pro storage system simultaneously.

– Up to 24 clients can be actively connected to the system accessing storage Workspaces simultaneously.

– NEXIS Pro Engine Media Packs can be bound to the file system in either Scale Out Storage Group (SOSG) mode or in High Performance Storage Group (HPSG) mode. For systems containing more than one engine, both modes can be used (starting, perhaps, with one Media Pack in SOSG mode and one Media Pack in HPSG mode), and up to four Storage Groups can be configured as follows:

– Up to four engines can be connected and from one to four Storage Groups can be created with each engine’s Media Pack bound to the file system in SOSG mode delivering up to 400 MB/s bandwidth per Media Pack. Storage Groups can be sized according to bandwidth requirements, and further Media Packs added later if expansion is required (subject to the four Media Pack system limit).

– Up to four engines can be connected and one Storage Group can be created with each engine’s Media Pack bound to the file system in HPSG mode delivering up to 600 MB/s bandwidth per Media Pack bound in this mode. Additional Storage Groups can also be created if required; however, these must use SOSG bound Media Packs.

Can NEXIS | Pro engines be mixed with NEXIS | E ones? 

NEXIS | Pro storage cannot be mixed with NEXIS | E series engines, although a NEXIS | Pro based system and one or more NEXIS | E series based systems could be run in the same network environment if required, and from a common client base.

Can I add NEXIS | Pro 40TB Engines to my NEXIS | Pro 20TB system?

Yes, you can do this safely, although the total number of NEXIS engines in a NEXIS Pro engine-based NEXIS system cannot exceed four, and you will need to be running at least NEXIS software v7.10.1. This may mean that a software update must be performed on the existing NEXIS | Pro 20TB engines and all clients accessing the storage prior to adding the new NEXIS engines to the system.

Ideally, NEXIS | Pro 40TB Engines would be added to a new Storage Group separate from any existing Storage Groups consisting of NEXIS | Pro 20TB Engines in order to optimise available storage capacity.

Can I add NEXIS | Pro 40TB Engines to my ISIS 1000 system?

Yes, although the ISIS 1000 system would need to be upgraded to NEXIS | Pro 20TB engines and NEXIS v7.10.1 software or above before the new storage was added.

Can I add NEXIS | Pro 40TB Engines to my ISIS 5000 system?

No. However, NEXIS systems can be run safely alongside an ISIS system and both storage systems can be accessed from a common Avid Shared Storage client. So if you need to expand your available storage capacity or increase the storage bandwidth available to clients, a suitably configured Avid NEXIS system can be established in the same network as your existing ISIS system. In this case the ISIS system must be running a minimum version of ISIS v4.7.5 software (although the latest v4.7.11 is highly recommended) and the existing ISIS client software can be updated to the Avid NEXIS client software.

What level of storage protection is offered by NEXIS | Pro series engines?

Administrators can select to have data protected in NEXIS | Pro based file systems with either One Disk or Two Disk protected Workspaces. In the case of the One Disk protected Workspaces, data located in these Workspaces will remain available to users in the case of one disk in the NEXIS Media Pack failing. In the case of the Two Disk protected Workspaces, data located in these Workspaces will remain available to users in the case of up to two disks in the NEXIS Media Pack failing. Administrators can also elect to create Workspaces with no data protection enabled, although we recommend that users only select this option if they have an effective onsite backup workflow in place.

Is NEXIS engine mirroring available as a data protection scheme in NEXIS | Pro based systems?

No, this advanced data protection scheme requires use of the NEXIS System Director Appliance (SDA) and is only available in NEXIS |E Series engine-based configurations.

Have we missed a question? Ask yours in the comments, or get in touch with the team on 03332 409 210 or at broadcast@Jigsaw24.comFor all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter‘Like’ us on Facebook or take a look at our IBC roundup.

Coming in 2018: Audio trends to look out for

Coming in 2018: Audio trends to look out for

We asked our experts to gaze into their crystal mics and predict 2018’s biggest trends for the audio industry. Reliable picks included networked audio over IP, an even bigger push on 3D sound than we’ve seen in 2017 and Ambisonics quietly cornering the market for virtual reality content…

Networked audio over IP: Dante, Ravenna, BLU Link, Q-LAN and AES67

We’ve been talking to everyone who’ll listen about Focusrite’s Dante products for years now (and, to a lesser but no less enthusiastic extent, about gear that uses Ravenna, BLU Link and Q-LAN). While all these formats are excellent in their own ways and most studios we kit out will include equipment from multiple vendors, they weren’t always cross-compatible.

The AES67 standard was designed to fix this, among other things, and allows interoperability between Dante, Ravenna and other such networks as if they were one and the same. While AES67 has been around since 2014, it’s only recently it’s really gained traction, with newer Dante and Ravenna solutions being AES67-compatible straight out of the gate. Our hope is that in 2018 working across standards becomes even easier, with the rise of the AES70 management standard allowing us to control routing between between Dante, Ravenna and BLU Link without any compatibility issues or loss of signal quality.

We’re also interested in seeing what Q-SYS, JBL and BSS have up their sleeve this year for audio system control, and advise anyone who works with audio and video to keep an eye on SMPTE 2110, which allows you to transport audio and video synchronously in separate streams, in native AES67 rather than multiplexed with the video, as in SMPTE 2022. SSL in particular have been developing solutions that incorporate this standard, including their more recent Dante-based interfaces.

Want to know more about this? Head to our Soho centre at 9am on 31st January for a special Tech Breakfast with our senior audio engineer, Matt Ward, who’ll be briefing people on AES67 and its related standards over coffee and a danish. Sign up here

Ambisonics overtake immersive audio and virtual reality

One of the things we’re most excited about at the moment is the resurgence of interest in Ambisonics, driven by the latest developments in immersive audio and VR. Originally developed in the 1970s by Michael Gerzon, Ambisonics was integrated into Pro Tools in v12.8.2, and we expect to see more third party tools appearing as VR and immersive home and cinema formats become ubiquitous.

If you’re experimenting with Ambisonics (particularly capturing sound fields), we’d recommend keeping a close eye on developments in high order ambisonic microphone arrays over the next year as the ability to store and process a greater number of channels becomes available. These arrays produce phase-coherent immersive audio signals that give your virtual environment natural acoustics, and working in higher order allows for more spatial accuracy.

In other immersive news, 2018 could be the year that SMPTE release an open standard for immersive audio, and it’ll be interesting to see whether the latest evolutions of DTS:X and Multi-Dimensional Audio can challenge Dolby Atmos – follow us on Twitter to keep up with developments.

Refining the cloud

Putting immersive audio aside for a minute, the other toolkit we’d like to see Avid expand in 2018 is Pro Tools’ suite of cloud collaboration tools. Rumours suggest we’ll see their online collaboration services refined, giving audio customers a more streamlined, integrated solution that will lure end users away from slightly less secure methods of sharing (they’re also overhauling the Media Composer Cloud-connected application, so it will interesting to see how these two sync up).

Perfecting shared storage for audio with DDP

Collaborating also means managing content and storage efficiently, and investing in a flexible and reliable storage and management data solution is undoubtedly the way forward if you want to streamline and optimise your workflow. Not many tools can deliver on all fronts but, having tested a lot of options, we’re big fans of Dynamic Drive Pool, a solution which has been designed specifically to work with this type of media.

DDP is essentially a pool of drives from which virtual or logical volumes can be created and accessed via Ethernet. This is a SAN (Storage Area Network) system, which allows data to be read and written in blocks very quickly, allowing network volumes to appear and behave like local storage. This is the perfect companion for audio systems like Pro Tools, Fairlight and Nuendo.

Got a prediction for 2018? Let us know in the comments. To find out more about any of the above, give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter, or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.