We’ve been on board with NDI since day one, but over the last 18 months our customers have been adopting it at an unprecedented rate. During lockdown, NDI really came into its own as an affordable, flexible tool for remote working, and many of those who adopted it are looking to roll it out long term and expand their use. We asked Lead Technical Consultant Chris Bailey to talk us through some of his recent projects.
“This is really where NDI originally lived,” Chris explains. “If you’re running a multi-room conference at hotel or facility, they’re not going to have SDI or Fibre running round the building, but they will have a Cat6 network, and that’s all NDI needs.”
One of our customers specialises in delivering large scale live and virtual events, and NDI has allowed them to drastically improve the ease and speed with which they route signals, freeing up engineers who used to manually patch video feeds from room to room to work on other aspects of the event and deliver a better experience for attendees.
“When you’re running this kind event, where you’re taking multiple feeds from each room and routing them to presentation areas, breakout rooms and displays, NDI can act as a virtual glue,” Chris explains. By combining NewTek NDI cameras and switchers with Gallery’s ND Router and Processing Engine, the events team were able to drastically improve the switchability of their setup and increase the integration of remote contributors.
“Because physical switches are replaced with a centralised, virtual switch, you can move between feeds and rooms much more dynamically. Rather than having to reconfigure your processing engine, you just hit a button and a feed is sent to room one instead of room three.”
As well as making the whole setup more dynamic, switching to NDI has reduced hardware costs and setup times, as the events team no longer needs to run SDI cables to every single room or have a physical router with multiple ins and outs to each monitor. “All you need to do is create a network endpoint between each room, and you can send as much as your bandwidth allows down each video stream, without needing dedicated inputs and outputs at each end. “It’s effectively made the company’s hardware agnostic – it’ll work in any environment,” says Chris.
Under COVID restrictions, cramming a live crew into an OB truck was impossible. But what about everyone who needed to deliver live television mid-pandemic? We helped one major broadcaster move their OB operations to the cloud using NDI.
“The big question when you’re dealing with large volumes of media is, how do we get stuff up into the cloud, process it and get it back down?” said Chris. “With NDI, you can take that classical broadcast infrastructure and combine it with Gallery’s processing tools to make it accessible in the cloud, potentially from anywhere in the world, and on a much lighter budget too.”
Our client used Kiloview convertors to convert 30 camera streams to NDI and move them to an AWS cloud storage volume, then create low-latency monitoring feeds for production staff who were working from home. NDI was key to this, as its unique compression algorithm meant that a high quality feed could be delivered over a domestic internet connection.
The solution worked so well that the broadcaster was able to deliver not just their scheduled programme, but 24 hour live streams across its website and social media channels – another testament to the versatility of an NDI feed.
At the start of lockdown, one post-production facility we work with had their staff take media home with them, and then follow a COVID-safe rota for coming into the office to upload media. However, when they secured a contract to offline an upcoming Netflix show, they needed a more secure solution for remote working and client monitoring.
“We helped the facility deploy 18 Mac minis running Media Composer, Amulet Hotkey and Leostream Gateway,” explains Chris. “This allowed editors who were working from home to log into the facility’s systems and securely access, edit and save media, without having to take it off the premises and expose the company to the risk of a data leak.”
However, they also wanted to offer what Chris calls “the golden goose of remote production” – full screen, hi-res client monitoring. And that’s where NDI came into its own. “NDI provides an agnostic, low-effort way to provide a link to a client playback monitor. Because they’re using Gallery’s ND Router, their setup allows not just the editors but also producers and directors to switch between whichever edit suite they want, so they can view that full screen, remotely, from any location.”
Most importantly, they can do that “without the intervention of the facility engineer, who can then work on developing the business, rather than manually switching feeds for clients every thirty seconds.”
While they installed the setup specifically to offline a key Netflix project, the facility have been so impressed with NDI monitoring that they’ve decided to keep offering it to clients going forward, asking them if they’d prefer to work inside or outside the facility as best suits each project.
As one of the UK's earliest adopters of NDI workflows, we’re the people you need to ask when it comes to NDI. Not only do we have experienced broadcast engineers on staff, but we have over 30 years’ experience with networking too, so can handle both the structural and creative demands of your workflow.
Our consultants will work with you to develop a bespoke NDI workflow that suits your business needs, install your new equipment and provide long term support, maintenance and development. Get in touch to find out more.
Interested in our broadcast services or support? Get in touch with the team by calling 03332 400 888 or emailing broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. For the latest news, follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.
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