Gary Adcock: IP Video is the Next Step in the Digital Revolution

Did anyone else know the Digital Revolution was still- revolving? Well it is, and with one of the latest innovations coming out, the Digital Revolution might be a term used for the foreseeable future. IP Video and technologies like NDI are the latest steps in this revolution that definitely seems to have taken over the industry completely. Companies like NewTek, Atomos, BirdDog, Telestream, PTZOptics and dozens more have already made IP Video a major part of their current and future product-base. With the creation of NDI converters, NDI cameras and NDI software readily available for users the possibilities are endless and the future has no bounds.

Gary Adcock with ProVideo Coalition does an excellent job of outlining where IP Video came from, how it's being utilized professionally today and inferring where it will end up heading in the future. As an industry professional for years in his own right, Adcock has already lived and worked through the beginning of the Digital Revolution simply going from analog to digital. His insight into this growing technology would be useful for any producer looking to add IP Video workflows into their production.

Simply, IP Video utilizes basic Internet Protocols (IP) as the means to transport video and audio with ancillary metadata. It uses broadband ethernet based networking for connectivity and data rather than the legacy SDI (serial digital interface) cabling most are accustomed to using. Most of us working in the Corporate, Industrial, Education and Worship markets accept working around the issues of a single channel video signal, whereas the coming needs for 4K, 8K and the Wide Dynamic Range data streams required to enable HDR’s future, Video over IP offers a dynamic, scalable necessity allowing us to maintain the highest signal integrity in an ever-changing infrastructure.

Within the structure we currently use with an embedded audio and video signal, SDI cabling only carries a single embedded signal for a limited length, whereas an ethernet backbone provides a greater number of simultaneous signal pathways over longer cable runs and provides for discrete channels of Video and Audio, essentially allowing simple embedding and dis-embedding of the two from virtually anywhere. That capability allows productions and the facilities to be distributed across a larger environment since the control room and machine rooms are no longer bound to the limited distribution issues found in SDI based connectivity.

Today, the primary disadvantage is the cost of implementation and the lack of native IP devices. IP centric production changes can potentially require an additional 20-30% increase in budgeting to support and sustain infrastructure changes as needed. Existing organizations have already made substantial investments in SDI based workflow solutions and networking, making abandonment of current infrastructures doubtful. A vast majority of the existing digital workflows were newly installed during the FCC’s transition to digital broadcast transmission from just a few years ago. Many facilities will most likely transition using hybrid IP workflows, where the existing SDI infrastructure will be augmented with IP technologies as changes to those parts of the infrastructure require....[continue reading]

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