ITN invests in new Blackmagic solution

ITN Productions has expanded its post-production capabilities following an investment of £1.4 million (US$1.7 million) in a new state-of-the-art facility built on a 12G-SDI backbone and featuring software and infrastructure products from Blackmagic Design.

Conceived originally as an in-house resource, ITN Productions’ post-production facilities, located at its Central London HQ, has grown into a facility of more than 50 edit suites. These now support every facet of video post production for ITN’s growing creative and commercial arm.

With ITN Production’s existing post-production facilities at capacity, a decision was taken to upgrade and expand into the space underneath the building.

“The principal driver was a need for greater flexibility to handle the growing number of creative disciplines and program formats we now produce,” said Olly Strous, ITN Production’s head of post production.

“In addition to all of that, we also needed to be capable of supporting demands for 4K and Ultra HD (UHD) broadcasts.”

The answer, according to Strous, was a facility built around 12G-SDI relying on Blackmagic’s Smart Videohub 40 x 40 routers for signal management.

“We looked at IP for this phase of expansion over SDI, yet with the industry still in flux about a universally agreed standard, the timing wasn’t quite right,” he revealed.

“As such, we felt a solution built around Blackmagic Design and 12G-SDI would fulfil our immediate UHD requirements at a price point that made business sense.”

With 12 new suites receiving transmission (TX) and receiving (RX) signals, single link 12G-SDI meant “we were able to run a quarter of the cables we otherwise would have”, Strous explained.

“Naturally, we also ran in fibre at the same time to support any future move to IP.”

The new infrastructure also incorporates Teranex standards and frame rate conversion as part of a workflow that sees all online editing and grading completed in DaVinci Resolve Studio.

Strous added: “We have installed two Teranex Express boxes wrapped around our video matrix. Implementing them ensures we retain a degree of flexibility at every stage of the post process. And I like the fact that all of the processing is done in real time.”

ITN has also installed a video wall in its foyer. Requiring the ability to do picture in picture, Strous implemented a solution featuring the MultiView 4 and MultiView 16.

“We daisy-chained the multiviewers into the router matrix, which means we can route anything to any of the 16 screens while … putting the 16-screen inside the four-screen if we want to,” he explained.

“The roll-out of 12G-SDI today affords us a small amount of growth tolerance to support UHD at higher frame rates, which is on our roadmap in the near future.

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