Channel Seven - Martin Place HD Control Room

Programmes Get Live Boost from RTD|HD  

Digistor's new HD Replay Transition Device (RTD) has been successfully deployed for Channel Seven's television broadcasts "Sunrise", "The Morning Show", "7 News" and "Today Tonight".

Channel Seven's Martin Place HD Control Room maintains a frenetic pace of live on-air programming, starting with "7 Early News" at 5:30am. From there they work through "Sunrise", "The Morning Show", "7 Morning News", "4.30 News", "7 News at 6pm" and finish with "Today Tonight". Throughout all of these programmes, Digistor's new RTD|HD is used live to insert sophisticated graphics, videos, animations and audio, with simple "set and forget" operation.

The RTD|HD, pre-loaded with graphics, is triggered by Directors at Channel 7's HD Martin Place control room in Sydney.  Paul Slater, who directs and switches shows including "Sunrise", "The Morning Show" and "Sunday Night" explains that having the RTD|HD to seamlessly integrate all of the HD Graphic material into their live broadcasts has become a real lifesaver.

"The RTD|HD has allowed me to 'fly by the seat of my pants' and be more creative and responsive during the broadcasts," said Mr. Slater. "Whereas previously we had to pre-record the video material and add the graphics and audio in post to enable playback during broadcasts, the RTD|HD provides us with a library of material we trigger as and when we wish. It works seamlessly."

Paul explains that this mode of operation has provided a new paradigm for this type of broadcast. In the new world of a combined director / switcher role, the added benfits a RTD|HD brings to a control room are extreamly helpful. As the Vision Switching desk executes multi-instruction macros, sophisticated effects are available from a single button under the control of the director. The RTD|HD plays huge media files that are frame accurate.

RTD|HD macros can provide transitions behind graphics and superimpose animated content with optional audio over a live camera feed. For "Sunrise", the main opening titles are keyed over the footage of the day's big story.  They also use the RTD|HD to trigger a graphic sun that flashes on the screen to wipe between different pieces of vision.

At Seven, the RTD|HD is connected to the Graphics Department computers so that they can quickly create and upload new graphics material to the device. Even though HD material results in very large media files, the RTD|HD can be uploaded with all new material for a programme within minutes of a broadcast going to air.

Delivering Creative Flexibility 

"The convenience of being able to change and load material quickly and directly from the graphics department, combined with the flexibility of use live, lets us experiment with new cool looks," explained Mr. Slater. "Creative people are always looking at ways to improve what they do and are often frustrated by technology blocks. RTD|HD avoids these blocks."

Using the RTD|HD during the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Channel Seven was able to quickly change the graphic "look" of their coverage including the themeing of "Sunrise" to include special sponsorship deals as well as China Olympic branding.

Channel Seven was aware of Digistor's previous generation device, RTD, and had used this device for numerous live applications including outside broadcasts and studio broadcasts. The move to the newly-released RTD|HD was desirable to be compatible with Seven's new HD Operations Centre and to utilise the additional features the new unit provided.

A Truly Optimal Solution 

"Channel Seven was a very early adopter of the RTD|HD, so we worked very closely with Digistor providing daily feedback on the unit in our operational environment," stated Mr. Slater. "Digistor's support was fantastic as they worked with us to iron out any issues and implement features that we found desirable. Within two weeks of taking delivery, we were operationally extremely happy with the unit."

Digistor's Support Manager, Ben Trinder, was appreciative of the co-operative relationship while "bedding in" the RTD|HD.

"Paul is a great customer! His thorough communications and unbeatable experience in broadcast operations gave us the opportunity to provide a truly optimal solution." 

About RTD | HD

Building on Digistor's history of Replay Transition Devices (RTDs), the RTD|HD is their first true HD device.

The original RTDs were built specifically for the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney and were called OTDs (Olympics Transition Devices). The original design was later refined for the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens where Digistor was once again the Olympic provider of transition devices.

This RTD|HD takes the RTD to the next level with enhanced control via Video Disk Control Protocol (VDCP) and ability to support HD and SD in the one device. Audio has not been forgotten either with support for up to 8 mono channels/4 stereo pairs.

Key Features 

  • Full control over up-conversion.
  • Use SD and HD animations in the same program
  • Fully Functional DDR
  • The RTD|HD is a fully functional DDR with enhancements to facilitate quick and easy operation as an RTD (Replay Transition Device). The normal mode of RTD operation is to load animations as sequences of 32 bit Targa(TGA) files along with their associated audio via CD/DVD/USB or network transfer. Once loaded these clips are selectable via Video Disk Control Protocol (VDCP) for playing under remote control.
  • Macro-based Shot-Box Functionality
  • The RTD|HD has been specifically tested for use with the Sony MVS-8000 series switcher, to enable macro-based shot-box functionality straight from the desk with no extra keyboards or control devices. Software tools are included for checking the alpha channel of TGAs before importing, batch renaming/resizing, resampling and trimming audio.

Specifications

  • Operates in SD and HD modes
  • SD to HD up-conversion is possible to facilitate use of SD animations in the same program with HD animations
  • SDI/HD-SDI output connections for both key and fill
  • Supports either Tri-level Sync or standard colour black
  • RS422 and VDCP control
  • 2 x SDI inputs (for later capture support)
  • 8 channel Audio support (16 in future release)
  • Analogue video monitoring output (composite or component)
  • 280GB Internal SAS storage
  • 6RU rack-mount
  • 2 x HD-SDI/SDI video inputs
  • 2 x HD-SDI/SDI, 1 x FILL, 1 x KEY video outputs
  • SD Blackburst or HD Tri-level reference
  • 16/24/32-bit 48Khz synchronous audio
  • 8 channel SDI/HD-SDI embedded audio or 8 channel AES audio on XLR connections
  • 9-pin RS422 control supporting Sony and VDCP control
  • Support for 32 bit TGA sequences, PAL 720 x 576, NTSC 720 x 480, HD 1920x1080 or 1280x720
  • Support for uncompressed Wav files, 16/24/32-bit 48Khz sampling