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Vizrt delivers groundbreaking software-first studio to Germany’s Welt with highly automated, switcherless SMPTE 2110 production

Vizrt, the world’s leading provider of software-defined visual storytelling (#SDVS) solutions for media content creators, today announced that Welt television in Berlin has equipped their brand new, paradigm-shifting news studio and production installation with software-based production tools from Vizrt. The German broadcaster’s highly automated SMPTE 2110 NMOS-based infrastructure switches, composites, and actualizes a full broadcast output without the use of a production switcher, giving unprecedented creative freedom, accuracy, and operational efficiency.

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Together with the solution integrator, Qvest Media, Vizrt delivered a number of advanced software tools to achieve this workflow advancement: Viz Mosart for automation, Viz One for asset management, Viz Pilot Edge for journalist workflows, Viz Multiplay for video wall content control, and Viz Engine to power, interconnect, and output.

Thorsten Prohm, CTO for Welt said, “Creating a news broadcast facility is a technical challenge even with traditional architecture. What we invented at Welt are innovative workflows for every step needed to create the program we envisioned. This influenced the choice of journalist and automation tools and  how our infrastructure needs to work and can be controlled. Our intention was not to eliminate the switcher. With the flexibility and functionality from software components and the underlying IP infrastructure, there was no need for one anymore. With Vizrt we found the right software provider to pull this project off the ground.”

Gerhard Lang, CTO for Vizrt said, “The creative minds behind the workflows and aesthetics of Welt approached Vizrt with a concept where they wanted to take full control over every aspect of the production chain. Together we designed a setup which is entirely software based and functions without a production switcher. A technical challenge like this not only requires the modules to work, but a deep collaboration between the parties.  We are happy and proud that Welt chose us as a partner for this groundbreaking project allowing us to show what is possible with IP and software.”

Flexibility through software
To work without a traditional hardware production switcher, the planners at Welt had to think software-first to solve their challenges. Vizrt’s software-defined visual storytelling tools provide the functionality and the flexibility needed to achieve this goal. All mix/effects (M/E’s) and digital video effects (DVEs), as well as all content for the moving LED videowalls and the state-of-the-art virtual studio are done with software. Welt’s journalists also benefit from the flexibility that a modern software defined solution can deliver, as they utilize the latest in template-driven software storytelling tools connected with their NRCS, enabling them to work from any location right up to the final second before air time to file their stories and deliver content.

A rare automation challenge
The Welt vision included having highly automated workflows that eliminate on-air errors. The advanced studio setup features not only 7 robotic cameras but also moving, fully motorized LED panels and IP-controlled lighting, making it a highly complex challenge. To achieve their vision, the broadcaster relies on Viz Mosart to orchestrate the interplay between many different and (literally) moving elements with accuracy and reliability. Content on the advanced video walls are also driven by software, being controlled by a combination of Viz Multiplay and Viz Mosart.

Streamlined and resource conscious IP workflows
A guiding principle of the project was to maximize performance while keeping a close control on resource usage to optimize operational efficiency. The setup takes full advantage of a SMPTE 2110 NMOS infrastructure with the help of an orchestrator and a broadcast controller. Pooling of inputs for fast access and for assignment through NMOS plays a vital role in keeping the setup lean and nimble, and ensures that while performance is always at peak, only the needed bandwidth is used all the way through the interconnected IP infrastructure.

The fully SMPTE 2110-compatible Viz Engines deployed in the installation carry out clip playback in addition to graphics work, which guarantees perfect synchronization, keeping cost to a minimum, helping Welt deliver more stories, better told.

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