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At IBC 2011, Grass Valley introduced several projects that focus on the mid-range market and on solutions. Offerings include the Karrera video production switcher, the LDK 3000+ multiformat HD camera, and the STRATUS Media Workflow Application Framework.
At IBC 2011, Grass Valley introduced several projects that focus on the mid-range market and on solutions rather than simply products. "We have always been perceived as aimed at the top end of the market," Grass Valley Senior VP/General Manager of Live Production Solutions Scott Murray says. "We're showing more affordable solutions here. It's actually the same technology, but packaged differently."
In its booth, Grass Valley emphasized four areas: live event production, TV studio productions, news and play-out/rich media production. "Different genres have different needs," says VP of Marketing Eric Dufosse. "We'll package solutions differently depending on those needs. And having a strong focus on segment will help us meet those needs."
One new product debuted was a new mid-range switcher, the Karrera. Leveraging its engineering expertise with the Kayenne HD Video Production Center and Kayak switchers, the Karrera Video Production Center is a digital 10-bit 4:2:2 video switcher with up to 96 inputs and 48 outputs. With an interface similar to other Grass Valley switchers, the Karrera switcher features HD/SD SDI signal support with (optional) up/down/cross converters on selected inputs and outputs, and six keyers in every full M/E--four full-function keyers plus two linear/ luminance keyers.
Grass Valley Karrera Video Production Switcher. Click on image above for larger view.
"What we did was take the functionality of the Kayenne and put it at a Kayak price point," says Murray, who notes that the Karrera will be shipping worldwide in December. Potential clients include mid-range call letter stations and B level trucks.
The Karrera comes in two frame sizes--4 RU and 8 RU--with frame configurations from 1 to 4.5 M/Es. Either frame can be combined with a choice of 2 or 3 M/E control panels as well as a 1 M/E soft-panel GUI. Karrera also features Grass Valley's DoubleTake split M/E mode, which increases the maximum number of M/Es (including an optional half-M/E) to up to 10 channels.
The release of the Karrera underlines Grass Valley's move from technology products to solutions. "We are exposing our technology in different ways," says Murray. "The approach is quite different. Instead of being product-centric, we are addressing the main segments in the market to fit the business needs. What we are trying to do is understand the ecosystem and package solutions with partners and professional services. It's about cooperation and service."
The new LDK 3000+ includes secondary color correction and new software algorithms to improve lens performance. Click on image above for larger view.
Grass Valley also debuted a new version of its Xensium CMOS camera, the LDK 3000. The new LDK 3000+ includes secondary color correction and new software algorithms to improve lens performance, at the same price as the previous camera. The most important new feature is CLASS (Chromatic Lens Aberration and Sharpness Solution), a software process developed by Grass Valley that works in conjunction with lens data using industry standard interface protocols. The process not only minimizes the effects of chromatic aberration but also results in a 40 percent improvement in overall image sharpness at the left and right edges of the picture.
A typical LDK3000+ configuration has a list price of US$84,433 ([euro]60,309), which includes LDK 3000+ camera head, triax camera adapter, 2" viewfinder, LDK 3000+ base station, OCP400 and tripod adapter. The field upgrade to bring existing LDK 3000 cameras up to LDK 3000+ functionality is $4,200 ([euro]3,000). The camera and upgrade package will be available beginning October 24.
Grass Valley STRATUS Media Workflow Application Framework. Click on image above for larger view.
In fitting with the strategy of offering solutions, Grass Valley also unveiled the STRATUS Media Workflow Application Framework, software that streamlines tasks and processes for media production and management. STRATUS, which will ship in October, facilitates an efficient workflow across the entire content creation and distribution chain from a single, intuitive graphical user interface, and is intended for use in studios, sporting events, entertainment programs, and newsrooms. The foundation for STRATUS is the latest version of the Grass Valley K2 Summit (v. 8.0) media server platform, which serves as the foundation for media clips to be stored, shared, and distributed. Via K2 Summit server systems, proxy files are instantly available to everyone on a network. The server also provides management, capacity, and bandwidth for a wide range of production processes. The EDIUS multi-format editing package is integrated, which allows real-time edit-in-place and rendering of effects, as well as automated playback from STRATUS.
"We are developing a global software framework to provide tools, services and expertise for a wide range of users," says Murray. "You can buy one software infrastructure and customize the user interface easily for different users, all of who have access to the same media. With a single application to install and learn, STRATUS lowers the cost of ownership, increases efficiency and enables users to do more with less."
Grass Valley, the company that has endured for so many decades, is undergoing radical changes. The new focus on workflow solutions for a range of market sectors--rather than simply top-of-the-line hardware--is a reflection of today's economic realities in our industry, from the TV station to the post house. Grass Valley has more competition than ever before, but also more expertise. Adapting their technology to the customer rather than expecting the customer to adapt their way of working is a solid step in the right direction.