Blackmagic Design Teranex simplifies studio broadcast
December 2016 – We recently had the chance to spend a full month with the Blackmagic Design Teranex Express format converter. We tested out the product in a production studio that was broadcasting both SD and FHD content on air and for streaming. The studio features both production shows and live in-studio broadcast using a traditional Newtek Tricaster with a 3G and 6G camera and data flow.
The studio and the broadcast center is in the middle of an upgrade from SD broadcast on cable to FHD on cable and for streaming to both the net and mobile devices. The current methodology is to record the content in FHD (1080p/60) and then edit and down convert the content to h.264 1080p/30 for streaming and broadcast, and also NTSC standard for SD broadcast. In this methodology there are at least 3 versions of the content in the media storage setup – the original camera raw version, the H.2467 version and the NTSC-SD version.
The Teranex converter took a total of about 2 minutes to connect into the system. It was connected up with both HDMI input streams and the SD input streams on the unit. While the unit has an operating manual, it is pretty self-explanatory to use. When there is an input stream, select the output format you want the unit to produce, and simply press the button.
The unit was first tested using the media archives that were stored in SD format. The format converter easily rescaled the files up to 2K at 30fps which was the highest resolution supported by the rest of the broadcast rack. The system not only scaled the images, but also adjusted the frames from 4:3 format to 16:9. There were not lost frames or color shifts. For the streaming outputs, the same sources were tested upconverting the videos from the SDI inputs to 1080p format at new frame rates of both 29.97 and 59.94.
Selecting the other way, we tested the HDMI input with 4K content and down converting to 1080p and all the way down to SD. Once again the resulting images had no lost frames or significant color shifts. The captions and 5.1 audio were also scaled to appear as still readable and for standard stereo sound.
The inclusion of the unit allowed for adjustment of the media workflow. The new workflow was time reduced by about 20% and also reduced media storage requirements. The native camera capture frame rate of 59.94 was now the working rate for production and editing, as is the image resolution at 1080p.
This removed the need to save multiple transcodes of the resulting edited files to support the multiple broadcast needs. It also eliminated the need to create multiple transcodes and formats of the motion graphics and audio files (stereo and surround sound) from the working data and media archives. The new single format flow has increased efficiency, a smaller data size – which allows for a faster release to broadcast without the need to target the endpoint format and resolution.
The unit is both easy to install and use. For those with legacy data stores of content and upgrading to higher resolution services, the unit can provide a cost effective solution that is the basis of new workflows.