With the transition to digital, high-definition broadcasting now gathering pace, video production professionals increasingly require highly capable, integrated solutions that seamlessly connect all parts of the video production workflow, from news acquisition in the field, through editing and archiving, to feeding edited programs to transmission platforms. The advanced system promoted by Ikegami and Toshiba brings ideal solutions to all of these processes. It offers a superior storage platform based on open standards, and delivers enhanced levels of productivity and innovation throughout the video broadcast workflow.
Commenting on the significance of the partnership, Masaki Matsubara, President and CEO of Ikegami said: “We look forward to promoting innovation in the broadcasting industry by working closely with Toshiba. The combination of our expertise in video production fields with Toshiba’s wide-ranging experience and technological excellence in broadcasting systems-especially master control facilities for broadcasters, transmitters, and play-out servers, plus its advanced semiconductor flash-memory technologies-promises an ideal partnership.”
Shunichi Kimura, Corporate Vice President and President and CEO of Toshiba’s Social Infrastructure Systems Company also remarked: “Our alliance with Ikegami, an industry leader in professional cameras, reinforces our efforts to strengthen Toshiba’s position in the global broadcasting industry. We look forward to providing broadcasters and production companies with high value solutions.”
The collaboration between Ikegami and Toshiba blends each company’s expertise to bring new levels of workflow innovation to all stages of video production. The total system comprises the “GFCAM”*1 Hybrid Tapeless Camera; “GFSTATION”*2, an entirely new central video management and recording system based on flash memory; and “GFSTATION PORTABLE,”*3 a portable version of GFSTATION. All image and sound data are recorded to “GFPAK”*4, a removable medium that can be used with all system components. The network connectivity of all system elements creates a highly efficient, highly productive tapeless environment.
Note 1: GFCAM, the newest member of the Editcam family, combines Ikegami’s unsurpassed image quality and flash memory technologies. GFCAM is a development code name.
Notes 2, 3, 4: GFSTATION, GFSTATION PORTABLE, and GFPAK are all development code names.
1. Flash Memory Solution
The new system’s main removable storage medium, GFPAK, used with the GFCAM, GFSTATION, and GFSTATION PORTABLE, is based on semiconductor flash memory. Flash memory offers distinct advantages over optical disc-based and other solutions: with no moving parts, it is rugged, highly impact- and vibration-resistant, and maintenance is easier and much cheaper; it is also a long-life, semi-permanent medium, supporting rewrite cycles in the order of tens of thousands, another significant factor in reducing running costs. GFPAK also integrates proprietary technologies and enhanced error protection that protect data integrity, and supports high-speed random access that boosts working efficiency.
A single GFPAK can store up to 128 minutes of HD images, affording ample recording time when used in the field.
Depending on the application, an alternative hard disk-drive based memory pack is also available. Both the flash-based and HDD packs have the same profile and interface and are completely interchangeable in system components.
2. Workflow Innovation
(1) Multitasking with GFSTATION
The GFSTATION is a multi-task platform built around high-capacity internal flash memory. It is the home for video sources transferred via a network to a non-linear editor, an import terminal for uploads from external sources, and an IN/OUT editor supporting instant direct editing during file transfer from a GFPAK. IN/OUT editing is also possible during recording, via the GFSTATION’s front-panel or its universal controller.
(2) Meta Data and Proxy Data Solutions
As the GFCAM records high-resolution image data, it also simultaneously records proxy video and other meta data. Proxy video, a low-resolution MPEG 4 mirror of the high-resolution image and sound, has the same time code as the original, and can be quickly delivered over a network, or accessed on location, for initial viewing and to support scripting and editing. By recording INPUT/OUTPUT points set by a PC, replay of materials according to these points is easily done either on GFSTATION or GF STATION PORTABLE. Other meta data recorded during acquisition supports workflow efficiency by logging all key facts on the shoot-the date, location, program name, and equipment used.
3. Open Solutions
Every component of the system is built around open standards, including such codecs and formats as MPEG2 Long GOP/I-Frame and MXF. This approach supports broadcasters and production companies in making a gradual transition from existing systems to a new tapeless environment, and also facilitates interoperability with diverse third-party equipment and systems. Ikegami and Toshiba will draw on this open standard approach in forging partnerships with developers of non-linear editors.