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Accelerating the Creation of Ancillary Content During Live Broadcasts


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Audiences are used to being able to view content on a range of devices and platforms, whether at home or on-the-go. This increased audience fragmentation alongside unprecedented demand for remote workflows amidst the global pandemic prompted broadcasters to rethink traditional production pipelines. Not only must modern workflows support OTT delivery, but most are REMI-enabled (remote integration model). To this end, it’s not uncommon today for producers, OTT content creators, and clients to tune into live broadcasts remotely, whether to monitor the feed or inform editorial decisions for ancillary content creation needs, such as building a highlight reel of a sporting match to stream on social media sites or for on-demand viewing. While there are many ways to approach building a workflow capable of facilitating these remote decisions, coupling AJA’s new HELO Plus H.264 recording and streaming device with the Io X3 professional video I/O device is a smart, cost-efficient strategy.

Using the two solutions, production teams can easily hook up an Io X3 locally over Thunderbolt 3 to drive monitoring from a huge range of NLE and production software and support editorial demands. They can play out a timeline of the live feed over SDI through a router for remote teams to access. Simultaneously, using the HELO Plus, they can stream and simultaneously record an H.264 file of the broadcast to share with producers, clients, or other parties, once production wraps. For remote editors, the setup simplifies their job, making it easy to pause and replay a section of the broadcast for a client as the edit is underway. They can scroll through the timeline, discuss changes, and make marker notes, which can help accelerate overall turnaround. All the while, HELO Plus processes the timeline recording as an H.264 file. Having that H.264 file accessible so quickly is an efficiency game changer, as review cycles have historically required long timeline renders.

Beyond this application both Io X3 and HELO Plus support a range of needs in modern broadcast, production, and proAV environments.

The Io X3 Advantage

A multi-channel 2K/HD/SD video I/O over Thunderbolt™ 3 device, AJA Io X3 is a powerhouse for high quality HDR or SDR video production and post, with support up to 60p HD/2K signals or files and for all major creative software applications. It’s also compatible with key streaming applications like OBS Studio, vMix and Telestream Wirecast.

Offering versatile and practical connectivity in the field, edit bay, or on-set, Io X3 includes dual Thunderbolt 3 ports for Mac or PC laptop or desktop connectivity, with the second port for loop through to other Thunderbolt devices. RS-422 is included for machine control of external devices to enable synchronization for editorial work. Analog audio is accessible via a DB-25 port, with all eight channels configurable in or out. HDMI in and out ports support seamless monitoring or video input source access, including HDR and SDR video. Reference input connects the Io X3 to any master clock source alongside LTC input and output for timecode, while four bi-directional 3G-SDI ports can be configured as multi-channel inputs or outputs to suit a wide range of video applications.

Io X3 is an ideal complement to 2K and HD HDR productions, with HLG and HDR 10 support with HDR Infoframe metadata, in accordance with HDMI 2.0a/CTA-861.3 and HD. AJA Control Room software and Io X3 support HDR metadata capture from an incoming SDI or HDMI signal. The captured .mov video file will have embedded HDR metadata, allowing the file to be played back at its intended dynamic range. HDR Auto Playback Detection ensures embedded HDR metadata in a recorded .mov file is read and used to automatically set the HDR format on the monitor(s) connected to the HDMI and/or SDI outputs.

Additionally, support for file-based .mov HDR outputs with metadata from Adobe Premiere Pro/Adobe Media Encoder HDR files is available. Screening those rendered outputs is a simple and high-quality experience with AJA Control Room. Every frame is presented in its full-quality, at the timing intended, and with the proper HDR format set correctly and automatically. The latest AJA Desktop Software also offers HDR input from HDMI for capturing HDR gaming content and more.

Enhanced Flexibility with HELO Plus 

The newest addition to AJA’s family of streaming and recording products, the HELO Plus H.264 streaming and recording device is incredibly versatile, offering both SDI and HDMI I/O and the ability to stream up to 1080p60 to a content delivery network (CDN), while simultaneously recording the footage. The device supports two separate streaming designations and recording to SD cards, USB storage and NFS or CIFS network storage. For enhanced production value, HELO Plus also includes built-in Picture-in-Picture (PiP) and graphics functionality.

Fanless and silent, the compact device suits a range of environments and includes intuitive stream and record buttons, and LED indicators on the front and back of the unit. Audio level meters ensure valuable audio feedback while SD card and USB ports on the front of the device provide easy access. For flexible operation, HELO Plus can be configured and controlled remotely on a standard web browser via Ethernet connection using a desktop or laptop computer. Users can also opt to remotely control the device via its integrated REST API, and work with a wide range of video formats, codecs, and audio encoding parameters.

Built-in SRT (Secure Reliable Transport) ensures secure, low latency, high quality streams, while a built-in scheduler allows users to trigger pre-planned start and stop recording and streaming media. Schedules can be programmed locally through the HELO Plus web UI, .ics file imports, or calendar links from popular external providers. A new layouts feature helps professionals deliver a higher quality production value, allowing multiple inputs to be combined into a single screen with a graphic element overlay. Users can combine the SDI and HDMI input into a single output and easily add a graphic into the composite. Both SDI and HDMI layers can be arbitrarily downscaled and positioned anywhere in the frame, effectively enabling each video source to be used in its PiP element.

HELO Plus’ dual encoders for streaming outputs allow users to create different output settings from a single input source. Each encoder has unique packaging settings and different output frame sizes, so that a single content stream can be presented in two distinct ways and duplicated across both encoders for added resilience.

For more information on HELO Plus, visit: www.aja.com/products/helo-plus. To learn about Io X3, check out:www.aja.com/products/io-x3

Additional details about these tools and other AJA solutions for remote workflows can be found here: www.aja.com/solutions/remote.


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