First African deployment of Axon and Utah Scientific

Published: MEA

First African deployment of Axon and Utah Scientific

SOUTH AFRICA: The South African Broadcast Corporation (SABC) has reportedly become the first broadcaster in Africa to integrate Axon’s Cerebrum control and monitoring software platform with Utah Scientific’s router technology. The setup has been installed in the broadcaster’s new HD mobile Master Control Room (MCR) as part of its Johannesburg-based High Technology Operations Centre.

The close collaboration between SABC, Inala, Axon and NIC was credited with the success of this project, which had to be completed in just four weeks in order to meet the deadline of broadcasting the 2016 South African national elections in full HD.

‘Due to the tight timescale, Inala and NIC built a temporary installation to ensure HD coverage of the elections, which took place at the beginning of August,’ commented Anton Van Staden, Inala’s executive broadcast consultant. ‘The equipment is now being decommissioned and moved into a brand new OB vehicle. It will be used as a mobile MCR for all types of productions and should be fully operational by April.’

‘Cerebrum offers a modular, scalable and open system that is perfect for SABC’s requirements,’ continued Mr Van Staden. ‘The system supports virtually every piece of broadcast equipment on the market and acts as the nerve centre for all routing. It is also very easy to use with a fully customisable interface and significantly speeds up production workloads by enabling complex tasks to be completed much faster.’

SABC’s Cerebrum system is now being used to control two Utah routers – a 7U UTAH-400/144 and a 4U UTAH-400/72s2 frame. ‘By combining Axon’s Cerebrum control and monitoring with Utah Scientific’s routers, we have been able to provide a streamlined workflow that delivers against budget and production requirements,’ concluded Mr Van Staden. ‘Also, Utah routers offer IP interface capabilities and this is a major advantage because it will simplify the switch to IP broadcasting, when SABC decide to make that move.’

Other equipment installed in the mobile MCR includes a Riedel communications system, Tektronix waveform monitoring and an Axon Synapse modular HD monitoring distribution amplifier with embedded 3G/HD/SDI.

‘Switching from analogue to high definition is a large step for any broadcaster, and with the national elections our target, we only had four weeks to do it in,’ stated Peter Knevitt, principal technologist and TV OBs engineering manager at SABC. ‘In that situation, it is really important to have supportive and proactive people around you. Inala and Axon made things very easy for us and we’re delighted with what they achieved. The temporary installation worked perfectly and we are looking forward to having all the equipment operational in our permanent mobile MCR.’

broadcast, south africa, axon, sbtv