Maintain Master Control with Proper Heat Management – Editorial by Dave Van Hoy, ASG President

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Heat kills broadcast and IT equipment. When the heat builds, it can damage the various components you need to run your station, deliver presentations in your classrooms and auditoriums, or provide access to content for your post-production needs. Most master controls don’t have an ambient temperature that supports IT or broadcast equipment, of course, so you’ll need more than the integrated fans in your equipment for proper heat management. 

Much of today’s IT equipment is designed to operate in warmer temperatures – between 78 and 80 degrees – which means less cooling is required. For most broadcast equipment, however, the optimal room temperature is 68 degrees, because of temperature-sensitive components that are different than what you’d find in a typical server or switch. 

Need to move master control to a new area of an existing building? Avoid spaces with exterior windows, which essentially act like solar heaters. Also, if you have a choice, a bigger space is always better. With a smaller space, there’s not a lot of margin for error. If the AC fails, the smaller room will get hotter faster, which means the risk of damaging your equipment gets much higher much faster. If you are stuck with a compact space, consider a self-contained rack enclosure system with integrated cooling, which can act as a primary or secondary cooling alternative. 

Remember, you need to both cool the room and remove heat from the equipment in the room. One time-tested equipment layout technique is the “hot aisle/cold aisle” layout, which uses air flow management based on your equipment’s interior cooling fans. Basically, you face multiple racks away from each other, and direct the exhausted hot air from the back of all the components to the room’s AC return vent. Studies have shown the hot aisle/cold aisle layout can increase AC efficiency by up to 20 percent, which can result in significant power savings. 

Still have questions about proper heat management for your facility? Let the experts at ASG install and design a system that will keep your equipment cool without requiring your engineering staff to wear a parka in master control. 

Limited-Time Offer: Get cineX Everything for $995

Here is a fantastic special, limited-time offer for ASG customers. Between August 31 and October 15, 2020, you can purchase the cineX Everything license which includes all cineXtools for 85% off!

CineXtools is an easy video editing software that will save you a ton of time making changes to your videos.

Here’s what you get for $995:
A one year license with a Total Value: $8,040

• cineXtools: All Codecs (ProRes, AVC, XAVC, DNxHD/HR, XDCAM, JPEG2000, & H.264!)
• Closed Captions editor, AS11 metadata editor, Remote Insert tool
• cineXplugins: All Codecs
• cineXmeta: All Wrapper support
Best of all, you keep the promo price forever

Learn more about cineX Everything here, and register to lock in your price!

Cloud Audio Forum: COVID-19 Exposes ‘Difficult’ Audio Issues

The Cloud Audio Forum, a webinar presented by Sports Video Group’s DTV Audio Group on Aug. 19, featured a panel of industry experts who spoke on various aspects of the state of audio production in the cloud. Panelist Dave Van Hoy, president of Advanced Systems Group, noted COVID-19 forced many companies to quickly adopt at-home production workflows.

Initially, ASG had to find solutions so some clients could stay in business – because producing something was better than producing nothing. Van Hoy said content creators could continue to face these remote production challenges for the next year due to lingering COVID-19 issues. For some clients, particularly those with limited budgets, the challenge has been finding ways to reproduce the on-prem hardware-based solutions for graphics, external video content sources, and other key production elements with reliable, cloud-based options.

There has been a lot of experiential learning in the field, as manufacturers continue to introduce production solutions – often months before they would normally be made available. Van Hoy said it has been a very interesting process that has illustrated the importance of operator and system redundancy.

Despite some early success, there is still much work to be done. Timing, an essential part of audio production, remains an issue, as many transport mechanisms have not yet been well adapted to work in the cloud. Many webinar panelists also emphasized the importance of hardware-based tools for audio operators, particularly faders. Other major audio challenges that need to be addressed for cloud-based productions are intercoms and latency. “It’s shocking how difficult the audio piece of this has been,” Van Hoy added.

ASG Host ‘Remote Control’ Webinar Interview Series for Silicon Valley Video

EMERYVILLE, CALIF., JUNE 29, 2020 – Advanced Systems Group (ASG), a leading media technology and engineering firm, today announced the launch of Remote Control, a webinar interview series for the new Silicon Valley Video (SV.V) association. The first episodes, featuring interviews with company representatives from iconik, Primestream, Qumulo, and other companies, are available on Silicon Valley Video’s YouTube channel.

Presented by ASG, B&H Photo Video, and Sports Video Group, Remote Control is hosted by members of the ASG and B&H B2B teams. Episodes focus on a variety of technologies to facilitate remote production. ASG expects to produce more than a dozen episodes of the Remote Control webinar series over the next few months. Episodes can be accessed at https://bit.ly/2Vjs0Ci.

ASG is producing episodes of Remote Control, a webinar interview series for Silicon Valley Video.

“Silicon Valley Video is here to help tech professionals improve their skills, but COVID-19 has delayed our ability to host live events,” said Dave Van Hoy, president of ASG. “Our new Remote Control webinar series provides us with a forum to discuss new workflows and best practices with manufacturers and other industry leaders.”

ASG is a founding member and sponsor of SV.V, which was established in February to develop educational resources for the video production teams of Silicon Valley tech companies. SV.V is produced in association with SVG, which has supported the professional sports production industry since 2006.

About SV.V:
Silicon Valley Video (SV.V) is the international information resource for tech industry leaders who are innovating the next generation video tools, platforms and production workflows. Wherever in the world Silicon Valley tech companies are producing and distributing content, SV.V is providing platforms for professional development and networking. SV.V is produced in association with SVG, the association for live video production. For more information, visit: siliconvalley.video.

About ASG:
Based in the San Francisco Bay Area with offices in the New York Metro Area, Los Angeles, and the Rocky Mountain Region, Advanced Systems Group LLC has provided engineering, systems, integration, support, and training to the multimedia creative and corporate video markets for more than 20 years. With unmatched experience in high-speed shared storage, media asset management, archiving, editing, color and VFX systems, ASG has become one of the largest installers of post-production and shared storage systems in North America. Highly focused on customer success, the ASG team has installed and supported more than 500 storage networks, along with production and post-production systems. As part of its complete solution approach, ASG also offers a range of managed services, providing expert staffing for media production and event management. For more information, visit www.asgllc.com or call 510-654-8300.

COVID-19 Affects Projects, Promises Lingering Industry Impact – Editorial by Dave Van Hoy, ASG President

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The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been staggering, causing significant and lasting changes throughout the vertical markets of the professional video industry. During these first few months, we’re seeing what I call cautious turmoil – while there has been little change in most projects, we are expecting to see change. 

Why the delay? Clients are still trying to figure out what to change. At a minimum, there will be pivots in how we approach different aspects of various projects. Some will certainly be scaled back, but others will be expanded, though in different directions than originally planned. 

Our industry’s technological solutions are based on the three-legged table of speed, quality, and cost. Some of our clients are compromising different elements to achieve short-term goals. For example, some are spending money just to stay in business, while others are compromising quality in ways that would not have been previously acceptable in an effort to deliver content. I expect priorities will continue to shift as video professionals adjust to social distancing and COVID-19 safety requirements. 

With smaller or even non-existent physical audiences, there will be a greater emphasis on packages and other supporting production elements for live broadcasts this fall. You’ll certainly see changes in award shows and political debates, but the biggest impact may be in sports coverage. How will content producers incorporate remote attendee feedback? If they can access fan reactions from across the country, will they add a “cheer track” to the broadcast? Will they play reactions on loudspeakers in the stadium for the benefit of the players? 

Meanwhile, let’s give credit to the broadcast technical community. They have provided some very creative solutions that have enabled at-home productions to deliver content to audiences. We’ve all learned a valuable lesson about reliable internet connectivity, but we’ve also seen the importance of professional cameras, lighting kits, and high-quality microphones for at-home productions. 

To that end, ASG has been working with our clients to deliver more than 175 customized remote production kits since March, which have been built to meet the workflow requirements of specific production team members. For now and in the future, it’s important for broadcasters and other content creators to be ready to support on-camera talent and others with at-home solutions. And it’s not just about the technology – there also needs to be adequate training so the non-technical team members can be their own production support. 

RELATED INFO: ASG SHIPS REMOTE PRODUCTION KITS AS CLIENTS FACE AT-HOME CONTENT CREATION CHALLENGES

ASG Ships Remote Production Kits as Clients Face At-Home Content Creation Challenges

EMERYVILLE, CALIF., MAY 11, 2020 – Advanced Systems Group (ASG), a leading media technology and engineering firm, today announced it has shipped more than 175 remote production kits to its clients over the past two months, as content creators have continued to work from home during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“The broadcast technical community has stepped up with creative solutions to enable video production to continue outside of traditional studio environments, and corporate communications professionals have followed suit,” said Dave Van Hoy, president of ASG. “As an industry, we have learned the importance of providing high-quality equipment for content creators working from home. Our remote production kits are helping clients produce professional results despite the inherent limitations of at-home productions.”

Designed to accommodate various levels of expertise, ASG’s remote production kits collect the equipment necessary to produce and stream professional video content, including lighting kits, laptops, high-quality microphones, and DSLR cameras with desktop tripods and prompters. While working around current equipment inventory shortages, ASG works with clients to customize each kit to meet the workflow requirements of specific production team members. 

ASG also provides training and best practices as needed for on-camera talent who are now responsible for their own production support. Units are available now and can be shipped directly to the homes of content creators for immediate deployment.

About ASG:

Based in Northern California with offices in the New York Metro Area, Los Angeles, Pacific Northwest, Houston, and the Rocky Mountain Region, Advanced Systems Group LLC of Emeryville, Calif., has provided engineering, systems, integration, support, and training to the multimedia creative and corporate video markets since 1997. With unmatched experience in high-speed shared storage, media asset management, archiving, editing, color and VFX systems, ASG has become one of the largest installers of post-production and shared storage systems in North America. Highly focused on customer success, the ASG team has installed and supported more than 500 storage networks, along with production and post-production systems. As part of its complete solution approach, ASG also offers a range of managed services, providing expert staffing for media production and IT services on a temporary or ongoing basis. For more information, visit www.asgllc.com or call 510-654-8300.

VIDEO: Advanced System Group’s Dave Van Hoy Addresses Fate of At-Home Workflows in Post-Coronavirus World

ASG president Dave Van Hoy was interviewed by Kristian Hernandez of Sports Video Group (SVG) as part of their SportsTech On Demand video series. In this interview, Van Hoy addresses new at-home workflows for sports video professionals, the temporary and permanent impacts of remote production in live television, ways in which postproduction professionals are getting around the current limitations of using the internet to transport data, and how these workflows are speeding up the migration to the cloud.

COVID-19 Pandemic Creates New Emphasis on Remote Post Production – Editorial by Dave Van Hoy, ASG President

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Over the past few weeks, as the world has dealt with the COVID-19 pandemic, the BIG topic we are addressing is enabling remote production and post production. Whether it’s running a virtual conference, providing emergency messaging to employees, or finishing projects in post, everyone is doing their best to do it from home. Before we evaluate potential solutions for remote editing and color grading, it’s important to understand the technical challenges you’ll face when you leave the office. 

Today’s editing software and computer hardware are so powerful and sophisticated that we’ve become used to buying a hard drive from anywhere, plugging it into our computer, and editing in a pretty unlimited way. We take for granted that editing software requires the data for a frame of video at your frame rate and raster size (resolution) for every stream (track) you are playing simultaneously in real time to avoid the dreaded dropped frames. Remember, when you are editing with four streams of ProRes 4K at 60 frames per second, that totals 8 Gbps – and virtually any current hard drive you have does that all day long.

Let’s put this in the context of working from home. More than likely, you have an asymmetrical connection, since up and down are not the same, with somewhere between 100 Mbps and 1 Gbps download and only about 10 Mbps upload at your home. Even if you are one of the very lucky people who has a nominal 1 Gbps fiber connection at home, you’re definitely not going to fit your already compressed 8 Gbps video stream into the 1 Gbps pipe. 

Now that you understand the challenge, let’s look at the most available solutions. 

One way or another, the data necessary to play and edit your video has to reach the computer processor fast enough for your computer to make the computations to process in real time at your frame rate. When the video files reside on a central video storage system at work, most often it will be a fast SAN (storage area network) or NAS (network attached storage), it enables you and your coworkers to work just like your data is stored on a local hard drive.

Why not just share that storage over the internet using a company VPN? There are several stumbling blocks: 

  • lack of bandwidth availability will make real-time processing impossible.
  • your security team will most likely not want your storage system (with its valuable assets) directly on the Internet.
  • in many cases, your high-performance storage system is not vetted by your security team to be on your company intranet directly because media storage is highly specialized. 
  • firewalls to protect your assets that are optimized for multi-gigabit bandwidth and low latency are very expensive (upwards of $250,000).

So, how do you get around the current limitations of using the Internet to transport your data? There are three general approaches:

Move the data to local using a data transfer accelerator.

First, you can move the data using a data transfer accelerator. As we know, moving large data files across any Internet connection is painfully slow. Most data transport applications are not optimized to take advantage of modern Internet data paths with sophisticated data routers and switches. They assume you have to move the data in small packets – and frequently check that the packets arrived. This is typical for FTP and HTTP style transfers.

You can solve for this by using software that uses an alternate protocol like UDP, which is designed for streaming large data files. The best software looks across the Internet and not only finds the best routes to send the data, but provides high degrees of encryption to protect your files. 

Companies that provide this kind of performance include Aspera, FileCatalyst, JetStream, and Signiant. Costs and advanced features vary widely, but the underlying tech is similar. How effective are they? We did a test at a client site moving a 100 GB file from Silicon Valley to New York City. Using standard FTP over a 1 Gbps network, it took 36 hours. With Aspera, the same file transferred in an almost unbelievable 13 minutes and 56 seconds!

Make the data smaller.

Another option is to make the data smaller. This is what is commonly known as proxy editing. You compress the files even more (and maybe shrink the resolution and frame rate) so the files you have to move are much smaller and are good enough for editing, even if not for a deliverable.

This can be a great workflow when you have the time to plan and deploy the right tools, such as a compression engine from Telestream or Elemental (or others), as well as a media asset management system to keep track of the relationship between the editor, proxy files, and full resolution files. Of course, you then get all the other advantages of a MAM in workflow management. Unfortunately, this can be a long process to deploy and adopt.

Don’t move the data at all.

Finally, you can choose not to move the data to you locally by using a form of VDI (virtual desktop infrastructure). The idea is that your off-site computer becomes a “thin client.” The “heavy lifting” of video editing happens on a computer at another location, while your off-site computer essentially works as a remote control. 

VDI exists in many forms, ranging from Citrix servers to running applications in public or private cloud to sophisticated remote control of your machine back at the office. Once again, professional video applications generally exceed the capability of these systems because of our real-time requirements and latency issues. VDI is definitely part of the future, and it can be implemented successfully today in many applications. For real-time video, it requires a virtualization platform that attempts to move the least amount of data to represent the changes in the host computer display.

Video professionals who want to control existing workstations should explore products such as Teradici or MXFserver Remote. If you want to push your assets to the public cloud for VDI in the cloud, consider Avid Cloud, Bebop, or Blackbird.

At ASG, we continue to explore the strengths and limitations of each of these methods. There are plenty of tools to enable your workflow, and we are here to help you move forward…remotely.

ASG Strengthens Los Angeles Sales, Service Efforts with Industry Veteran Team of Kym Cannon and Kelli Clark

EMERYVILLE, CALIF., March 24, 2020 – Advanced Systems Group (ASG), a leading media technology and engineering firm, today announced it has added the team of Kymberly Cannon and Kelli Clark to enhance sales and service efforts across Southern California. Cannon, a regional sales manager, and Clark, a solutions engineer, worked together at Quantum before joining ASG earlier this month.

Before Clark was a solutions architect at Quantum, she served for 23 years as the senior SAN/fiber channel architect and supervising engineer for 20th Century Fox, and also held technical roles for Pixar Animation Studios and Skywalker Sound. Cannon spent seven years as a regional sales manager for Quantum, often partnering with ASG on top strategic accounts. Previously, she was an account manager for Dell EMC/Isilon, HP, CommVault, and HDS.

While ASG has been an established media and entertainment service provider in Los Angeles for almost a decade, the company also supports high-end corporate video clients representing a diverse group of industries in the region. The Los Angeles office is led by Andy Darcy, who relocated to the market in 2018 after previously handling business development for ASG’s New York-based operations.

“This was a rare opportunity to recruit a successful industry team to our Los Angeles operations,” said Dave Van Hoy, president of ASG. “With Kym and Kelli, we look forward to building our customer base across a number of vertical markets, growing our Managed Services efforts, and continuing to lead with service across Southern California.” 

Contact Kym Cannon at 310-562-4748 or via email at kym@asgllc.com. Contact Kelli Clark at 310-400-2404 or via email at kelli@asgllc.com

About ASG:

Based in Northern California with offices in the New York Metro Area, Los Angeles, Pacific Northwest, Houston, and the Rocky Mountain Region, Advanced Systems Group LLC of Emeryville, Calif., has provided engineering, systems, integration, support, and training to the multimedia creative and corporate video markets since 1997. With unmatched experience in high-speed shared storage, media asset management, archiving, editing, color and VFX systems, ASG has become one of the largest installers of post-production and shared storage systems in North America. Highly focused on customer success, the ASG team has installed and supported more than 500 storage networks, along with production and post-production systems. As part of its complete solution approach, ASG also offers a range of managed services, providing expert staffing for media production and IT services on a temporary or ongoing basis. For more information, visit www.asgllc.com or call 510-654-8300.

Avid Offers Free Temporary Licenses: Media Composer, Pro Tools, More

BURLINGTON, MASS., Mar 16, 2020 — Avid announced a generous offer today designed to help people who have been affected by the current COVID-19 outbreak. To allow professionals to continue delivering projects and assignments while working remotely, Avid is providing temporary licenses of their creative tools to customers at no charge. From now through Friday, April 17, users who are working from home may obtain 90-day licenses free of charge for Media Composer | Ultimate, Pro Tools, Pro Tools | Ultimate and Sibelius | Ultimate. In addition, any student of an institution who uses Avid products and can no longer attend school and/or access school facilities can receive a 90-day license of the same products.

For complete details and to check eligibility to obtain a free temporary license, please use the following link.

How to obtain a free temporary license (PDF) >