While a physical gathering at IBC in Amsterdam was impossible this year, the annual EBU Open Source Meetup went ahead online earlier this month. This year's focus was on how open-source tools have helped media organizations to continue producing high quality content during the COVID-19 crisis.
The projects presented covered remote production capabilities, coping with IP infrastructures, and easy-to-use solutions for producing content in a more cost-effective and flexible manner.
Five projects presented
A regular presenter at the Open Source Meetup, Jonas Hummelstrand from SuperFly.tv explained how they have collaborated with Norway's NRK on developing an open source automation system. Their system, Sofie Automation, has helped produce over 150 live shows since autumn 2018, and they recently carried out a new project, in the shadow of COVID-19 restrictions, in just three months.
Floris Daelemans from VRT showed the results of growing collaboration with their French-speaking neighbour, RTBF. Entitled LIVA, it is a repository of open-source components for the commercial product TouchDesigner. A tool to easily and visually create production routing and control surfaces, they have successfully used it for complex, once-off video and audio events. For example, they came up with a solution for a 36-camera setup as well as an audio control console for a live event, achieved quickly and in a cost-effective manner. The repository of open-source components is offered freely to anyone using the same platform.
Pedro Ferreira offered an update on the EBU’s Live IP Software Toolkit (LIST), a freely available tool for inspecting, analysing and visualizing the state of IP-based live production facilities. This has now been used in several rounds of the JT-NM Tested programme, as a key tool both for manufacturers to test their own equipment and for broadcasters to verify behaviours and maintain their own networks.
Also related to the roll-out of live IP-based production infrastructures, Patrick Keroulas of CBC/Radio-Canada presented their work on creating accurate captures of SMPTE ST 2110 streams with the Data Plane Development Kit (DPDK). This provides libraries to accelerate TCP packet processing in a way that can be more easily integrated into existing systems and facilitates IP stream capture for later analysis.
Finally, Tuomo Kulomaa showed his work for Finland’s Yle on SPX-GC, a graphics management and control system for CasparCG. This demonstration showed how professional graphics can be created both for live television and web streams from HTML templates, configurable and played through a traditional rundown. Included were picture-in-picture, lower thirds, bumpers, logos and scrolling news tickers.
A popular part of the annual EBU presence at IBC, the meetup typically attracts a large and diverse community of broadcasters, vendors and enthusiasts to hear about open-source projects and initiatives within media and broadcasting domains. Although this year's attendees were not able to enjoy the post-meetup conviviality and networking, the event showed how open-source tools can help broadcasters be more agile in difficult times, providing quick, easy and low-risk solutions to new problems. We look forward to the next face-to-face event in 2021!