Discovery takes the Helm of multi-device control

Editor | 25-09-2012

In a huge boost to the monitoring technology supplier, Rascular has won a significant order from the Discovery Networks Europe for Helm, its PC-based third-party control solution.

To be deployed across the broadcaster’s London playout facility, Helm will allow Discovery to have a single, integrated, user-defined, PC-based control/monitoring surface for operators using a variety of systems including branding devices, routers, video servers, VTRs, multi-image display processors and modular gear.

Driving the purchase was a 2011 Discovery project to find a system that could be deployed in master control to increase the viewing ratio in a transmission pod from 10:1 to 12:1. Existing technology has been limited by both hardware and software constraints.

Explained Stuart Parkinson, Director of Project Engineering, Discovery Networks Europe: “We had to find a more flexible solution…We carried out a proof-of-concept with our operations department and this went very well. Helm replicates our previous functionality but also provides a new way of working with the expanded possibilities it creates.”

With the new technology deployed it across 69 channels, Discovery now provides transmission controllers with access to various points in the transmission chain within a monitoring pod. Helm also provides manual access to Miranda ImageStores – which appear like a presentation mixer – main and back-up servers, graphical assets as well as Axon glue products for ensuring content is broadcast 16:9.

Added Parkinson: “We are gradually adding more functionality into Helm, designing graphics-rich soft panels ourselves. The ability to control complex workflows very simply…is vital to our operation. We are now additionally deploying the technology in our ingest area so that operators – at the touch of a button – can insure that multiple language tracks on supplied material are encoded correctly for playout at the ingest point. This means that complex workflows have to take place in the background but to the operator they now appear simple.”