Hitomi Broadcast, market leader in audio/video alignment and latency tools, has supplied a full set of its synchronisation tools to MMC Studios in Cologne. The Hitomi kit is a critical part of the delivery of some of Germany’s most popular live television programmes.
MMC Studios is the leading television and film studio provider in Germany. Its studios are responsible for some of Europe’s most popular programmes, including live shows like Let’s Dance (the German version of Dancing with the Stars/Strictly Come Dancing), The Masked Singer and The X Factor. The studios are fully equipped for 4k HDR Ultra HD production.
“On a show like Let’s Dance, we produce in HDR Ultra HD, and deliver that and a SDR HD version to CBC, RTL’s broadcast centre,” said Andreas Albert, head of technical operations at MMC Studios. “The show can have as many as 20 or 30 HD/4k and colour space conversions in production, as well as the final output, and with different latencies in different converters, we have to work hard to keep everything in synchronisation.”
The solution is to use Hitomi MatchBox to align every stage of the process. MatchBox Glass, the iPhone app version of the signal generator, is used on every camera into the switcher. A MatchBox Generator provides test signals for video processing chains, and the MatchBox Analyser provides absolute precision in measurement of lip sync, phase coherence and channel identification. Both the generator and analyser are 4k ready with 12G-SDI connectivity.
The unique Hitomi test sequence tests every element of the circuit, and the Analyser calculates the difference between what it knows should be there and what it actually receives. For MMC, this means that every delay in every part of the production chain is precisely calibrated and can be calculated. When the signals leave the building on a live broadcast, they are precisely in sync.
“Our reputation depends on us delivering to the very highest standards, especially now that Ultra HD is growing in importance,” MMC’s Albert said. “Lip sync errors are very obvious and irritating for viewers, and we absolutely rely on Hitomi as the industry standard for addressing this issue. Hitomi allows us to send test signals to our customers and ensure that they can deal with any potential lip sync issues before they become a problem. It’s an indispensable tool for us, and we simply couldn’t operate at the level of quality that we do without it.”
The MatchBox equipment was supplied to MMC by VIDI as part of its network management system. Sales director of VIDI Bernd Meinl said “MMC is a really busy operation, with studios constantly in use. They need the equipment to be configured and set up really quickly and reliably, and the Hitomi system provides the vital alignment quickly and absolutely reliably.”