Modern VideoFilm Relies on Utah Scientific Routing Switchers For Postproduction

Utah Scientific announced that Hollywood postproduction house Modern VideoFilm has chosen a UTAH-400/XL routing switcher to serve as the core of its infrastructure in its new 96,000-square-foot facility in Burbank, Calif., which is the headquarters for its multi-city operation.

Modern VideoFilm is using the new router to interconnect the facility’s equipment and systems that record and monitor SDI video with embedded audio and timecode. The UTAH-400/XL router also connects with a smaller UTAH-400 router that Modern VideoFilm purchased for its new Santa Monica, Calif., facility.

“In our old facility, we had multiple sizes of routers and multiple levels of signals with subrouter systems and tie lines, which made our whole process a lot more complex,” said Siegfried Heep, Modern VideoFilm’s chief systems engineer. “Now we simply have one big SDI router, and we can connect everything to it. It also gives us fiber ins and outs that allow us to go distances over 100 meters, which is critical in a building of this size.”

The UTAH-400/XL router sits in a 1056×1056 chassis, which Modern VideoFilm has filled with I/O cards for 912 inputs and 804 outputs. The empty card slots give Modern VideoFilm room to grow simply by adding more cards. Heep said this attribute gives him the flexibility to plan for growth in some areas and skip other areas, which helps with physical configuration down the road.

The UTAH-400/XL also has full-size BNC connectors rather than the smaller connectors found in many other routers, a feature that allows Modern VideoFilm to use BNC crossconnect cables for physical configuration and signal troubleshooting rather than operate patch bays. Modern VideoFilm installed the router so that all the rear-panel BNCs face the front, making it easier for engineers to access the ins and outs that connect the BNC bulkhead panels to racks directly adjacent to the router. In fact, Heep said, it was for this very reason that one of Modern VideoFilm’s requirements was a single-chassis router.

“The ability to set up the routing switcher for easy access to the rear connector panel was an important design feature for us when it came to troubleshooting signals,” Heep said. “Another useful feature is an LED indicator of signal presence for every input and output.”

Because everything is connected to the router, signals are distributed electronically over the building’s extensive fiber network with no need for patch bays or distribution amplifiers. The UTAH-400/XL is part of a system of digital switches that includes SDI, RS-422, Fibre Channel, and Ethernet. The setup process for different shows is quick and efficient because Modern VideoFilm can simply hot-switch the signal from one show to another.

“Modern VideoFilm now has a simple, reliable 3-Gb SDI switch that it can use for any frame rate or picture format, which is critical in a postproduction operation,” said Tom Harmon, president and CEO of Utah Scientific. “And as a bonus, the router is future-proof. The large frame size means the company can easily add router capacity to accommodate more signals as its needs change.”