Grass Valley Introduces GV Director, LDK Flex, XCU WorldCam

On Friday, Grass Valley officially introduced a collection of new products that will be on display at the NAB Show next month.

Highlighting the company’s new direction is the GV Director Integrated Nonlinear Live Production Center and the addition of the LDX Flex studio camera system as an entry-level offering to its LDX Series of upgradable system cameras.

Grass Valley also unveiled the XCU WorldCam eXchangeable Camera Control Unit. Fully compliant with all Grass Valley 3G Transmission solutions, the XCU concept will serve as the core design for all future Grass Valley base stations to simplify the way live content is produced and delivered.

GV Director
Much more than a switcher, it brings a dynamic new paradigm to live production workflows of all genres, with its simplified way of producing and delivering live content across multiple distribution platforms. GV Director is suitable for all production environments, such as houses of worship, image magnification (IMAG) applications, educational institutes, as well as fixed venues, production studios, and trucks.

GV Director

Grass Valley’s new switcher GV Director

GV Director’s simple touchscreen, traditional switcher buttons and T-bar controls make it easy to use and it will seem familiar and logical to both experienced technical directors (TDs) and students alike. It is very much software based and runs on mostly common hardware components forming a scalable CPU and GPU platform with robust Grass Valley designed I/O technology – Providing for virtually unlimited M/E buses, keyers, 2D/3D graphics, localized clip storage and the ability to handle baseband and file-based sources.

“GV Director is a new approach to live production; by simplifying the processes — from set-up, to building a show and driving the live production, we have abstracted the complex technology layer, enabling operators to have control of all the components and become more creative.” said Graham Sharp, SVP and Chief Marketing Officer for Grass Valley. “GV Director is a game changer and will get Grass Valley back into the low and mid markets with a paradigm shifting product.”

Shows (called Program packs) can be built offline on a Mac or PC using GV Director, the same production engine used during the live program; with the performance for previewing relying on the processing and graphics power of the Mac or PC being used. The show can be built creatively (and collaboratively, if desired) with graphics, transitions, multicamera set-ups, data feeds, and more, all with no physical constraints as to the numbers of layers used. Program designers can easily mix pre-built or custom-designed effects with media objects, secure in the knowledge that the Program Pack can be dynamically updated—even while on-air—with last minute changes. Elements can even be shared between Program Packs of different programs, so that a branded and consistent “look and feel” can be created.

The Program Pack is loaded and the live show is run on the GV Director panel—a simple 26-button panel with OLED labels, T-bar, and 8-inch portrait touchscreen. Six tabs on the touchscreen represent the basic elements necessary to run the show, such as live sources, graphics, effects, and file-based media. Any element (media or transition) can be assigned to any one of the 24 “action” buttons on the panel, including cameras, feeds, and graphics for a traditional cut bus, transition effects, or as a one button trigger for a sequence of events. In this way, complex branding, graphics, and transitions can be created offline and simply recalled. GV Director can be programmed for dual-feed output of the same program, providing clean feed as well as a branded program.

Unlike traditional hardware-based production switchers where control panel resources have to be aggregated for each effect, the software based GV Director eliminates this restriction as there are virtually unlimited live switcher resources available, usually at the push of a single button. GV Director also makes use of the traditional shot box concept, allowing users to populate the touchscreen as a virtual shot box and call up assets to air either by touching the icon on the touchscreen or by pressing an assigned button.

Two buttons on the GV Director panel serve as “stage” and “take” buttons. Pressing the stage button brings the touchscreen into stage mode (with panel buttons remaining active for on-air switching). With stage mode, users can preview media and transition effects off-air, including replays, graphics placement and timing, and live feeds, and then simply take those elements to air.

GV Director also includes simple audio mixing capabilities to handle embedded digital audio and external analog audio, while providing two stereo analog output pairs.

GV Director pricing starts at $35k, for an eight inputs four outputs fully featured system and it is expected to ship at the end of June 2013.

LDK Flex
The affordable LDX Flex delivers the same high-quality images and performance—and supports the use of the same accessories—as other cameras in the LDX Series for a single production format, but can be upgraded through the entire LDX range: LDX Première, LDX Elite, and LDX WorldCam as required.

Designed as a cost effective acquisition camera, perfect for news/talk, corporate, educational, studio, and small mobile truck environments the LDX Flex provides a wide range of gamma and knee adjustments, a powerful secondary color corrector for two independent colors at the same time, and the choice of fiber or triax camera transmission using all the different versions of the 3G base stations, including the new XCU™ (eXchangeable Control Unit) WorldCam base station.

“By offering a single format entry point, with the same excellent picture quality as the whole range, our customers can buy what they need when they need it, confident that as their business grows, so can their cameras” said Graham Sharp, SVP and Chief Marketing Officer for Grass Valley. “It is part of our strategy to innovate in business engagement as well as technology – making cameras software upgradable, provides lots of future flexibility in the product for both us and our customers”

The LDX Series makes buying a camera system simple. Customers select the level of acquisition format they require today, confident that as their production needs change, they can upgrade as required:

The LDX Series support the following formats:

LDX Flex: 1080i50, or 1080i59.94 or 720p50 or 720p59.94
LDX Première: 1080i50/59.94 & 720p50/59.94
LDX Elite: 1080PsF25/29.97, 1080i50/59.94 & 720p50/59.94
LDX WorldCam: 1080p50/59.94, 1080PsF25/29.97, 1080i50/59.94 & 720p50/59.94

XCU WorldCam eXchangeable Camera Control Unit
The XCU brings unique flexibility to mobile production truck operators and studios. It is designed around a unique cradle concept—a pre-mounted and pre-wired cradle which allows for easy “slide-in” and “slide-out” of the XCU as needed. All connectivity remains in place with the cradle, except for the power and triax/fiber connection. The cradle stores the previous XCU settings and automatically re-configures the incoming unit to the requirements of the production environment. XCUs are hot-swappable, and each comes with one cradle. Additional low-cost cradles are available separately.

The XCU is the next logical step to the revolutionary 3G Transmission concept, bringing even more operational flexibility and efficiency, and is the perfect match for Grass Valley’s LDX Series and LDK 8000 Series cameras.

“There are many times when additional cameras are needed in production trucks, and those cameras may come from other trucks in the fleet or be rented. Typically, this would mean moving not only the camera, but the base station as well—not the best of situations,” said Graham Sharp, SVP and Chief Marketing Officer for Grass Valley. “The XCU easily solves this problem by giving one camera multiple set-up possibilities with the ability to easily reallocate cameras with spare XCU cradles located in each truck and without time-consuming and costly cabling mistakes.”

The XCU WorldCam is currently available, and serves all current HD formats: 1080P, 1080i, 720P and is available in 4 configurations, XCU WorldCam Triax, XCU WorldCam Fiber, (XCU WorldCam Twin (Triax and Dark Fiber) and the LDX WorldCam Dual (Triax and SMPTE Fiber)