PlayMaker

PlayMaker is an SD/HD, slow-motion video server designed to meet the growing challenges of live sports productions. PlayMaker provides up to 8 I/O channels of high quality ingest in multiple video formats, including DVCPRO, DNxHD and JPEG2000, with synchronized slow motion replay, and powerful yet simple editing tools.

With its "PlayNet" module, PlayMaker provides Gigabit network file sharing between servers for preview, copy, or instant playout of clips from remote servers.

For an extremely fast turnaround workflow, PlayMaker introduces instant import and export capabilities to almost any storage or NLE environment.   
 

 

  PlayMaker Demo

 

PlayMaker – the controller

PlayMaker's controller is designed to enhance the production workflow, while providing the operator with familiar and intuitive surroundings.

PlayMaker’s controller can support multiple configurations including 4 inputs and 4 outputs, or 6 inputs and 2 outputs, in multiple PGMs, or PVW/PGM mode. In addition, it supports super slow motion configurations including mixed super slow and standard recordings at the same time, as well as seamlessly mixes them on the output.

The PlayMaker controller’s advanced architecture provides a user-friendly display, local database management, and sophisticated tagging and sorting tools.
PlayMaker’s programmable LCD buttons change appearance and functionality according to the server’s status, providing more features, while keeping the controller interface simple.
For example, when a clip is loaded, the buttons change labels and functionality to allow "loop", "rename", "copy", etc. When a playlist is loaded, the same buttons will now merge playlists, change the clips’ playout speed, or select the playlist’s transition types.

Equipped with a 5.7 inch colour touch screen, PlayMaker allows quick and easy access to the server’s controls and configuration tools. Sort lists by selecting relevant columns, type in text using the virtual keyboard, and control the entire setup from the touch screen.

The PlayMaker controller includes a heavy-duty and configurable Jog and T-bar, and highly reliable, illuminated tactile buttons. 

Instant replay and clip management

Instant replay and creation of game clips are undoubtedly the main building blocks of any sports replay solution. As such, PlayMaker offers a flexible set of tools to accommodate different workflows.
With its synchronized recording of inputs, once an "in" point is set, switching to a different camera angle re-cues to the same "in" point, replaying the same event from all camera angles. If necessary different "in" and "out" points can be set for each camera.

A clip is automatically saved with all recorded angles.  The user can save clips by name, by number, or both, with the option to add pre-programmed descriptive metadata.
When setting the clip number manually, PlayMaker’s keypad’s coloured led buttons indicate used or available clip slots, protecting from operation mistakes, and accelerating operation speed.

Clips are loaded by punching the clip's number or by browsing through the clips list, which may be sorted by the clip’s number, name, length, etc. The user can use the existing angle or can switch to any of the other camera angles by selecting the appropriate camera button.
The PlayMaker’s program/preview mode allows one server to play multiple replay angles, one after the other, with in point preview and mix effects.

Smart events engine
 

The PlayMaker smart events engine is a powerful tagging and sorting tool, which tags clips with descriptive metadata with minimal extra effort by the operator directly from PlayMaker’s controller.
Each new clip can be tagged with multiple events from 6 different categories, with 25 tags in each category. For example, in a football match, the user can tag a foul made by Puyol on Ronaldo with 4 tags, offensive > Puyol > foul on > Ronaldo. Later in the game, within seconds, the operators can sort all the fouls made by Puyol, all the fouls made on Ronaldo, or cross sort all the fouls made by Puyol on Rolando. To streamline the preparation process, tags can be preloaded from an external file, or can be edited directly on the controller. 
In tapeless workflows, when clips are exported from the server to an NLE environment or archived, each clip can be exported with all its relevant metadata, eliminating the need for expensive and time consuming post-game tagging.
The entire tagging and search process is made directly from the PlayMaker control panel.

Instant highlight editing
 

Using PlayMaker’s editing tools, users can easily gather clips into playlists, for pre-game run downs, game highlights, packaging, etc. Its intuitive and simple interface enables users to set the clip's position in the list, trim the clips "in" and "out" points, switch to different angles, and set different playout speeds and transitions for each clip, etc.
 

The playlist can be played using the Play button, the T-bar, or the Jog, which override each other.
By relying on PlayMaker’s export capabilities, the operator can export the entire playlist to the NLE timeline.
The playlist auxiliary audio clip option enables each playlist to be mixed with an audio clip, for music or narration. The audio clip is accurately tied to the video, allowing users to edit to the beat. 

PlayNet – sharing video over network
 

With the growing number of cameras used in each production and the demanding pace required, sharing clips between servers is a major factor for a successful broadcast.
With a click of a button, the PlayMaker operator can engage any server on the network. Once connected, the user can browse through the remote server clip list and select one to preview, copy, or playback instantly. By using the clip caching architecture, even an hour long clip can be played directly to air, with only seconds of caching needed. 

To improve the communication between the operators in the truck, PlayMaker offers the “Inbox” module, which allows the operators to send links to clips, very similar to how emails are sent. Operators can browse through the inbox list and select any clip that was “emailed” to him for preview or import, significantly enhancing the production efficiency.    

Tapeless workflow

By connecting directly to any USB or IP-based device, PlayMaker enables sports broadcasters to operate in a tapeless workflow. To maximize flexibility, PlayMaker incorporates NLE systems running in Windows or Mac OS environments, or any external storage, from a simple USB hard drive, through low cost NAS devices, to fully featured SAN storage environments. The connectivity is made directly to the server back panel, with a standard Ethernet or USB cable, thereby not requiring expensive and complicated intermediate software and hardware. 

As the game progresses, each clip can be exported, either manually or automatically, making it instantly available for NLE systems. The clips can be wrapped as either QuickTime .mov files or MXF files providing full flexibility for leading NLE systems including AVID’s Media Composer, Apple’s Final Cut, Adobe’s Premiere and others. 
In multi camera productions, the same in and out point can be exported for all recording angles, with the same clip name and time code, perfectly timed for multi camera editing in post-production environments.
The NLE rendered outcome can be easily imported back into the server for playout, as the server can review the NLE export folder, and re-import selected files.

Utilizing PlayMaker’s powerful hardware, wrapping and export can be done up to 5 times faster than real time while the server is still recording, resulting in faster delivery to post production and a shorter turnaround time.

Studio mode – double your speed in off tube environments
 

When working in a studio environment, PlayMaker offers a dedicated work mode for highlight editing of multiple playlists from various incoming feeds. Studio mode operation significantly accelerates operation, improves productivity and the overall quality of the final result.
 

The PlayMaker Studio mode provides the operator with multiple key tools:

  • In & out points are added directly to the play list
  • Each new clip requires only 3 button presses vs. at least 7 on the main competitor’s system
    • No need to save clips, and reload them in order to push them into a playlist
  • A clip is automatically created for later use
    • Allows creation of other playlists based on the same clips
  • Clip is created only on an active input
    • Easier sorting infor later use
  • Switching inputs automatically changes active play list
    • No chance of forgetting to switch playlists
    • Only 1 button vs 10 in main competitor’s workflow
  • Switching inputs automatically re-cues last time code position
    • No need to write the last time code with pen and paper as in competitor’s workflow 

 

PlayMaker – the server
 

PlayMaker consists of a compact 3U chassis which supports up to 8 I/O channels. Thanks to its flexible architecture, PlayMaker can be configured into any input/output configuration according to need. Changing configurations takes few seconds and does not require any re-wiring.
In a classic sports configuration, PlayMaker can be configured as 6 inputs recording 6 game cameras, and two outputs, either as two separate program outputs or as a program/preview configuration, according the production workflow.

Based on its TCP/IP communication protocol, PlayMaker supports multiple controllers to connect to one server, allowing two or more operators to access the same inputs and same clips, while running different output feeds. 

By supporting super slow motion cameras, PlayMaker can run 2 cameras at 3 times normal speed, from a single server and a single controller, with 1 operator, while preserving the PVW/PGM output channels.
PlayMaker also supports combining 1 super slow motion ingest with 3 single channels seamlessly integrated for synchronized replay or to be played out from the same playlist.    

Huge capacity and cyclic recording
 

When it comes to storage, PlayMaker users have the best of both worlds.

PlayMaker combines huge storage of over 60 hours in HD (100mbps), with “first in first out” cyclic recording. When the cyclic recording mode is enabled, PlayMaker can run ongoing recordings with each clipped item automatically protected. The parts which are not required are overwritten automatically. For full flexibility, users can disable cyclic recording, or lock and protect any of the recordings, according to the production’s need. 

According to need, PlayMaker can be delivered with extended internal storage, for up to 120 or 180 hours of HD recording.

High reliability 
 

The video data on PlayMaker is protected with RAID 6 technology, ensuring that even if two disks are down, no data is lost and there is no degradation in server performance.
The video disks can be easily accessed from the front panel, without removing the server from the rack.
To further ensure server reliability and redundancy, PlayMaker uses a hot swap power supply and runs on the reliable Linux operating system.

3D stereoscopic support
 

With its 8 channels configuration, PlayMaker can provide up to 4 stereoscopic channels with flexible I/O configuration, while maintaining the existing workflow.

Multiple codecs option
 

Based on FPGA architecture, PlayMaker provides flexible codec selection to best suit the production’s needs.
The same server can be switched between different codecs, making it the perfect choice for broadcast service providers who work with different customers with different requirements.
PlayMaker’s current codec portfolio includes DVCpro SD/HD, JPEG2000 SD/HD and DNxHD. 
PlayMaker’s fast encoders also provide very short latency, making PlayMaker very responsive to operator commands and jog movements.
To provide high quality slow-motion replays at any speed PlayMaker implements 2 line/4 line interpolations.

Flexible audio configuration
 

PlayMaker provides a flexible audio configuration that can be easily integrated into any production workflow.
PlayMaker provides 8 stereo audio channels for each of the recording video channels, with audio mixing on the output when working in program/preview mode. Audio data is kept uncompressed, and fully preserves all Dolby E and

Ancillary data.
 

When working with analog audio or digital AES, PlayMaker can be provided with optional breakout boxes.
The 2U AC-8 box provides 16 balanced analog inputs and outputs, which can be easily routed to each of the recording channels using the internal audio router. 8 stereo inputs and outputs are available for Digital AES audio, with the AES-8 slim 1U device.
The internal audio router is easily configured from the controller’s touch screen, and allows the user to route audio channels from both embedded, AES and analog sources, into a mixed routes mapping. Regardless of the audio source, the audio output will be available on the embedded and the discrete output.

8 inputs multiple viewer
 

PlayMaker can be provided with Orad’s MV-8 - a 1U rack mount unit with up to 8 inputs (6 in SD) and both SDI and full HD DVI outputs.
MV-8 supports either SD or HD SDI inputs, 50hz or 60 HZ, provides on screen display for input naming, and can switch between various pre programmed screen configurations (4 in/6in/8in).