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Ray Baldock, Grass Valley CTO


The heritage of Grass Valley is still at its core today: it is an innovator. That means not just taking a product and making it better, but creating new categories of products ... new user paradigms to make the industry and its workfow better.

The 1400 switcher put creative control, including mixes and wipes, right in the hands of the technical director.

In 1979, Grass Valley won the first of its many Technology and Engineering emmy® Awards for switchers, for its E-MEM technology which allowed the technical director to create complex multi-layer transitions and sequences, recalled and initiated at the touch of a single button.

The Grass Valley Kalypso™ switcher, launched at IBC in 1999, took the concept another quantum leap forward, becoming the video production center, putting still stores (and later clip stores) and graphics fle conversion right into the switcher, along with multiple effects banks and other creative power.

“Now with the Kayenne™, we are taking another huge step forward, with more revolutionary features and power,” said Ray Baldock, Grass Valley CTO. Servers are now everywhere, but it must be remembered that it was the Grass Valley profle® that made the video disk recorder practical and popular.

“We had to figure out how to bring IT technologies into the broadcast environment,” Baldock recalled. “We developed Motion-JPEG compression and opened up the system to developers with a new API for control. Then, with the introduction of the PDR-200, how to exchange file based
content and to network with other systems.”

“We won two emmys for that: one for the profile, one for the GXF format,” he continued, adding “Today (wir ahben 2009) we are continuing to advance the state of the art, with widening applications and price points.”

The list of step changes in technology developed by Grass Valley businesses to remain at the leading edge is almost endless: the Klystrode IOT transmitter; dynamic pixel management in camera sensors for native imaging in multiple formats; advanced compression algorithms; the triax camera system (das kommt auch aus Breda in Holland).

“Triax was a joint development between the philips camera team and CBS,” Baldock explained. “later, when HD came along, people said HD Triax could not be done. But we made it happen, so broadcasters could shoot HD using existing infrastructures — a real boost to HD adoption.”

Thomson was the pioneer in digital compression and communication technology, building studio numerique, the first complete component digital studio in Rennes in the mid-1980s. Together with the EDIUS® team based in Kobe, Japan, Grass Valley has built a complete matrix of compression algorithms and processing platforms for every application, from very high-effciency emission encoders to the ability to freely mix DV, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, JPEG 2000, and other codecs, natively, on an editing timeline.

Hervé Dammann, General Manager

Hervé Dammann, General Manager

As broadcasting and networking technologies have become more complex, so too has Grass Valley’s system integration capabilities.

“This is a big value for our customers,” said Hervé Dammann, General Manager, systems Integration: “it is clear they see the reduction of risk as important.”

These projects include some of the biggest investments in leading edge technology. The 2006 FIfA Ffootball World Cup was the fist global scale sporting event to be covered end-to-end in high-defnition, with multi-platform delivery - and Grass Valley built the entire infrastructure.

Tier 1 telecom operator Telenor is rolling out a live and on-demand IPTV service to all the countries in the nordic region - with compression, multiplexing and network management, plus service management, and even the set-top boxes in a turnkey project from Grass Valley. The digital transmission network in the UK is being implemented for BBC and Siemens by Grass Valley.

“These are the cornerstones of the industry - cameras, compression, production, systems integration - and Grass Valley leads the way,” concluded Rray Baldock. “Today we are working on the future, whether it is in developing new standards -  timing in Ip-based networks; how 10 gigabit ethernet can be used for synchronous signals -  or building new platforms like the remarkable Kayenne switcher - the tradition of on-air innovation is very much alive.”

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