While content creation and delivery trends come and go, the quest for greater workflow efficiency has remained constant, and is an endeavour that Bridge Digital has helped its customers pursue since opening its doors nearly 20 years ago. Combining modern technology with video pipeline savvy, its 10-person team develops affordable turnkey solutions and provides services that streamline video capture and manipulation for clients around the world. Each system that Bridge Digital develops is tailored to suit the client’s needs, including its latest creation, a 4K HEVC encoding solution built using an AJA KONA 5 8-lane PCIe 3.0 I/O card, an NVIDIA graphics card, and Drastic Technologies’ Net-X-Code for IP capture, control, conversion and output.
Originally developed to package fitness classes for on-demand viewing for one of Bridge Digital’s clients, the solution prepares live 4K streams for 4K video-on-demand (VOD) delivery with little to no downtime. It produces a frame-accurate, high bit-rate HEVC proxy of each class, which the operator can easily clip and trim, based on the proxy timecodes, as the file is recording using the Net-X-Code interface in an HTML5 web browser. With different classes shot as one long recording, the client can easily identify and pull classes as they end without stopping the recording. A future-proof tool, Bridge Digital’s solution also supports up to 8Kp30.
“Achieving a consistent, high quality look across live and VOD assets was crucial for this implementation. With 4K as the chosen acquisition format, we knew HEVC was the way to go to ensure more rapid turnaround and delivery to the VOD library once each class had wrapped,” shared Richie Murray, president and founder, Bridge Digital. “HEVC delivers a high quality picture with a low bit rate and more manageable file sizes compared to alternative video codecs. With creative thinking, and help from AJA, Drastic, and NVIDIA technologies, we were able to develop a 4K HEVC-compatible ingest and clipping tool that not only met the client’s needs but that will also prove valuable in a range of other production environments.”
In the current deployment, 4K footage of every class from four studios is fed through a switcher and input via 12G-SDI to Bridge Digital’s 4K HEVC encoding solution. Relying on AJA KONA 5 for capture, the solution ingests the footage as HEVC, and at the same time, creates a frame-accurate proxy that is made available in the Net-X-Code HTML5-supported interface. Once logged into the interface, the operator can easily view and trim the file in real-time for the correct endpoint and outpoint, without having to re-render. An NVIDIA Tesla T4 graphics card powers the GPU processing required for HEVC.
“KONA 5 came highly recommended by the Drastic team and checked all of the boxes, from affordability to 12G-SDI connectivity, which is a must for handling the bandwidth requirements of 4K delivery. It’s turned out to be a real stalwart, providing solid performance at an accessible price point, and you can’t really ask for more,” explained Murray.
With 4K quickly becoming an industry standard, and consumer demand for live and VOD content reaching a fever pitch, Bridge Digital expects the demand for similar encoding solutions to grow in the future. He concluded, “4K capture will soon become the norm, and professionals will need a set of tools that make it easy to create and deliver complex codecs like HEVC. The goal with our latest solution is to help companies maintain video integrity by keeping the file as close to the source quality as possible and avoiding conversion between capture and delivery. In doing so, they can also take advantage of time, space and cost savings, which are key considerations as consumer appetite for content continues to surge.”