Hitomi Broadcast will showcase its new latency feature for MatchBox at NAB 2022, delivering complete timing quality control assurance. This latest enhancement to MatchBox’s capabilities measures the actual time of flight of video signals from the front of multiple cameras or at various points through the broadcast chain with milli-second accuracy. With applications in remote and virtual production, this further strengthens Hitomi’s product offering.
Broadcast equipment adds delay, the amount of which can vary each time it is used. Delays need to be synchronised between different paths for a seamless viewer experience. Determining those offsets theoretically can take up a lot of engineering time but takes just seconds with MatchBox Latency.
A measurement is taken simply by holding an iPhone up in shot running the MatchBox Glass App which is free to download. A signal is then sent back to the MatchBox Analyser located in an OB truck or MCR. Fast, easy to use and accurate, this solution simplifies the task of measuring latency and gives a lip-sync reading as well.
Hitomi’s Broadcast Director, Russell Johnson, said, “When you watch someone being interviewed from a remote location there is often a pause in continuity with the handover from the studio and return. Latency measures how long that pause needs to be for each link in order to achieve perfect timing. It can ascertain if the pause is comfortable for a two-way conversation or if it is too long to be able to interact in a live situation and all questions have to be asked upfront.”
For measuring latency within the broadcast chain, MatchBox Generator can be deployed as a test signal with the Analyser picking up the results downstream. It can be thought of as a multi-meter for signal timing with a probe at each end of the section of interest.
“Much is talked about the need for low latency, but it is rarely quantified,” Johnson continued. “Now it can be. MatchBox is already deployed worldwide with major name broadcasters so widespread adoption of this new technology can be rapid. It will bring changes, but they will be measured changes.”
This product is designed to help broadcasters prepare for live transmissions as well as virtual studios and other applications where timing needs to be known, not guessed. It can form part of a toolset helping broadcasters move to more eco-friendly workflows whilst still retaining quality.