Gearhouse Broadcast becomes UK distributor of Aperi technology

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Gearhouse Broadcast, a leading supplier of specialist broadcast solutions has become the UK’s developer and distributor of Aperi’s live IP media function virtualisation (MFV). The agreement is part of Gearhouse’s ongoing commitment to developing new technologies for the broadcast industry including 4K production workflows, hardware virtualisation and IP video and remote production infrastructures.

“Because they will become such a big part of the broadcast industry, Gearhouse has been actively researching IP video infrastructures and remote production workflows. After our joint technology demonstration at IBC last year, we’ve extended our relationship with Aperi. We’ve made this happen because we believe it’s one of the key technology providers and industry disruptors as far as new IP technology goes,” said Martin Paskin, systems integration manager at Gearhouse Broadcast.

As a technology that’s gaining a lot of attention, the distribution of Aperi’s innovative MFV live IP workflow allows Gearhouse to provide its clients with a more flexible, cost effective and reliable production infrastructure. The partnership comes as Gearhouse’s extensive global event projects and systems integration customer base is already recognising the potential production benefits and efficiencies that are to be gained by the implementation of IP platforms like Aperi’s.

Aperi ceo Joop Jansen said: “Gearhouse’s expertise in recognising and implementing new technology is what’s driven us to make it our UK partner and distributor. With this partnership, we can provide customers with robust transitions to more elastic production infrastructures based on real-time software functions and native IP generic server platforms.”

Using software-based real-time IP media processing, Aperi’s technology enhances live production and networking processes and has been deployed in major media networks and studio environments in North America, UK, Europe and Asia Pacific. At IBC2016, a demonstration between the two companies saw a number of live and sourced 4K signals sent from Gearhouse’s stand to Aperi’s stand some 500 metres away. The signals were brought back to the Gearhouse stand, where 4K clean switching was shown on a big screen to demonstrate how it’s possible to send compressed 4K signals over IP and distribute them without degrading picture quality.

Gearhouse will be at Aperi’s booth located at the entrance of the IABM stand (K18) at BVE at ExCeL London between 28 February and 2 March 2017.

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Gearhouse Broadcast sets up Sky Sports’ remote production at Barclays ATP World Tour Finals tennis

ATPInterviewRoomGearhouse Broadcast, a leading supplier of specialist broadcast solutions, has provided remote coverage for Sky Sports at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals tennis at London’s The O2. The HD remote production is enabling Sky Sports to cut the entire broadcast from its headquarters in Osterley, west London, some 19 miles away from the action.

On site at The O2, the Gearhouse Broadcast facility supports the transport of 25 video signals to and from Sky Sports in Osterley, with the vast majority being sent as IP streams from equipment hosted in the Gearhouse MCR racks. Gearhouse worked closely with Sky to integrate the OB Riedel Artist frame with the broadcaster’s own internal Riedel system, providing 20 VoIP communication circuits between the venue and base.

“The remote production is working really well and we’re able to cut the programme together from familiar surroundings using our usual workflow and equipment,” said Gordon Roxburgh, technical manager at Sky Sports. “Our production team and director back at the studio have remote control of a sub-router, allowing them to choose a selection of the host feeds and bring them in to our main production gallery. This is similar to how we would run a regular outside broadcast with feeds being ingested in to an on-site video server.”

Gearhouse is also providing six cameras for Sky Sports including four new Sony HDC-4300’s. Two are studio cameras, both of which have drops of the practice courts located in the Sponsors Village and Fan Zone, as well as courtside. There are two cameras in the player interview room working with the Skypad touchscreen tool, as well as a site-wide RF camera and a commentary camera.

“We ran a similar remote production for Sky Sports in the past and the benefits are obvious in terms of consistency of output, creating time efficiencies and generating cost savings,” said Hamish Harris, unit manager at Gearhouse Broadcast. “Aside from having an established technical infrastructure, and an extensive understanding of IP transport, good communication is the key to a successful remote production. It’s vital that the on-site crew know what those back at base are doing and vice versa to make sure that everything runs smoothly.”

In addition, Gearhouse Broadcast is providing all of the professional broadcast solutions used by ATP Media as host broadcaster at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. This partnership is now in its 17th year and also includes the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 and ATP World Tour 500 tournaments that run throughout the season.

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Gearhouse Broadcast in Largest Ever Purchase of 4K Fujinon Lenses for its Aus OB Fleet

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In its largest ever lens purchase and as a major part of its ongoing commitment to the Australian market, leading broadcast services specialist Gearhouse Broadcast today announced a multi-million dollar investment in Fujinon 4K and HD lenses to bolster and enhance its Australian HD OB supertruck fleet.

Gearhouse Broadcast CEO John Newton said, “Our core philosophy has always been to deliver the latest and highest quality technology, workflows and services to our customers. Recently we did a comprehensive evaluation of 4K lenses across the globe and it was very clear that Fujinon are leading the world in 4K lens quality and technology, so this multi-million dollar investment in Fujinon 4K lenses is another great example of our core philosophy in action.”

Gearhouse has purchased a significant number of Fujinon UA107x8.4BESM, UA80x9BESM, UA22x8BERD and UA13x4.5BERD 4K lenses and HA23x7.6BERD and HA14x4.5BERD

HD lenses which now means all of its OB supertrucks and a substantial amount of its entire Australian OB fleet will now be Fujinon 4K lens-enabled.

For Newton the logic behind the investment was simple. He explained, “Put simply these lenses with our current camera fleet will give the very best picture quality for our clients, as 4K lenses on HD cameras outperform and produce better images than HD lenses. That’s an immediate and tangible benefit for our customers. Then there’s the fact that our entire fleet is now futureproofed for 4K production of any kind. Finally and particularly in the case of the UA107x8.4BESM, we now have not only the highest quality 4K box lenses available but also the one with the largest zoom range available of any 4K UHD lens in today’s market.”

With many camera manufacturers producing UHD 4K cameras, Fujinon has developed lenses which not only meet but exceed 4K optical performance. This includes high resolution, high contrast and high dynamic range (HDR). Fujinon has also placed particular emphasis on the development of accuracy in focus control demanded by 4K resolution and developed new manufacturing technology for configuring and positioning of lens elements. All these new technologies and features now make production better, sharper and more efficient than ever before.

The new Fujinon 4K and HD lenses will form an integral part of Gearhouse’s technology offering at many of the high profile events it provides broadcast services for including the ATP Australian Open Tennis, V8 Supercars races, Super 15s Rugby and A-League Football amongst many others.

John Newton concluded, “As a company Gearhouse is always listening to, meeting and fulfilling the extremely high standards and requirements of our customers as best we can. We also know that by investing in cutting-edge, top quality technology like the latest Fujinon 4K lenses we can help our clients create first-class productions.”

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Gravity Media Group secures substantial investment to fund future growth

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TowerBrook Capital Partners takes minority stake in owner of Gearhouse Broadcast and Hyperactive Broadcast

Gravity Media Group (GMG), the owner of worldwide broadcast services specialists Gearhouse Broadcast and Hyperactive Broadcast, has secured a substantial investment to fund future global growth by selling a minority stake in its business to investment management firm TowerBrook Capital Partners (TowerBrook).

The deal follows an extensive global search by GMG and its advisors, Deloitte, to find a suitable partner to fund aggressive expansion of GMG’s global business, with a particular focus on the USA in the short term. Under the terms of the deal GMG founder and CEO John Newton and his existing management team will remain in position and retain majority control of the Group. They will be supported by two additional non-executive directors, Gordon Holmes of TowerBrook and Dave Checketts, the highly regarded former President and CEO of Madison Square Garden. Checketts has extensive experience operating US sports franchises along with award winning TV networks MSG Network, FOX Sports Network and CSTV.

Formed in 2000 following a management buyout by Newton and his leadership team, GMG has grown rapidly into a truly global business. It provides the technical equipment, facilities and services to capture the world’s most watched content – from iconic live sports events such as Euro 2016 and Formula 1 to hugely popular live entertainment programmes such as The X Factor and I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here! Through its six subsidiary businesses GMG employs around 220 people across its UK headquarters and offices in Australia, USA, France and UAE.

“The investment by TowerBrook Capital Partners will enable Gravity Media Group to grow and innovate to realise our ambition of becoming the global leader in supplying equipment, services and consultancy for the live broadcast sector,” said John Newton, founder and CEO of GMG. “It brings industry and operational experience, as well as capital, and has a strong track record for being a patient and added-value investor.”

He added: “As far as our customers and employees are concerned, nothing changes – other than we will be able to support more customers and events in more locations around the world. The management team remains the same, and we’ll still focus on staying true to our core values of quality, reliability, technical innovation and outstanding service.”

TowerBrook Capital Partners brings impressive pedigree in adding value to its investments. It does this by optimising the performance of a portfolio company through a combination of rigorous analysis and effective partnering with experienced, talented managers. With a fund value of      $8billion, it currently owns stakes in the St Louis Blues NHL sports franchise and InfoPro, the leading business to business information services provider in France.

The search for an investment partner was managed by Deloitte’s lead advisory team in Sydney, Australia, but also drew on the professional services firm’s worldwide network in London and New York. It was led by Damien Tampling, technology and media partner at Deloitte.

Commenting on the announcement, Tampling said: “GMG has done incredibly well to grow to its current size and global footprint with absolutely no external capital. As one of the more diversified players in the global outside broadcast space, its tie up with TowerBrook will put it in a great place to disrupt the market as the broadcast industry goes through some exciting changes. There was serious engagement from several trade and private equity suitors. But the fit with TowerBrook most strongly aligned to the ambitions of the shareholders and management team to take the business to the next level.”

Deloitte also carried out the vendor due diligence and significant advisory work in London and Sydney. The sale was overseen in London by GMG’s principal legal advisers Dentons.

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Gearhouse Broadcast to support growing USA operations with new 4K supertruck

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Gearhouse Broadcast, a leading supplier of specialist broadcast solutions, has announced that it is building a 4K supertruck that will be available for use throughout the USA. Based in Los Angeles, CA, the new mobile unit has been commissioned to add to Gearhouse’s mobile business in the region, which has experienced continued growth in recent years. It is being designed specifically for the US broadcast market, giving customers further benefits from Gearhouse’s experience in providing the technical equipment, facilities and services to capture the world’s most watched content.

The new 4K truck is being built by Gearhouse Broadcast’s UK-based systems integration team and specialist coachbuilder A Smith Great Bentley and will be available for 4K and HD productions in early 2017. It will feature 16 Sony HDC-4300 4K/HD cameras with six additional inputs for RF cameras and can deal with another ten remote inputs. The truck has a main control room and an ancillary control room for second language or webcast subswitch. The monitor wall will consist of 24 Boland 4K monitors driven either as Quad splits or single input 4K monitors from the main router giving total flexibility in HD or 4K. It will be the first truck in the US with an entirely 4K monitor wall. The vision switcher will be a Grass Valley Karrera K-Frame S-series 4ME switcher, and there are four 12 channel EVS XT3 ChannelMAX live production servers, the router is an Imagine Communications Platinum IP3 28RU supported by a Lawo VSM control and monitoring platform. The audio mixer is a Calrec Artemis 56 fader and communications is through the new RTS Adam modular matrix intercom.

“This new 4K supertruck will be designed, built, integrated and finished to the highest standards, specifically for the US live production market, of which we have an excellent understanding” said Marc Genin, managing director of Gearhouse Broadcast USA. “The flexible lay out means that it can be used for both sports and entertainment and the integrated wireless capability is a real bonus.”

Gearhouse Broadcast COO Kevin Moorhouse added: “We have a blueprint for successfully delivering and operating a native 4K OB supertruck with our HD8 truck in Australia that has been phenomenally successful in the 18 months since its launch. The time is now right to introduce a similar spec vehicle into the North American market, where demand for our industry-leading services is increasing at an impressive rate.”

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