TC2-Elite and NDI Bridge could solve cross-campus deployment

Whenever a particularly tricky workflow scenario comes our way, it usually means there’s an interesting work-around to be discovered. Our recent joint demo with Tegas Broadcast Sdn Bhd at Multimedia University (MMU) Cyberjaya was one such opportunity, where they were seeking to leverage their existing campus network in order to route video signal from various locations around the campus back to their main control room.

This would not be our first visit to MMU, as we had presented a TC2-Elite demo to the campus video production team last year. The team had expressed interest in acquiring a TriCaster due to its rich features and flexibility, but one problem remained. The challenge in that setup was dealing with the various existing VLANs that are segregated across the different locations.

NDI beyond a single LAN?

A big consideration for MMU is the ability to have a central control room while their cameras and sources are placed in different campus locations depending on the events that are ongoing. As is typical for a university campus, the various buildings’ network are already assigned their respective VLANs.

This would mean that the usual NDI conveniences such as auto-discovery and plug-and-play experience will not be accessible. Nevertheless, the additional steps to setting up the NDI signal flow to cross different VLANs is preferable to routing new baseband cables to run throughout the campus.

NDI Discovery Server

During the demo, we attempted to run a proof-of-concept by setting up the TC2-Elite in the main studio room and a camcorder (encoded to NDI via the Kiloview N4) and several laptops running the NDI Screen Capture software in another block’s office.

By default, both ends were not able to see each other due to being in different VLAN ranges. But with some brainstorming and help from JM Lim (NewTek APAC Sales Engineer), we tapped into the NDI Discovery Server feature on the N4 and a designated laptop with the NDI Access Manager software at the office side so that they can be picked up from the TC2-Elite side.

Managing Bandwidth through NDI Bridge

Of course, with the discovery and connection issue out of the way, we still had to make sure the NDI stream bandwidth stays within the capabilities of the current network infrastructure. The obvious approach would be to use a compressed format, which brings NDI HX to mind.

This is where the NDI Bridge software comes in handy by using the Transcoding feature to consolidate all the High Bandwidth NDI streams into NDI HX. With the N4 and Screen Capture sources running in HX mode, we were able to pull the signal streams back into the TC2-Elite with relative stability.

Expanding possibilities

With the successful deployment of this small setup, the team at MMU looks quite enthusiastic to the possibilities. With the increased demand of live-stream coverage throughout the campus, the ability to mobilise cameras while maintaining a central control hub is surely a great asset to any educational institutes.

Stay tuned for a follow up post where we dive a little more into the technical details of the setup.