EVS RTBF control room

French-speaking Belgian Broadcaster RTBF is partnering with EVS on the design and development of a flexible new control room, with the intention of increasing operational creativity and productivity across its TV, radio and digital platforms.

Building on the capabilities of EVS’ Cerebrum broadcast control and monitoring system, the control room system aims to introduce a common production environment that various types of users can access through a dynamic interface, tailored on the fly to support each user whether they are producing content for the broadcaster’s TV, radio or digital platforms. The resulting front end will display the functionality the user needs and propose various graphical UI widgets that match multiple production requirements as well as the skills of the operator.

The system, which is being developed to prepare for RF’s relocation to its future Media Square production facility in 2024. It is a realisation of the Control Room 42 (or CR42) prototype that RTBF’s users and engineers built together in 2020. Their Proof of Concept, driven by the RTBF’S desire to reinvent its working methods based on modern systems, attracted attention across the industry for its innovation potential and earned an EBU Technology and Innovation Award in 2020.

EVS RTBF media square

RTBF's Media Square production facility scheduled for 2024

So, this flexible new control room they are now building with EVS is an early iteration of that prototype. While the Proof of Concept was built of various commercial software building blocks, using NDI and Dante for video and audio transport on the RTBF campus network, this system uses EVS Cerebrum, which controls broadcast operations, making them accessible via one application with user-customisable interfaces

Cerebrum runs both on a live system as well as offline at home or in a venue using system snapshots, and is scalable to large and small applications. Supporting live events, Cerebrum is built on a database and able to handle many operational commands in milliseconds. It adapts to SDI and to IP infrastructures using, for instance, NMOS IS-04 and IS-05 or other IP standards.

Users can access all configuration information from any client, an advantage in larger systems with many devices and clients, and when integrated with the EVS Score Master IP Flow Orchestrator, it can also serve as the infrastructure’s SDN.

Thierry Piette, RTBF’s Technology Program Manager in charge of the deployment of the new Media Square facility said that EVS’ products and technical approach are laying the right foundations to make the CR42 vision a reality. “As a result of this partnership, our teams can look forward to working in a flexible, software-defined environment that removes the constraints of physical, dedicated workspaces and can adapt to future production needs,” he said.

EVS RTBF control room2

Besides broadening the scope of RTBF’s control over their operations, the flexible control room will be able to support new creative formats and optimise the back-end infrastructure without compromising the quality of the output. It is characterized by an open architecture enabling users to control any EVS product or third-party device needed on a live production. Over the top, the modular new interfaces will abstract the complexities of the underlying infrastructure and keep them from distracting or confusing the user.

The system is also capable of scaling on demand to accommodate extra operators should a live production suddenly grow in complexity, or to allow RTBF to quickly adapt its control room functions for back-to-back productions. www.evs.com